Today Malaysiakini reported No Malay veep for Gerakan.
What a shame!
It doesn’t matter that Dr Arsharuddin Ahmad, the sole Malay candidate bidding to be an office bearer in the Gerakan Party’s election, has not proven himself at state level, or that he has never held any junior national post before standing as a VP candidate.
... because AAB officiating the annual Gerakan congress in Kuala Lumpur this morning informed Gerakan Party members that there have been Malays who prefer a multi-racial party and do not want to join Umno or its rival PAS, both Malay-based party.
Then why don't they join the Gerakan?
Turning to Gerakan president by his side, AAB chided Koh: “Gerakan wants to be multi-racial but it has not become what it should be. You have not achieved the purpose of why the party was founded.”
The point is the Gerakan Party’s claim as a multi-ethnic party is now even more dodgy than ever. It will remain, and be seen mainly as a Chinese-based party with a sprinkling of Indians given the odd senatorial posts.
The natural party for Indian Malaysians is the DAP ;-). Its founder was an Indian and its current national Chairperson is an Indian. The party has an Indian VP (& 1 Malay and 3 Chinese VP), a deputy sec-gen (& 2 Chinese dep-sec gen), and 2 other Indian national committee members. Professor Rama is the deputy CM of Penang.
Just beat that degree of representation for Indians.
Thus it has been such a pity to hear 5,000 Penang MIC members declaring their intentions to over switch to the PKR. Alas!
But my lamentation for the Gerakan’s inability to vote in a Malay VP also applies in another manner to the DAP, where currently there is no DAP Malay MP!
What ever happened to Zulkifli Mohd Noor who stood as DAP’s candidate in Bukit Bendera in 2004 and won a credible 18,000 votes out of 47,000?
As I had blogged previously, the DAP may have partial claim to their avowed multi-ethnic credentials – for example, they have put up many Indian candidates who have been voted successfully into both federal Parliament and State Assemblies.
Unfortunately none of its Malay candidates were ever successful, especially if and when they stood in Malay majority constituencies.
It was in a Chinese majority Bukit Bendera (Penang) that Zulkifli Mohd Noor made a decent mark, by winning nearly 18000 of the 47000 votes, and that’s no mean feat if we look at the ethnic breakdown. The Chinese majority federal seat had 13.82% Malays, 73.97% Chinese and 11.07% Indians plus a sprinkling of 1.14% Thais, Eurasian, etc.
Even if all 14% Malays in that constituency had turned up to cast their ballots for Zulkifli (which was absolutely unlikely), he wouldn’t get more than 5000 votes. This meant that there was a whole lot of Chinese votes for Zul.
I wrote on the possible reasons why Zul didn’t make it in 2004. That could have been due to three factors:
(1) he was exposed/introduced to the locals in Bukit Bendera a wee too late in the game (in 2004). Though the DAP is a powerful brand the party must not assume that is the magic key to winning.
(2) the Gerakan wasn’t exactly sleeping in Bukit Bendera. Though tarnished in recent years (prior to 2004) by Raja Bodek, the Gerakan was (in 2004) still a reasonably popular brand, especially with the middle age population.
(3) then (in 2004), there was that freshly minted ‘Mr Clean’ or Bao Gong.
The sum of it was that Zulkifli did well in a Chinese majority, and that's because of the DAP brand. Under a program of continuous political investments (and not just campaigning on the eve of the election) Zulkifli could be a winning candidate.
Thus I was deeply disappointed to see Zulkifli completely missing from the recent March 2008 general election, when without doubt he would have won and made history as the first DAP Malay MP, giving the DAP its multi-ethnic credentials and legitimacy.
I also note that he has disappeared from the list of DAP national office bearers where he was once a VP. Has he retired or left in fustration?
As a DAP supporter (but not member) I have urged the DAP to rethink its Malaysian Malaysia ideology, which is afterall a policy that had originated from Lee Kuan Yew’s PAP when Singapore was part of Malaysia, and to also reconsider its campaign to abolish bumiputra privileges.
I suggest that the DAP looks at three issues:
(1) develop a new political vision to replace its Malaysian Malaysia that will ameliorate the fears of the Malay.
(2) develop a fresh strategic policy to accept the NEP but one that will be managed fairly and exclusively for bumiputera interest. This does not in any way disregard the currently marginalized Indians or the less fortunate Chinese. Preserve the NEP exclusively for the needy Melayu and other bumis.
Forget about Anwar Ibrahim’s claim that he would get rid of the NEP or that the policy has outlived its usefulness. As has been said, Anwar would speak in human language to humans, and spirit language to spirits. Yes, he’ll say anything to climb up the ladder of power, from 916 to half past six.
I personally believe that the NEP still has use for a large segment of the Malay and Sarawak/Sabah bumis. It’s the misuse of this apparatus for affirmative action that’s the problem, not the NEP per se.
(3) get rid of its socialist label – most Malays don’t understand what it stands for, other than it must be a part of the Satanic communist diabolical plot.
However, I do note that sweetie Teresa Kok has made great progress in winning direct Malay support which has been why she is currently being demonized by UMNO Selamgor who’s sh*t scared of her popularitry.
But once again I lament that the DAP had missed a wonderful to present Zulkifli Mohd Noor as a federal candidate in March 2008.