GEORGE TOWN, Nov 18 — Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) descent into racial and religious politics to compete with Barisan Nasional (BN) and PAS was what cost it the support of non-Malays, said DAP’s P. Ramasamy.
The Penang lawmaker said it was a “game of no return” if PH allows itself to embrace racial politics.
“The massive shift of Chinese support was rather apparent against PH,” he said in a statement today.
The Penang deputy chief minister II pointed out that the shift was double that of Malay voters.
“In the Tanjung Piai by-election, the battle was fought on national rather than local issues,” he said.
He also said PH was paying for its idleness since the election victory last year.
“It was not so much the Malay dignity congress per se, but the extent of racism and bigotry that angered the non-Malays,” he said.
He said the use of the term “Orang Asing” (foreigners) on the ethnic Chinese and Indians in the country despite over 60 years of nationhood has made the non-Malays feel unwelcome in their own country.
“Having lived in the country for generations, Chinese and Indians were given the impression that they were not acceptable as citizens,” he said.
He also blamed the shift on PH’s failure to fulfil its promises in its election manifesto, such as the approval for Lynas in Pahang, the slow pace on the recognition of United Examinations Certificate (UEC), along with the policy on Jawi calligraphy.
“Moreover, the instability as a result of leadership succession, the rifts within PKR and most importantly the lack of confidence among both local and foreign investors gave an impression that all was not well with the PH government,” he said.
He said the by-election was a chance for BN to turn the tables on PH, just as how PH won with anti-BN votes in the last election.
He said BN’s victory was a sure sign that Malaysians are unhappy with PH.
“Whether the Tanjung Piai by-election victory was a referendum against the leadership of the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad or on the performance of his cabinet ministers is difficult to say,” he said.
He said Dr Mahathir and his entire Cabinet must take responsibility for the loss and identify the reasons for the major defeat, the fourth in a row since Cameron Highlands.
“The reasons are not difficult to decipher, the ground swell against PH was happening over more than a year,” he said.
He said it was wrong to ask for more time to deliver PH’s election promises.
He stressed that BN’s win was not because the people preferred BN or PAS or their political pacts.
“For PAS leaders to claim this that the pact was responsible for the victory is nothing but a superficial thinking,” he said.
He said the win was also not because MCA was restored overnight.
He said the by-election was a major form of protest by the voters and the implications for PH are far reaching and ominous.
He added that PH’s candidate, Karmaine Sardini, was a poor performer.
“Just before the by-election the use of the Security Offences (Security Measures) Act 2012 to detain 12 Malaysian Indians, two of them DAP’s elected representatives could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back galvanising protest against the PH candidate,” he said.
He said the Tanjung Piai by-election was fought on national issues so it was time for PH to decide on its next course of actions.
PH lost in the by-election on Saturday by over 15,000 votes. It won the seat last year by just over 500 votes.