PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is quoted as calling the DAP “chauvinist” for trying to restore local council elections in his press conference inBatu Pahat on Sunday.
I am amazed as to why the head of a political party which rivals UMNO is parroting the line of UMNO propagandists and cybertroopers who had been accusing the DAP of being “chauvinistic” in wanting to have local government elections, as one would expect more originality and even creativity from Hadi!
I am particularly surprised by Hadi’s charge of “chauvinism”, after he and PAS leaders had asked for DAP agreement after the 13th General Election that Hadi should be seated at the second Opposition seat next to the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, although PAS parliamentary representation was the smallest with 21 MPs as compared to DAP’s 38 and PKR’s 30.
However, without hesitation, I consented to the arrangement for Hadi to be seated in the second Parliamentary seat for Pakatan Rakyat benches, which would not be the case if DAP is “chauvinistic” as Hadi is now charging, as we would then be subjecting all considerations to the question of racial interest.
However, I had no qualms in immediately agreeing to the PAS request for Hadi to be seated in the second Opposition front-bench seat in Parliament although PAS had the least number of MPs among the three Pakatan Rakyat parties, for we in the DAP are always prepared to rise above self and party interests if this would serve the larger purpose of promoting the Pakatan Rakyat cause of bringing about political change in Malaysia towards restoring freedom, justice, human rights and dignity and save Malaysia from becoming a failed state because of rampant corruption, injustices and collapse of good governance.
It is to say the least, an “unkind cut” that after securing the second seating in Parliament by pleading the cause of ‘face” for the Malay ground and among PAS members, for Hadi to turn around and accuse me and DAP of being “chauvinist”.
In the first place, does Hadi know the meaning of “chauvinist”?
He accused DAP of being “chauvinist” of wanting restoration of local government elections.
By the same logic, are Malaysians like former Deputy Education Minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and former Bersih co-chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan also “chauvinists” because they also want the restoration of local government elections?
Let me give four reasons to debunk Hadi’s puerile and baseless allegation, which cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.
Firstly, it is a blatant lie to insinuate that DAP wants to seek full control of the country through the restoration of the third vote, suggesting that it was a post-13GE grab for political power by the Chinese at the expense of the Malays on the ground that 60 per cent of the state assembly seats in the country are already under the DAP control.
Such lies are most preposterous and utter nonsense for three reasons:
(i) DAP does not control 60% of the state assembly seats, as all the three Pakatan Rakyat parties of DAP, PKR and PAS (until PR was killed at the PAS Muktamar on June 3) did not even win 50% of the total state assembly seats in the 13th General Election. The total number and percentage of state assembly seats won by the three PR parties in the 13GE are 229 seats or 45% of the total of 505 state assembly seats in the country.
(ii) The DAP had never been a party for the Chinese or any one race or religion, as right from our establishment 49 years ago, DAP had been committed to the goal of being a party for Malaysians of all races and religions. In fact, DAP is the first Pan-Malaysian political party in Malaysia, with branches in all the states in the country.
(iii) Restoration of local government had been the objective of DAP ever since our formation in 1966. I made at least two major speeches in Parliament on the restoration of local government during the three-year resumption of Parliament from 1971-1974 – my first term as an elected MP.
Secondly, it is utterly misleading and irresponsible to suggest that restoration of local council elections would benefit the Chinese at the expense of the Malays. This is ignoring the local government restructuring and the process of Malay urbanization in the past five decades, resulting in Malaysia having 148 local authorities, about 90% of which have Malay majorities of over 50% of the population, while only two per cent or three of the 148 local authorities have Chinese majorities, leaving a balance of 13 with plurality of races, seven of which are Chinese-dominant and six Malay-dominant.
Thirdly, let me address the accusation DAP is “communist” and “chauvinist” in wanting local government elections. Local government elections are also held in Indonesia, Turkey and Iran. Is Hadi suggesting that Presidents Jokowi and Erdogan and former Iranian President Ahmadnejad or Indonesia, Turkey and Iran are “communist” and “chauvinist”?
Fourthly, the allegation DAP had unilaterally and arbitrarily sought the restoration of the third vote in violation of Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework. In actual fact, the restoration of local government elections was in both the Pakatan Rakyat national manifesto and the Selangor PR state manifesto for the 13th General Elections.
In March 2010, the Selangor Mentri Besar and the Penang Chief Minister wrote separate letters in the name of the respective PR state governments to the Election Commission asking it to conduct local government elections in their respective states, which was opposed by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
PAS and DAP have parted ways in Pakatan Rakyat because of the repeated violation of the Pakatan Rakyat Common Policy Framework and Hadi’s contempt for the PR consensus operational principle, wanting to exercise a veto power over decisions adopted unanimously by the PR Leadership although PAS was attended by the then Deputy President, Mohamad Sabu.
However, this cannot justify Hadi resorting to the politics of dishonesty and falsehood, which are the basis of his allegation that DAP is “chauvinist” in wanting restoration of local government elections.
I am sure Malaysians await Hadi response to my expose.
(Speech to Perak DAP State and branch leaders on the post-PR scenario and the future of Malaysia at Perak DAP State hqrs in Ipoh on Monday, 13th July 2015 at 9pm)