When Malaysian Leaders Call The Chinese Community "Babi", "Luckiest" And "Rude"
Racial issues have always been an underlying problem in Malaysia, but recently it has been reignited and is seen taking the center stage in daily media reports.
However, recent events show that a particular Malaysian community, the people of Chinese descent to be exact, are being singled out by local politicians with targeted statements being issued against them.
The spike of these racially charged statements started surfacing actively after the Bersih 4.0 rally, was held in late August, just days before the National Day celebration.
The rally, organised by Bersih 2.0, an NGO fighting for clean and fair elections among other democratic requests for the nation, is the fourth rally to be held over the years by the NGO led by Maria Chin Abdullah.
These were the Bersih 4.0 demands:
- Free and fair elections
- A transparent government
- The right to demonstrate
- Strengthening the parliamentary democracy system
- Saving the national economy
Another addition to that demand was Prime Minister Najib Razak's resignation over the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion scandal that has remain unsolved ever since the matter was brought up.
Following that, the infamous "red shirts" rally that was held weeks after Bersih 4.0, saw a great deal of racial issues being invoked, targetting Malaysians of Chinese descent
The whole debacle was mainly run by the rally's "spokesperson", Jamal Md Yunos, who is Sungai Besar Umno chief and also the head of Gabungan NGO-NGO Malaysia.
What was promised to be a rally to counteract against the Bersih 4.0, that the "reds" claimed to have insulted local rulers and the BN government, was turned into one that championed Malay rights and brought about dormant racial issues.
Here are some quotes from the series of racially-slanted statements that have been spewing from local politicians, as of late:
"Cina gila babi"
What kickstarted the slew of racial statements, were the abuses that were hurled at a Malaysian Chinese reporter during the "red shirts" rally.
The reporter, from Malaysiakini, while asking questions to some of the protesters at Petaling Street, was suddenly spat with "Cina gila babi" (crazy Chinese pigs) statement.
However, the "red shirts" rally spokesperson Jamal denied ever condoning such statements and went on to dismiss the outrage that followed it, saying that the Chinese community should have no problem with the statement since they consume pork.
"Hapuskan SJKC" (Abolish Chinese-medium schools)
On 16 September, during the "red shirts" rally, among many of the materials that its protesters carried, were placards demanding the closing of Chinese-medium schools.
On 23 September, Perak mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, released a statement saying that abolishing vernacular schools would lessen racial disharmony among Malaysians.
The statement, was of course met with dissatisfaction from many parties stressing that vernacular schools add to the diversity among Malaysians, with many coming forward and expressing their desire to send their children to vernacular schools.
"Rude Chinese" people were accused of insulting Malay leaders, thus angering the Malays
The visit of Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang has drawn so many statements and comments from the public, mostly warning the Chinese government to stay out of Malaysia's current internal conflicts.
One thing lead to another, and UMNO youth exco member Arman Azha Abu Hanifah, took a direct hit at the Chinese community with his statements on how the Chinese people in Malaysia have not only insulted the Malay leaders but are also the ones that are causing all the unrest in the country at the moment.
"Nak kena lempang macam itu (Get a slap, if like that)," said Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Tajuddin Abdul Rahman to the Chinese community
Moving on from just statements, this UMNO minister stepped up and issued a warning to the Chinese community.
According to Tajuddin, the Chinese community complain too much, even for the simplest of things and he asked them to squash all hopes of a "godfather from China" coming to their rescue, as reported by Malaysiakini on 1 October.
However, just hours after he wanted to "lempang" the Chinese community, Tajuddin was quick to assert that he was only referring to the "DAP Chinese" and not all Malaysian Chinese.
Malaysiakini uploaded a recording of Tajuddin's speech that included the "lempang" warning. Listen to it here.
"They (Malaysian Chinese) have their homeland in China’s mainland, and if anything happens to them, they still have somewhere to turn to," said Jamal, the "red shirts" rally mouthpiece
The action of Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang, in what Jamal claimed as defending the fate of Chinese traders in Petaling Street recently, proved this, Jamal further alleged.
“This is a clear message that the Chinese have a place to tell of their woes and have their fates defended apart from Malaysia,” he said in a statement today.
Meanwhile, Jamal further claimed that it was different for Malays because they have nowhere else to turn to but this country.
“To the Malays, realise that Malaysia is ours. We need to take care of it and defend every inch of this land."
"I see the Chinese, if the interests of their race are threatened, they will forget about their party interests," said former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad today urged Malays to emulate their Chinese counterparts in making their case against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
Mahathir said Malays, like the Chinese, should transcend party lines when their interests are under threat.
"We need to think about our interests.
The Chinese community is the "luckiest" in Malaysia, says Perkasa
“The fact is, the ethnic Chinese Malaysians are the luckiest because they are not discriminated and enjoy rights in a multicultural society, including in education, politics, social, economy, health and other spheres.
“For example, most of Malaysian millionaires are ethnic Chinese,” said Malay rights group Perkasa's information chief Hassan Basri Muhammad in a statement.
Despite’s Hassan’s claim that the ethnic Chinese do not suffer discrimination, affirmative action favouring the bumiputera have been oft-cited as a barrier for minority races in various areas including education and employment.
"...ethnic Chinese have skewed judgement because they mostly get the information from “distorted” sources," said Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali
While requesting BN leaders to revive the Chinese community's support for the longest ruling party in Malaysia, Ibrahim also decided to talk about how Chinese people in Malaysia get their information regarding the political situation.
"It would be good if they (BN), who have a lot of resources, meet the people, the Chinese on the ground to aggressively and systematically give the real explanation.
“The Chinese only got the news from ‘spun’ news, which create confusion, as well as one-sided information from the DAP and PKR leaders," he said after officiating the Selayang Perkasa Annual General Meeting today.
The Chinese community needs to know that Malays are not against all of them, but only those who insult Malays and Islam, he said.
Ibrahim added that the Chinese and Malays need each other as the Chinese would not be comfortable and safe if the Malays are not united.
In the midst of the sudden surge of racially-charged statements from local politicians, PM Najib Razak, who was previously seen condoning the controversial "red shirts" rally, reminded Malaysians to "stop bickering"
"I want all quarters in Malaysia not to issue political statements that could cause conflict or misunderstandings.
"This is the time for us to unite and ensure our country continues to progress, not to quarrel and point fingers," he said.
The prime minister did not mention what prompted the sudden advice.
These leaders aren't the only ones dabbing with racial issues, lately. UMNO Supreme Council member Tan Sri Annuar Musa openly declared that he "is a racist":