Give us a break! Stop politicising Malaysian Chinese!


Mike Tan, The Ant Daily

They hate us, they love us. We’re affectionately called Apek, Uncle, Auntie and Ah Moi by our friends, and cursed as pendatang by those who revile us.

Most recently, we’ve been labelled communists, RBA (Red Bean Army), and accused of being DAPigs, supporters of the despised “Chinese” party, DAP.

Who are we? We are the Malaysian Chinese.

As an ethnic group, we make up approximately 22 per cent of the country’s population at last count. Yet many claim that we are kingmakers and influencers, who operate behind the scenes, manipulating people like marionettes and manoeuvring events like pieces on a chessboard.

How I wish those claims were true. Because then I would be so filthy rich that I can do anything I want. Truth of the matter is – and most Malaysians know this – most Chinese are no different from Malays, Indians, Dayaks, Ibans or any other race that call Malaysia their home.

Yet it would seem that politicians can’t stop using us as their favourite subject! And to make things worse, it seems that Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat are taking turns using the Chinese to their advantage.

Last month, Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob started the ball rolling by using the Chinese to boost his appeal within Umno with his ‘boycott Chinese traders’ Facebook post. The price of petrol had gone down that month, while the price of consumer products stayed high.

This month, it’s Pakatan Rakyat’s turn. With the increase in petrol price and a low price campaign in full swing, Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali boldly told the government to not “blame the Chinese whenever there is inflation and play up racial sentiments to cover up (Putrajaya’s) own weaknesses.”

Okay, does this mean that Barisan Nasional hates us and Pakatan Rakyat will save us?

I don’t think so. All I see are two political parties eagerly pushing the Chinese into the public spotlight for their own political mileage.

Chinese politicians are no better, unfortunately. They tend to be more politician than Chinese in their allegiances. Take for instance, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and the MCA. He tried his best to ‘champion’ the Chinese during the boycott drama, issuing strong statements, but was photographed laughing with Ismail Sabri.

This photograph, of course, was then used by the other ‘Chinese’ party, the DAP to attack the government. That, in turn, led to MCA coming to the rescue of its leader instead. Thankfully, the whole drama died down as Chinese New Year came around.

You would think that Chinese New Year was important to these Chinese politicians, but sadly you’re wrong. Chinese New Year ends today with Chap Goh Meh yet Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng couldn’t resist bringing up the boycott issue from a racial context several days ago.

He took Ismail Sabri to task, asking, “Is Ismail going to blame the Chinese traders again for either causing the rise in petrol prices or for not reducing prices?”

His next sentence, however, showed the true motive of his ‘championing’ the Chinese.

“Again, the failure of BN, MCA or Gerakan to demand that Ismail apologise is nothing short of disgraceful and shows that BN has run out of ideas and principles on how to run the economy,” he said.

What on earth will ordinary Chinese stand to gain from an apology from Ismail Sabri?

We are practical enough to realise that most racists are so prejudiced in their views that they will not listen to reason nor accept the wisdom of the Agong, who already touched on the topic of racial harmony of late. If such an august figure like the Agong cannot change the minds of racists, what use is an apology from an Umno politician?

DAP, like other political parties – including their rivals in Barisan Nasional – are just playing their usual game of politics. But that is their right to do so as political entities, that much is true.

But since we’re talking about rights, I think it’s high time that we, the Malaysian Chinese, exercise our rights to ask politicians to leave us out of their petty games of one-upmanship.

I would rather see political parties – both BN and Pakatan – put more effort into solving the problems that we all face as a nation than to have them demonising and championing us whenever it takes their fancy.

So please, give us a break. I’ve had enough of reading about Malaysian Chinese in the news.