Being Sunday I decided to take a peep at Wong Chun Wai’s On The Beat column in the Star Online, as he would be the voice of the MCA leaders, though right now which one, is a little unclear. I wanted to see what the MCA could be brewing ... and you can bet it won't be tea.
In his previous article titled The old ways must go Wong said the obvious, that UMNO keris waving and the sort of ethno-centric marginalizing public speech that Malaysiakini reported the Kelantanese Crown Prince as saying to a bunch of Malay NGOs, would now be passé in Malaysian politics.
Wong CW’s article has been quite fair and complimentary to the Pakatan Rakyat, though of course good ole Wong didn’t fail to niftily insert in a compliment for AAB.
Oh, of course there were subtle excuses for UMNO and MCA. We have to grant him this latitude as after all he is the Group Manager of the Star group ;-)
But I believe that the thrust of his article was the subliminal message for UMNO vis-à-vis its arrogant behaviour towards, and dismissive treatment of MCA, with extreme racist conduct increasingly out of control during the last four years under AAB ........ which is of course another way of making an indirect excuse for the MCA’s abysmal showing on 08 March 2008.
Some extracts of Wong’s article:
The new governments of Perak, Selangor and Penang, in particular, have also given power-sharing a new dimension among the major races.
The three parties of Pakatan Rakyat have come out with well-accepted line-ups, reflecting representation of the main ethnic groups. In one or two instances, the formula was more meaningful than under the previous Barisan state governments.
‘…the formula was more meaningful than under the previous Barisan state governments.’
Would Wong be basically saying to UMNO “Couldn’t you have done that for MCA? Bloody make sure you do that from now on.” ;-)
Then there was: Let’s give credit where credit is due. With a stroke of the pen, Perak Mentri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin has approved permanent land titles for new villages and planned villages. True, the villagers may not get their titles overnight because surveys have to be carried out to determine land size before the titles can be issued. But the point is the people will be more secure now that the new state government has made a decision about their homes, which they have lived in since 1948.
The populist move by the Pakatan Rakyat government will surely make the fight for the hearts and minds of Malaysians with Barisan Nasional more competitive.
The new Perak State government has done the correct thing in approving permanent titles to new villages, as in the general case, those poor farmers and others like rubber tappers, have been working their backs off on those land for the last 50 years or even more. An example of such farmers facing uncertainties because of their untitled land can be read in my 2-year old post Green Fingers, Green Acres & Green Malaysia.
While I can understand the MCA’s chagrin at how UMNO (and its pre-election Perak MB) had undermined the Chinese party in refusing to do what the current Pact State government has done for the new villages, as Wong CW had described it (perhaps with a bitter swipe at UMNO), “with a stroke of the pen”, I don’t quite like Wong’s use of the word ‘populist’ to describe the long overdue and just action.
The adjective ‘populist’ is derived from the noun ‘populism' which can mean “the political doctrine that supports the rights and powers of the common people in their struggle with the privileged elite”.
But in more contemporary usage it can also mean “appeasing the public or voters’ demand to gain political favour or popularity even at the expense of good economic management”.
An example of what was regarded by some as ‘populist’ policies had been Anwar Ibrahim's offer to give Sarawak and Sabah 20% of the oil and gas royalties, and even more so, his pre-election promise to reduce fuel prices. But this post is not about Anwar Ibrahim, though I must confess the unthinkable may occur, precisely because of my growing anger at the racist fire some UMNO leaders are playing with, that kaytee may eventually and unbelievably accept Anwar Ibrahim as halal.
Harrrumph ... back to topic, about Wong CW's use of the word 'populist' - When farmers have worked themselves to the bones productively on government land for generations, and there is no planned or foreseeable projects of national interests (eg. airports, highways, reservoirs, etc) conflicting with the location of these farmland, it is only just that those Malaysian farmers, citizens of this country, be awarded titles, so as to accord certainty for them, and where required, to invest in modern farming technology to cope with globalised market forces.
It has to take a long suffering opposition to come into power to do the rightful action for those equally long suffering farmers and residents of the new villages. It also shows that the MCA or the Gerakan could not look after the legitimate and fair interests of Chinese Malaysians they claimed to be looking after.
However, Wong CW’s has made a premature claim that ‘the days of fiery speeches – with politicians expounding their narrow communal stance and pushing the political temperature with subtle threats – are over’ because of what had happened yesterday, which I posted as Kelantan Crown Prince 'slapped' non-Malays in face!
In Utusan Malaysia, the headline was even more provocative, shouting out Ketuanan Melayu tercabar - Kaum lain lebih dominan dari segi politik, ekonomi - Tengku Faris.
“Ketuanan Melayu tercabar ..."!
"Kaum lain ..."
Nice touch, yang mulia!
The suspicion among many visitors to my post was that our young yang mulia could have been ‘encouraged’ by a certain relative to make those very hurtful and totally unacceptable pronouncement. Suspicions being suspicions, I would welcome more evidence to support the allegations.
Besides HRH is an adult and should be fully aware of how hurtful his remarks have been in demoting some of his subjects to second class status, “with a stroke of the pen” on his prepared speech, and that as a royal person, how unacceptable has been his political statement of “The election results have shown that the Malays are disunited and facing other ethnic groups who are more dominant politically and economically.”
HRH should decide whether he wants to participate directly in politics (as a politician, like his uncle) or remain above public reproach as the Crown Prince of his State, a royal symbol of unity for his subjects, but he can't be both in a democracy that is a constitutional monarchy.
I urge Pak Haji Nik Aziz, MB of Kelantan, to provide some urgently needed advice to HRH.
But obviously Wong’s advice to UMNO leaders to ‘reinvent itself and reinforce its leadership role in Barisan because the political equation has changed’ has been ignored, as party sharks have smelled the blood of a fatally wounded AAB and in circling him for the kill, have defaulted to their intra party SOP of campaigning.
Meanwhile, at MCA headquarters ......... (silence) (silence) (silence) ........ while today's Star Online headlines read Tycoons buying endangered animals as 'status symbols', and the MCA wonders why its election candidates were nearly decimated in the last election.
Also useful reading:
(1) Tengku Razaleigh signals his claim for UMNO No 1
(2) Ku Li no longer Kool & Kalm!
(3) May 13 nightmare still haunting us
(4) Root of evil in Malaysian politics
Compare this with Mike Tyson said something right which I posted in my other blog BolehTalk
based on a Star Online news article.