GERAKAN president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau Hoe Chai recently sought to distance Perikatan Nasional (PN) from twice former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement questioning the loyalty of Malaysian Indians.
He claimed that in a recent PN supreme council meeting chaired by Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the majority of the coalition’s leaders did not agree with Dr Mahathir’s sentiments.
“We regard Dr Mahathir as a former prime minister (PM) and a seasoned politician, and it is likely that such a statement was made due to his age,” Lau was quoted as saying in the Free Malaysia Today (FMT) news portal.
Interestingly, Lau who is also a Dewan Negara member (senator) under the PN ticket had earlier described as “embarrassing” the act of “a former PM who was once a proponent of the Vision 2020 agenda to question the loyalty of a community that has been here for a long time, speaks the national language and respects the laws of the country”.
“Gerakan believes that such statement from a person who is seen as a statesman is very offensive and the government of the day needs to advise him not to continue to cultivate differences that are likely to break the spirit of Bangsa Malaysia that we have built over the years,” he pointed out in a media statement dated Jan 15 (posted on his Facebook page).
Lau should know that in politics, talk is cheap. Merely trying to distance himself without censuring the nonagenarian over an accusation so incendiary due to political expediency is not enough to allay the anger of the non-Malay community, particularly the Indians.
As of now, Lau’s claims have not been echoed by his PN counterparts such as Muhyiddin or PAS president Tan Sri Hadi Awang. The silence from the likes of Muhyiddin and Hadi is deafening considering the gravity of Dr Mahathir’s accusations.
One cannot be faulted for believing that their silence is a tacit approval for the country’s longest serving PM over 22 years and 22 months (over two stints).
In fact, in a media statement issued by PN secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin, detailing the summary of the Jan 19 meeting, there was no mention at all about Dr Mahathir’s remarks.
So instead of trying to pull wool over the public’s eye with empty rhetoric, Lau should instead push for the sacking of Dr Mahathir as economic adviser of the “SG4 (State Government 4)”, a pact consisting the four states government run by the 0pposition, namely Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.
This will send a clear message that PN does not stand for racist and divisive statements like the one uttered by the ex-PM by questioning the loyalty of Indians. If Lau fails to even ask for Dr Mahathir’s resignation, then it shows that the Gerakan president is not serious about distancing PN from the ex-PM.
Unless, of course, Lau knows that his views about Dr Mahathir will be ignored by PN leaders considering Gerakan has no seats in the Dewan Rakyat and that his coalition partners regard the party’s role as nothing more than for “window dressing” purposes only. – Jan 22, 2024