The issue has never been whether a Chinese can be PM but whether the country has a PM for all Malaysians

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Shahidan Kassim thought he was doing the Chinese in Malaysia a great favour and service when he gratuitously advised them to break away from the “extreme racism” indoctrinated by the DAP, so that “Malaysia would one day have a Prime Minister of Chinese ethnicity”.

Shahidan could not be more wrong, as he committed two fatal errors, firstly in falsely alleging that DAP had “inculcated” the Chinese in Malaysia with “extreme racism” and secondly, the issue whether a Chinese could become a Prime Minister in Malaysia was never on the political radar of any Malaysian Chinese.

For the edification of Shahidan Kassim, the issue has never been whether a Chinese can be Prime Minister but whether the country has a Prime Minister for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or socio-economic status.

Furthermore, DAP had never indoctrinated or inculcated the Chinese in Malaysia with any “extreme racism” as right from our formation 46 years ago in 1966, our message to all Malaysians is to forge a Malaysian identity and consciousness, transcending racial, ethnic, cultural and regional differences – and this is why in the 46-year history of DAP, we have never called for any Chinese unity, Malay unity, Indian unity, Kadazan unity or Dayak unity, but the unity of all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region in pursuit of a common Malaysian Dream, never a Chinese Dream, Malay Dream, Indian Dream, Kadazan Dream or Dayak Dream.

In an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily on Monday, Shahidan said: “If the Chinese are willing to step across racial boundaries, fully integrate into this multi-racial Malaysian society together with other races, and practise power sharing, I believe Malaysia would one day have a prime minister of Chinese ethnicity.”

Shahidan’s interview with Sin Chew has exposed two things: firstly, the extent of the influence of Mahathirism on his thinking; and secondly, the depth of his lack of understanding of Chinese and non-Malay aspirations, raising the question whether he is only a Malay or a Malaysian Minister.

For Shahidan’s information, DAP had right from the beginning stood for integration and against assimilation as the basis for Malaysian nation-building to weld together the diverse races, religions, languages and cultures into one unique Malaysian mosaic.

It is clear that Shahidan is one of Mahathir’s disciples who takes every word of Mahathir as gospel truth, including Mahathir’s most irresponsible and reckless blog recently, entitled “Racial Polarisation” on 6th June, where the former Prime Minister was guilty of more lies and falsehoods than the nine paragraphs of his blog.

Yesterday, Mahathir called for less freedoms if the people want to build a better Malaysia.

Reason? Mahathir’s explanation is that “too much freedom means more opportunities for irresponsible parties to misuse and exploit those freedoms, thus causing instability” with “sensitive racial issues being mentioned more and more nowadays because stern laws like the Internal Security Act (ISA) are no longer in place”.

It is both ironic and tragic that the person most guilty of irresponsible misuse and exploitation of freedoms by relentlessly raising incendiary, inflammatory, sensitive racial issues before, during and after the 13GE is none other Mahathir himself – but he seems to enjoy both immunity and impunity for breaking the laws of the land in committing the offence of sedition in his relentless incendiary and inflammatory racist incitements in the past few months.

Is Mahathir prepared to submit himself to an independent commission of inquiry to probe my charge that Mahathir had been most guilty of misusing the freedoms and the law to make not only inflammatory, incendiary, seditious statements but to pit one race against another – before, during and after the 13GE?

Mahathir’s nine-paragraph blog on “Racial Polarisation” would be one excellent example of such inflammatory, incendiary, seditious Mahathirish statements to pit one race against another, based on lies and falsehoods.

Among other canards, the lies and falsehoods Mahathir is guilty of in this blog include:

  • Accusation that DAP “whipped up” hatreds of the Malays;

  • That the black 505 ceramahs throughout the country to protest 13GE fraud and malpractices were manifestation of “Chinese racism” despite the presence of Malays as the majority in many of these black 505 ceramahs; and

  • The dastardly lies that DAP rejected the concept of Malay/Chinese/Indian “kongsi” alleging: “The DAP wants the Chinese who already dominate the economy, to dominate Malaysia’s politics as well. It is clearly racist and reject inter-racial sharing of power and wealth as advocated by the BN.”

Equally racist, irresponsible, reckless, incendiary and seditious were Mahathir’s racist fulminations in the run-up to the 13GE where he spewed racist lies and falsehoods that I was contesting in Gelang Patah because I want:

  • the Chinese in Gelang Patah and Johor to “reject working together and sharing with the Malays”;

  • the Chinese in Johor “to dislike and hate the Malays” to create “conflict and antagonism between the races”;

  • create “an unhealthy racial confrontation” between the Malays and Chinese in Johor, which will be “disruptive and will not be conducive to the development of Malaysia”.

How can a person who was Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years be so irresponsible as to plumb the depths of such irresponsible, reckless and seditious racism?

Abuse of the freedom speech and expression by Mahathir, because of the immunity and impunity he enjoys despite his reckless, irresponsible, inflammatory, seditious racist utterances cannot be an excuse for a clampdown on freedoms for all other Malaysians.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah