Stop Race Baiting and Listen More to Voter Signals

June 17, 2013

MY COMMENT: The last election was divisive and disturbing as DinobeanoUMNO played the race card to regain Malay support. They got it but at the expense of national unity. It was the rural heartland and the conservative Malays who gave UMNO-BN the mandate to govern while the urbanites showed their disgust by voting for the Pakatan Rakyat. As a result, more than 50 per cent of voters favored the Opposition.

In a state of shock on the morning of May 6 when the election results were known on the first to pass the post basis, the Prime Minister talked of national reconciliation. But the post election rhetoric remains racist as reflected in Utusan Malaysia, UMNO’s mouthpiece, and this is not likely to change since the UMNO General Assembly is fast approaching. The Prime Minister as UMNO President needs to establish pro-Malay credentials to secure his position in the party. National reconciliation will, therefore, have to take a back seat momentarily.–Din Merican

Stop Race Baiting and Listen More to Voter Signals

by P. Gunasegaram (05-31-13) @

najib-and-muhyiddin-new-cabinet-300x168The reactions to elections by Barisan Nasional (BN) and UMNO in particular and related organisations is nothing short of shocking. It reflects an alarming and regressive move towards hardline stances which are blatantly racist and with complete disregard to what the election results themselves indicate the electorate wants.

Considering that the majority of voters were against BN and by implication UMNO, the stance towards needless toughness and the callous appeal to base racial hatred will only alienate the BN from the public who have clearly indicated they want change for the better and which have by and large rejected race itself as an issue.

It reflects a belligerent, biased, boorish and childish response to election results by influential quarters, including ministers, a former prominent judge, Utusan Malaysia editors and others who have successfully drowned out a few reasonable voices within UMNO and hijacked the so-called reconciliation process post elections.

Persisting with these actions has not only put paid to the reconciliation process but unnecessarily raised tensions among all people. This may have been the intention of those who raised these issues in such a manner in the hope of keeping themselves and their ilk in power by perpetuating fear.

But in the end, those who play with fire are likely to burn themselves. Malaysians are already aware that the race card is repeatedly played to trump all manner of ills facing Malaysia, and especially UMNO and BN patronage, corruption and cronyism which lead to a plethora of social ills.

If UMNO goes on along this line and if the government machinery, including the Police continue to selectively prosecute only those opposed to them, they can expect a severe backlash from the electorate five or less years down the line.

If anyone was taken in by the promises of moderation, change, and concern for the electorate that was a constant refrain of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s pre-election campaigning, they would now think more than twice before voting BN.


Ironically it was Najib himself who set the ball rolling on election night, or rather early morning the next day, when he blamed the Chinese tsunami for the downturn in BN’s fortunes. While more Chinese may have voted opposition, it was more than abundantly clear that all urban voters turned away from Barisan while voters in significant rural Malay areas such as Terengganu and Pahang as well as the Malay heartland areas in Selangor turned towards Pakatan Rakyat. Even DAP’s Lim Kit Siang could not have won in Gelang Patah against former Johor Chief Minister Abdul Ghani Othman with such a large majority without Malay support.

That BN’s fortunes turned down only because of the Chinese swing is a blatant lie which has been perpetrated over and and over again by the usual string of suspects. There was a broad swing against BN and UMNO in many areas. Najib never retracted or clarified his position over the Chinese tsunami statement.

Encouraged by this, the closet and not-so-closeted radicals came out, and unfortunately included a former top judge.mohd-noor-abdullahMalaysikini reported that former Court of Appeal Judge Mohd Noor Abdullah (left) warned that the Chinese Malaysians must be prepared for a backlash from the Malay community for their “betrayal” in the recently concluded 13th general election.

“The Chinese betrayal towards the Malay’s hand of friendship – that is true. Because they plotted to seize political power even though they already have economic power,” he said to raucous applause at a forum in Kuala Lumpur.

How can voting for one party or the other be termed “betrayal”? In this case the Chinese voted for PAS and PKR which are also Malay-based parties. Must the Chinese always vote for BN-based Malay parties; UMNO in other words? And how could a community which forms just 28% of the electorate seize power without Malay participation and concurrence?

That a former Court of Appeal judge should make such racist comments and propagate lies in the process, aimed at inciting and inflaming the emotions of the majority community, is unbelievable. Most Malays, however, are not likely to buy such arguments.

And that newspaper, Utusan Malaysia, which publicly proclaims itself as the defender of Malay rights, published an incendiary, provocative article titled “Apa lagi Cina mahu?” as if the Chinese were solely responsible for BN’s poorer fortunes in the election. Even if they were – and they were not the only reason – so what? Is it not up to BN to ask itself why it alienated the Chinese community so much?

Didn’t the Indian community, a previous strong supporter, reject BN in 2008 because it felt that the government did not do enough for the Indian community and could not even prevent the unproportionate and very violent deaths of Indians in police detention? In fact days after the election, yet another Indian was violently killed in a police lock-up. The suspects – policemen – have merely been transferred to desk duties, instead of being subjected to intensive questioning after being detained which is the normal procedure for murder.

Utusan Malaysia went on to write an incredibly racist series of articles on Air Asia Azranthe election. When AirAsiaX’s CEO Azran Osman Rani twittered his private objections, the newspaper launched a tirade against him and the airline.

The authorities remained silent. The new Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar cautioned all parties not to make seditious statements in the wake of the general election but ignored Utusan Malaysia’s reports.

zahid hamidi khalid abu bakar'Somewhere along the way, the new Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, callously called on those who were unhappy with election procedures to migrate and when the Police arrested speakers who had spoken earlier at a forum on May 13 against racism, disavowed any responsibility.

If these don’t represent a firm return to the bad old days, accompanied with total silence on these issues by Najib, what else is? But if UMNO thinks that this is what will save them, they are sadly, badly mistaken.

If they carry on this way they will find out for themselves that they will lose the next election — phantom voters or no phantom voters. UMNO needs to free itself from those who will destroy it to protect their own narrow interests by race baiting.

9 thoughts on “Stop Race Baiting and Listen More to Voter Signals

  1. Guna, your article is another reminder that nothing will remove what was openly accused of the Chinese since 505

    Presumably that Chinese have a higher literacy, they voted for PKR and PAS and also DAP. Otherwise how would PKR gotten so much vote?

    25% of the population, can rule meh? No way everyone knows la.

    Anyway, there is no damage control and because of that, it sunk in the hearts of not just Chinese but all because deep in those hearts of the wicked, they knew the truth that malays voted for PKR instead of UMNO and they had no balls to say that fearing the malays who vote for PKR might bite back so they scapegoated the Chinese.

  2. Din, I am shocked by your comment that ” The Prime Minister…needs to establish pro-Malay credentials to secure his position in the party…National reconciliation will, therefore, have to take a back seat momentarily. ” It is akin to that other statement that one is Malay first, and Malaysian second…it’s putting the cart before the horse…and admitting that the core ideology is a racist one. Even if the excuse is one of expediency…it’s gutter politics anyway you want to rationalize it. If it is the only way leadership can be won…what is being lead? I think all right thinking Malaysians have a right to expect sincerity and upstanding behavior from its leaders and not pandering to the lowest common denominator.

    That is my reading of Najib. After all, he is the head of a supremacist Malay party. There is no need to be shocked by my comment. I do not condone racism in whatever shape, color or form. –Din Merican

  3. Din,
    Which voter signals? The ignorant rural heartlanders who time & time again voting in UMNO? We were told that it takes only 20% of popular vote to get the magic 112 required to govern the country. Judging from the current, the EC who is in cahoot with Najib would make sure that UMNO will rule in perpeituity.
    Still wanna play by rules? Or follow the Ghandi or Mandela’s frustrating Najib till UMNO mampus politically

  4. Just wondering if Najib would utter these words! OMG! I equate Ah Jib with Richard III (Shakespears’s protrayal). OMG!

    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
    And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
    Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
    Our stern alarums chang’d to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.

  5. “If they carry on this way they will find out for themselves that they will lose the next election — phantom voters or no phantom voters.”, P. Gunasegaram.

    This is a wishful thinking that BN/UMNO will lose in the next election under the current electoral system. I think there is 99% chance UMNO-BN will again win when the law itself allows extreme gerrymandering where one constituency can have population 9 or 90 times as many as the others. Kapish.

  6. When Najib blamed the swing of popular votes at 1am on 6th May on Chinese Tsunami, he has indirectly split the Chinese-Malay relationship in Malaysia forever. This is sheer irresponsibility of someone who claims to fame seem to be an APCO-coined 1Malaysia! He will go down in history as most ultra of all ultra Malays within ruling party UMNO. So, if the bloghost feels Najib needs to build up more pro-Malay credentials, then you all might as well just give us 20g of C4 and let us rid ourselves from this Bolehland… you can have it all……

    I speak out like this simply because I feel confident most Malays never voted for BN anyway especially those I am close with who are mostly professionals and urban dwellers. These Malays are staying in Malaysia but they don’t even earn their incomes here. They trade commodities like jati wood, merbau wood, meranti batu, meranti merah, etc, rumput laut (seaweed), coal, iron ore, tin, nickel ore, manganese, bauxite… and they deal from Cambodia or Indonesia or now towards Myanmar… they don’t need anything from the BN government whatsoever.

    And Dato, may I also say some statements from lately are very skewed towards Najib and perhaps you feel we are all tired and should accept the results and move forward… but how can we allow another 5 years for these pirates, robbers and fraudsters to continue plundering this nation thru overpriced projects?

  7. Go mine the words betw E and W Msia.

    In Sabah, the slogan is Sabah for Sabahans, no race mentioned. At least they know how to come together as Sabahans though the local leaders tried to seem it as EM.

    By playing up the race card, is showed our political maturity over the years were fake and dis united and definitely not for the people but for the few cronies pocket liners.

    Since the days of Mahathir, we have became anything but developed as a people.
    Kuli had tried once with S46, seem he has less courage to risk another try, not when Mahathir is still around. That time he was younger and more influential than today esp in Umno. For better of lousy choice, he might get nominated by those undepending on Najib. The EM are bolder and more assertive and might get back at Najib by choosing Kuli. He should have made the choice in 2008. It might be over the hill today as seem he might have lost his umph !

  8. Dear siangmalam

    Not only overpriced projects. Outright theft of public funds too !
    Remember the bovine project ?

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