DAP undone by its own arrogance


The opposition and its supporters in West Malaysia are too condescending in their attitude towards Sarawakians.

Mikha Chan, Free Malaysia Today

DAP leaders adopt an uncomfortably colonialist tone in their rhetoric when speaking about the party’s work in Sarawak. They refer to the party’s work in the hinterland as efforts to “improve the natives’ lives”. Thus the “Impian Sarawak” programme is to “bridge the rural-urban divide” and to bring about other uplifting things.

That isn’t to say that such work is not good. Any effort to repair the state’s logging-ravaged interior is commendable and should be supported. But if that’s your party’s entire shtick, maybe you need to realise that you’re sounding just a tad colonialist.

The Sarawak state election last weekend put this in stark highlight. The overwhelming Barisan Nasional victory saw DAP losing not only rural bumiputera seats (in some cases with their votes outnumbered by independent votes), but also the largely Chinese seats such as Batu Kitang and Repok.

It was sheer arrogance that led to the party’s downfall. It made a great deal out of its West Malaysian politicians being barred from the state, forgetting how little Sarawakians want to do with politics on the peninsula. Nobody in Sarawak cares about politicians here. Sarawakians want to hear their local candidates both Chinese and bumiputera who know the land inside and out.

Of course, the opposition’s supporters in West Malaysia have not been happy with the result of the election. This colonialist arrogance isn’t limited to just DAP; it’s an overwhelmingly West Malaysian thing. And nowhere else is this more apparent than in the way the opposition supporters have responded online, castigating the Sarawakians for their “stupidity”.

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