Hypocrisy of playing the racial card in Kajang


Shahrum Sayuthi, NST

That the Pakatan leadership has resorted to defend the much-criticised Kajang by-election it self-engineered by blaming Barisan Nasional (BN) is hardly startling.

The loose opposition pack is claiming that the by-election is to put an end to so-called racialist tactics.

How forcing this by-election could stop BN from employing the so-called racialist tactics has never properly been dwelled into but it is as clear as day that this ploy is Pakatan’s way to win over impressionable moderates.

As Pakatan’s tired script goes, only those in Pakatan are cool, genuine Bangsa Malaysia, while BN people are devoid of good traits and are just a band of racists.

On the ground, Pakatan’s campaigning strategy reflects a totally different scenario.

While BN candidate Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun concentrated her campaign on providing good service as a wakil rakyat, the Pakatan camp had over the past few days resorted to attacking her personality as they tried to convince the Chinese in Kajang to despise her.

PKR vice-president Tian Chua started the ball rolling on Sunday when he resuscitated the issue involving the relocation of SRJK(C) Damansara in 2001, and accused Chew of not even lifting a finger to stop the decision when she was the then Petaling Jaya Utara member of parliament from 1999 to 2008.

Despite Chew’s explanation on the rationale for the relocation and what MCA had done to protect the interests of the school and pupils, the attacks against her on the issue have persisted.

Yesterday, PKR’s Simpang Pulai assemblyman Tan Kar Hing reiterated the accusation that Chew had not been concerned enough about Chinese schools.

It’s a sweeping assumption, especially when Chew herself was educated in a Chinese school and even received her tertiary education in a prestigious university in Taiwan.

The 13-year-old SRJK(C) Damansara issue was again raised at Tan’s press conference, with the opposition leader bringing in tow some Petaling Jaya residents who used to oppose the relocation of the school.

Present was Bock Tai Hee, the former secretariat chief executive officer of United Chinese Schools Committee Association of Malaysia, or better known as Dong Zong.

Bock, who is campaigning in Kajang for PKR candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail insisted that the Chinese school system had been discriminated by the BN government.

Ironically, he could not defend his own stance.

When asked if there was any other country in the world with a Chinese school system other than Malaysia and China, Bock gave a resounding “no” for an answer.

Bock also admitted that even Singapore, with a high population of Chinese, had closed theirs down.

Yet, he insisted that the existence of Chinese schools in this country was because of the struggles of the Chinese community and that the BN government’s ultimate aim was to close them down altogether.

Most unsettling was when Bock repeatedly referred to the national schools as “Sekolah Melayu (Malay schools)”, which were purportedly given preferential treatment by the BN government,

It seems that people such as Bock and the Pakatan leadership had conveniently chosen to ignore the fact that Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the deputy prime minister, had repeatedly promised that the government would never close Chinese schools.

Also, conveniently forgotten by them were the billions of ringgit spent by the Federal Government annually to assist Chinese schools in terms of teachers’ salaries and other contributions for their upkeep.

They evidently will never let go of the Chinese school issue and will use it as fodder to stir up the sentiments of the Chinese community to go against the BN government.

The glaring question then pops up: so who is really playing the racial card?