Media Statement by Loke Siew Fook in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 14th April 2009:
UMNO should instead be grateful to the Chinese community for prolonging their political survival in the 1999 general election
DAPSY expresses the uttermost outrage over the most distasteful and divisive statement made by the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that the Chinese voters were not grateful to the Barisan Nasional and wanted to be kingmakers in Malaysian politics.
Such an insensitive statement, coming from the No 2 leader in the country just barely a week after he took office, showed how out of touch the BN leadership were with the constituents on the ground and their failure to understand the sentiments and aspirations of the Malaysian electorate.
Muhyiddin thought that the Malaysian Chinese voters still subscribed to the old way of “beggar politics” where they would give their votes to the BN in exchange for tokens of allocations to Chinese schools and temples during election season. Let us tell Muhyiddin that their old trick no longer works. The people aspire for a fair and just government where their needs and basic rights to education and development are look into on a sustainable and structural basis, not tokenism.
Muhyiddin’s statement also exemplifies the feudalistic mentality of UMNO leaders who think that they are forever the political masters in the country and the people including the Chinese community are duty-bound to elect them into power. This is also an outdated idea and the people must teach the UMNO leaders that the rights and mandate to govern must be earned and won through good governance, fair policies and clean leadership. The people are the real masters and they have every right to determine who should be the government of the day.
Instead of calling the Chinese community as being ungrateful to the BN government, I would say that it is UMNO who are ungrateful to the Chinese community. It is a known fact that it was the Chinese voters who saved and prolonged UMNO’s political survival in the 1999 general elections where majority of the Malay electorate deserted UMNO during the height of the “Reformasi” movement. In fact, Muhyiddin’s boss, Prime Minister Najib escaped a humiliating defeat by a mere 241-vote majority in his Pekan constituency thanks to the Chinese votes.
Muhyiddin owed all Malaysians a public apology.
* Loke Siew Fook, DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) National Chairman & MP for Rasah