Racism Rears Its Ugly Head After Malaysian Election
When the results were announced, Prime Minister Najib Razak was quick to blame the poor showing on a
Rabu, 22 Mei 2013 15:37 WIB
Malaysia's ruling coalition won a simple majority in the country's election, extending its 56-year rule.
Even though, the opposition coalition won almost 52% of the popular vote, they only managed to win 89 seats compared to the ruling Barisan Nasional’s 133 seats.
The incumbent Basisan Nasional, in its worst ever showing, retained power with a slim majority despite having less popularity votes.
Amidst allegations of electoral fraud, the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition was elected back to power in Malaysia with a lower majority.
When the results were announced, Prime Minister Najib Razak was quick to blame the poor showing on a “Chinese Tsunami” – although statistics clearly showed a complex rural-urban divide.
In an attempt to put the blame solely on the Chinese, Utusan Malaysia - a Malay language newspaper owned by Najib’s party UMNO - in its front page questioned “What More Do the Chinese Want?”
Several pro-UMNO bloggers immediately called for a repeat of the May 13 race riots in 1969.
But political analyst Azmi Shrom from University Malaya says the outcome of the polls shows a complex rural-urban divide instead of a racial one.
“To just lay the blame of the results on the CHinese would be far too simplistic because you are talking about a majority having voted for the opposition. The popular vote has gone to Pakatan Rakyat. Chinese only make up 30% of the votes and not all of them voted for the opposition as well.”
He says that Najib may be ousted from his party UMNO for his poor showing.
“Najib obviously acted out of pressure. Because if you look at what he was doing over the last few years he was been trying to woo the non-Malays voters. He has been trying to portray himself as a liberal progressive person. And for him to suddenly turn around and say something completely different from the image he has been trying to project over the last few years clearly shows it was not his own doing. He is under pressure from the extreme right of this party to play the Malay supremacist card, I think his tenure is not going to be very long because Mahathir Mohamad despite being retired like it or not still has a great deal of influence in UMNO, has been openly lobbying against Najib by making it sound it was a failure and we know there are people in the wings waiting to take over.”
The 100,000 strong rally organized by the opposition at the Kelana Jaya Stadium quickly descended in to an anti-racism event with the crowd denouncing attempts to inflame racial hatred among Malaysians.
37-year-old Rahimi Ibrahim is from Selayang, Kuala Lumpur.
“This is a tsunami of the people in Malaysia and not being played up by Utusan Malaysia. This is a Malaysian Tsunami.”
And despite rumors warning the Chinese not to attend the event, many were adamant in attending the event.
Benny Chan, 29, is an entrepreneur from Klang. He relates what he wants from his government.
“Chinese are not racist. We just want a government without corruption and a government that will spend and use our natural recources in a correct way and to bring a better Malaysia.”
Azmi Sharon says race riots will not occur as long as the ordinary Malaysians reject it.
“UMNO is supported by groups like PERKASA and PERKEDA and these are extremists who have no problems to cause trouble. I would like to see any one to try to face down 120 thousand people. I don’t think there are 120K thugs in the country. That scare tactic is not going to work because people simply don’t want it to work because if you have such numbers amongst ordinary citizens this kind of activity will face complete failure.”