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I am rather disturbed when Chua Soi Lek, the embattled President of MCA ( Malaysian Chinese Association) gives a kind of ultimatum to Malaysians that the party would not accept any posts at the Federal level if it does not secure comfortable number of seats ( he did not state how many) in the coming 13th General Election. For a start is he addressing his desperate ultimatum to the Chinese in general or to UMNO as well?

Chua Soi Lek

I think he is also telling UMNO indirectly that its Chinese component party will not be able to represent the community if UMNO does not make efforts to help reduce the current perception that MCA is not an equal partner in the coalition. Knowing Soi Lek, he normally doesn’t indulge in straight talking. He obviously has the concept of Najib’s 1-Malaysia in mind. His message is clear and yet cryptic.

But unfortunately today 30 April 2011 it is reported in the newspapers that PM Najib seemed to echo the explicit rather than the implicit nature of Soi Lek’s ultimatum. Najib said something like the Chinese need to choose MCA or risk non-representation in the cabinet, the policy-making organ of the government. His tough-talking Deputy, Muhyiddin also warned that the Chinese would suffer a huge loss if they did not choose MCA.These responses on Najib’s and his Deputy’s parts do not reflect the political maturity of their leadership in Barisan Nasional-BN (National Front).

PM Najib

The response also is reminiscent of that made by Najib’s predecessor, Abdullah Badawi on the eve of the last General Election in 2008 where BN took a beating, losing for the first time, its two-thirds majority in parliament. The Chinese’s response then was one of disdain and pure defiance. They became more united when Badawi threatened that the Chinese would lose representation in the government if they supported the opposition. Nobody likes to be threatened.

DPM Muhyiddin

I hope PM Najib would sit down with MCA leadership and look at ways to regain the confidence of the majority of the Chinese. What are the root causes of the community’s frustration? Can’t UMNO come half-way? Can’t we innovate the existing affirmative actions so as to be more inclusive in line with the spirit of 1-Malaysia? Can’t we relax some of the policies seen as disadvantageous to the Chinese (other races as well)? The way I see it, the cooperation between the Malays and the Chinese in this country is critical in sustaining growth, stability, peace and harmony.

Najib needs to support Soi Lek in his efforts to woo the Chinese voters. He cannot do this effectively without some changes in the current political arrangements in the spirit of give and take. Quite often when Soi Lek voiced something relating to this , he was rebuked by some UMNO and sometimes PERKASA leaders. They chastise him and criticise him for not discussing sensitive issues behind closed doors. They even go to the extent of closing ALL doors. And so, how do we resolve issues under such constraints?

PM Najib, please put yourself in Soi Lek’s shoes.

By the same token, I am sick and tired of reading blogs and online news portals which fan racism and racial differences. They seem to be high on their pedestal and forget that their being there in the first place is the result of the peace and prosperity of this country where all the races contribute together.

Looks to me we are only good at having open-houses during celebrations such as Hari Raya and the Chinese New year but we are not good at translating our good intention into appropriate actions to keep people together.

There are many silent policies and measures taken that serve to alienate the races both in the public and private sector. Years ago before the early eighties, these were not obvious but gradually over the years you could see the physical division through attires and subsequently driving away other races from certain schools.

It is so ironic that the very person who started these surreptitious changes especially in education in the early eighties, is now mired in allegations of sodomy and sexual exploits with a prostitute. Yes, Anwar Ibrahim was the man who first established a school for Muslim girls in Kuala Lumpur where all of them were required to wear the tudung (head scarf)! That was the start of the so-called religious-resurgence!

Anwar Ibrahim - A divisive leader

I have never liked Anwar Ibrahim since then. I did pray to the power that be that he be punished for this division that he introduced and my prayer seems to have been answered after all these years though the change has been now entrenched. Before we could sit and eat together in the same table but now things have changed. Though you can still see this racial-togetherness in Sabah and Sarawak. But some people from West Malaysia are trying to destroy this natural harmony as well.

Look at the entrenched division in the public sector, look at the uniforms of the female staff in the police, the army,the navy,the Immigration and even the nurses. It was not like this before the resurgence apparently brought about by the revolution in Iran against the decadent Shah in 1979. I observe this development with alarm as it is so alienating and no wonder other races find it disconcerting to join the public sector. Mix government and religion at our peril. I know the word “secularism” is a dirty word to some people but at least this concept will protect the interests and rights of the minority in the real sense of the word!

Sorry I digress but I feel strongly that whatever we institute in this country that seems to favour one race is bound to introduce division, social and political. And it is bad politics to use ultimatum to the people. When a dog gets cornered, it will fight back.

Please give the Chinese the space and a reformed political framework for them to make the choice in the next 13th General Election. Why shouldn’t BN have an internal reform? Why should the word reform be subscribed to the opposition?

I hope BN leadership, particularly UMNO’s would work on the present negative perceptions and deficiencies to win over a larger section of the Chinese community. Changing the government at this point seems to be destabilising as the world’s sustainable economic recovery is still rather uncertain. And more so the opposition is rather fragmented with its de facto coalition leader walking on a tightrope.

Mahathir- the long-serving and visionary ex-PM

The ex- Prime Minister Tun Mahathir who was in power for more than 22 years, should help pave the way for this reform in BN. His recent activities with PERKASA does not bode well for such efforts. I appeal to Tun to please think of our children’s future which is dependent on our ability to work among the races. Tun has the ability to unite people of this country through his sharp,eloquent and focused arguments.

I have faith in Tun as an elder and veteran Malaysian statesman who has all Malaysians’ well being in his heart irrespective of race and creed. That is what I want to remember him when he is gone.

Reform and enable Malaysian Chinese make the right or reasonable political choice.

Time waits for no man!

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