17 May 2019

Pakatan Harapan addicted to the Bumi Agenda

Azly Rahman, 
10 Mar 2019

Why is Pakatan Harapan talking about a "Bumi Agenda" when it should be "Bumi Manusia" (Earth of mankind) as proposed by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, in a classic novel of our Nusantara? 

Azly Rahman

You lost in Semenyih and you want to speed up a bumi agenda? We are all Malaysians. I thought Harapan is all about principles of anti-discrimination?

For once, I suggest, think like a government for all Malaysians and fix the economy accordingly.

This talk of another "bumi agenda" is a prelude to the new control of the GLCs, perhaps? Another round of economic cacophony? Another round of the creation of the choir group “Hebatkan Malaysia” (Make Malaysia Great Again) who sang praises for a deposed prime minister?

We have not heard any of Harapan politicians championing the rights of all Malaysians. Everyone seems to be comfortably numb, well placed in their seat.

This talk of a "bumi agenda" is bankrupt ideological talk.

We should talk about sustainable politics of diversity now. Inclusive politics is no longer about Malay-Muslim rights only. Justice must serve all. 

We have seen the divide and what it is doing to our country and how our youth are being used to go after each other’s throat, while the politicians smile as enemies, waiting for the gravy train to stop by at their constituencies. Enough!

From economics to education, Malaysians continue to hear politicians promoting apartheid. We must evolve. Sustainability, human rights, peace and justice - these are the pillars of new Malaysia. Universal goals of our survival. Not another bumi agenda.

Is the "bumi agenda" battle cry a consequence of the sudden enlargement of Bersatu into a new Umno?

The pie in the sky we fight over

Why must politicians still use the metaphor of the one "economic pie" when we can enlarge it for many to eat? This "bumi agenda" propaganda will continue to relegate "non-bumis" to be people with no hope in a land they are born in. 

Addicted to the drug called "free enterprise without ethics," those in power will divide and conquer to stay in power.

The most dangerous part of Malaysia's racial and religious divisions is the schooling for social reproduction. The most urgent issue after Semenyih is not who should win next, but how we should all think and act like Malaysians.

The urgent issue after Semenyih is to be more mature in campaigning issues - environment, education, cultural appreciation.

Semenyih is not about how divided voters are. It's about not knowing which party stands for what morality, anymore. It seems the biggest winner in any elections is "promises" and the losers are those "promised". It's a promising business.

What a shame that an embezzler of billions of ringgit is running free with huge popularity, campaigning for a robber-party. And winning too.

Instead of tapping the potential of a multicultural polity, the Harapan government still wants to talk about an agenda for bumiputera only. Why?

Malays must understand that the "bumi agenda" in the previous regime was an agenda for rich Malays to get richer. Do we want a repeat of that?

Merit and needs should govern university entry, for example. Not because you are an athlete, aborigine, or from the B40 group and so you have your passing grade lowered. I teach scholar-athletes, scholar-minorities, and those from poor families. No grade compromises for entry. Not because of the “bumi agenda.”

My advice to students has always been this: find every opportunity to work with people of different races and religions, to learn diversity. You'll grow.

There is beauty and strength in diversity. But if politicians still talk about such an agenda, we'll live in pity. Every time a politician shouts "bumi agenda" I wonder if the non-bumi coalition members will stay quiet, swallowing their emotions.

*Bumi agenda bad for education*

An urgent question: is PKR a multiracial party promoting a "bumi agenda" now? The supporters need to know.

"Reformasi" cannot happen with more shouts of "bumi agenda." It will be shouts of "Retardasi”! 

We can't move backwards. All forms of schooling that reproduce racism and religious bigotry must be dismantled. These addictions must stop.

There is so much to gain from promoting a "truly Malaysian agenda" in everything, rather than the destructive "bumi agenda"

People in education and economic affairs and in all sectors,do not understand the meaning of a multicultural-liberal society. People voted for a Malaysian agenda; what they get after barely a year is another "bumi agenda". “What laaaa…“ as the urban Malaysian would holler.

The idea of multiculturalism must permeate our schools and universities. Imperative, for sustainability.

National education, a breeding ground for a “Malaysian agenda”, is not a political game and cannot happen by chance. It is a deliberate act of liberation. It must not be hijacked to feed the greed of those crying for another “bumi agenda” or for this new thing called “ummah”.

Bumiputera and non-bumiputera. This has always been a false dichotomy, used for the benefit of the powerful and the wealthy.

"Bumi agenda" is a linguistic imprisonment of the mind of those who can't see the true Malaysian reality.

Embrace the concept of diversity and you'll see the beauty of appreciating talent in humanity. Racism kills.

"Bumi agenda" has created schools and institutions that are failures. A contradiction of evolution. The Education Ministry must find ways to deliberately teach multiculturalism and destroy the concept of a "bumi agenda".

Today's voters are more intelligent. They must help bankrupt the idea of race- and-religious-based politics.

In our schools, for example, the teaching of Malaysian history must be based upon questioning of all accounts and creating newer histories.

The new history of Bangsa Malaysia must be based on the story of the migration of each and every one of our “peoples”.

Education must be the terrain of our great equaliser. Of the ground for a philosophy of multiculturalist social reconstructionism.

Privileged and well-funded race-based schools such as the MRSM system have met their objective of the "bumi agenda". Dismantle it before it breeds more professionals who can only think and operate in and from the worldview of the divisive agenda.

If you wish to have "national unity", you must dismantle all forms of schooling that create disunity. Simple logic. Schooling in Malaysia today is based on the "lifeboat mentality". Sink or swim together as a race. Absurd!

Poverty is and has always been a class issue with tinges of race. Address this through the schools we build. We can't have an education and economic system in which a child born of a different race feels hopeless because of a "bumi agenda".

*Racism. Capitalism. Militarism. Three big killers of humanity, as the great African-American leader Martin Luther King Jr said.*

So, why are we still talking about a “bumi agenda” when we voted for a government that promised a “truly Malaysian agenda”?

Evolve to saner heights. Or we will perish as a nation.

Choose wisely.

AZLY RAHMAN, an educator, academic, international columnist, and author of seven books available here. He grew up in Johor Bahru and holds a doctorate in international education development and Master’s degrees in six areas: education, international affairs, peace studies communication, fiction and non-fiction writing. He is a member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honour Society in Education. Twitter @azlyrahman.

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