The Maszlee dilemma: Kit Siang realises DAP is in danger of losing Chinese support

“As far as I am concerned, Kit Siang can take his “New Malaysia” concept and shove it right up his. It is despicable that his DAP got Ramasamy to whack Maszlee for stating what every sane-minded, right thinking Malaysian already knows regarding the Chinese bias that exists in the private sector. If indeed the DAP is all about “a New Malaysia for all Malaysians irrespective of race or creed,” you would have heard Ramasamy seeking dialogues with the Ministry of Education to discuss constructive ways in which the DAP and the universities could engage with the private sector to eradicate the bias”

Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen

The debate is raging on, and the person who started it all is none other than your friendly neighbourhood Chinaman, Lim Kit Siang. Well, not so friendly, depends on who’s doing the talking. If you’re one of those who joins the senior Lim for a couple of Stouts every now and then, then yes, he’s probably the next best thing to Patch Adams right after a three-bottle marathon of the hard stuff. But if you’re someone like me who he absolutely abhors, hates the guts of and probably wished dropped dead, then no, he’s really not that friendly. Anyway, we’re on debates here, and today, we’re going to be talking about the one regarding Dr Maszlee Malik and his position on Bumiputra quotas which Kit Siang is trying very hard to stir.

Oh yes, the quota still exists no matter what the previous Barisan Nasional administration told you. Yesterday, the senior Lim was described by Malaysiakini as having “raised a red flag over what he claims is a campaign to portray DAP as out to get Education Minister Maszlee Malik.” Now, before we go any further, it’d be good to note, that whenever you hear of Kit Siang raising red flags, raise your own. I mean, seriously, this guy has raised hundreds and hundreds of red flags over decades on just about everything under the sun. There was the one about Mahathir being a religious fanatic, the one about him being a despot, the one about Petronas being run from the kitchen of Tun Hussein Onn’s house (which Mahathir raised), etc. Whenever Lim opens his mouth, raise a red flag, because whatever he says always depends on who’s sitting next to him and who’s not.


Take today for instance.

For over three decades – which more or less accounts for the better part of Kit Siang’s grumpy life –he was devilish about the billion dollar losses from Perwaja Steel that Mahathir apparently concealed from public. We also had the one about the billions looted from EPF to manipulate the global tin market and the RM30 billion in forex losses that Mahathir kept secret. In short, Mahathir had always been the devil’s advocate and the “reason for all the rot in the country.” Today, he is a patriarch saint who swooshed down from heaven to save Malaysia. It’s more or less the same thing with Dato’ Seri Haji Abdul Hadi Awang.

Yesterday, the PAS president was a Muslim fundamentalist who aspired to turn the country into an Islamic State. Then, when the DAP needed him, he suddenly transformed into a moderate Islamist who was a better alternative to UMNO politicians. Today, he’s back to being a fundamentalist and is probably the antichrist to some DAP politicians. Yes, with the DAP, you can go from devil to saint to devil again in no time at all with the stroke of a wand by Saint Lim Kit Siang. If the DAP wants you gone, it simply changes the narrative and gets cyber troopers to keep repeating falsehoods. If yesterday, Maszlee was this well acclaimed PhD holder qualified for the job of Education Minister, today, he’s just a self-serving Malay chauvinist who’s only concern is Bumiputra rights.

Rumour is, Kit Siang himself contributed to claims that the DAP wants to destroy Maszlee. The whole idea was to shift your focus away from a glaring truth that is quickly becoming less glaring. It is said that the senior Lim does not want you to see how the DAP is itself responsible for fuelling Chinese chauvinist campaigns against the Malays right from the day he took control of the party. Prior to May 13, the senior Lim began questioning the special privileges accorded to the Malays and ripped the federal government apart for placing too much emphasis on the Malay language. Following May 13, he questioned the Bumiputra status that the late Tun Abdul Razak espoused and accused the federal government of promoting racism. Today, he has his people doing the exact same thing albeit on the pretext that Maszlee’s support for the 90:10 Bumiputra to non-Bumiputra student ratio in public universities worked against the spirit of a “New Malaysia.”

Basically, as far as the DAP is concerned, everything boils down to the Bumiputra concept and the need for the Government of Malaysia to do away with it. The senior Lim is probably getting his people to whack Maszlee the way he used to whack Mahathir because he’s not happy with the Prime Minister’s reluctance to allow more Chinese access to public universities. Kit Siang is taking a backseat this time around as he does not want the Malays to accuse him of trying to trigger yet another May 13. So he’s shifting the spotlight onto the opposition by getting you to think that UMNO and PAS are preventing the DAP from delivering on its “New Malaysia” promise. But if indeed the DAP is all about a “New Malaysia,” why are its leaders reluctant to criticise Chinese employers in the private sector for side-lining the Malays?

Let’s see what Malaysiakini had to say (in italic):

Lim referred to a few politically-linked news sites reporting that his party was purportedly pressuring Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to replace Maszlee with his deputy Teo Nie Ching, who is from DAP.

“There is no truth whatsoever in the postings, which are lies and falsehoods,” he said in a statement today.

“DAP has never asked the prime minister to replace Maszlee with Teo as education minister, and the DAP has nothing to do with any petition asking Maszlee to resign.

“Such a dastardly lie is only the beginning of more lies and falsehoods, which will appear in social media in the coming weeks to cause tension, division and the disintegration of Pakatan Harapan.”

Now, I’m not too sure about Teo Nie Ching, but falsehoods? Gimme a break. It was only on Friday that one of the senior Lim’s most trusted minions, P Ramasamy, ripped Maszlee apart for defending the 90:10 Bumiputra quota in public universities. Maszlee pitched his arguments on grounds that the private sector was so full of bias, you even have Chinese employers demanding that one needed to be conversant in Mandarin to be able to seek employment. Actually, you don’t need to take Maszlee’s word for it. All you need to do is check the classifieds section in newspapers over a year-span and see for yourself the criteria put forward by most Chinese enterprises. It just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth to think that we’ve come this far since independence but have barely moved an inch towards the unification of races.

But don’t just stop with the classifieds. Browse though the internet and go to ibilik.my or any one of those online sites listing tenancy ads for landlords. You’ll come across hundreds upon hundreds of captions that read “Chinese roommate wanted” or “Chinese only” or even “for non-Muslims only.” Some Chinese homeowners with multiple rooms for rent even have the nerve to place lower rates for Chinese. Go through these ads and see for yourself the lengths to which some Chinese go to discriminate against the non-Chinese. Even property developers tend to ‘reserve’ scenic units for Chinese customers by telling the non-Chinese that the units are sold. If I were to launch an online petition against workplace discrimination in the private sector, I’ll bet my last dollar that I can amass at least 100,000 signatures should the petition read “Someone needs to put a stop to discrimination against the Malays.” Go on, do your homework, then come back and tell me that the majority of the Chinese are indeed striving towards a “New Malaysia” in the truest spirit of nation building.

Nation building my foot.

The general perception among the Chinese is that the Malays are lazy. That may be true to a certain degree, I grant you that. But the Malays have truly come a long way from being the lazy, laid-back farmers and fishermen the British once claimed them to be. And it’s not as if the British didn’t have a role in keeping the Malays lazy. I’ll talk more on that in an upcoming three-parter that will run concurrently with the remaining four parts of the “Daim Files.” Suffice to say, the Mat Salleh gave in to the demands of the Chinese towkays and triad leaders as he needed them to keep the clan wars to a minimum. These towkays and leaders did not want the Malays to crawl out of their “lazy cocoons” and preferred them to go fishing and acquire land strictly for growing rice. The British saw no way out and played it dirty to force a significant number of Malays who cultivated rubber to close shop for good.

Following independence, the MCA, which had its tentacles sprawled all over the enclaves of the waring triads and clans, made no effort whatsoever to incorporate the spirit of nation building into the Chinese psyche. Its leaders never once undertook to educate the community on the need to give-and-take so as to present the Malays with opportunity to compete on a level playing field. Like it or not, the only reason the MCA supported UMNO on the need for Malaya to gain independence was because the British demanded it. Had the MCA refused to partake in discussions, the British, which had already noted that the Chinese “did not regard themselves to be subjects of the Rulers,” would gladly have put the triads and clans out of commission. The leaders of the triads and clans just couldn’t afford that to happen.

They couldn’t, because a large chunk of Chinese wealth was still owed to them by the British. Many of the labour contracts they entered with the colonial masters were signed in handshakes and promises. When talk of the Malayan Union first surfaced, the British, who feared that the triad and clan leaders would channel all the wealth the British owed them to China, pressured them into conducting business with the federal administration in a formal manner and foregoing the paperless arrangements they had with key colonial figures. The British then quietly arranged for loans and funds to partially support the expansion of existing financial institutions that the Chinese had established in Borneo and Singapore and helped several triad and clan leaders acquire some major stakes in these institutions.

All this constituted partial payoffs for sums the British owed these leaders and helped guarantee that the clans were tied to the British for some years that followed. One of the commitments that the Mat Salleh gained from these leaders was their willingness to partake in the road towards independence. This played a significant role in the MCA’s commitment towards establishing a self-sustained and self-ruled Malaya. In one sense, it was all about the need for the Chinese to be recognised as legitimate citizens of a post-independence Malaya to prevent their wealth, business enterprises and monopolies from being trodden on by the Malays. In another, it had to do with the British keeping the leaders of triads and clans beholden to them by turning some of the wealth they owed these leaders into assets that were tied to British institutions through heavily convoluted agreements. By the fifties, the leaders of these triads and clans controlled the MCA the same way the Chinese associations are controlling the party to this day.

And if you’re thinking that the MCA was committed towards nation building post independence, think again. Following Merdeka, the Chinese towkays were just as preponderant as were during the British occupation and almost always ripped the budding Malay entrepreneur apart with ridiculous loan terms. The towkays were conceitedly hubristic and did not want their monopoly in trade and commerce to be trodden on by the Malays. The MCA did nothing to change the Chinese mindset and continued to impose on UMNO whenever it came to finance and term loans. When Lee Kuan Yew’s talk of a Malaysian Malaysia was rubbished by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in parliament, Kuan Yew assigned Kit Siang the task of taking over the DAP from Dewan Nair and got the senior Lim to espouse the PAP’s Malaysian Malaysia concept.

And that’s precisely what the senior Lim did, beginning with his heated public debate with Syed Naquib Al-Attas in 1968 over the exclusive use of the Malay language in national literature. The debate infuriated the Malays to very damaging proportions and threatened to boil over and trigger riots. But the senior Lim didn’t seem to want to stop and went on and on about it at public rallies, forums, party events and what have you. He kept pouring fuel to the already raging flames of Chinese dissent by questioning the special privileges accorded to the Malays. While he did always speak of the need to build a “Malaysia for all Malaysians” irrespective of race or creed, he never once touched on the need for the Chinese to give the Malays a freakin’ break.

Yes, just like the MCA, the DAP did nuts to educate the Chinese on the need to give-and take so that the deprived Malay farmer could work his way out of the farm and compete with the Chinese on a level playing field. But the MCA did at least demonstrate its willingness to accommodate the New Economic Policy (NEP) that the late Tun Abdul Razak introduced. The DAP, on the other hand, spent decades demonising the policy and indoctrinated the idea that the government was bent on extending spades and shovels to the Malays. It is because of people like Kit Siang that the idea of one race “accommodating the weaknesses of another to rise together for a better future” does not exist in the Chinese vocabulary.

Thanks to him, the average Chinaman thinks only of making money for himself and his family and couldn’t give a hoot if the Malays aren’t where they ought to be. And to think that the DAP now wants the Malays to forgo the 90:10 Bumiputra to non-Bumiputra ratio in public universities just because Pakatan Harapan claims this to be a “New Malaysia.”

As far as I am concerned, Kit Siang can take his “New Malaysia” concept and shove it right up his. It is despicable that his DAP got Ramasamy to whack Maszlee for stating what every sane-minded, right thinking Malaysian already knows regarding the Chinese bias that exists in the private sector. If indeed the DAP is all about “a New Malaysia for all Malaysians irrespective of race or creed,” you would have heard Ramasamy seeking dialogues with the Ministry of Education to discuss constructive ways in which the DAP and the universities could engage with the private sector to eradicate the bias. Instead, Ramasamy seems interested only in getting more Chinese and Indians into matriculation programs and shows no interest whatsoever in getting more Malays into the private sector.

Why, does Ramasamy think this is India?

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