Tuesday 3 May 2011

No need for Chinese in BN government, say community leaders

May 03, 2011
File photo of Chinese Malaysians with their community leaders during a mass wedding ceremony in Klang on August 8, 2008. Chinese community leaders say that having Chinese representation in the government or not is not important. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — Chinese community leaders have accused the Barisan Nasional (BN) government of practising a divide-and-rule policy after Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the community to vote for the MCA or risk losing representation in Putrajaya. The leaders pointed out that other political parties in the BN, which were not Chinese-based, could also uphold the interests of the Chinese community.

“Whether we have Chinese in the government or not is not important,” Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) vice-president Ser Choon Ing told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.
“We want somebody who can work for the Chinese community. Even if they are Indian, Malay; if they can work for the benefit of the Chinese, we don’t mind,” he said.

He pointed out that it was former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, not the MCA, who helped pig farmers in Negri Sembilan after the debilitating Japanese encephalitis virus outbreak in 1999.

“Malays or Indians can fight for Chinese or Chinese fight for Indians... not necessarily the Chinese in Cabinet will fight for the Chinese,” said Ser, who was a lawyer for the pig farmers. Analysts have warned that the Najib administration risks losing further support from the Chinese community if it continues to send mixed signals about its policies to voters nationwide.

Pundits believe that while Najib speaks of inclusiveness via 1 Malaysia, his actions in issuing an ultimatum to the Chinese community to vote for the MCA in the coming general election, coupled with Umno’s increasingly ultra-Malay stance, will not leave Chinese voters impressed. Najib had over the weekend warned the Chinese community to vote for the MCA if they still wanted representation in Putrajaya.

“I see the MCA sending the message that the Chinese cannot support the opposition and at the same time expect strong representation in the government. They have to choose,” he was reported as saying by state news agency Bernama.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek defended the BN chairman’s remarks, saying that it was merely a statement of fact. United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) chairman Dr Yap Sin Tian, however, said Najib’s warning contradicted his 1 Malaysia brainchild.
“Try(ing) to divide the voters into Chinese community, Malay community; this is divide-and-rule policy,” said Yap. “We cannot divide like that... during the past 50 years, not only the Chinese community, the Malay community (and) Indian community also support(ed) MCA,” added the educator. He pointed out that Najib’s remarks ran contrary to democratic principles.

“It is not in line with democratic elections... if you only vote to support Barisan, there will be no meaning (in) conduct(ing) the elections,” he said. Ser said the MCA only represented the Chinese community by name, but was powerless in influencing government policy.

“What can this MCA do in the government? They can’t do anything,” he said bluntly.

“Even in the current structure or during Mahathir’s time, they have no power and can’t influence government policy,” he added, referring to former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who held the post from 1981 to 2003.

Ser also highlighted the senior BN party’s failure to get the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) from Chinese independent secondary schools recognised by the government.

UEC holders cannot enter public universities, although they are recognised by international tertiary educational institutions in Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, China and some European countries.
“Can this MCA influence Umno and get this recognised? How many years already; (it’s been) more than 30 years,” Ser lamented.

The KLSCAH vice-president said the Chinese community was concerned about government policies, and was no longer impressed with election goodies.

“What they want is a basic change of the policy of the government... (like) racist policy only in favour of one race, government servant structure, corruption,” said Ser, in a thinly-veiled reference to the New Economic Policy (NEP).

A World Bank report on Malaysia’s brain drain published last week warned that the ongoing exodus of professional Malaysians was likely to intensify in the coming years and further erode the country’s already narrow skills base.

The report estimated the number of Malaysians abroad at about one million as of 2010, of whom one-third were tertiary educated and almost 90 per cent of those in Singapore were of ethnic Chinese origin.
Malaysians abroad have cited social injustice in Malaysia, as well as better career prospects and higher wages overseas as the main reasons for leaving.

The report showed that 54 per cent of the Malaysian diaspora resided in Singapore while 15 per cent went to Australia, 10 per cent to the US and 5 per cent to the UK.

Petaling Jaya Federation of Chinese Associations and Communities chairman Datuk Woo Ser Chai said Malaysians should not be told to vote according to racial lines if the 1 Malaysia concept was to be achieved.
“We should not say what race should vote for (what) racial political party,” he said.

“Our main concern is what representative can really work for Malaysia to be more prosperous and more harmonious,” added Woo, who is also president of the Hainan Association in KL and Selangor.
Ser further questioned how the MCA could claim to represent the Chinese community since the party had only captured mixed or Malay-majority constituencies for many terms.

Currently, the MCA only has 15 MPs and 31 state assemblymen from the last general election in 2008. It had contested in 40 parliamentary seats and 90 state seats in GE12.

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