DAP and the unique Malay problem

The Malay ground in Penang is different and complex compared to the Malay heartland states, and the Chinese-dominated party may find itself in a fix.

Hawkeye, Free Malaysia Today

A veteran Penang Umno leader forsees that DAP will be caught in a quandary over how to address the restless Malay ground here in the coming general election.

The Malay ground here is different and complex compared to the Malay heartland states, as the community here was almost on par with the Chinese in terms of population and electorate numbers, said Sungai Dua assemblyman Jasmin Mohamed.

The main disparity is the economic clout, which the Chinese tend to dominate; hence the Malay community here would cling on to parties that could guarantee them a stronger political voice in the absence of financial clout.

Jasmin said that if DAP fielded Malay candidates to off-set the pressure it faced from Barisan Nasional, then it might ruffle the “feathers” of its partners PKR and PAS.

Both PKR and PAS had not done much to reassure the Malays about their stake in Penang’s socio-economic future, so one cannot blame the DAP if it fielded Malay candidates in Penang, he said.

Everywhere the community – mostly middle to lower income class – looks, it is surrounded by properties and enterprises, which are beyond its reach, Jasmin claimed.

He said the issues confronting the Malays here were not about corruption, nepotism or cronyism but equality in terms of the economic cake distribution and having a proper roof over their heads, since the housing prices here were extorbitant.

There is also a question of providing human resources development and battling social ills, which plague the community, and coping with the rising costs of living.

DAP also had a tendency to overlook the Malay customs of diplomacy, mannerism and mutual respect – it tends to belittle the community instead of treating it on par.

All these factors had boiled to the surface now and DAP must handle them well, Jasmin said.

He said that Umno as the lynchpin of the BN was not worried about DAP’s strategies as it was prepared for any eventuality.

“Even if the DAP throws Malay candidates at us, we are ready for them,” he added.

Jasmin said that DAP failed to understand the needs of the Malays and chose instead to find fault with leaders who were not even in Penang.

“The DAP is good in the blame game. We raised the issue of the poor Malays, DAP would turn around and say that BN was corrupt. So this sort of passing the ‘buck politics’ goes on and on. It is unhealthy,” he added.