Polling day on May 31 is a rare opportunity for Teluk Intan voters of all races to demonstrate that they are more patriotic and better Malaysians than UMNO and Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders.
Dyana Sofya’s candidature on behalf of DAP/Pakatan Rakyat in the Teluk Intan by-election on May 31 has brought unprecedented focus on Teluk Intan which boasts of a history going back to the early 16th century of some 500 years.
The national and international attention enjoyed by Teluk Intan in the past 11 days since the announcement of Dyana’s candidature exceeds all the attention which Datuk Mak Siew Keong could bring to Teluk Intan in his two decades of public life, which includes one term as Pasir Bedamar Assemblyman and two terms as Teluk Intan Member of Parliament, which includes a Deputy Ministership.
I do not think anybody could contradict me even if I say that Teluk Intan had never received so much national and international attention in its 500-year history than in the past 11 days because of Dyana’s candidature in the Teluk Intan by-election.
Dyana’s candidature in the Teluk Intan by-election has captured the imagination of the nation and the Malaysian diaspora in the world, as it is a battle between new politics and old politics, the future vs the past and the politics of Malaysian nationalism against the politics of race.
It is a test whether 57 years after Merdeka in 1957 and 51 years after the formation of Malaysia in 1963, there is a greater Malaysian consciousness among the citizens of the country, or whether we are still separate and divided as Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans.
Even more important, whether 57 years after Merdeka and 51 years after Malaysia, the vocal and noisy racial and religious extremists in the country are a small minority as compared to the overwhelming majority of Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans who are moderates and want Malaysia to succeed as a united, harmonious, tolerant, multi-racial, multi-religious, progressive, competitive and prosperous nation?
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is on an official visit to China to mark 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China.
Unfortunately, this historic occasion had been marred by racist and extremist campaigning by UMNO/BN leaders in the Teluk Intan by-election, for example the attack by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi on Chinese voters, especially those with successful businesses, as “ingrates” if they support the DAP.
Zahid justifies his attacks on the ground that the Chinese are abandoning Malays and Indians who contributed to their wealth.
Zahid said: “I will be sad if the people of Teluk Intan choose DAP again. The Malays will be sad, and Indians even sadder.
“It is fine for the Chinese as they are traders, but what will happen if the Malays and Indians do not support the Chinese traders by not buying their goods. They can’t survive either.
“So the Malays and Indians support the Chinese traders… They become successful, and vote for DAP. They are ingrates, right?”
Zahid cannot be more wrong he has become the latest victim of what I had once described in Parliament as “Mahathirish perverse illogic”.
This is because in the year 2014, the Chinese are not the only traders in Malaysia – as even Malays have become traders.
Secondly, it is not the Chinese voters who, together with the Malay, Indian, Kadazan and Iban voters, who support the DAP and Pakatan Rakyat parties for political change who are “ingrates”, for they are only exercising their constitutional rights, as those who act in discharge of their constitutional rights and obligations cannot be “ingrates” or the Constitution would have no meaning.
There are indeed “ingrates” in the country, and Zahid will belong to such a category – people who like “kacang lupakan kulit” who behave as if they have the divine right to be Ministers and Deputy Ministers, forgetting that it is the ordinary people as voters who bestowed on them the trust of high public office which they must never betray or abuse.
What is even more deplorable is the implication from Zahid’s strictures that the Chinese in Malaysia are not loyal to Malaysia, when the Chinese, together with the Malays, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans must given due credit for the present development and achievements of Malaysia.
As a result, such baseless and mischievious attacks on the loyalty of the Chinese in Malaysia for exercising their constitutional rights for choosing the elected representatives and the government they want has cast a long shadow on the 40th anniversary celebrations of the establishment of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations.
Let me stress that no one, including Zahid, can question the loyalty and patriotism of the
the electorate, including voters in Teluk Intan in the by-election on May 31, for supporting DAP and the Pakatan Rakyat in the pursuit of political change to usher in justice, freedom, accountability and good governance.
For this reason, I call on the Teluk Intan voters of all races to demonstrate that they are more patriotic and and better Malaysians than UMNO and Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders by uniting solidly to vote in support of DAP/PR candidate Dyana.