When wolves cry ‘wolf’

by Zairil Khir Johari
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 25, 2011

APRIL 25 — When a known liar accuses someone else of lying, whom do you trust? In a nutshell, that is the predicament faced by the proverbial boy who cried wolf. And, of late, there have certainly been many boys crying “Wolf”.

The 2011 Sarawak election has been a successful one, insofar as the DAP is concerned. However, our success has now rendered us victims of a vicious hate campaign being propagated by the BN and its media.

A quick glance at news items last week reveals a barrage of high-profile attacks on the DAP. First it began, unsurprisingly, with an editorial from Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia, calling upon the BN to forego Chinese support because, ostensibly, the community has turned its back on the government. Such ungrateful citizens! We gave them the right to vote, and they dared to vote against us?

Awang Selamat’s call-to-arms was immediately followed up by a fellow Utusan editor, who went one step further by announcing the need for a “1 Melayu, 1 Bumi” movement in order to unite the “divided” Malay community.

And this is apparently necessary because Malay political power is now under threat by the Chinese, who, despite making up only 25 per cent of the Malaysian population, is suddenly capable of taking over the reins of power. I for one am glad I had a different maths teacher.

If that wasn’t enough, the president of the MCA decided to bay for blood as well, essentially threatening the Chinese community in Sarawak for their folly of daring to vote for anyone other than an “approved” BN representative.

Last but not least, joining in the chorus was a retired prime minister-turned-blogger and part-time amateur historian, said to be working on his latest book: “Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah (Di Alam Fantasiku)”.

In his usual manner, subtlety was dispensed with. The DAP is a racist party that has brought racism to Sarawak! Ruh-roh! Only the BN can truly represent the needs of the various races in Malaysia.

Phew! At the rate they were going, one would have thought the DAP had single-handedly won control of the Sarawak government. Imagine if we had actually won every seat we contested. Gasp, that would give us control over a whopping 15 out of 71 seats! Seriously, maths lessons?

Yet we should not dismiss their delirium wholesale. Let us look further and attempt to deconstruct their arguments. As it appears, the DAP’s alleged “racism” is predicated upon:

a. A mainly Chinese-member base and support.

b. The fact that we only seem to win Chinese-majority seats.

c. The “Malaysian Malaysia” slogan.

First of all, I would like to point out that every single DAP member, whether Malay, Indian, Chinese or Iban, is, above all, a Malaysian. However, if we insist on going into racial semantics, then let me be as clear as possible.

There is a world of a difference between a party with a large member base derived from a certain community, and a party with a racialist agenda. Just because a party has many members of one race does not automatically mean the party’s agenda is based along racial lines.

Similarly, when Umno is accused of being racialist, it is not because it is a Malay party, but because it espouses policies like “ketuanan Melayu”, which is not only outwardly racist but also extra-constitutional.

Now, despite deriving most of its members from one community, the DAP’s message is clearly non-racial. Our struggle is one for democracy, justice and a fairer distribution of wealth. Our campaign, and this was especially evident in Sarawak, was focused entirely on issues such as abuse of power, corruption and an authoritarian leader who has long overstayed his welcome.

If any of the above is considered racist in any way, it is only for two reasons. Either it is presumed that only Chinese Malaysians are concerned about the problems of our country, or that the aforementioned problems afflict only one race. And, unlike the MCA, we know neither to be true.

Next, the DAP does indeed win in mostly Chinese-majority seats, but how is that surprising? Being a party that is traditionally urban-based, and since most urban centres happen to be Chinese-majority, isn’t it only natural?

However, it is also important to note that many of the seats we contested and won in Sarawak were marginally Chinese majority. Hence, most of those wins would not have been possible without the votes of the other races. Thus, it is a fallacy to assume that the DAP appeals to only one section of the community.

Also, having spent the last few weeks in Sarawak, I can confirm that politics there has much less to do with race compared to Peninsular Malaysia. In fact, as my fellow columnist June Rubis so marvellously observed, nearly everyone in Sarawak is able to stake a claim on more than one of the many cultures that make up the colourful state. In fact, Sarawakian society is so plural it makes some of us Peninsular Malaysians envious.

Lastly, the DAP’s old war-cry of a “Malaysian Malaysia” is deemed to be offensive, despite the fact that it does not differ greatly from the BN’s versions, i.e. “Bangsa Malaysia” or its latest incarnation, “1 Malaysia.” Why is anything only kosher when the BN does it?

Desperation is obviously in the air when the BN will resort to anything in order to maintain its grip on power. But at what expense? The BN’s racialised posturing, in the form of fear-mongering and outward racial mobilisation, is clearly threatening Malaysian unity, and yet they claim that the DAP is trying to break the country in two.

However, despite all the spin, Malaysians are no longer so easily fooled. The Sarawak election is proof of that. This is what happens when we have finally realised that the boy crying “wolf” is actually the big, bad wolf himself.

  1. #1 by dagen on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 8:12 am

    Dear Author,

    Errrrm. Umno is GOD.

    Now knock this crucial fact into your head pls.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 8:16 am

    While the analogy has a lot of validity, I don’t know if it puts into a nutshell the problem. Unlike the boy who cried wolf Perkasa are not boys but the town’s trouble maker and worst, he may actually be the town bully who controls the mayor. Perhaps Ibrahim Ali may be and we hope it is, but even if he is, the town bully is there – their patron for example.

    No one is worried about the mad rantings of the boy or even the town bully but Gaddafi proved that bullies with power demand a terrible price to be proven wrong. So far, we don’t see the town mayor making sure that the town bully don’t have the kind of power we fear he has.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 8:41 am

    As Mahadir predicts, the “1Melayu, 1Bumi” call by Perkasa will provoke more Chinese and non-Malays to join DAP or PR. The consequence is that BN will lose more seats in GE-13.

  4. #4 by hallo on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 9:00 am

    The special position written in the report is temporary will be review from times to times.

    Those people liar deny it are dragging the rest to HELL who support them

    It is not practices justice and righteousness

    but a LIE of greed

  5. #5 by wanderer on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 9:08 am

    Expect a dirtier 13GE, the evil wolves will be atbtheir best…in what they are most talented in, loe mentality and born cheats!!
    These “wolves” are obviously desperately to win at all cause or they will need to file their immigration papers at the Zimbabwe or Timbaktu embassies.

  6. #6 by sheriff singh on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 9:29 am

    UMNO is actually UMNO Baru not the original UMNO. It is a different entity run by a different group of people with different mindsets and agendas. It is a different specie altogether although they try hard to be seen to be the same as the original.

    As they say in Thailand:

    Same, Same, But Different.

  7. #7 by yhsiew on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 12:29 pm

    PR leaders can start thinking organizing a “1Rakyat” movement to:

    1) provide a sanctuary for non-Malays who are being rejected by the “1Melayu, 1Bumi” movement,

    2) save the country from being divided along racial line.

  8. #8 by hallo on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 1:20 pm

    The most important thing MALAYSIANs should do now

    Is the vote for a FAIRNESS, JUSTICE, RIGHTEOUS politicians as administrators

    All the matter related above mention will be resolved

  9. #9 by dagen on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 2:04 pm

    Why should dr mamak be concerned by the fact that 1melayu would shoo more chinese away. For a fact umno does not mind not having any chinese support. And that is because theoratically umno can form the government on the strength of its own numbers (but much weaker than through BN).

    That is because for 50yrs umno has been riding the BN train, gained absolute power and control over that train and of course, grew fat. BN is premised on a multi-racial idealogy. No matter how badly the other race parties in BN perform, umno would still want to keep them. This is shore up the multi-racial image and idealogy.

    It does not matter if the idealogy is by now quite hollow. The appearance of multi-racial composition is enough. As a concept, the 1malaysia slogan is an accurate reflection of BN’s hollowness and desire to maintain what is to many now nothing but a mere facade. This multi-racial facade is important and hence must be upkept for otherwise BN can no longer be BN. And the consequence would be the BN train will no longer run smoothly.

    My analogy: Without strong chinese-based parties in BN, umno would be like a right handed man with an injured left arm. Somehow he would feel less abled. In short, though DAP has a small support base (i.e. mainly chinese) as compare to umno, DAP is still able to do some nasty damage to umno.

    And bravo. The damage has now grown in terms of extent and reach.

  10. #10 by sotong on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 2:36 pm

    Decades of bad, narrow and divisive leadership had done a lot of damage….we need to start again through a total overhaul of the present system.

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 2:57 pm

    DPM reported by TheMalaysianInsider (25th April) to have said today “that Utusan Malaysia (UM) represents the Malays and boycotting the paper will muzzle the community’s voice…” He was responding to calls by the MCA to boycott the Umno-owned newspaper after it called for a “1 Melayu, 1 Bumi” movement.

    MCA – you don’t have to boycott if what UM does is OK and not unlawful. You have the Star Newspaper what? It can be your traditional contitutents’ voice too – “1 China, 1 Non Bumi”. Same same.

  12. #12 by limkamput on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 3:22 pm

    You said, “DAP’s old war-cry of a “Malaysian Malaysia” is deemed to be offensive…”. May I know why you used the word “old”? Is it because Malaysian Malaysia is no longer tenable? I have heard before this about Malaysian First etc.? So is it official now DAP will not subscribe to this concept anymore? Are you saying DAP now have to acquiesce to the demand of some to be more equal than others. I don’t care very much what 1Malaysia or Bangsa Malaysia meant because they were never intended to attain their true meanings. But surely Malaysian Malaysia is different, and don’t you ever forget or dilute the raison d’être of DAP and multiracial Malaysia. Please note, fighting for equality is not racist, fighting to be more equal than others is.

  13. #13 by tak tahan on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 4:04 pm

    Maybe DAP’s old war of Malaysian Malaysia by Zairil is the indication that it started from those old days up till this present.

  14. #14 by perampok cinta1 on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 4:21 pm

    Dear En Zairil Khir Johari,
    Your article is a good promotional, albeit a little defensive, piece of write-up written on behalf of your party. However several honest questions could be asked of your party such as ‘has DAP been trying hard enough to do away with its image as a Chinese chauvinist party by going aggressively in recruiting Malays into its fold other than attracting a collection of a few promising or eminent personalities like you or Tunku Abdul Aziz’? Or perhaps ‘has DAP been going around into the non-Chinese grounds explaining its philosophy and political plans during non-election time’? Is your party afraid of losing the tag of a Chinese-based party having the courage to fight the might of UMNO on behalf of the so-called ‘discriminated Chinese Malaysians’ and thus losing their support for coming out as a true Malaysian party? En Zairil, honest answer to those simple questions would go a long way to dispel the notion that your party is nothing more than a Chinese chauvinist party, not a true Malaysian one as claimed.

  15. #15 by tak tahan on Monday, 25 April 2011 - 5:44 pm

    Majority of Sarawakian across the ethnic groups have given their full support towards opposition especially to DAP during the state election but no thanks to gerrymandering and dirty tricks-BN still manage to crawl or slog till the next GE.That alone can be said DAP is been proudly and widely accepted as true representative of all Malaysian.The significant result of Ubah rendered by Sarawakian shows Sarawakian wants no more racist and corrupted BN regime.Zairil,you definitely have had the best maths teachers.You as well as other non-chinese and Sarawakian across the ethnic groups have indeed decorated DAP as a multi racial party that represents all Malaysian regardless of race and religion.

  16. #16 by Taxidriver on Tuesday, 26 April 2011 - 11:42 pm

    // Please note, fighting for equality is not racist, fighting to be more equal than others is // limkamput

    A very simple and clear sentence. No way one can twist it to mean something else without showing himself/herself a racist. A good one, limkamput.

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