There is a need for political leaders and opinion leaders who aspire for Malaysia to be a stable democracy to realise that to defeat the extreme positions is to stand steadfastly in the middle.
The middle ground may sound like drinking coffee without sugar. But for the health of the nation, this is the best place to be.
Whichever the permutations, a progressive coalition must resist the extremes and keep in mind that we cannot be able to be more Malay in orientation than UMNO can be, more Islamic than PAS can be, more Chinese than MCA or more Indian than MIC can be. The middle ground is where we build the nation together as a people.
For the progressives to thrive and to have our voice heard, it is not about ignoring identity but about building an inclusive Malaysian identity based on citizenship, a Malaysian civic nation and solidarity; it is about Malaysian citizens, as one people, facing the peoples of the world.
For Malaysian democracy to have a future, the unit forming the democratic nation should not be race but citizenship. The citizen is the basic and indispensable unit of Malaysian democracy.
The collective identity of Malaysian citizens, or something like “Bangsa Malaysia”, does not mean that one loses his or her cultural identity as a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Iban. Collectively, we take part in the political process as Malaysian citizens, as one people, as a civic nation.