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PH government should lead by example

  • Instead of just telling the Chinese to embrace the Bangsa Malaysia identity, DAP should tell the same to everyone else in this country in advancing the party's Malaysians' Malaysia vision!

By Michel Chng
Sin Chew Daily

The successful change of federal administration in the 2018 general elections was a huge morale booster for the Malaysian Chinese community which had wanted so much to get rid of the corrupt BN government and the ineffective MCA.

Chinese Malaysians indeed held very high expectations for DAP, with the hope the party would voice up on behalf of the community within the government so that they would no longer have to suffer from the country's chronic race politics and racism.

However, in his recent video posted in conjunction with the country's 62nd Merdeka anniversary, DAP's political education director Liew Chin Tong said the party was very clear of its position that it was not just a leader for Chinese Malaysians, but the entire nation.

This was, unfortunately, not music to the ears of the local Chinese community.

First and foremost, it is not contradictory for us to be both Chinese and Malaysians. Being Chinese is a kind of ethnic identity while being a Malaysian is a national identity. So, there is no point for DAP to emphasize its non-Chinese attribute.

Perhaps Liew was trying to tell us that his party is a party for all Malaysians and not Chinese Malaysians. As such, issues pertaining to the community as well as the responsibility of defending the community's rights should not be shouldered by DAP alone, and that the party should not play the same role once undertaken by MCA to help convey the community's views to the government and cabinet.

Why is DAP the first to take the brunt whenever the community is unhappy with a specific government policy or decision? The reason couldn't have been more obvious: it won the overwhelming support of Chinese voters in last year's general elections, and has for so many years launched merciless attacks on MCA over issues related to the Chinese community to eventually seal its place in Putrajaya.

And DAP has indeed given us plenty of hopes and has made countless promises on the interests of the community as well as Chinese education.

Chinese voters unreservedly supported the party with the hope it could deliver on such promises when it becomes a part of the new government.

The thing is: this party appears to be reluctant to bear the responsibility after being in the government for a year and four months. It not only fails to listen and convey our views to the government, but has avidly defended every decision of the government and attempted to persuade us to accept them as well.

The party has acted the same way in the earlier matriculation quota issue and the more recent Jawi issue. The education ministry had insisted to introduce Seni Khat curriculum in Chinese and Tamil primary schools before making some compromises. What was the attitude of DAP's leaders then? They wanted the Chinese community to look at the issue with a New Malaysia mindset, arguing that learning Jawi would not affect their ethnicity, language or culture. They even asked why the Chinese were so fearful of Jawi.

Lately, Liew Chin Tong has been posting videos every morning in conjunction withe the Merdeka celebration to illustrate the party's viewpoints, including participation of all Malaysians in nation-building and not seeing things from the perspective of race. He also wants us to sensibly discuss and debate government policies while exploring political participation by all Malaysians in their capacity as Malaysian citizens.

Liew has reiterated the need for us to break the confines of race and religion and help build the identity of Bangsa Malaysia in oneness.

He also says Malaysia's pluralistic society shouldn't be one that is mutually exclusive, but one that builds mutual trust by way of learning one another's languages.

I have been closely following Liew's political views and philosophies ever since I was still in university, and later in the journalistic line. I have always looked at him as an idealist whose vision for Malaysia is what we all have been yearning to achieve. This, nevertheless, is way too remote at this juncture, and we need to work very much harder to make New Malaysia a reality.

I absolutely agree to all of his viewpoints above, especially the part on viewing issues and policies from the standpoint of Malaysians and not just for the interests of the Chinese community.

Unfortunately, his videos are targeting only Chinese Malaysians as they have been made in Mandarin. Why didn't he produce the same videos in BM and English and deliver the same message to all Malaysians?

As a matter of fact, it is not true that the Chinese community is reluctant to embrace the Bangsa Malaysia concept, but from the BN administration since six decades ago through to the PH administration helmed by Mahathir today, we have indeed seen too many government polices which are unfair to non-Malay communities of this country, like a dark shadow hovering above us, making us inevitably sensitive and pessimistic over so many issues.

If DAP is really serious about materializing a Malaysians' Malaysia and eliminating racism and race-induced preoccupations, the party, being a component of the ruling coalition, must first set a good example for all of us by doing what is right inside the government.

Take for example the “Malay compromise” statement and allegation that a female Chinese reporter knew nothing about Constitution and Rukun Negara, DAP should tell entrepreneurship development minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof to apologize for his racist remarks and not to divide the nation along racial lines from this moment on.

We will only believe that PH is a government for all Malaysians, if they can do just that!

(Michel Chng is Sin Chew Daily Senior Reporter.)


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