Review on GE14 in 44th Bicara Persada, 22 May 2018

Prof. Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria was a panel speaker at the 44th Bicara Persada on the theme “Pasca-PRU14: Ke Mana Kita Selepas ini?” (Post-GE14: Where Are We Heading Next?) held this morning May 22nd, 2018 at the Chancellery, UKM. The other speakers include Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah of Pakatan Harapan (PH), Mr. Shahril Sufian Hamdan, Exco of UMNO Youth and Prof. Dr. Mohd Fuad Mat Jali, Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (FSSK) UKM. The moderator was Assoc. Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mohd Agus Yusof of FSSK-UKM. UKM Vice Chancellor was present to welcome all the guests and indicated how important it is to review the results and outcomes of GE14 which has impacted the political landscape of Malaysia.

Prof. Dr. Denison Jayasooria provided an analysis of GE14 and pointers towards the building of a new Malaysia. On the analysis he said that there was a consolidation of political divide as illustrated by the east coast and west coast dive. On the east it is called ‘the green belt’ or ‘moral constituency’ (to use Prof. Shamsul’s term) where the voters responded to an Islamic – Malay agenda especially in Kelantan and Terengganu including with UMNO an impact on Perlis, Pahang and Kedah. On the other hand is the west coast wave of moderate Malay Muslim position with PH capturing Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca and Johore. This is a divided nation and much needs to be done in recognising this reality and fostering nation building.

In this context, the theme of national unity and social cohesion is of utmost important reiterated Jayasooria, but the PH government, while adopting a very multi-ethnic and inter-racial and religious position in its administration, has not taken this theme of national unity with urgency. There is a need to release the National Unity Consultation Report (NUCC) so as to enable those ideas to facilitate nation building and addressing inter-ethnic and multi religious aspirations. PH must appoint a senior minister to oversee national unity. The PH Manifesto has indicated the establishment of a ‘National Consultative Council for Harmony’ and in line with the NUCC recommendations establishment a community mediation centre to resolve the inter community grievances.