Former minister: Kajang polls chance for Chinese to redeem themselves


(MM) – The Chinese community has a “golden opportunity” to regain the trust of the Malays in the wake of the so-called “Chinese Tsunami” of Election 2013, a former Cabinet minister said yesterday.

Backing calls for the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate in the upcoming Kajang by-election to come from MCA, Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin also said the party could use the poll to gauge Chinese support for its newly-elected leadership.

“The Kajang by-election is not the chance for Malays to repay the ‘Chinese Tsunami,’ but must be seen as a golden opportunity for the Chinese community to overturn Malay views that the Chinese can no longer be trusted as political allies.

“It is undeniable that this trust was broken by the ‘Chinese Tsunami,’” the former information minister wrote on his blog yesterday.

The term “Chinese Tsunami” was coined in the aftermath of a divisive Election 2013 that saw BN register the worst electoral showing of its history despite retaining power over the government.

A BN victory would also serve as a platform to rebuild Chinese-Malay co-operation that will benefit racial harmony, boost the economy, and stabilise the political climate in the country, Zainuddin added.

Similarly, a win by an MCA candidate would denote public support for the new line-up of leaders in the Chinese party that is now coming out of a long-drawn faction war.

“MCA’s participation in Kajang will allow (president) Liow Tiong Lai and (his deputy) Wee Ka Siong to show that their appointments are in line with the desires of the Chinese community for clean, new and dynamic leaders,” Zainuddin added.

Explaining that he initially felt that BN should not take part in the coming election, the former chief editor of Utusan Malaysia said he has since come to view the poll as potentially more damaging to PKR and its de facto leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is contesting there.

He then told Umno members who are “crazy about contesting” the seat to back down, and to throw their weight behind MCA’s choice.

Umno previously sent out feelers via Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and vice president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on the possibility of the party contesting the Malay-majority seat, though this was met by resistance from MCA.

In a surprise move on Monday, PKR’s Lee Chin Cheh resigned as Kajang assemblyman without giving a reason, paving the way for Anwar to contest the by-election.

The move came not long after media speculation that a state by-election would be triggered to pave the way for Anwar to become a member of the Selangor assembly and qualify to replace Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as MB.

While popular with the general public, Khalid’s penchant for unilateral decision-making in administering the country’s wealthiest state is understood to be a source of dissatisfaction among PR leaders in the state.