KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — Advocates of the “progressive agenda” should keep three key takeaways from the May 9 general election foremost in their minds, Syahredzan Johan, political secretary to DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said.
“The majority of Malays did not vote for PH.
“Those who voted for PH did not do so because they want Malaysia to be more ‘progressive’,” he said in a series of tweets last night.
In a later tweet, he clarified that he was referring to “those advocating the progressive agenda. Not PH”.
Syahredzan’s reminder is in the wake of the thorny issue concerning the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community that a former aide Numan Afifi had drawn, subsequently pulling other members of the ruling coalition into it.
“In Umno and PAS, we have two far right opposition parties now pushing the conservative agenda,” he said as the third takeaway point for PH.
Syahredzan told PH leaders that the flak it got over its attempts to rationalise the LGBT issue is part of the “reality” it has to work in.
3 points that we must always remember:— Syahredzan Johan (@syahredzan) July 9, 2018
1. The majority of Malays did not vote for PH.
2. Those who voted for PH did not do so because they want Malaysia to be more 'progressive'.
3. In UMNO and PAS, we have two far right opposition parties now pushing the conservative agenda.
The civil rights lawyer and a former member of the Bar Council reminded PH that it is “easier to change government” than to change “mindsets, cultures and deep seated prejudices”.
“There will be victories, where the progressive agenda will succeed,” he said.
As example, he pointed to the appointment of Attorney-General Tommy Thomas last month, which was also wrapped in controversy when he was first nominated for departing from past practices of a Malay Muslim.
There are still rumbles of discontent from within Umno and certain other conservatives in the country till today, despite a reminder from the Cabinet that Thomas’ appointment had received the approval of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.
“But there will also be instances where realpolitik will come on top,” Syahredzan added in a sober reminder of PH’s challenges.
Numan had until the LGBT controversy acted as a media intermediary for Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
Prior to that, he was Subang DAP Youth publicity secretary, which he resigned last June after Muslim groups condemned a Pride Day breaking of fast event under LGBT rights advocacy group Pelangi Campaign, of which he was founding president.
*Editor’s note: This version contains amendments to replace an earlier version headlined ‘Most Malays didn’t vote for you, Kit Siang’s aide tells Pakatan’ after Syahredzan made clarifications on his Twitter account. Malay Mail apologises for any confusion that may have arisen.