By Tariq Ismail

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--The Nation has voted, and for the first time in our nation’s history we are witnessing a hung Parliament. Three days after the votes have been tallied, our nation awaits anxiously as to who would helm the country’s Prime Ministership.

Someone once asked me - Sir, when the Malays have nothing, where do they turn to? If all else fails, what is the last thing that makes you a Malay?. The answer is religion.

The act of prayer, facing and kneeling before God is indeed a noble act, especially during a turbulent time in one’s lives. However, in such times, people seek solace in those who can provide them with a solution. If politicians do not, then whom?

Religion can bring salvation, but provide it with charlatans of Islam and bigotted statements from a few desperados who are not Muslim, can turn something beautiful into something very dangerous.

Currently, we have a man who has proven to be a skillful, treacherous political animal who has proven to be not only a liar, but he will use religion and race to be the Prime Minister. He has proven to be a failure as a Prime Minister.

The Prime Ministership is not just a seat nor a glamour position. It is a duty that puts the safety, honour and welfare of the country and its people first. It is a heavy responsibility, that asks for one to carry his or her duty without fear or fervour with the fullest sense of honesty and integrity.

If DAP and Anwar Ibrahim is such an enemy, why did this former, and current aspiring Prime Minister backstab Tun Mahathir and create such lies all in the name of religion and race?

I am a man, and when a man is faced with hardship and challenges I will rise to the occasion and argue my case with facts and figures without being haughty. I am not defending DAP’s Superman at all. HE should be put in jail for what he said. But we must approach it differently than trying to incite violence.

The Malays chose an alternative to UMNO, we should respect that. But to use emotions in threatening that the Malay culture and livelihoods will be eroded is not only wrong, but unconstitutional and against the Rukunnegara. It is the weakness of UMNO and Pejuang for not putting enough effort in providing the solutions that are needed to lessen the gap of income inequality.

The Malays can not prosper without the combined efforts from the other races, and vice versa. The racial harmony and prosperity that we all share can be achieved, if the right leaders, sans their egos, come in. Whoever becomes the Prime Minister, I wish them good luck and congratulations. But do so with a clean heart and conscience, and not because of your so called 40 years of political experiences.

*Tariq Ismail is a member of the Central Executive Council of Pejuang.*