I picked up this news item from malaysiakini.
Batu Kawan - many of my relatives, mostly Teochew nang, were born and brought up there. I wonder what they would think of the accusations against Chinese voters by Wahid Osman, the UMNO division chief and also its Youth representative.
He was probably in merajuk mode (sulking) when he declared that Penang UMNO Youth would stop making calls for the state CM post to be held alternatively between UMNO and Gerakan.
‘... between UMNO and Gerakan ...’? Ouch and take that, dear MCA!
Just a wee background before we get to dear Wahid’s comments - One person who had raised the UMNO recent demands for a shot (and probably a ‘permanent’ shot at that too) for the Penang CM’s post had been KJ.
Making ethnic-coloured demands on the claim that it’s all for bangsa (race) and agama (religion) has always a sure-fire success-guaranteed formula to secure party’s popularity (especially within the Youth camp), and regrettably, regularly and remorselessly resorted to by ambitious UMNO apparatchiks.
Yes it’s cheap and seditiously-gained popularity but when one’s in a mighty mad rush to the top, one would take everything one possibly could, especially those well and truly tested formulae which work – yes, the end justifies the means.
The usual tactic as applied to the Penang scenario – first, alleged that Penang Malays had been marginalized by Chinese CM, then argued CM should be Malay (from UMNO, but who else) as only solution to address and ameliorate the impoverished status of the State’s Malays – not forgetting of course to throw in the rousing teflon-ised cry of ‘demi bangsa dan agama’.
This old demand was given new life in 2006 when KJ started to make waves in the area. The result was not important; the demands had to be made flamboyantly, aggressively and loudly - the typical Malaysian case of form being far more important than substance.
Going back a little, when Dr Mahathir was PM, he refuted those claims of marginalisation of Malays in Penang by pointing to the Malay-governed state of Kelantan as a stark example of the accusers’ unfounded allegations.
The economic fact shows that Malays in Penang are only second to their counterparts in the Klang Valley. They are certainly better off than their compatriots from other states such as Kedah, Perlis and Terengganu.
See Dr Mahathir: "Khairy's all talk but no action"
So, the BN leadership had rejected some UMNO calls for an UMNO person to hold the CM post. The recent renewed demands by (mainly) UMNO Youth for a shot at the No 1 Penang position could be considered as one of those perennial UMNO grandstanding manoeuvres for internal consumption.
PM AAB re-stated what his predecessors since Tun Razak’s days had stated, that the CM post belonged to Gerakan (encore commiserations: MCA, go ahead and weep!).
As I had blogged previously, why disturb a (another) winning formula where Gerakan and the MCA have been allocated seats that nicely split the Penang Chinese representation, making UMNO by default the BN component with the most seats and therefore the principal political influence over matters in the state.
See also my previous postings:
(1) An island cursed & it's not Langkawi!
(2) The Brilliance of Hishamuddin Tun Hussein
Making an UMNO person the CM could possibly see all Chinese in Penang flocked to the DAP banner, or worse, the MCA – yes, not an error, I haven’t got it wrong – a MCA as the BN component with enough seats not to require UMNO’s support in the State Assembly would be disastrous (for UMNO), and insufferable.
To UMNO, there’s nothing more insufferable than a cocky and difficult-to-restrain MCA. The formula is to give parties like the MCA and Gerakan enough to keep them docile, dependent and dependable, but not enough to make them too assertive, aggressive or amok-ish-ly independent.
Anyway, back to dear Wahid – he said what we already know, that the State UMNO had twice proposed alternating the post, because UMNO has a majority in the state assembly – though not if you group Gerakan and MCA together, which again is another undesirable outcome (for UMNO).
He lamented that the proposal was rejected both times, first by former PM Dr Mahathir, and then again last year by AAB. That’s why they are the PMs while Wahid is just a Batu Kawan Youth representative – no strategic outlook.
I wonder whether he sobbed as he said: "We have decided not to propose the same thing again."
Maybe there was a phone call from KL to be sabar, tenang and demi bangsa dan agama?
Apparently Wahid was not one to relinquish the spotlight, not if he wants to climb up the echelon fast. So he said that the State UMNO would focus on taking back the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat - As if we weren’t aware of that electoral constituency being No 1 on UMNO’s hit list.
Probably still in merajuk mode, Wahid accused Chinese voters of supporting the opposition (certainly DAP, but PKR in Permatang Pauh? I have to admit I don’t know). And that’s because, according to Wahid, the Chinese have been disillusioned with the UMNO government. Nooooo, I wouldn’t have guess – thanks Wahid!
He continued his shocking ;-) revelation: "This is not a new thing. It has happened in other places in Penang, especially in areas where an UMNO candidate is vying for a seat with a Chinese candidate."
Wahid put the Chinese support down to Chinese affinity with its own race since the DAP candidates like Karpal Singh, Kulasegaran (and in the past, Peter Dason, Devan Nair, Patto, etc) won seats in areas where the Chinese population made up more than 80 percent.
Damn shifty, those Chinese – modifying their candidates' names to avoid detection.
In this connection (no, not about those Chinese with Hindi-nised monikers), Wahid warned UMNO that the party must, before the general election, deal with issues appeasing the Chinese community, such as the economy, Chinese schools and temples.
But how and in what fashion, he didn’t elaborate, which is just as well, as he would just upset various established winning formulae, beyond the ken of a katak dalam Batu Kawan tempurung.
Footnote: from malaysiakini - BN holds 38 out of 40 seats in the state assembly - Umno (14), MCA (9), Gerakan (13) and MIC (2). The other two seats are held by DAP and PAS.