Don’t give up on reforms

On the eve of the Tanjung Piai by-election, I would like to share my observation, prediction and concern for the nation.

First and foremost, I believe the result of this by-election is likely to be very close. Each vote will make a huge difference.

The general trend that I have observed is that compared to last year’s general election, Malay support for Pakatan Harapan is expected to increase while Chinese votes for us may decline.

For the Malays, the increase is due to voters’ preference for the government of the day, the likable and pious personality of candidate Haji Karmaine Sardini, and the continued unhappiness with Najib Razak’s mega corruption as revealed through his current trials in courts.

The Chinese support is likely to decline in part because of unhappiness with Pakatan Harapan and the possibility of voters residing outside would not return home to vote. The rising excitement of the second week campaign has pushed some support for us but no one could be sure of outside voters’ decision.

Meanwhile, Berjasa which now controlled by Islamist nationalist ISMA or Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia may take some votes away from Barisan Nasional while some Pakatan Harapan voters in GE14 may switch to Gerakan. Votes for these smaller parties will also have an impact on the final outcome.

The final result is likely to be a majority of around 500 votes to the winner. Every single vote counts.

My second point is about the racial campaign by BN, especially by former Prime Minister Najib Razak who would stop at nothing to distract the nation from his ongoing trials.

It was uncalled for him to accuse the appointment of Lim Guan Eng as Finance Minister cannot protect “Malay dignity” due to him being Chinese. Lim Guan Eng has always been and will always be a leader for all Malaysians. His records as Penang Chief Minister as well as his current position now has proven his sincere contribution to all Malaysians, especially for Malay Muslims.

It is extremely dangerous for senior leaders to go racial to this extent. The attempt to delegitimise DAP is both provocative and alarming. In actual fact the Pakatan Harapan government is a coalition of middle ground parties, doing its best for all Malaysians.

MCA President Wee Ka Siong and BN candidate for Tanjung Piai Wee Jeck Seng must answer openly whether they agree with Najib’s view that a Chinese Malaysian Finance Minister is not able to protect Malay interests.

My third point is to highlight that after months of telling the non-Malays the DAP is a sell-out on the Jawi issue, Wee Ka Siong had to make an about-turn to suggest that he had no issue with the Jawi question.

In fact, MCA is now an ally with PAS which is now a bosom buddy of UMNO in a complicated relationship between Barisan Nasional and Muafakat Nasional.

I hope voters in the Tanjung Piai by-election will see through all these and choose Pakatan Harapan to stabilise the situation, and to fight against those are stoking racial fires. Reforms must continue, and we shouldn’t give up easily despite the racial attacks.

Last but not least, a vote for BN’s Wee Jeck Seng is a vote for Najib’s corruption and racialised views. It’s a step backward for Malaysia. I hope all of us, especially Tanjung Piai voters, will remember that.

Speech by Johor DAP Chairman Liew Chin Tong on 15th November 2019 in Pontian.

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