By Mohd Shahrir Asri
18th August 2015
“DAP parti komunis cina. Mereka hendak melenyapkan Melayu dan Islam di Malaysia. Cina2 babi semua tu”. I have been hearing that from almost all Malays since 1987 (I have been interested in politics since I was 12 years old) and I thought it will still be that for years to come.
However, despite all that, I decided to join DAP on July 10, 2015 because I see hope in them and I think I can contribute to make things better for Malaysia, Pakatan and DAP. By the way, my name is Mohd Shahrir Asri and I am a Malay.
Growing up in Batu Pahat, Johor, most will expect me to give my undivided support to Barisan Nasional (BN). If I am not mistaken, Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng, Chua Soi Lek, Chua Jui Meng and many more went to the same school as me, High School Batu Pahat. But of course they are my super seniors.
Batu Pahat is no stranger to the May 13 story and it is a fact that Malays and Chinese are trying very hard to get past that black history. Regardless of all this, DAP is known as communist and has no position in Batu Pahat.
Being the stubborn child, I always have my own opinion and prefer to challenge anything baseless or unclear. I loved Umno and hated DAP but I have no idea why, but at the back of my mind, I was screaming for clarity. Back in my younger days in primary school, I would gather all of the party flags and hang it on my Mom’s fence. There were Umno, S46, PAS, DAP, MCA, MIC and all hanging from one end to the other end of the house’s fence and gate.
I told my mum, “Let them know that we will vote whomever is right and honest”. That was my thinking before and I don’t think I have changed much since then, especially when it comes to politic.
The late Karpal Singh and Lim Kit Siang are the two politicians that I hate and envy simultaneously. I hate it when they challenge Ketuanan Melayu with their slogan of ‘Malaysian Malaysia’; but envy their tenacity and consistency at it. With all odds stack up against them, they inched forward anyway.
Despite the one-sided media, draconian laws and partial legislatures; both of them have been nothing but a constant torn to the ruling BN. Watching them from the outside while growing up and then from the inside of Umno when I got back from overseas, the hate turned to respect and finally from respect to envy. Just for the record, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, Anwar Ibrahim, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (Ku Li) and Shahrir Samad have been my inspiration all the while.
Things changed a lot from 1987 to 2007, and even more from 2007 to 2015. We have seen monumental change in Malaysia social culture identity shaping, political awareness, interracial assimilation and the most highly debated of interreligion coexistence. It is almost the paradigm shift and quantum leap that Mahathir Mohamad was begging to see for his Vision 2020 to happen, but not in the direction he would be content with.
BN is losing its grip from their own doings and sheer arrogance, while Pakatan is gaining at the pace that they themselves never imagined. Like it or not, Pakatan is heading to where BN was back in the 50s and 60s, while BN is heading the other way to where opposition used to be.
Having said that, please be very clear that back in 2007 and 2010, I offered my services to the opposition of the Selangor state government for free but they were not interested. Even when some of their MPs were saying the stupidest of things, they still think they are doing and saying the right thing. That moment has gone and now I am looking for ways to contribute and give back to the society and country, and I see DAP as the best platform and environment to do so.
PAS has been my initial target but the departure of Nik Aziz literally changed my decision. PAS is taking a dive at an unprecedented rate to oblivion for reasons only they can digest. While DAP is losing its grip on their foundation with the demise of the late Karpal Singh, and Lim Kit Siang is having a tough time to hold back those unnecessary loud and foul mouths from DAP.
Lastly, with Anwar Ibrahim in the jail, PKR is now focusing so much on Selangor, while leaving Pakatan matters to the likes of Nurul Izzah Anwar, Rafizi Ramli and Tony Pua almost singlehandedly. Pakatan really need help from anywhere, everywhere and anyone, in my opinion.
I chose DAP because they have been progressive and consistent with their drive for a better Malaysia. It helps to decide when I see the like of my poetry idol, Tuan A Samad Said, joining them recently. With his personal contribution through his sheer presence, his poets and his thoughts, Pak Samad is doing more than the average Malaysians. He is now at the stage of giving back to the society by his own means and capacity.
I am in the opinion that the change has to start from you as an individual. I started by first casting my vote in the last few elections. Now I am taking it a step forward by giving back to the society through what I believe I can contribute. In the spirit of what Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”, let me be part it.