Letter to editor
I refer to DAP deputy secretary-general Liew Chin Tong’s social media post which has been going around and picked up by the media.
I wish to provide a point-by-point rebuttal on his views about how the elections in six states have shown the limitations of Perikatan Nasional (PN).
First, he talked about the end of changes in government at mid-term. With the polls in six states done and dusted, the Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister does not expect a Sheraton 2.0 to take place.
But the way he’s going about it, it’s as though a political coup with federal lawmakers switching sides is a domain exclusive to PN. Lest he forgot, it was Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who shouted “I have the numbers” in the run-up to Sept 16, 2008. Surely, Liew knows as he had just been elected Bukit Bendera MP then.
In Sept 2020, Anwar pulled the same stunt with his “strong, formidable, convincing majority” following the resignation of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister (PM). At that time, Anwar and Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders were willing to work with UMNO’s court cluster.
And let’s not forget about how Anwar triggered the defections of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) state lawmakers to topple the legitimately elected Ran Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan in 1994.
So, Liew should stop pretending that beneath the veneer of “democrat” Anwar, lies a sinister, power-hungry opportunist who’d stop at nothing to win (and retain) power even to the point of subjugating democratic processes. Liew should stop smearing PN about political “frogs” when Anwar has always been at the top of this game for decades.
No major progress
Secondly, Liew talked about PN’s limitations of mobilising Malay-only anger, whatever that means. The surge in support for PN is attributed to the electorate’s distrust of PH in dealing with public welfare. This is especially so after the 15th General Election (GE15) when both PH and Barisan Nasional (BN) went against their words and joined forces to satiate their respective lust for power.
Politics aside, the current unity government has failed to address many key bread-and-butter issues confronting the public such as the rising costs of living. These are issues that affect all Malaysians, not just the Malays. The low voter turnout on Saturday (Aug 12) – including those of the Chinese – is indicative of the electorate’s frustration with the unity government.
And since Liew brought up the issue of communal support, he should remember that PH which is being anchored by Chinese-dominated DAP in terms of MPs and ADUNs (state assemblymen) has barely made any significant inroads since the 2018 general election.
The only exception perhaps is Kota Lama in Kelantan which was won by an Amanah representative on Saturday (Aug 12).
In other words, the DAP-dominated PH is only holding on to a diminishing fixed deposit amid a rapidly changing national demography that words against the coalition’s interests. Good luck in two or three general elections from now!
DAP needs to do self-reflection
Liew’s third assertion must have been made when he was hallucinating. He said that Saturday’s (Aug 12) elections show that the era of Muhyiddin, PAS president Tan Sri Hadi Awang and PN information chief Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali is coming to an end.
Last I checked, Bersatu and PAS – especially the latter – made significant gains on Saturday (Aug 12). Azmin, too, defied the odds to become a “YB”(Yang Berhormat) in an urban area which is supposed to be the ‘playground’ for PH.
How is it that these people have outlived their usefulness? Perhaps Liew is conflating PH dynamics with that of PN’s. As we know, the knives were out on Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow despite DAP’s electoral success in the state on Saturday (Aug 12).
How else would you explain the speed in which Chow was sworn in as Chief Minister, barely hours after winning? And why was DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng noticeably absent from a gathering on Saturday night (Aug 12) where Chow announced PH’s victory in the state?
Clearly, Chow was trying to stave off a coup from his predecessor. That’s the DAP for you – trying to kick out a winner – which is a concept alien in organisations where its leaders are not power-crazy.
Don’t syiok sendiri
Lastly, Liew said that the era of three-corner fights is over … unless PN implodes. First of all, there is nothing wrong with multi-corner fights. It makes democracy all the more vibrant.
Unless Liew is afraid that parties like MUDA split PH’s vote such as what happened in Sungai Kandis, Selangor. In democracy, the more the merrier. What is Liew afraid of? Or is Liew – like Anwar – also a faux democrat?
If there’s going to be an implosion, it would be from PH-BN – not from PN. As we know, the alliance in the latter is already very strong. PH-BN, on the other hand, is held together by UMNO president and BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s refusal to go to jail and nothing more.
As it is, UMNO has fared disastrously on Saturday (Aug 12) and people like former UMNO minister Tan Sri Idris Jusoh have already called for Zahid’s resignation.
There’s limit to the patience from UMNO grassroots as they see their party being rejected due to the folly of one man. So, if I were Liew, I would rather brace for an internal revolt within UMNO which would definitely have repercussions on the longevity of this unity government.
So, in conclusion, Liew should stop drinking his own Kool-Aid if he’s really concerned about the country.
It only provides a temporary syiok sendiri high. People like Liew should look into ways to address the plight of the people such as inflation and boosting investments – not just announcing FDI (foreign direct investment) pledges which does not translate into concrete benefits to the people. – Aug 14, 2023
Kassim Abdul Samad
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.