KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — The removal of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak or the reduced dominance of the Umno party that he leads is not a threat to the political power of the Malay community here, DAP's Lim Kit Siang said today.
Seeking to counter alleged attempts to cast a racial angle on calls to remove Najib, Lim argued that such a purported threat would be averted with the appointment of a replacement from the country's majority ethnic group.
“Whether Najib is ousted as prime minister or Umno replaced as the leading political party in the government coalition, Malay political power is not threatened as a new prime minister will be a Malay and new coalition will be Malay-dominated reflecting Malaysia’s demography,” the DAP parliamentary leader said in a statement today.
Lim's DAP is part of the new federal opposition pact Pakatan Harapan, which plans to install Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim — a Malay and former deputy prime minister — as the prime minister if it takes over Putrajaya.
Lim was responding to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's reported call to Umno members yesterday to follow the Chinese community's lead by going beyond party lines when their interests are threatened, and to act against Najib.
“Mahathir is mistaken in his interpretation of the motives and meaning of the results of the 13th General Elections in 2013 when he implied that the Chinese voters 'forget their party interests' if the interests of their race are threatened,” Lim said.
He argued instead that national interests had trumped communal interests when the Chinese community voted in the elections, citing as the actual reason for their rejection of Chinese candidates from Chinese-based MCA and their backing of Malay candidates from opposition parties.
“This is what a mature democracy and a Malaysian-centric electorate should do, placing national interests above personal, party and communal considerations,” the Gelang Patah MP said as he advocated for the country to go beyond racial lens and to go back to the old days where “towering” Malaysians rose above personal and ethnic interests in serving the nation.
In the same statement, Lim cited Umno veteran leader Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's remarks, where the latter reportedly said he did not know how Malays were being threatened when the federal government and state governments except for Penang is headed by a Malay, the civil service and army is dominated by Malays and when there are Malay rulers here.
Lim also noted that civil rights activist Zainah Anwar questioned the source of the alleged threat to Malays when four decades of the New Economic Policy under Malay party Umno's rule had resulted in the 90 per cent of unemployable graduates being Malays, the majority or 75.5 per cent of the poorest group being Malays.
Zainah had also noted that only RM2 billion of a RM54 billion worth of shares pumped in for Malay individuals and institutions over the 1984-2005 period remain in Malay hands.
Lim contrasted the Bersih 4 rally on Merdeka Day which was attended by Malaysians of all races and religion, against the racially-tinged Red Shirts rally on Malaysia Day which he said had caused jittery traders in Petaling Street to close shop then.
Lim said no ministers from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition had turned up in Petaling Street before the Red Shirts Rally on September 16 to calm traders, but noted that ministers and deputy ministers from Umno were “conspicuous in their attendance” of the latter rally initially dubbed as pro-Malay but seen as backing Najib's continued rule.
“With the approach of the 60th Merdeka anniversary, the time has come for the re-emergence of towering Malaysians like Yuen Yuet Leng, who had before his death confided to his old friends his lament and disappointment at the fractured state of racial relations in the country,” he said, referring to the late senior police officer who was instrumental in peace negotiations with the Communist Party of Malaya.
“Malaysians, and in particular leaders in all sectors of the country, should cease and desist from trying to communalise issues and events in the country,” he added.