EDITORIAL: Please win the support of Chinese community via a moderate approach
KUALA LUMPUR (Sin Chew Daily/ANN) - The editorial of Sin Chew Daily urges the new government to adopt a moderate approach and implement inclusive polices to look after Malaysians of different ethnic groups and religious background despite being labelled as a `backdoor government`.
The 8th Prime Minister of Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin, in his maiden televised speech on 2 March, said he is the Prime Minister for all Malaysians. This is a pledge that he gives to Malaysians of different race and religious background.
Muhyiddin knows he is not the Prime Minister elected by people in an election. Hence, he stressed in his speech that he is not a traitor as described by some. He accepted the position of Prime Minister to resolve the ongoing political crisis in order to save the country. He also made several promises in his speech.
After one week of political turmoil, the palace appointed Muhyiddin as the Prime Minister. The Pakatan Harapan coalition is now the opposition. Malaysians have different perceptions on the latest political development. Many, especially the Chinese, are unhappy with Perikatan Nasional becoming the ruling government through backdoor. But for the Malay community it is a different story all together. They welcome the arrival of Malay unity. The Chinese community is helpless and forced to accept the truth.
The new government is formed by majority of Malay elected representatives. The number of non-Malay elected representatives is extremely small. The Cabinet is automatically made up by Malays. Muhyiddin said he would ensure those picked to be the cabinet ministers are clean in their records. The criteria to be ministers is vital. Muhyiddin will gain more points if his government reflects the element of multi-racial and multi-religions.
The Chinese generally are worried of the Malay unity government. It is comprised of two Malay-based political parties – United Malays Nasional Organisation (Umno) and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia ( Bersatu) including the Islamic based Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). The Chinese are concerned that how would the unity government look after the rights of non-Malays. They are worried that with the inclusion of PAS in the government, would the country become more Islamic? Can the minorities – Malaysia Chinese Association (MCA) and Malaysia Indian Congress (MIC) play the check and balance role? How about the political parties in East Malaysia?
Basically, Muhyiddin has used ` Prime Minister for all` to response to the anxiety of Chinese. The Chinese community is still adopting a wait-and-see approach. Hence, Muhyiddin ought to adopt a moderate approach to win the support of the Chinese.
During the short stint under the Pakatan Harapan, the Chinese witnessed the strong opposition by the Malays on signing The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). Bersatu opted to compromise. Almost all public universities held Malay dignity rallies where Bersatu, Umno and PAS endorsed them unanimously. The inclusion of Jawi script in the Malay textbooks of Chinese and Tamil primary schools is seen as infringing the rights of the Chinese. The Chinese feel that they have not been taken care of in those issues. How would the Muhyiddin-led government response to these issues?
Muhyiddin was once a key person in the Pakatan Harapan government. He participated in the drafting and finalising of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto. The new government would have to implement some of the promises made by the Pakatan Harapan for the Chinese. The Chinese hope to be given fair treatment in policy. Muhyiddin should show his political will and commitment to the Chinese by implementing those promises as much as possible.
The Chinese wish to see the government adopting a moderate approach and implementing inclusive policies. Despite the change of power from Pakatan Harapan to Perikatan Nasional is not glorious, the new government should not be only offering lip service with no action taken. People are judging how this new government is different from the previous one.