Nazri says no to zero Chinese representation in government

By Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 — A senior Umno minister has declared that he would fight tooth and nail to ensure Chinese representation in a Barisan Nasional (BN) government even if the MCA or Gerakan fails to secure a single parliamentary seat in the coming polls.

Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz told The Malaysian Insider that BN would not “punish” the Chinese voters by simply yanking their representatives from Cabinet posts if they refused to vote for the two Chinese-centric component parties.

While admitting that the matter would not be his to decide, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department gave his word that he would champion this cause to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should such a situation arise when the coalition retains the government.

“I want to tell the Chinese voters that BN is a multi-racial government and regardless of the outcome of the elections, we will always have a Chinese representative in Cabinet. I want to say this with certainty even though I am a nobody in Umno… not even a vice-president.

“But if it should come to that, I will do my very best to persuade the PM that we should not have a single communal government. The system allows us to appoint senators and we need to have representatives of the non-Malay community,” he said.

Nazri recalled that such a promise was made by the country’s longest-serving prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his tenure in government.

“I remember back when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was PM… he told Cabinet that even if we come to a stage where MCA or Gerakan loses in all parliamentary seats, we cannot form a Malay government.

“We cannot be a single communal government as it simple goes against the spirit and policy of BN. We cannot punish and penalise a section of the community just because they do not support BN,” he said.

Nazri was recalling a pledge made by MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek several months ago when the former Cabinet minister said he would pull his party from the government if it performs worse than it did in Election 2008.