I received many feedback and comments from my previous letter to you and to my surprise, many of your members and supporters still fail to understand my simple and basic argument for the need of DAP to engage Malay electorate and therefore be able to play a greater and effective role in Malaysia politics in order to substantially and substantively achieve the goal of building a just, corruption-free and democratic society. Isn’t it true that if DAP has the support of Malay electorate, DAP can achieve greater “political efficiency” to build a first-class, progressive and vibrant Malaysia that will one day surpass Singapore, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Australia, etc? What I am arguing about is political pragmatism. Political pragmatism is no oxymoron and we should not degrade it into a form of political expediency, instead, political pragmatism is a form of instrumentalism geared to emergent ends-in-view. It refers knowledge to experience, to the consequences of ideas and action, and to the possibilities inherent in present relationships; it also places considerable faith in education and communication as ways of creating the conditions necessary for democratic social change. Rather than starting out from "problems" in experience, political pragmatism starts from experience as a kind of work - namely, the work that must be done either to maintain or to change existing political situation. To achieve democratic social change, DAP must painstakingly explore various new channels to educate and communicate with Malay electorate, and DAP should always be cautious of the consequences of its ideas and action, lest them provide space for Umno to incite racial hatred, for example, if Umno challenges DAP to table bill in Parliament on the removal of Article 153, DAP’s reaction could trigger the unthinkable for Pakatan Rakyat and the country. My argument is crystal clear that if DAP foolishly dances to Umno’s tune, not just DAP, the Rakyat, will be the ultimate loser! DAP should have the knowledge that the police was instructed by a Umno strong man to approve the parade permit for the opposition in May 1969, DON’T let history to repeat itself.
Some accused me of demeaning DAP and conveniently forgetting DAP hardship and sacrifices over the last 40 years; as the opening line of my previous letter to you, I clearly state that I have never doubted DAP’s firm and principled stand against corruption, social injustices, ISA, etc. DAP’s struggle and unwavering commitment toward a fair and just society has resulted in the incarceration of many its leaders from 60s to 90s, DAP has paid a big price for being a party of principle, which is undaunted of Umno systematic threat and intimidation, DAP leaders courage and unswerving fighting spirit against Umno hegemony has earned the respect and admiration from largely non-Malay/Muslim community in the country, I won’t even deny the fact that DAP has won some Malay electorate, but they are the minority of the minorities, and majority of them voted for DAP not because they identified with DAP’s ideology or DAP’s courage to confront or expose Umno-led government corrupt practices, rather, they voted for DAP in March General Election mainly on account of DAP’s alliance with PKR and PAS.
One of the DAP MPs is a secondary school dropout who can’t speak proper Malay, English and even his mother tongue Chinese, and yet he was thrust into being a candidate in March General Election because that particular constituency is an MCA stronghold and DAP was not able to field a “willing” candidate of comparative qualities to contest with the MCA candidate, who is an effectively trilingual lawyer; the result: DAP candidate won the election by 700-odd votes, and this is the first time in Malaysia history that an unknown DAP candidate’s managed to garner considerable number of Malay votes in an MCA stronghold. DAP’s winning of this constituency was largely due to its’ alliance with PAS and PKR. To become a truly multi-racial and independent political party, DAP must be prepared to go beyond the racial line and capture the Malay electorate on its own, lest Pakatan Rakyat evolves into another form of BN, and this overdependence on PAS and PKR for Malay votes will only cause DAP to further suffer from “crutch mentality”; just imagine what happens if PKR or PAS disappears from politics like Semangat 46? DAP could probably become crippled and handicapped in its relation with Malay electorate. I applaud some of the PAS leaders for their courage to raise the issue of letting non-Muslims be PAS members and allow non-Muslims to contest in General Election under PAS banner, this is truly a breakthrough of mindset for PAS. We can’t expect PAS to change overnight, but we deeply believe that DAP has the potential to grow into a full-fledged multi-racial and well-rounded political party where different races can come together to fight for the real common issues of corruption, human rights abuses, mismanagement and wastage of public fund, government inefficiencies, etc; these commonalities should provide DAP with ample ammunition to unite the million hearts of Malaysians regardless of race, language and religion to remove Umno’s streak of ruthlessness and blatant disregard for the rule of law! I received numerous emails from DAP members and supporters telling me that it is too difficult and almost impossible for DAP to effectively reach out to Malay electorate, we understand it is not easy for DAP, on its own, to appeal for Malay voters’ support and it could be a long march in order to win the trust and heart of Malay electorate, and this is what political party idealism is all about, DAP must live up to what it claims to be a truly multi-racial political party.
I mentioned it’s pointless for DAP to play zero sum game with MCA, MIC and Gerakan as they are parasite parties serving Umno first, second themselves and third their respective ethnic communities. In spite of their continuing plea for racial equality, Umno has remained unfazed over the years, if MCA and Gerakan pull out of BN now, Umno will have a new revival! You can figure it out yourself what I am trying to say. Over the last 40 years, DAP has thrown MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other BN component parties into the sea of condemnation for not defending our rights, they should not be the target of blame as they were just roped in to play the role of puppet in BN, Umno is the puppeteer. If the mighty DAP can’t even shake Umno up, let alone these puppet parties in BN. Again, we need to think that who have given Umno such a tremendous power and authority? Is it possible to get their support and inform them of how Umno has squandered our national wealth and brought Malaysia to the brink of destruction? Who are Umno cronies? Aren’t they the 4D, ToTo, casino operators? Aren’t we so ignorant that Umno’s Chinese cronies had contributed significantly to Umno campaign funds in the 60s, 70s, and early 80s. These Umno agents have helped Umno suppress the Rakyat! If DAP dares to hold MCA responsible for not defending our rights, DAP must confront the Chinese cronies for supporting Umno to trample on the rights of Chinese, so DAP you dare to close ToTo, 4D, Horse-Racing, Casino? One of your party supporters asked me what happens if they go “underground”? At least we know underground casino operators never support Umno to destroy Malaysia.
In my letter to you, I also wrote about why we need to have more good Malay ministers to be in new cabinet if Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim is able to form a new government, it is apparently that Chinese voted for DAP for good governance, stability and the equal treatment of all Malaysian, Chinese won’t simply vote for DAP to get more Chinese ministers or Deputy Prime Minister post. If the new government fails to deliver what it’s promised, DAP can exercise its power in Pakatan Rakyat to act as a mechanism to provide check and balance to the new administration. We need more able and honest Malay ministers to change the mindset of Malay and this is the first time in our history that good, able, open-minded and honest Malay could be brought into cabinet to serve the country. As DAP does not have many Malay party members, DAP should deepen its effort to work with good Malay leaders regardless partisan background to carry out reform agenda, unfortunately, it is widely known that some DAP Chinese state leaders are too preoccupied with contesting in general election and unwillingly to yield parliamentary seat to good Malay leaders, in 1995 general election DAP Selangor was reluctant to even yield a parliamentary seat to Dr. Syed Husin Ali, who is without doubt a much respected Malay intellect and a pioneer in human rights. Hopefully for the case of Cabinet posts allocation DAP won’t behave likewise.
Many of your supporters and members asked me how DAP could recruit more Malay party members, I mentioned earlier that it is a long march to transform DAP into a truly full-fledged multi-racial party and it can be full of hindrances, in my next letter to you I will list out the things DAP has to do in order to reach out to Malay, for example, setting up a Malay Bureau, having a pure Malay version website, receiving Datukship, etc, I will explain in details and the rationales why it has to be done to win the trust and heart of Malay. Nevertheless, DAP can begin in Penang where it has found a perch to prove to the Malay electorate that the new state government has better policies to usher prosperity and further uplift the standard of living of the people and how Malay can benefit from it in the long run. I also mentioned it in my last letter, free and compulsory remedial classes are important for Malay to improve their academic performance. DAP can start reaching out to Malay in all PR-controlled states.
For A Better Malaysia
Loi Bih Siang Benjamin