Zairil Khir Johari: Why I joined DAP

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 — A year ago, Zairil Khir Johari’s only association with politics would be his father — the late Tan Sri Mohd Khir Johari, Umno stalwart, former education minister and who served three prime ministers including the late Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Over the past few months, however, Zairil’s name has been the talk of the town, namely through opposition blogs as well as anti-Pakatan Rakyat (PR) blogs over his appearance at the coalition’s last convention in Kepala Batas, where he was a guest speaker.

His retractors have accused him of being a “traitor” and “anti-Malay” for abandoning his late father’s party and choosing to become a part of the DAP — a party which is still feared by many Malays and considered to be pro-Chinese due to its majority Chinese membership.

The DAP has, however, of late extended an olive branch to Malays in its bid to shake off “misconceptions” about the party, and Zairil is seen as an example of the party’s efforts.

Zairil said he chose the DAP over Umno because the PR party shared “common goals” with what the late Khir had looked for in the “old” Umno.

“My father’s Umno is a completely different Umno from today’s Umno. When he joined Umno it was during pre-independence, his struggle was to free our country from the oppression of the British government. Now after more than 50 years of BN rule, the situation is such that people are being colonised, oppressed by our own people, we do not have any freedom.

“There are no civil liberties, so the struggle is still the same. It’s the same struggle, I am just using a different platform, that’s why I chose the DAP over Umno,” said the 28 year old who runs his own chocolate business.

Zairil told The Malaysian Insider that if the late Khir were alive today and at the same age as Zairil, he himself would not be a part of Umno.

“It would go against any principle he believed in. When my father joined Umno it was a grassroots party, most of the members were teachers, my father was a teacher himself… today many of them are in it only for the money and to secure lucrative government contracts,” said Zairil.

Coming from a family of nine siblings including himself, Zairil admitted that many of his peers back in his Penang hometown were grassroots DAP members and had encouraged him to join the party.

Prior to joining the DAP, Zairil had “followed” its leaders and attended night functions and ceramahs to get a better idea of what the party was about.

“People in DAP, Liew Chin Tong, for example, have been proactive in introducing me to ceramahs. I followed them to Galas. What I’ve been impressed is the influx of young leaders in DAP as well as PKR.

“There is no social mobility in Umno where it is based on patronage and hierarchy. In PR, young leaders who are capable are allowed to shine,” he said.

Zairil told The Malaysian Insider that he consulted many parties before making the decision, including some very “senior” Umno members who had advised him against joining his father’s party.

Zairil said he was “willing” to contribute to DAP in any way he could — even if it meant contesting in the next general election.

“I put myself out there to serve… no one has discussed anything yet but I am willing to serve in any capacity that is needed,” said the father of one.

According to the young politician, PR was a platform which could be used for restoring “civil liberties” in the country with the abolishment of draconian laws such as the Internal Security Act (ISA), the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), and the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) which prohibits students from being politically active.

“Personally, I am pushing for the Education Department to be a separate entity from the Education Ministry. There is too much politics involved when the department is answerable to a minister. There should be a separate panel to monitor the department, made up of all interested parties in the field of education, and this will also include the ministry,” said Zairil, who said he was writing an academic paper on such a proposal.

Political parties are currently rushing to sign up some 4.3 million unregistered voters.

The DAP takes the lead while Umno follows closely behind.

The DAP registered 32.5 per cent of the 169,838 new voters registered between January and June last year.

Umno registered 32.3 per cent of the new voters while PAS registered 22.7 per cent in the same duration.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 1:44 pm

    Just compare Zairil to that pseudo-chink Riduan Tee and you can feel the difference between 2 worlds

  2. #2 by Ray on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 2:41 pm

    Kudos to Zairil for yr life puruit to built up a nation regardless of race religion and greed.
    Rayat will support you all the way…

    Who is this chink muslim seperatist??
    Chink Riduan Tee well known outspoken witty idiotic moron traitor uses his cunning means ,practise Umnoism prinsip to aspire millionaires speedily , haram fortune
    This is for his allah fulfillment aspiration .

  3. #3 by baochingtian on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 2:55 pm

    Thank you Zairi for joining DAP and hence PR.
    I see light at the end of tunnel now.
    Hope u guys work as a strong team, strategize and race to putrajaya, ahead of bn, with the support of all walks of life.
    My blessings to PR.
    Say no to corruptions!

  4. #4 by baochingtian on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 2:57 pm

    # oops! it’s Zairil.

  5. #5 by tak tahan on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 3:56 pm

    Salam sejahtera Zairil .You are indeed a rare through bred.Hopely your aspriration will come true.You know what you want and frghting for.Smart guy like you will shine unlike our mutlak chinese friend jihadist Riduan Tee.He is abandoned by family and his former group of friends and please teach him some good value of islam before he influence one by one our countryman to become jihadist.

  6. #6 by cintanegara on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 6:07 pm

    ‘Leadership’ without position… top positions dominated by a particular race…can he make the decision? Very funny, indeed… Remind me Seasons in The Sun Lyrics by Westlife….a popular band…’You tried to teach me right from wrong’

  7. #7 by sotong on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 6:13 pm

    Most Malays worked for the government and its related agencies…..the fear and insecurity of change is strong.

    • #8 by Sallang on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 7:02 pm

      Those who are already being employed should be safe, even if there is any changes. However, they must be able to improve , in order to compete. Even in the Government sector, deadlines can be set, so that an application for whatever purpose, must be cleared within a specific time. No more ‘tidak apa’, ‘esok lusa’ attitude.

  8. #9 by tak tahan on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 8:17 pm

    Cintanegara for your poor shallow knowledge.

    By 1664, the Portuguese had already left!! Surely the Dutch AND Portuguese should be granted Bumiputra status and buy houses and ASN at discounted prices!! Oh, wait! Wait! The Portuguese in Malacca ARE in fact Bumiputera, so let’s see who else arrived BEFORE the Portuguese? The Babas and Nyonyas! Strangely, the Babas and Nyonyas are NOT Bumiputras. This is advertently stranger than strange now. How can the Chinese who arrived earlier than the Sultan of Selangor by 339 years NOT be Bumiputras, while the Sultan of Selangor who arrived even AFTER the Dutch arrived be one? The Babas and the Nyonyas have been outright cheated! By right, the Babas and the Nyonyas have every right to become the Prime Minister, or a Sultan, or anything else they want. I know a Kerala Boy who became Prime Minister.

    ‘Don’t try to teach me wrong from right brain of your perverted ilusory imagination.’YO YO what particular race?No melayu race according to recorded history.Take your time to read the Malaysia history article here.You can do that up on your branch while eating your sour fruits to go along well with what you will not like to read as a fact.

  9. #10 by Taxidriver on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 11:19 pm

    A potential future PM of Malaysia from the DAP in the person of Zairil. Malaysians need Malays of his calibre to lead them and bring the country forward. Thank you very much for standing by us-the oppressed.

  10. #11 by Taxidriver on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 - 11:41 pm

    cintanegara #6

    DAP is a Multi-racial party that practises meritocracy. A member has to work his way up the Party hierarchy; not like your pertubuhan bangsa-bangsa melayu bersatu which place more importance on your lineage-who your father or grandfather is rather than your qualifications and capabilities. Anyone in UNMOB can become PM or minister if he is descendant of one. this is the reason why 1 Sing dollar can buy 2.4 ringgit. This is also why Singaporeans are earning 4x more than orang malaysia.

  11. #12 by tak tahan on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 - 12:17 am

    hai..ya..cintanegara no hope one la.When he asked we answered but if we asked,he is dump and stupid.So why the least of concerned to entertain him.He is distractor and a spy o report about LKS posting right? Treat him like CSL ‘s ilk.

  12. #13 by assamlaksa on Thursday, 27 January 2011 - 3:55 am

    cintanegara :
    … top positions dominated by a particular race…

    that applies to the government posts and civil servants

  13. #14 by tak tahan on Friday, 28 January 2011 - 5:34 am

    Cintanegara, corrupter position dominated by a disabled parasites mosquito it?Solly dan maaf ya,i’m not impressed with with this kind of boggy race unless you managed to earn the respect that you are due to try..

  14. #15 by good coolie on Saturday, 29 January 2011 - 4:07 pm

    Since “Bumiputra” is an Indian word, Indians are Bumiputras. Hello Doctor Mahatir, you should have made every Malaysian a Bumiputra!

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