DAP’s Malay Dilemma

Lim Guan Eng

Soo Wern Jun, The Heat

Most recently Malay rights group Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said DAP is still a Chinese party since Malays do not even make up 30% of leadership positions in the DAP’s top positions.

Having studied DAP’s stand on the National Economic Policy (NEP), DAP Raub MP Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz in reply to Ibrahim’s critics says the party is only disagreeing with the incorrect and unjust implementation of the NEP.

“Those helped out and became rich were selected people and the Malay elites. Income disparities within the Malay community remained to this day in spite of the NEP.

“Meaning, even though the NEP was implemented, income disparities within the Malay community remain large. It means the NEP approach has failed,” says Mohd Ariff.

He further questions why out of the RM54 billion worth of equities gifted to selected Malays since 1970, only RM2 billion is retained?

“It means the NEP failed to correct the economic imbalance the Malay leaders were unhappy about,” he adds, saying that the NEP is opposed not only by DAP but by all opposition parties.

Mohd Ariff then reminds that Malays are dissuaded and even condemned when they join DAP but when their number is small, it is lamented.

“If Ibrahim Ali wants to know, there is no quota as to how many Malays get to sit on DAP’s CEC (Central Executive Committee). If they can secure the confidence and trust of delegates, they get voted in,” he adds.

Mohd Ariff again reminds that for the last 58 years since Merdeka, the government that rules Malaysia is a Malay government.

“Umno is the foundation of the government. The policies that affected Malays either positively or otherwise were designed or implemented by a Malay government. The policies they practised caused the disparity in income between races and within Malays,” he says.

He also says people do not understand the intent of the NEP.

“It was all about restructuring society. I don’t have to elaborate on that. I must however point out a particular element of the NEP which has been abused and misinterpreted.

“The NEP is not about turning every Malay into a millionaire. Those Malays deserving to be millionaires will become so anyway. The idea of NEP is all about just appointment of wealth and income and creation of a just reward system,” he says.

Citing an example, Mohd Ariff says the Malay ‘jaga kereta’ under normal circumstances will get his reward in accordance to his experience and education level. Whether the reward commensurate with his self-esteem or not, is not for the NEP to resolve. That responsibility is borne by the person.

The Malay first class honours graduate will naturally resent if the Form Three school leaver is gifted with more wealth than him, especially if the latter becomes so, by virtue of owning a licence, quota or a monopoly over some wealth-creating resources.

“The NEP is not about rewarding and turning the ‘jaga keretas’, the layabouts into millionaires. These people will be tackled by another creation of the government – a system of social safety net.

“The less fortunate, the infirm and the less-talented cannot be ‘NEP-eed’ into becoming millionaires. But we must have a social safety net system that corrects the laissez faire selection of social and economic stratification,” he says.

He adds that the poor, the less educated and the jobless must be taken care of by a sound welfare system.

“These people cannot be BR1M-ed out of their economic misery. The whole system must be overhauled beginning with the government making bad policies. Present policies are turning Malays into indigents and panhandlers.

He adds that with Pakatan Harapan’s Agreement signed recently by PKR, Amanah and DAP, the myth that DAP is anti-Malay, anti-religion and anti-the-Monarchical institution is crushed.

“Along with the other two parties forming Pakatan Harapan, DAP affirms the upholding of the Malaysian constitution, accepts Islam as the religion of the Federation, while giving freedom to other religions to be practised freely as provided for by our Federal constitution.

“It also affirms its stand to protect the special position of Malays and the bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other Malaysians as provided for by article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution,” he says.

The DAP, he says, is also party to the agreement to uphold and defend the system of Constitutional Monarchy.

“It further accepts the responsibility to elevate the use of Bahasa Melayu pursuant to article 152 of the Federal Constitution, expand the use of Bahasa Melayu as the regional lingua franca and strengthen the use of the mother tongue of other races, promote the mastery of the English language to improve competitiveness of Malaysia,” he adds.

It looks like DAP is still swimming in the Malay dilemma.