At a talk in Trengganu organized by GERTAK (Gerakan Kebangkitan Rakyat), Tun Mahathir lamented the disunity among the Bumiputras as caused by the various political parties trying to win over their loyalty. Since they form only about 60% of the population a three-way split as could be caused by UMNO, PKR and PAS will give each party 20%, a minoritiy in terms of a racial population breakdown percentage. That's as alarming as Idris Jala's warning that the nation will go bankrupt by 2019 if the current rate of subsidy and debt accumulation persist.
I'm sure someone in the government will deny the wisdom of such projections, or prediction. This is a rich and properous nation with billions of ringgit in the kitty to be distributed to the needy and, of course, to the meritorious. The 10th Malaysia Plan had already indicated the allocations to be made to the various development sectors and some multibillion ringgit plans such as the MTR Plan have already been announced. Malaysia will not drift into bankrupcy like Greece and everything will be fine, so long as the New Economic Model and the 10th Malaysia Plan are fully implemented.
The fact is, it's not just the Bumiputras that are disunited or being fragmented as pointed out by Tun Mahathir. It's happening to the Chinese and Indian communities as well due to the fragmentation of the leadership within each community, triggered by party politics. Barisan is creaking with tension just like its major component parties viz. MCA and MIC , and just like PKR and its own components. There is disruption and fragmentation in the political parties, in the communities and even in the families where the young seem to be quite rebellious and prefer to move away from their parents as soon as they can maintain themselves.
There are all the political, economic, social and other factors tearing modern society apart. Individualism as a by-product of
modernization is hastening the process of societal fragmentation. Politics and the brutal pursuit of money and wealth not only break up the people in society but steer them into a collision course due to the win-or-lose situation which all competitions breed. The zero-sum-game reality still prevails although people talk about the positive-sum-game and the win-win situation. How can we all win if there is only a limited amount of resources or bounty to share. Everyone can win and have a share only if the supply is limitless and there is no need for any competition to get it. This rarely happens in life when resources are always scarce except for the air we breathe, and people never feel satisfied with the share they have. Everyone wants to have a bigger and bigger share, always eating into the share of others.
With all the divisive elements working of us then, how does society hold together? What cohesive forces work to balance up the divisive ones? They ARE there but the trouble is we never bother to recognize and enhanced them so that our society will progressively become more cohesive rather than distruptive. They include the sense of values and ideals that we share in a society and nation, the hopes and aspirations that we hold as our common life goals, the customs and traditions that give our life its meaning and purpose and the laws and social contracts that we develop for ourselves to ensure our own safety and comfort.
These are some of the social fabrics that hold us together and when we fail to understand and recognize them, protect and nurture them as we fight our way to achieve progress in society, and remove all the contradictions and malignancies, we expose ourselves to the dangers of fragmentation and internal decay. Thus, it is not just a problem of promoting and maintaining national unity among the various racial denominators that we face in this country but also the problem of strengthening the cohesive forces within each community. If the cohesive forces in each community are weak, the nation as a whole will become weak. Political wrangling and enmity will then become like flints that can set the whole fabrics of society on fire irrespective of color and creed.
So, let's call on the social scientists of the nation to examine the cohesive forces of our social fabrics in order to ensure that they remain strong and healthy to withstand the disruptive forces generated by our quest for progress and development. Don't just keep on increasing and intensifying the distruptive forces with partisan politics and communal interests fanning the anxiety of our multiracial population. Otherwise the divisive and distruptive forces we see at work today will ultimately undo what all the development plans have so far done to make this country a better place to live in.