We're 'delusional' because we have hearts and souls, DAP man tells Singapore diplomat

Pua said Bilahari was mistaken in his assessment that Malaysia's ethnic Chinese youths were trying to chip away at the dominance of the majority Malays in the country. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Pua said Bilahari was mistaken in his assessment that Malaysia's ethnic Chinese youths were trying to chip away at the dominance of the majority Malays in the country. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 — Malaysians who joined the Bersih 4 overnight rally were there purely to demand accountability from Putrajaya and not to pursue racial dominance, a DAP lawmaker said today, after a recent opinion piece by a senior Singaporean diplomat criticising the demonstration ruffled feathers here.

Petaling Jaya-Utara MP Tony Pua said Singapore's Ambassador-at-large, Bilahari Kausikan, was mistaken in his assessment that Malaysia's ethnic Chinese youths were trying to chip away at the dominance of the majority Malays in the country, arguing that the Merdeka weekend rally was all about pushing for justice, good governance and democracy.

"Conversely, I’m proud to be a Malaysian to see hundreds of thousands of Malaysians march the streets of Kuala Lumpur to demand free and fair elections, integrity and accountability from the ruling government against all odds," Pua said in a statement.

"This is because these allegedly ‘delusional’ young Malaysians actually have hearts and souls.  This is where hope is effervescent," he added.

In an opinion piece run by The Straits Times on Tuesday, Bilahari claimed that the Malaysia's Chinese youth are "delusional" in their perceived attempt to change a system built around the principle of Malay dominance.

Singapore's former permanent secretary for foreign affairs also warned that should they succeed in bringing in a new system, it will only lead to even more rigorous enforcement of Malay dominance with less space for non-Muslims.

Picking away at Bilahari's opinion piece, Pua today said it was clear that the diplomat was only interested in having a neighbour whose government is pliant, regardless of the fact that its top leader is faced with a multi-billion ringgit scandal.

By downplaying the significance of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fiasco involving Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Bilahari showed that Singapore puts convenience over all else, Pua claimed.

"Clearly as the Ambassador-at-large, Mr Bilahari’s views demonstrate how Singapore as a country, despite its enormous wealth and developed nation status, completely lacks a moral compass.

"It is less important for him to support 'what is right and just', as opposed to 'what is in it for me' in Singapore’s relations with its neighbours, regardless of how evil or corrupt a regime is," Pua said.

In a separate statement, DAP's Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian Ming said the growing civil society movement against Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional coalition is reflective of the global trend where long-entrenched regimes are eventually removed by the people.

Taking the examples of the Institutional Revolutionary Party in Mexico, Taiwan's Kuomintang and the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, Ong stressed that it is only a matter of time before a political regime is toppled by a public unhappy with rampant and unchecked corruption.

Ong claimed that Malaysia is now in such a position, though he admitted that there is still much the opposition needs to do in terms of winning at least 60 per cent of the popular vote — especially among the Malays and bumiputera — and take over Putrajaya.

"Ambassador Kausikan is right to say that Singapore has 'no choice but to work with whatever system or leader emerges in Malaysia'.

"But one cannot help but wonder if his fears about a possible transition in power in Malaysia especially one that is peaceful and well-ordered, is driven more by his fears of such a possibility in Singapore in the distant but foreseeable future than for his concern of what might happen in Malaysia?" Ong said.

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