It was Dr Mahathir who blamed Najib for giving in to the Chinese


Salleh Said Keruak

Channel News Asia’s special report, INSIGHT: A Fractured Nation, is basically a documentary comparing the pre-Merdeka Day celebration Bersih or ‘Yellow Shirt’ rally to the Red Shirt rally on the Malaysia Day celebration.

The message in this documentary is that the Bersih rally was about democracy, free and fair elections, plus more transparency and good governance, while the Red Shirt rally was just about racism. Therefore the Yellow Shirt rally had noble intentions while the Red Shirt rally did not.

Dr Ooi Kee Beng, Ibrahim Suffian of Merdeka Centre and Dr Maszlee Malik of UIA were featured in that documentary. Dr Ooi explained that race has always been an integral part of Malaysian politics. So it is not whether you want to play the race card or not. Race and politics just cannot be separated, said Dr Ooi.

Dr Ooi also explained that while Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak may not actually support the Red Shirt rally, on the other hand he is not able to stop the rally from being held without appearing weak. Those promoting the rally form the support base for Umno and Najib would face problems if he were seen opposed to them.

We must remember that it was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who immediately after the 2013 general election said that Barisan Nasional did not do well because the Chinese no longer support the government. Dr Mahathir blamed Najib for pandering and giving in to the Chinese and after ‘wasting time’ with the Chinese they still did not vote for the government. Najib should have just focused on the Malay voters, said Dr Mahathir.