Ever since UMNO and PAS moved into a formal union of cooperation between the parties and even more so after MCA and MIC affirmed their decision to stay in the Barisan Nasional coalition, the Chinese dominated DAP has stepped up it’s attacks against the union.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng called the UMNO and PAS alliance meant “declaring war” on non-Muslims. DAP deputy secretary-general Nga Kor Ming claimed that Malaysia could be a “Taliban state” if UMNO-PAS alliance comes into power. Chong Chieng Jen of DAP Sarawak agreed with the notion. Amanah’s Khalid Samad claimed that the union is based on hate towards the non-Muslims”.
DAP (and their partners) reaction towards the union is quite an irony as many see it. First of all, while DAP claims to be a multicultural party, its multiculturalism is largely skewed towards the Chinese majority that support it. And as such the parties central decisioning favours the ethnic Chinese.
However it seems to have issues with the Malays throwing their support behind UMNO or PAS but not Pribumi who carry the same message of uniting the Malays. In fact Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was the architect behind “Malay supremacy” which created the rift between the races in the first place.
Next, not too long ago DAP and PAS were in the same coalition under the banner of Pakatan Rakyat. PAS brought in large Malay Muslim support during the GE13 election. Father and son team, Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng went around holding hands with various PAS leaders chanting “amar ma’ruf nahi munkar” which means “enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong”.
Many see this as a hypocrisy on DAP’s part that the party attacks anything that does not benefit it directly. So in UMNO-PAS’s case DAP responds with racial and religious bigotry. It is an act of self preservation on DAP’s part. The party survives on the support from ethnic Chinese majority.
One analyst pointed out that DAP is doing what Mahathir did during his previous reign. Touting Malay supremacy or “ketuanan Melayu” he riled up the Malays to the point that they lost respect for non-Malays pushing their support to parties like DAP. Now DAP is doing the same to keep that support. If the non-Malays start to accept Barisan Nasional coalition, especially support for MCA increases, DAP would be finished. DAP needs the Chinese to support them.
The reality as another analyst pointed out is that the UMNO-PAS alliance puts Barisan Nasional in a formidable position for next general election. By doing away with three cornered fights, either party can work on their support base especially in rural areas. While Pribumi has some Malay support as does PKR, they both cannot command the presence of UMNO and PAS as seen from the last two by elections where Pakatan Harapan experienced humiliating defeat.
The reality on the ground is simply DAP and Pakatan Harapan is losing the perception game that brought it victory at the last general election. Nearly a year after, the coalition still depends on blaming Barisan Nasional and former prime minister Najib Razak for everything. The public have noticed the clarity of the gap between what was promised and what eventuated and they are unhappy. Many surveys conducted clearly show that many now believe that the country was in better hands under Barisan Nasional.
It’s time DAP and Pakatan Harapan stopped the racist and bigotry bravado and start working on the delivering what was promised to the voters.