I have just finished reading Zaid Ibrahim's 'In Good Faith'. An explicitly honest analysis of the damning truth of the socio-political structure in this country. An admission, from an inside man, of the pseudo-interpretation of the social contract, perpetuated by those desirous of keeping the gravy train on track and on an infinite journey, more often than not, for pecuniary advantage and using hegemonic inculcation to subdue the minorities through coercion and consent.
The first Prime Minster, the late Tungku Abdul Rahman, in his book the 'Viewpoint', said "While I warmly welcome help for the bumiputras, I deplore any act that is likely to divide true Malaysians into two halves; division will benefit no-one.I have always said that this policy of"divide-and-rule" was a colonial practice, and with the era of colonialism behind us we should have seen an end of it.Yet "divide-and-rule" seems to linger on".
The discriminatory social contract should have been done with when it reached the end of its shelf life. However, the bumiputras, those in power and already spoilt by the easy picking have steadfastly refused to do away with this unfair and divisive policy. The iconic keris is a deplorable reminder to non-Malays not to toy with the idea of questioning the social contract.
Zahid, a Member of Parliament from the dominant ruling party, took a critical look at the various aspects of governance within the ambits of the bumiputra economic policy, Malay supremacy, economic mis-managment, rising religious intolerance, Islamisation of the country and encroachment of Sharia into the civil liberties of non-Muslims. His liberated views and forthrightness have given a breath of fresh air to many Malaysians. By the same token, I assume, it would have made him a pariah among his peers in UMNO. His views on some of the policies of government is diametrically opposed to those ossified by other leaders of his political party.As a lawyer with the biggest law firm in the country, he admits he had also benefited from the NEP, but would not lend his support to the perpetuation of such policy, which he thinks has a long-term negative side-effect on the bumiputras.A conclusion not far from the truth, as can be seen, from the failure to attain the 30% equity over the time frame initially given by the government. The NEP revivalists have unequivocally called for the NEP to be revivified without a time-frame.
Zahid must be the first elected representative in UMNO who was bold enough to go against the grain.An ideology that may make the top and middle echelon of the party very uncomfortable.Those before him that had fallen from grace, like Anwar Ibrahim, had been out of personal conflicts and power struggle, not differences of ideology. If there were more Malays like him in UMNO, this country would see a more progressive society.The unfortunate thing is, most Malays like him were not in UMNO.
The book was lucidly written, honest and splendidly readable.I would suggest every member of UMNO in particular and the Malaysian adult public in general to read this book. It was an unexpected surprise from a well-to-do and politically well-connected Malay.