DAP should target urban Malays, says Zairil

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 — The DAP should target urban Malays as the party had better chances gaining voter support there, says its latest Malay recruit Zairil Khir Johari.

Zairil, the son for the late Tan Sri Mohd Khir Johari, joined the DAP three months ago and made his first public appearance at the recent Pakatan Rakyat (PR) convention where he was a guest speaker alongside PKR’s Rafizi Ramli and PAS Youth chief Nasruddin Tantawi.

Zairil said Umno’s attacks against the DAP through its mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia had “unfortunately” worked in making Malays, especially rural Malays, think that the DAP was anti-Malay.

“I think in such a scenario we have to be realistic. I don’t think we can wholesale go around and try to recruit Malays… that would be a bit difficult. We can show them we are a multi-racial party through our policies so that we can be acceptable especially to urban, middle-class Malays.

“Rural Malays should not be our target. In general the DAP is an urban-based party. DAP should concentrate more on urban constituencies, urban Malays,” Zairil told The Malaysian Insider.

The young politician pointed out that Utusan’s various accusations against the DAP, claiming that the Penang government led by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng gave out money to Muslims from “illegal revenue” and painting Lim as anti-Malay, had worked in Umno’s favour.

“These attacks have been lies, irresponsible. Malays living in Kuala Lumpur have been asking me whether Guan Eng is anti-Malay. Unfortunately, it has been very effective in affecting how Malays perceive the DAP.

“I have not seen anyone more sincere than Lim who is trying to help the Malays in Penang. The sad thing is if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth,” said Zairil.

He admitted that PR lacked the means to disseminate information, saying that the DAP as well as PAS and PKR needed to do more to reach out to target constituencies.

“The fear that the DAP is a Chinese-based party trying to take over Malay rights is pure nonsense. DAP strongly upholds the constitution, including Articles 151 and 152.

“DAP is also secular in so far as our constitution is secular. We uphold Islam as the official religion, even special privileges of Malays are guaranteed by the DAP. So what is the fear?” he said.

Zairil believed that there were many Malays who were genuinely interested in joining the DAP, but faced pressures against doing so from various parties as the anti-Malay perception when viewing the DAP is still prevalent.

“The day my story came out that I had joined DAP, an Indian-Muslim friend told me he had joined DAP, and was ostracised by his family because they were staunch Umno supporters.

“There are a lot of Malays who want to be a part of DAP, I know this. They are afraid of the implications, which is why they are not stepping forward,” said Zairil.

The secular DAP has been facing relentless attacks from Utusan Malaysia since the last general election, where the newspaper has consistently portrayed the DAP as “racist” and “anti-Malay.”

The paper has featured articles penned by columnists who have claimed that the predominantly Chinese party wanted to abolish the Malay sultanate system to create a republic.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang has called Utusan’s claims a “lie”, and stressed that his party has always been committed to upholding the Federal Constitution, which provides for a constitutional monarchy system.

  1. #1 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 1:46 pm

    Hi Zairil, agree with you totally.

    DAP has to show more of its moderate, meritocratic and democratic stripes. These are universal qualities and every Mat, Mah, Muniandy, Maggie would be attracted.

    DAP can be an important, yes, truly significant partner in PR in GE 13 and offer people-centric programs and policies that will benefit the population.

  2. #2 by k1980 on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 2:00 pm

    Chapter 1 of the new History Textbook will read something like dis—-

    For 52 years, the Malaysian people were not united. They quarreled and fought each other every day and night, even when they were sleeping. Suddenly in 2009, there appeared jib the savior as pm. He uttered just 2 words– 1malaysia– and caramba! Mama Mia! the people suddenly become united. No more quarreling or fighting! The people were so happy with 1malaysia that they dumped the opposition PR Perak govt and installed umno there!

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 2:17 pm

    Yeah, urban Malays are more open-minded and DAP has better chances gaining voter support there. However, one should not forget that PR failed in some of the recent by-elections because they did not get support from Felda Malay settlers. Though it is good for DAP to focus on urban Malays, the party should not neglect wooing Felda Malay settlers.

  4. #4 by k1980 on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 2:30 pm

    Ben Ali and his mafia state, plus his Loh See Mah (Leila Trabelsi)

    …the corrupt common denominator of every regime in the Arab world. They are all, in effect, mafia states—entire nations run by families for their own benefit. Whether they call themselves republics or monarchies, whether they are allied to the United States or opposed to it, are on the list of states supporting terrorism or fighting it, have made peace with Israel or not, they are all family businesses. Whether they claim to be secular or follow Sharia or try to chart a course in between, their governance has less in common with the Magna Carta than it does with La Cosa Nostra.


  5. #5 by baochingtian on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 2:45 pm

    //STAR:Reduce prices in Pakatan states, Umno info chief dares Opposition//
    Now see who is talking? The federal “sapu” the people’s income tax, service tax, sales tax and whatnot tax, giving very little to the state and now come out with such statement. Is he being naive or having early alzheimer’s symptoms?

  6. #6 by Sallang on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 3:08 pm

    #4 k1980,
    Lu tulis ini macam punya standard, itu rural Malays lagi “bingong”.

    By the way, Zairil, you said “PR lacked the means to disseminate information, saying that the DAP as well as PAS and PKR needed to do more to reach out to target constituencies.”
    The word ‘ekonomi’ to the rural folks still meaning ‘kais pagi, makan pagi, kais petang, makan petang”.
    However, I cannot understand why PR cannot, and will not reach out to all as one, PR, like BN.
    By standing for by-election on PAS flag, like in Tenang, one handshake becomes a topic of campaigning.
    PKR and DAP can shake hands, so go and shake hands on her behalf, as PR. is that so difficult? WIN as PR, LOSE as PR.

  7. #7 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 3:13 pm

    MalaysianInsider: “Dr M hits out at ‘undemocratic’ Singapore”.

    Mamak Bendahara, so popularized by Azmin, is again trying to divert attention from all the bad press he is getting for the RM889 billion illicit funds sloshing about in some crony’s bank accounts during his watch as PM. Will mamak bendahara answer the people or is Malaysia so “democratic” that polticians can whisk away the Rakyat’s money with impunity, without fear of arrest!

  8. #8 by wanderer on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 4:32 pm

    You are spot on, Ziaril. Yes, let PKR and PAS tackle the rural malays and DAP chip in in the city with the more open-minded and educated ones. If DAP can recruit more urban malays. better still, those with fine talents, they have hit a home run!!

  9. #9 by monsterball on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 4:53 pm

    I fully agree with Zairil that urbun Muslims are very open minded ….hungry to learn more and understand what is right or wrong without depending on hearsay or other’s opinions.
    The main issue is…do DAP have a message to tell these young Muslims.
    Best place to start off with is at Penang.
    “‘Why should Muslims join DAP” maybe a good title to jump start the DAP engine with facts and humors mixed into the panels of speakers to be questioned by young Muslim visitors.
    How to only attract young Muslims to attend and leave all out is the main problem…but I am sure…it can be done…with a show or event suitable for young Muslims.
    Perhaps Zairil have his ideas…and DAP should appoint him as the event committee chairman?

  10. #10 by Bunch of Suckers on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 5:13 pm

    If most Malays can think and act like him, who loves our nation sincerely, Malaysia will be shone as a developed nation in much earlier than 2010, and it needs not have to struggle until 2020!

    Even at 2020 and beyond, I doubt that it achievable! It could be worst off with bunch of suckers sucking around. The bunch of suckers often suck up “this” and “that”…

  11. #11 by cintanegara on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 5:34 pm

    It’s up to you ….whether you’ll accept this fact…..or simply deny it… the reality is none of them is interested to join DAP….A simple question…How many Malays have joined DAP for the past 45 years? Less than 100? 50? Well…..it’s always remember it is better to know the truth then to know lies… even if it hurts… its better to know the truth…

  12. #12 by HJ Angus on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 5:53 pm

    It is not difficult for the DAP to succeed in urban areas but reaching Malays in towns is critical for PR to succeed in the road to Putrajaya.
    Once they join DAP or PR in towns they need to send the message back to the rural areas.
    I am sure most urban voters have family and friends in the rural areas.

  13. #13 by sotong on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 6:19 pm

    Take away the unfounded fear and insecurity of ordinary Malays, including rural Malays….those in power will immediately start packing, even before the next GE.

    Ordinary Malays are the deciding factor…..liberate them, you liberate our country.

  14. #14 by sotong on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 6:32 pm

    Our country needs good and effective policies to encourage ordinary Malays to move into the private sector employment and set up their own businesses – start small but make sure they are successful.

    This is important to create a permanent and strong Malays business community for the long term.

  15. #15 by tak tahan on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 7:44 pm

    When few rare bred like Zairil excel with DAP party platform,more malays will open up their eyes and leave corrupted umno and join DAP.This’s the truth,real sad reality for you right?What you say about history subject?No say?

  16. #16 by tak tahan on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 7:47 pm

    If not for moderation,you will get nicely from me.I assure you 889billion percent,you know what i mean?No say?You money also ah..how much..ikura..berapa can share,no?

  17. #17 by tak tahan on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 7:58 pm

    #19 and #20 are addressed to our beloved cintanegara after being absent for his long long convenient time.

  18. #18 by monsterball on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 8:55 pm

    I have full faith in young educated Muslims supporting change of government.
    If ever and for whatever reasons some support no change is mainly due to lack of faith of some minorities that seems unpatriotic and totally selfish people.
    If we want change of government…not just talk and vote against BN…but show some sacrifices for people and country…by not being too Chinese or Indian…and be proud Malaysians…looking at each other as Malaysians and not by race.
    We do see a touch of a typical characteristic in each race.
    The Muslims are most patriotic….and do treat Malaysia their homeland.
    While the minorities have been mistreated unfairly by UMNO B…that is UMNO B’s race and religion dirty politics…cannot change.
    How many fall into UMNO B’s trap?
    For a start…MCA …MIC and Gerakan seems to be trapped by them?
    Not really. It is selfish politics for selfish reasons and benefits..right now. Previously it was…to tag along…agree to disagree out of no choice.
    There is so much to complaint about the double standards ..corruptions the Govt. is applying and doing….and it seems the most patriotic of all are the ones voting against the Govt….while the so call patriotic ones supporting BN are racists and least patriotic too.
    That is why..in the 13th GE…it will be a big swing of voters supporting BN in the past to support change of Govt.
    Lets see how Tenang voters perform their sacred duties.

  19. #19 by monsterball on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 9:22 pm

    On my #9 comment …I mean how to leave the old ones out…attracting young voters to a Forum.
    And for more of my thoughts…DAP should plan a Forum…with points put out clearly…why young Muslims should join DAP….a sort of challenge to them…to speak up in the said Forum.
    Mahathir used to do that very often…but his reputation is finished and no one cares to take him seriously….for each of his Forum…is 50% to promote himself and 50% talk ills of Anwar.
    Put out headings like…
    1. Corruptions..list all big one out…to get young Muslims agree or disagree openly.
    2. Double Standards. Is this fact or fiction?
    3. Just and unjust laws.
    and so forth and so on….to tempt and challenge all young Malays to attend..by putting out the condition…
    “Only for Muslims above 18 years and below 30”
    I think it is time….DAP take a brave stand to attract Malays and not leave it to Anwar or PAS only…as it is a fact….DAP is the most important party in the PR formation.
    But this must be done AFTER 13th GE….not now.

  20. #20 by raven77 on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 1:37 am

    Zairil…you forgot to add…

    These guys just need to stop speaking Manadarin at their meetings and stick to English….not even Malay if they can as this language may bring forth more Ibrahim Kataks or Zakarias

  21. #21 by sotong on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 10:29 am

    Zairil is not an ordinary person and he is one of the few.

    Good relationship and understanding between the ordinary Malays and non Malays will effect significant and prompt changes.

  22. #22 by Loh on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 10:56 am

    Guess how much of the 899 billion ringgit that went out illegally belongs to Malays. It should be more than half. Guess how many percent of equity share that 500 billion ringgit can buy in Malaysia. It would be worth 5 times the total Felda’s worth, and yet they do not count towards the 30% target of NEP.

    How many Malaysians are involved in sending those 899 billion ringgit overseas? Bank Negara should have records of people sending money exceeding a certain sum. Quite obviously those money did not go out in cash and in suit cases. As there are more than 250 UMNO divisions, together the same number of ex-ministers and their cronies, the 500 billion ringgit might be owned by 500 UMNOputras. More than one of them might be richer than the Sultan of Brunei. Malays can certainly be proud of them. But then, though all these 500 are Malays based on synthetic definition, how many of them are truly Malays? If race has its anthropological significance Mamakthir is definitely not Malay. He too is not Malay based on Islamic convention where the race of a person follows that of the father and not the mother.

  23. #23 by malignant on Thursday, 27 January 2011 - 3:32 pm

    first of all, change the birth cert registration methods. delete the Q of race. when we present at the international level, we are just malaysian. no more chinese malaysian, indian malaysia or worst “i am the true malay’. outsiders are laughing at us. DAP is not anti-malay group, this guy Zairil is absolutely right! DAP is just trying to show the injustice from the kuasa jahat which has ruled this country for so long. why must we have differences? DAP has the malay supporters too. it is because the malays are more comfortable with other non-UMNO parties.

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