MP for Kluang • Political Education Director, Democratic Action Party

A nation in waiting

Malaysia is a nation in waiting for a profound change, especially since the 1999 general election, when sufficient numbers of Malaysians voted for a corrupt-free government, a democratic political system, and a more equitable distribution of opportunities and resources.

The themes that captured the attention of the electorate during the 1999 general election remained the same for the two subsequent elections, 2004 and 2008, except that in the 2004 elections, it was former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who stole the reform platform. The cry for reform was real ever since Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad assumed the premiership nearly 30 years ago.

The one-party state that has ruled the country since independence refused to recognise the need to change despite suffering heavy blows in the 2008 general election.

It is my fervent hope to see the nation in waiting for more than a decade will rise again to democratise our political system, to free our government from corruption, and to see through the transformation of our society that has social justice and equal opportunity at heart.

Only in such a society that we can restore hope and trust, and bring a new lease of life to our nation that is tired of waiting for change.


Elected as Member of the Malaysian Federal Parliament for Bukit Bendera in the March 2008 election. Since 1999, Chin Tong has served DAP in various capacities and is now a Member of its Central Executive Committee, serving as International Secretary.

Learn more about Chin Tong’s Track Record


The Malay leadership vacuum

If both Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tuan Guru Datuk Seri Hadi Awang remain as the presidents of UMNO and PAS respectively, the sense of being leaderless will continue in the Malay community. The status quo is therefore not a stable situation, and we are bound to see new contenders coming into the field to… Read More

GST: An embarrassment to the government, Ahmad Maslan should be moved to other ministry

Speech by DAP National Political Education Director and MP for Kluang Liew Chin Tong when opening the 1MDB scandal forum featuring MP for Petaling Jaya Utara Tony Pua in Kluang on 12th April 2015 The danger of implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is not merely due to its serious inflationary impact but also… Read More

GST: Customs must stop harassing small businesses

Media statement by DAP National Political Education Director and MP for Kluang Liew Chin Tong on 3rd April 2015 in Kluang: I call on Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to instruct the Customs Department to halt all enforcement activities and focus on hand-holding small businesses to adapt to GST collections. In my visits to… Read More

Seeing through the hudud controversy

First of all let me stress that Muslim has the right to believe in hudud law. I respect that right, as much as I believe Muslims respect the rights of people of other faiths. However in the case of the Kelantan hudud enactment, it is more than just a legal matter but rather as a… Read More

If the Government can buy a new private jet, why can’t it subsidise public buses

Media statement by DAP MP for Kluang and National Political Education Director Liew Chin Tong on 21st March 2015 We now see a spectacular drama in full display: that Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai and Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi didn’t know about the multiple fare hike for bus, taxi, train services announced by… Read More

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    Liew Chin Tong
    April 25, 2015 at 7:05 am

    A forum in Kluang on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and racial politics last night was cancelled after the speakers found the venue completely dark and sealed with red and white barrier tape.

    The reason for the closure of the venue, a restaurant, was unknown, but Umno Youth on Wednesday threatened to hold a demonstration against the forum it claimed is “racist”.

    Restoran Tepi Sungai Jamilah was found closed when the speakers arrived around 8.15pm, said forum organiser Sheikh Omar Ali.

    "About 60 to 70 people were there, half of them were our supporters while the others were Umno members and police,” said Sheikh Omar, who represents youth group LayPark@Kluang.

    Liew Chin Tong
    April 24, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    The Malay leadership vacuum

    If both Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tuan Guru Datuk Seri Hadi Awang remain as the presidents of UMNO and PAS respectively, the sense of being leaderless will continue in the Malay community.

    The status quo is therefore not a stable situation, and we are bound to see new contenders coming into the field to fill the painful vacuum. This will open up new possibilities for Malaysian politics.

    It would be foolish to assume that UMNO will not stay in power for too long. After all, if it, still led by Najib, with help from certain segments of PAS, still led by Hadi Awang, manages to amend the Constitution to increase the number of seats in ways that will benefit it, then it would be very difficult to defeat.

    We must not underestimate the power of incumbency and the incumbent’s use of government machineries to win elections.

    But to win convincingly in Malaysian politics, one has to win across ethnic lines, across the South China Sea to Sabah and Sarawak, and across the sizable number of centrist Malay voters, especially the young ones.

    Najib threw in everything, dare we say, his dignity included, in the 2013 general election and won 47% of the votes to secure 133 parliamentary seats. Shocked by this, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has rightly pointed out that a two percent swing in the right places would see the end of UMNO’s rule.

    Hence Najib is a damaged brand. While Dr. Mahathir recovered from significant loses of votes in the 1990 general election to win the largest vote share in history (65%) in 1995, Najib has done nothing significant since the election two years ago to warrant a resurgent.

    The only way for Najib to go seems to be downwards.

    Apart from the status quo, the following are some possible outcomes in the next election:

    First, if Najib stays on as Prime Minister, denying his role in a series of scandals and letting the country to continue drifting, the fate of India’s Congress Party finally met in that country’s 2014 general elections will be what probably will awaits UMNO. The Congress Party which ruled from 2004 to 2014 lost legitimacy altogether and won only 44 out of 543 lower house seats, and it is not too far-fetched to imagine UMNO losing legitimacy to such an extent. With Najib still at the helm, that seems even probable.

    Second, if there is an internal putsch before the next election, and Muhyiddin takes control of UMNO and manages to secure its conservative base while being conciliatory towards the middle ground, a convincing win for the party is possible. I call this the LBJ scenario, after American President Lyndon B. Johnson. LBJ was regarded a conservative in most parts of his political career especially as senator but he was able to push through some of the country’s most progressive legislations and policies as president on succeeding the assassinated JFK. A Muhyddin premiership has to win the middle ground especially the young Malays and the non-Malays to win convincingly.

    But if a Muhyiddin premiership should act as lackadaisical as Najib’s and continues to allow the hardliners to be loud and to take charge, then an end to UMNO’s hold on power is also probable.

    Third, the Sri Lankan election is an interesting reference point. A last minute split in the ruling party, with a minister breaking ranks to contest against the incumbent, manages to provide a viable alternative. And, with support from half of the majority Sinhalese support and a landslide among Tamil and Muslim minorities, this rebel managed to defeat the incumbent.

    The idea of another split within UMNO has to be brought into the equation partly because of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s imprisonment and also because of the inability of Hadi Awang and PAS to capture the centrist imagination and provide a credible alternative.

    If Fadzil Noor were still around, with his centrist posture, there would be no hesitation for the entire opposition to rally around him as the de facto leader of the opposition the moment Anwar Ibrahim was taken out of action. In contrast, Hadi has diminished into being a factional leader within PAS.

    PAS as always had trouble convincing the middle ground of its ability to play on the federal stage, and with Hadi remaining the party head, it will simply continue to drift into its diminishing world.

    These are the reasons why I say that if the status quo remains, if both Najib and Hadi remain head of their respective parties, we have to expect new personalities to push themselves onto centre-stage and vie for the future leadership of Malaysia.

    Who would these people be? At risk of over-simplification, a first group would be what I would call the “Bangsar” establishment figures like those who are members of G25 and the like. A second group would be the “Bangi” Islamists who have yet to involve themselves in electoral politics.

    A third source is harder to define, but it will come from within Malay youth at large. After all, they are the ones with little to lose and everything to gain.

    It’s still early days. The fact remains though. There is a leadership vacuum in Malaysia, and this vacuum is felt most strongly among the Malays, especially among Malay youths. Such as situation is not one to bet on to continue.

    Speech by DAP National Political Education Director and Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong at the Australian National University on 8 April 2015

    Liew Chin Tong
    Facebook IconApril 23, 2015 at 6:38 pm

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    DAP rep launches rape awareness campaign targeting men

    PETALING JAYA, April 21 ― DAP's Yeo Bee Yin kicked off a campaign today to raise awareness about rape and to reverse the culture of victim blaming, in line with this month’s sexual assault awareness campaign. The Damansara Utama assemblyman said

    Liew Chin Tong
    April 23, 2015 at 6:35 pm

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    “We will see a sea of red in KL (Kuala Lumpur) on May 1 to show the people’s anger towards GST – the people’s anger towards Barisan Nasional for imposing GST which burdens the people.” -Anthony Loke

    Liew Chin Tong
    Facebook IconApril 23, 2015 at 5:56 pm

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