Is Multi-racial party a threat in SarawakDecember 10th, 2012 at 4:48
Written by: Dr. John Brian Anthony 17th Aug 2012 9Submitted by Cikgu Iban)
It is quite common to see comments from contributors saying that partnering the Chinese in politics poses a bigger danger than partnering the Malays. There are several political partnerships that can be observed in Sarawak. The first one is the partnership which exists between the Malays and the Dayak in PBB. The second is the partnership between the Dayak and the Chinese in SUPP and the third is being the presence of some Chinese and the Dayak in SPDP. Until the dismissal of Larry Sng, PRS was then very much in similar situation but now this party is basically in existence for the Dayak only. In other words, we can see that the Dayak are partnering any other races in politics.
Dayak and Chinese in DAP
For the sake of our discussion, we shall talk about the partnership of the Dayak and the Chinese in DAP. Many people have questioned the sincerity of the Chinese as partners in politics. The Dayak are doubtful about the policies of this party in relation to the interests of the Dayak. Generally, the Dayak think that DAP is not for them. Actually, it is wrong to make a preconceived claim that DAP is exclusively for the Chinese. This is because its members are all along multi-racial and from various ethnic backgrounds.
In Sarawak, however, in the past DAP seemed to have commanded a greater support from the urban Chinese only. The Dayak then had several other Dayak-based parties like SNAP and PBDS as political platforms, resulting in impressions that DAP was really for the Chinese only. With the deregistration of PBDS and the abandonment of SNAP by the Dayak, coupled with questionable performance of PRS and SPDP, the Dayak do not have any effective platform. A growing number of urban and the younger generation of the Dayak, having been made aware of the current problems gripping the community, have no other better option but to associate themselves with DAP. As a result, many Chinese candidates from SUPP had been caught off-guard thereby conceding the seats to DAP; as evidenced in the last State Election.
Historically, in Peninsular Malaysia the political parties are divided along racial lines. Thus, we find UMNO is almost exclusively for the Malays, MCA for the Chinese and MIC for the Indians. Perhaps due to an uncontrollable mismanagement of our country recently in light of high profile corruption cases involving the current BN leaders in recent years, the world of politics has changed so fast. Previously, it was common for the Malays to support UMNO, Indians for MIC and the Chinese for MCA. Things have started to change tremendously that Malaysians have started to abandon racial politics mainly propagated by UMNO. Instead, they have switched their allegiance towards DAP which looks more consistent in its principles. Being multi-racial in approach, DAP has easily managed to win the heart of the Malaysians. While the support for DAP from urban areas continues to rise, there is a steady increase in support from the Malays and Indians towards PKR. Inevitably, this has resulted in dwindling support for the UMNO, MCA and MIC.
The PRU 12 had brought out a new dimension into Malaysian politics as parties like PKR, DAP and PAS through PR coalition won a substantial number of seats. These parties have been successful in drawing the attention of Malaysians because of their multi-racism in their membership. Hence, we found that Indian candidates had been voted by the by Chinese and the Malays in Malay majority areas. The Malay candidates had also been voted by the Indians and the Chinese in Indian majority areas. Similarly, the Chinese candidates had won because of the votes from the Indians and the Malays in Indian majority areas. This augurs well for Malaysia’s politics as a multi-racial country.
Meanwhile, the BN in general and UMNO in particular continue to engage in racial politics. Racial politics drives biased policies based on racial lines. It is extreme in nature and mostly confrontational as we saw UMNO supporters could not accept the PRU 12 verdicts in Penang and in Perak. In fact, PM Najib also could not accept the defeat of BN Selangor and Federal Territory.
It is interesting to note that Selangor and Federal Territory are made up of mostly educated people. In politics, their choice of party is essential in discarding party struggles and objectives along racial and religious lines. As it is, the young Malaysians do not follow racial and religious line in their voting pattern despite BN / UMNO continued effort to follow up on that strategy. Dr. Mahathir is one of those UMNO leaders who thrived on politics based on race and religion. PERKASA president, Ibrahim Ali, is a nothing but a mere tool for such politics. The young voters are more objective in their choice and this has set the trend for the coming PRU13.
2.Sarawak politics and the Chinese.
In Sarawak, SUPP was badly battered by DAP, winning only 2 Chinese State seats while the Dayak in SUPP won all of their seats in the last State Election. Essentially, the Dayak support in SUPP is stronger than the Chinese. It would be interesting to see the impact of such change in strength of support in the appointment of leaders into top Government position?
Even though Dayak is the majority race in Sarawak, it is not reflected in the distribution of power in the State political leadership.CM Taib has smartly devised a political policy of “divide and rule’. This politics of divide and rule allows the implementation of “politics of development” which in essence incorporating all of the BIG businesses in Sarawak under only a few politically influential people. These few political leaders have been backed-up by the Sarawak rich. Most of these rich people are actually created by politics of development through timber concessions, plantation lands and big government contracts. It is quite common to see the Chinese involved in these big businesses because of their capability coupled with good business networking. CM Taib is propagating extreme capitalism to create very few rich people.
3.The implication of Taib’s extreme capitalism
The Dayak take it as a fact that Chinese are the people who rob them off their land. What is true is that the Dayak lands have been given to Chinese by PBB leadership. This is a part of divide and rule by PBB in weakening Dayak’s future. PBB would then be happy to spread such propaganda that if the Chinese in Sarawak take over the State Government through DAP, all the Dayak land in Sarawak would be swallowed by the Chinese. The fact is, Sarawak Dayak land has already been given away by PBB/ Taib to rich investors, leaving almost nothing for Dayak to build their livelihood. So Chinese, Malay and Dayak cronies have managed to own hundreds of thousands hectares of land with titles while the indigenous people of Sarawak (the Dayak) are given crumbs.
Therefore, we can see that getting the crumbs is the result of the Dayak partnering the Malays in PBB. The Dayak partnering the Chinese in SUPP also have nothing much to gain. But the Chinese in SUPP, given their interests in business and are being BN cronies, have managed to get lands for themselves from the State political leadership. It is therefore not quite right to say that Dayak will be worst off if the Chinese take over the State leadership from the Malay\Melanau Muslim. During his office, CM Taib has taken over a large portion of of Dayak NCR land as well as refusing to give them the land titles. Even though he has been doing this over a period of about 31 years, which is quite a long time for the Dayak not to see the problem, why do the Dayak still support BN?
4.Dayak have always been a substantial political partner in BN.
Even though we have always been a major partner in BN, why the Dayak do not get the fair share as the Malay or Chinese? There are many possibilities. Two of them which we can share together are as follows: Firstly, the Dayak leaders take the Dayak politically generated business almost exclusively for themselves. Some of them do not even share with their cronies and supporters. And secondly, the Dayak leaders do not see the importance in assisting the other fellow Dayak to gain something economically as good for the whole community. The Dayak leaders always equate capable, skilled and knowledgeable Dayak as a great threat to their position. The Iban adjective word for this kind of leadership trait is “kepapas”. It has a character of “not wanting to see success by being selfish” to other Dayak least they will take over their position. This may sound like a blaming game but unfortunately that is the truth.
Many Dayak leaders, while still holding their positions as cabinet ministers in the BN government, are not at all helpful to the Dayak. As often the case, it is only after leaving their cabinet positions that they try fruitlessly to help the Dayak. By then, they apparently have no authoritative power to do so. It’s too little too late. In other words, it seems that the Dayak leaders are hopeless and helpless when they are in position of a cabinet minister. With due respect, TS James Masing is one of them. He has been appointed a cabinet minister in charge of Land Development but without any financial allocation from the State government of CM Taib. Why is the Dayak leadership like this? The Dayak in general have a feeling that the “pressure” placed upon them by CM Taib is all too frightening for them to be able to do anything. As a result, they prefer to closely guard their political positions until they are ludicrously not able to try anything for the Dayak who have supported them in the first place.
5.New partnership in politics
Ideally, there should never be any fear for Dayak to partner the Chinese in politics. There is little doubt that we have many truths of our bitter experience when dealing with the Chinese in businesses. But we cannot lament on the same story over and over again. Instead, we must take note that we should not be followers all the times. We can make ourselves as equal partners by focusing on building the future of Sarawak and Malaysia by managing the relevant issues. As long as we have “racial” tendency in politics such as in UMNO, MCA and MIC, it is always constricting. We must release ourselves from such constriction that is self imposed. We have to accept that the Chinese are very much part of our life. They are an important part of creating development in our country through their investment and industrious traits.
For now, the rich Chinese are mostly BN cronies. We have to take note that no matter who forms the government, any businessman will always find ways to grab opportunity or to create one. It is not “racial” based but an individual trait. The Chinese love to do business without mixing it with politics. On the other hand, the Dayak tend to shy away from each other if they do not belong to the same party. Confusingly, we mix the two up. The Chinese does not make such differences seen at all. In their belief system, “cari-makan” and politics are a world apart. We Dayak need to acquire such wisdom and thoughts in our daily life.
We Dayak can actually partner any other races provided we have a clear goal, discipline, competency and most of all with clear vision of the future of what the Dayak should be. So far, our current Dayak political leaders have failed to do this. We have partnered every other race but, in the absence of clearly established goals, the Dayak have been made to suffer. Our political partners should be complimentary in helping us to achieve our goals. If we perceive every other race as a threat, then the Dayak might not be able to move forward. We are going to be forever shackled by our own value system. We will continue to get stuck at the bottom of the country’s economic pit. Hence, we should be brave and ready to face any challenges by adapting to changes.
Aram meh kitai BERUBAH and do not fear changes. We live in them. And you know that we can rise up to that challenge.
Change WE Must.