Make Teluk Intan the end of hate politics ― Wee Ka Siong

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JUNE 6 — Although DAP leaders say they have conceded defeat, you can see their underlying theme is still to blame the Barisan Nasional (BN) government as this comes up again and again.

DAP justifies its defeat by saying it tried to break the deep-rooted barriers but failed because of “past, old evil structures of race politics” so wickedly conceived by the BN. It is as if the almost 60 years of nationhood means nothing to Malaysians.

The truth is as follows.

First, the low turnout was only one of the factors why BN won and one may argue it happened by default. Yes, I agree BN might not have won it if it hadn’t been for the low turnout, assuming most of the younger voters had decided to vote.

However, this is not necessarily true. For example in Batu 12 Utara, where about half of the voters are Chinese, BN garnered 214 votes over 209 by DAP. In Kg Selamba, 266 young Malays gave their support to BN compared with 74 for DAP.

Second, for the first time since 1974 — when Gerakan took the seat from MCA — there had been little or no inter-party sabotage. This was something I made sure of. I stationed myself there to ensure we delivered our 5,000-odd members to all polling stations under our care.

This made a difference to the conduct and discipline of the party machinery. House-to-house visits were done to bring out voters who supported us. Gerakan avoided having mega dinners and instead held small intimate gatherings. This also proved to be successful for them.

Third, in polling districts such as Nova Scotia where over 1,500 Indians live, MIC managed to acquire funds to fix some of the run-down infrastructure abandoned since 2008. As such, we were rewarded with their appreciation and support. Overall, Indian support improved from 43.4 per cent to nearly 56 per cent. BN received more votes from young Indians than from the older ones.

Fourth, although young Malays were enthralled by Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud’s charms and gumption to stand up against hudud, few PAS members came out to help. Even PKR had a smaller presence as members are currently immersed in their own party problems with election fraud at the top of the list

DAP, being traditionally a Chinese-centric party, had no way of knowing which houses to go to. They had no get-out-the-vote capability in Malay areas which Umno took advantage of and  quickly mobilised itself to garner support.

Although Malay votes did not increase for BN, at least not as much as the Chinese and the Indians, we also understand that cost of living concerns have greatly impacted the sentiment among rural Malays. This is something BN must take note of moving forward.

Last but not least, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s visit to Beijing had a huge impact on the psyche of the Chinese voters. His efforts to retrace the steps of his father is a testament to his leadership. Clearly, he embraces all cultures in this country to ensure our prosperity is assured for future generations.

His message is clear. We need the formula of moderation to blunt the forces of extremism from within.  It is the enemy from within that does the most damage.

On the flipside, here is my take on why DAP lost the by-election in Teluk Intan.

The reason why 15.3 per cent fewer Chinese did not vote for DAP this time was because the party had obviously taken the community for granted. For decades, in places like Seputeh and Cheras, DAP has been saying it would win even if the party fielded a goat as a candidate. This arrogance was obviously carried over to Teluk Intan in a hubristic manner.

For a party that has lost so badly in the last two general elections, the taste of defeat has taught me many things. The most important of which is humility. We went into Teluk Intan to do our very best and came out as better comrades — win or lose.

The people of Teluk Intan did not fail Dyana Sofya. The people of Teluk Intan did not fail the nation for what it aspires to be — a nation where all can live in peaceful co-existence.

Mistakes have been made on the part of BN but at the end of the day, we need to make amends as our harmony is the only way to guarantee prosperity and a better future for us.

Dyana Sofya did not fail the people of Teluk Intan. It is DAP that failed Dyana Sofya. It is DAP that failed the people of Teluk Intan by trying to push the limitations of tolerance and create discord among races. DAP lost the elections due to its own greed for power — it was the pot calling the kettle (namely BN) black.

I hope Teluk Intan will spell the end of hate politics for which we have seen much of in the last five to six years. Let us learn from this that the people of Malaysia want constructive criticism. Our young voters want space to get on with their lives, without being crowded in by hate politics.

*This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malay Mail Online

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