KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — As the battle for another parliamentary seat heats up, DAP lawmaker Khoo Poay Tiong questioned today his MCA rival’s stand on being labelled “kafir” by his Umno and PAS allies during campaigning for the Tanjung Piai by-election.
The Kota Melaka MP’s challenge came about after MCA president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong alleged the DAP of lacking courage and keeping silent on public issues and national grievances despite being represented by 42 lawmakers.
“Will Wee Ka Siong now stand up against Umno-PAS alliance who have called DAP and MCA members kafirs to gain political support?” Khoo asked in a statement.
The Melaka DAP representative was referring to reports that a PAS preacher had used the “kafir” or “infidel” — seen as a slur by non-Muslims — to describe the two Chinese majority parties during campaigning for the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate from MCA, Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng.
The Islamist Opposition politicians have sought to differentiate non-Muslims into two categories: “kafir zimmi” to refer to non-Muslims who should receive protection in a Muslim-ruled state; and “kafir harbi” for non-Muslims regarded as enemies of their religion.
Khoo said that his party is unlike MCA and has been consistently vocal in raising issues of public and national importance in Parliament, even now when it is a part of the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition and were not afraid of criticising government decisions.
“Indeed, it is easy for Wee Ka Siong to take a potshot at DAP using his party-owned newspaper,” he said.
Khoo pointed out that while 11 of the 42 DAP MPs were ministers or deputy ministers, the remaining 31 backbenchers actively participated in parliamentary debates and questioned the government on matters related to finance, labour and more.
“As for myself, I have raised various public grievances in Parliament, including on the recent Sosma case,” he said, referring to the recent detention and charge of two of his party lawmakers under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act for their alleged ties with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a defunct Sri Lankan militant group.
Khoo took a swipe at the MCA president, questioning if the latter had stood up to Datuk Seri Najib Razak as then prime minister and BN chairman over his role at the height of the 1MDB financial fraud scandal.
“Did Wee Ka Siong and MCA voice out against Najib Razak and the 1MDB scandal when they were in the government?
“Did he say anything when RM7 billion was used to repay 1MDB debt even before PH won the general elections last year?” the DAP man asked.
Najib is now on trial for allegedly abusing his power as prime minister and finance minister to launder billions of ringgit belonging to the sovereign investment fund and its former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.
The MCA currently has only one representative in Parliament — Ka Siong as the Ayer Hitam MP — and is contesting in the Tanjung Piai by-election to add another seat.