ONE wonders if politicians do play a more effective role when they assume the role as opposition members than when they run the country.
A case in point is when DAP is perceived to be more toothless in the realm of the unity government, MCA – the fading star within the Chinese community – has risen to fill the void.
A pertinent example of this is when the latter’s former vice-president Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker boldly called for the Bumiputera Economic Congress scheduled in January 2024 to be scrapped.
The former deputy youth and sports minister said that while the Bumiputera economic congress has been in existence for over five decades, it has failed to produce the desired results. Instead, it has become a platform for the greedy to enrich themselves at the expense of the commoners, especially the Malays.
“The congress started when I was three years old. Today, I am over 60 years old. I hope that the coming Bumiputera economic congress will be the last – and that in the future – we can hold a national economic congress,” he articulated in fluent Malay when debating Budget 2024 in the Dewan Negara recently (video of Ti’s debate has since been viralled).
Daringly, the Raub (Pahang)-born senator might have touched the nerves of rightists when he argued that the country would not progress so long as such congresses focus on Malay elites who abuse their power, influence and status to enrich themselves at the nation’s expense.
“It is time to save Malaysians and stop the seizure of the nation’s riches in the name of the Malay agenda. When more money and allocations are given, the greedier those in power will be,” opined Ti who had also previously served as the deputy national unity minister during the administration of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
The 61-year-old law graduate from Universiti Malaya went on to lambast opportunistic individuals who used the Bumiputera economic congress as an avenue to gain “political brownie points”.
The speech will surely go down like a led balloon among those who are regular participants at the congress. No doubt the statements will be manipulated to seem like it is an attack on Malay rights and privileges, thus further fuelling ‘us and them’ narrative so favoured by far-right nationalists.
Much like former DAP supremo Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang’s recent and untimely remarks about the possibility of a non-Bumiputera becoming a future Malaysia, Ti’s assertions will probably be taken out of context, especially on social media and used as further proof that the Malays are under attack from ungrateful and overly demanding non-Bumiputera.
This is in spite the fact that Ti clearly stated he was not in any way challenging Malay rights and privileges but rather highlighting the rampant abuse of this platform for the benefit of a select few to “go holidaying in Paris and London”.
His pleas for the unity government to replace it with a congress that focuses on nation building for the benefit of all Malaysians will probably fall on deaf ears.
As Ti very well knows, there is a lot of money at stake here. No one is going to give it up that easily just because of one firebrand speech. – Dec 8, 2023