Much has been said about the common manifesto of the Alternative Front “Towards A Just Malaysia”. To the shallow UMNO leaders the only rationale they could pick off from the manifesto is that it proofs that PAS had indeed abdicated its quest for an Islamic State. To them the spirit, values and programs instilled in the manifesto as a result of serious convergence of minds is frivolous, as an opposing party what is more important to them is to run down the manifesto at any cost and make sure that the Alternative Front will not win votes in the coming general elections.
In reality this astounding manifesto itself is a great slap in the face
of UMNO and Barisan leaders. It proofs to show that PAS, DAP, KeADILan
and PRM despite their negative and at times chauvinistic image painted
by UMNO and Barisan leaders have managed in a short period of time to come
out with a blueprint in building a truly united Malaysia, a task where
UMNO and Barisan leaders have failed miserably. The Alternative Front through
this manifesto reflects their political maturity by addressing a social
enigma that have constantly attacked the Malaysian society since independence.
The issue of racial politics that UMNO and the Barisan constantly use to
instill fear and hatred in the hearts and minds of voters have been successfully
diluted in this manifesto in seriously preparing Malaysian for the new
The Alternative Fronts recognizes and accepts the issue of constitutional monarchy, the special position of the Malays and Bumiputera of Sabah and Sarawak, the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation and the position of Bahasa Melayu as the national language. Nevertheless at the same time they too incorporate the principle of freedom of worship, safeguarding the right to use and learn other languages like Chinese, Tamil, Iban and Kadazandusun in schools and the legitimate rights of other races. These issues are clearly spelt out to show that all parties in the Alternative Front values the existence of multi-racial society in Malaysia and would put in constructive effort to ensure its survival.
However the existense of Barisan or in the early days the “Alliance” was in actual fact a true case of “marriage of convenience”! In their fervent desire to secure independence for Malaya and a position for them in society UMNO was not left with much choice but to form an alliance with MCA and MIC to proof to the British Colonial Masters that they could actually work together. According to Prof. RS Milne and Dr. Diane Mauzy in their book, Politics and Government in Malaysia(1978): “It was clear to UMNO and MCA leaders by this time that the British were unlikely to grant independence to Malaya if it meant surrendering power to one communal group only.”
But Barisan Nasional today do not practise equality despite its multi racial picture that it paints. Prof Milne and Dr. Mauzy added: “Though there was a determined effort to maintain the myth of equality between the component parties of the Alliance, it was clear from the beginning that political power had primacy over economic power, that UMNO was the senior partner of the Alliance (now the Barisan) and indeed, the cornerstone of any policy would be based on the precept of UMNO political dominance.”
Clearly there is no one racial dominance in the Alternative Front. Each and every front member in itself is not a racial based party. PAS may look like a Malay based party like UMNO, but PAS accepts non Malays as members provided they are Muslims. Similarly the DAP which is painted as a Chinese chauvinistic party out to grab powers from the Malays actually admits non-Chinese including Malays as members. And on this issue Tok Guru Nik Abd. Aziz Nik Mat went even further when he issued a statement that even a Chinese PAS member can become the Kelantan MB, if he qualifies and is accepted by the party!
New generation of Malaysians has put the infamous “May 13” tragedy off their mind. They are more determined to build a healthy society where racial issue should take a back seat. Malaysians crave for a society that is transparent, corrupt free and abides by the rule of law, at this point of time that society could only be realized through the Alternative Front and not through the alliance of racial parties like the BN!