As you have probably known, Sin Chew Daily ran an exclusive interview with Datuk Seri Najib Razak last week during which the former Prime Minister spoke at length on plans he had for the country during his time in office as well plans he still has now that he is no more in office.
In short, things he “had achieved” and things he “wants to achieve”.
Naturally, he addressed the matters related to the Chinese community. And obviously he had used the interview to reach out to the community.
What better way to do that than agreeing to an lengthy Q&A interview with a Chinese newspaper widely read by the Chinese.
Among other things, Najib “reminded” the Chinese of the “good times they enjoyed under BN rule” but somehow conceded that some of the policies of his BN administration had resulted in MCA losing Chinese support.
But he claimed he did not “hold any grudge” against the Chinese for not supporting BN. He even admitted that several Umno leaders were arrogant, going on to say, “If I have a chance, I would take stern and immediate action against those arrogant leaders in order to win the trust and support of the Chinese community.”
That’s not all. He also said, “Barisan has no room for such people.”
Well and good, but I need to ask when he had the chance to “take stern and immediate action”, did he take such action against arrogant leaders he is talking about now?
And did BN under Najib “give no room” for such people?
And who was the Umno/BN leader who asked out loud, “Apa lagi Cina mahu?”
All this I posed here because I think the Chinese, most of them anyway, know the answers all too well. I say this because in an immediate response to the interview, readers of Sin Chew Daily and netizens responded angrily, criticizing the daily for “giving a convicted person face and providing the platform for Najib propaganda”.
There are a lot more angry words hurled which I do not intend to repeat here. Suffice to say, the Chinese community, represented by readers of Sin Chew Daily are angry with Najib and the daily unfortunately had to bear the wrath of the community.
Having said that, it’s only right to say that the Chinese have not forgiven Najib for all the perceived “sins” he has done not only to the community but to the nation.
One such “sin” is the SRC International scandal of which Najib was found guilty and sentenced to prison.
And the fact he is allowed to roam freely while waiting for his appeal to be decided is only fanning Chinese anger. Not forgetting the other court charges he is still facing. Nor is his request for a property worth RM100 million as special privileges for former prime ministers doing him any good in the eyes of the community. Never mind he withdrew the request following massive public outcry.
In a nutshell, to say that Najib is not in the good books of the majority of Chinese is stating the obvious.
But here’s the thing. In the Sin Chew interview, Najib called upon the Chinese in Melaka to vote for MCA at the recently concluded state election. And MCA won the two seats they contested.
Can this be taken as the Chinese had “listened” to Najib and voted the way he had wanted them to vote? Have the Chinese forgiven Najib?
The impressive BN victory in Melaka is also seen as a win for Najib. prompting DAP’s Lim Kit Siang to question whether the BN win will be the stepping stone for Najib to be the 10th prime minister of Malaysia?
If I may ask, is that something the Chinese are agreeable to?
Anyway, talking of voting trends, we know there are people who would vote the same party over and over again as long as there are elections. Rain or shine, come what may.
But, political analysts and pollsters tell us also that people tend to vote differently during by-elections, state elections and general elections, depending on circumstances among other considerations.
This means if a voter casts his vote for party A at one election, it does not necessarily mean the same voter will vote the same party A again at the next election. This applies to all voters, Chinese included.
We have seen this happen many times before. Right?
(Mohsin Abdullah is a veteran journalist and now a freelancer who writes about this, that and everything else.)