KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — Chinese Malaysians who vote for opposition party DAP after becoming economically successful are “ingrates”, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
The home minister appeared to suggest that the Malay and Indian community would be left behind economically if DAP wins the Teluk Intan seat again, but did not give further explanation.
“So the Malays and Indians support the Chinese traders...They become successful, and vote for DAP. They are ingrates, right?” Zahid, who is also Umno vice-president, was quoted by news portal Malaysiakini as telling leaders at the Kampung Durian Sebatang village in Teluk Intan.
He said the Chinese had been able to thrive thanks to the Malays and Indians who bought their goods.
“I will be sad if the people of Teluk Intan choose DAP again. The Malays will be sad, and Indians even sadder,” he was quoted as saying.
Zahid’s speech comes just barely days before this Saturday’s contest for the Teluk Intan seat, which has been won by DAP for two straight terms since it snatched the Perak seat from Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Datuk Mah Siew Keong in 2008.
Mah, a former deputy minister, had served two terms as Teluk Intan MP after winning it in 1999 and 2004.
In campaigning for Mah, Zahid contrasted a DAP victory in Teluk Intan against a win by ruling coalition BN, saying that all ethnic groups would be able to develop northern Perak by voting for the Gerakan president.
“Today Malays, Indian and Chinese unite and develop the northern Perak region by choosing BN candidate Mah Siew Keong…” he was quoted saying by Malaysiakini.
He also affirmed his own ethnicity as a Malay, but said all ethnic groups in Malaysia are a large family.
“Yes, I am Malay but Malays, Chinese and Indians are all part of a big family, 1 Malaysia,” he said, using the prime minister’s tagline of “1 Malaysia” of an inclusive country.
Mah will take on DAP’s Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, 26, in a straight fight in the Teluk Intan by-election, which was triggered after DAP’s Seah Leong Peng died from cancer on May 1.
The Chinese comprise the largest group of voters in Teluk Intan at 42 per cent of the electorate. The Malays form 38 per cent, and the Indians 19 per cent of the 60,349-strong electorate.