12:53pm 01/09/2023
The DAP and its burden
By:Mohsin Abdullah

I do not think the DAP will or ought to drop the “Malaysian Malaysia” slogan from its constitution if it wants to gain the support of Malay voters as suggested by Umno Supreme Council member Nur Jazlan Mohamed a few days ago.

Why did Jazlan suggest what he suggested? According to him, the Malays are hesitant to fully support DAP because of the party’s secular state agenda which he says “contradicts Islamic and Malay principles”.

Now why I say DAP will not and should not heed Jazlan’s advice. Because despite what the Umno man claims, Clause ll in the DAP’s constitution, according to a report in The Malay Mail, “only describes the Federal Constitution as a secular document and a secular framework as the supreme law of the land”.

And according to the report, another article under the Clause promoting national integration also called for the party to “infuse a national spirit and unity amongst all races to forge a common identity of a united Malaysian Malaysia”.

That sounds good to me. Hence I say, why should the DAP amend its constitution and drop what Jazlan said ought to be dropped?

But then Jazlan claims that Malay voters in Selangor and Johor told him they could not accept DAP’s political stance as it “was made in the interest of the Chinese community”.

The Malays in the two states, I would say, are “progressive” for the lack of a better word. And if such “progressive” Malays see the DAP’s political stance as in the interest of the Chinese community, we would know what the Malays in the conservative states have to say on the matter.

However, said Jazlan, the Malays do not have the same views about the MCA as the party is “not as extreme”.

We know over the years the MCA has banked on Malay support to win elections. In fact, the party stood in many Malay-majority constituencies. 

Jazlan was right when he said the Malays had deemed the MCA as “not as extreme”. Yes, the Malays had voted for the MCA because they viewed the BN component as being “not too Chinese” and more importantly could easily be controlled. What more when Umno was dominant.

Not anymore. The Malays have abandoned the MCA with many looking at the party’s opposition towards the government’s Islamic policies definitely more extreme compared to protests made by the DAP.

The Malays are not blind that the MCA is trying to woo Chinese support, but while doing that the party has only succeeded in hurting the feelings of the Malays and presenting a “chauvinist” image to the Malays.

How much more must the DAP be “diluted” just because of the perception? Let’s be fair to the party and the people who have voted for them!

And now we have growing support of the Malays for PAS. This, according to Jazlan, is another challenge faced by the DAP as it may lead to a political scenario (if not already I need to add) in which Chinese voters would continue to vote for the DAP while Malays shift their allegiance to PAS.

“If DAP remains hesitant to make substantial changes like the sacrifices Umno has made today, I expect DAP to continue to be shunned by Malay voters and Umno will also be rejected by the Malays as long as we cooperate with DAP,” said Jazlan in a Facebook post.

How the Malays view DAP now is the result of years of Umno propaganda, demonising the party as admitted by former Umno president Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad during his Pakatan Harapan days.

Remember how Mahathir then sang praises of the DAP telling all and sundry the party is truly Malaysian and not racist as he himself had for years accused the DAP of.

Obviously Umno needs to do the same, to convince its grassroots that the DAP is not the enemy. To be fair, they have done this but not convincing enough.

As for the “sacrifices” which “Umno has made today”, what are they if I may ask? 

Umno, said Jazlan, had undertaken a “big sacrifice” to cooperate with DAP, PKR and Amanah, but had to pay a huge price as it was accused by the grassroots of allying itself with a party or pact that is “extreme”.

Well, that “big sacrifice” has led Umno into government. Enough said.

Enter PAS. On National Day (of all the days) a Johor PAS leader declared his support for Jazlan in calling the DAP to drop its “Malaysian Malaysia” slogan.

Khairul Faiz Ahmad Kamil, PAS assistant secretary-general, said Jazlan’s remarks showed Umno was aware how difficult it was for the party to gain Malay support if it cooperated with the DAP.

Umno, said Khairul, would not have to deal with DAP’s struggles if it had collaborated with PAS through Muafakat Nasional.

One needs not be a political scientist to know that PAS is trying to drive a wedge between Umno and DAP with the big motive of bringing down the Unity Government.

As for Muafakat Nasional, PAS has always believed collaboration with Umno, and to a lesser extent Bersatu, would see the coalition ruling Malaysia.

That to me is simplifying matters as PAS has conveniently “forgotten” the demographic of the nation, specified issues and the significant role of non-Malay communities whose feelings they have no qualms in hurting on a regular basis.

No elaboration needed as what PAS has said and done to non-Muslims is no big secret.

One more thing. I read a news report recently that a political analyst has suggested that the prime minister tweak his cabinet to minimise DAP’s perceived dominance in Putrajaya.

With only four cabinet ministers, is the DAP dominant in government? The party has been very tolerant and quiet, but such is the perception!

Yes, “perceived” is the key word, and in politics perception is everything.

Still, how much more must the DAP be “diluted” just because of the perception?

A DAP “easily controlled” is not what the majority of non-Malays have bargained for. Let’s be fair to the party and the people who have voted for them!

(Mohsin Abdullah is a veteran journalist and now a freelancer who writes about this, that and everything else.)


Mohsin Abdullah
Nur Jazlan


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