Politicians shoot down ‘Vote along racial line’ suggestion
by Jonathan Chia, email@example.com. Posted on April 4, 2014, Friday
Chong Chieng Jen
Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing
KUCHING: It appears that the suggestion by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim for Malaysians to vote along racial lines is not well received by Sarawakian politicians.
Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, when asked to respond to Shahidan’s proposal, said if the government were to adopt the process, it would create more harm than good.
“I don’t agree with the suggestion to vote along racial lines because it will create racial segregation in a society. It creates more problems than solving them,” Masing who is a leader known to be the defender of Sarawakians’ rights told The Borneo Post yesterday.
Shahidan, who is also Arau MP and minister in charge of the Election Commission, was recently quoted as saying that voting along racial lines will resolve every racial conflict in the country. This proposal was supported by Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin.
In dismissing the suggestion, Masing, who is also Baleh assemblyman, said the ability of a person must be the only criterion for electing a leader, adding that voters must be racially and religiously blind when electing their leaders.
Assistant Minister of Youth Development Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the idea of voting along racial line definitely would not be good for Malaysia and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s 1Malaysia.
“I don’t know what Shahidan meant by voting along racial lines but if he meant Malays should only vote for Malays, Chinese vote for Chinese and Indians vote for only Indians, I think he has deviated away from democracy and the freedom for one to make own choice.”
Abdul Karim, who is also Assistant Housing Minister and Asajaya assemblyman, said Malaysia is a multi ethnic democratic country and as much as possible, all leaders should try to put aside racial politics and build the nation into a progressive country without any race feeling discriminated.
State PKR chairman Baru Bian, when commenting on the proposal on Wednesday, went to the extent of wanting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to sack Shahidan for coming up with a proposal which he considered “very dangerous”.
Baru, who is Ba Kelalan assemblyman, said such proposal really suggested that Malaysians “are really going back into the wilderness of the past”.
“It is really a reflection of the prime minister. If he is truly advocating for 1Malaysia, I think he should discipline and sack this minister who is in his own department.”
Baru said the state PKR was very concerned about the extremist views of certain quarters in the country, which would destroy the country’s reputation as a moderate nation.
Meanwhile, state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen, when contacted, said the proposal made by Shahidan was “the most ridiculous statement of the century”.