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The role of Chinese racism in elections

Did you know that Chinese racism played a huge role in the last general election? Don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll believe what expert political analyst and now candidate for PM Mahathir Mohamad wrote on his blog a month after the last general election:

 

“If more proof is needed of the role of Chinese racism in the 13th GE, the demonstrations accusing the BN of fraud and cheating in the elections, despite being organised by Anwar and the PKR, are largely attended by Chinese, especially the young. Within the Country and abroad, Chinese youths wearing black shirts and masks made up most of the demonstrators. Usually Malays make up the majority of the demonstrators.  The lack of respect for the national flag was shown by Chinese young people in Taiwan holding it upside down. Although DAP and PKR participated in these demos, PAS members were noticeably absent. In fact PAS leaders dissociated themselves from the agitation to overthrow the Government through street demos ala Arab Spring. The protests seem to be mainly a Chinese affair.”

 

I urge you to read the whole blog post (titled “Racial Polarization”), in case you think I’m taking him out of context. But this is what I can gather from it: If you’re Chinese and you’re anti-BN, you’re probably a racist. Remember that. Full disclosure: I didn’t vote for Pakatan in GE13, and even I don’t think that.

 

For sure, I respectfully disagree with my fellow Chinese who protested the GE13 results. But I certainly don’t believe that they were motivated by racism. They’re decent, concerned, and patriotic citizens; many of whom feel they’re victims of racism themselves. And I do sympathize – their complaints about prejudice and bigotry are too often legitimate.

 

I bring all this up because I remember the dizzying outrage and hyperbolic melodrama that erupted when Najib attributed the GE13 results to a “Chinese tsunami”. Immediately, he was roundly condemned as a flaming racist, ironically by the same people now cheering Mahathir on. One pro-Pakatan friend of mine, flush with righteous indignation, even made it seem like Najib’s words were the insidious beginning of Nazi-like pogroms.

 

But Najib was merely stating the facts: the overwhelming majority of Chinese voters had rejected BN and went for Pakatan. This isn’t a particularly controversial (or even insightful) observation – it’s even treated as self-evident by many Pakatan politicians today. In fact, they’re so (arrogantly) assured of their massive reservoir of Chinese support that they’re now publicly calling for a “Malay tsunami” – who’s playing the race card now?

 

It’s one thing to say that Chinese Malaysians, by and large, reject BN (this is true). It’s quite another to say this is due to racism. Mahathir crossed that bright red line, Najib never did. Imagine the furor if Najib had described GE13 – openly evoking “Chinese racism” – as Mahathir did. Would the so-called progressives in Pakatan and so-called independent media portals be as forgiving to Najib as they are to Mahathir now?

 

Predictably, some will argue that Mahathir didn’t mean what he said back then – it was just political rhetoric. Then why should we believe anything he says now? Others will say that he has seen the error of his views, and is now trying to make amends for them. To demonstrate the absurdity of that claim, let me direct you to some apt words from Mahathir himself.

 

In 2010, he wrote: “Remember at one time PAS condemned Umno for having MCA as a partner. Now PAS is willing to accept DAP as a partner. It is political hypocrisy, not sincere partnership.”

 

Let me update that for 2018: Remember at one time, Mahathir condemned PKR and PAS for having DAP as a partner. Now Mahathir is willing to accept DAP as a partner. It is political hypocrisy, not sincere partnership.

 

In 2010, he wrote: “If PAS is extremely supportive of the Chinese today, it is not because the party has become disaffected with race and religion. It is simply because it wants to play up Chinese racial sentiments in order to win Chinese votes.”

 

In 2018, this is the reality: If Mahathir / Pribumi is extremely supportive of the Chinese today, it is not because Mahathir and his party have become disaffected with race and religion. It is simply because they want to play up Chinese racial sentiments in order to win Chinese votes.

 

Sadly, opportunism is rarely a game between equals – something that the dimwitted strategists in Pakatan repeatedly fail to realize. You may see Mahathir as the last best hope to bring change to this country. He sees you as his last best hope to return to power and permanently entrench race in our politics. Given his history of turning on allies, guess who wins in the end.

But whatever you do, don’t vote against Mahathir and his team, especially if you’re Chinese like me. You might be accused of racism. And we definitely need to stop being racist and start supporting those who accuse us of racism. Swallow all your doubts, will you? Never let logic, history, and basic common sense get in the way of change.

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