KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — A political landscape that made DAP the go-to party exclusively for non-Malays could be disastrous to nation building efforts and further perpetuate racial stigmas, warned party strategist Liew Chin Tong.
In his analysis of the current political situation, Liew pushed for a “Middle” Malaysia — an ideology that adopts a more progressive and inclusive outlook towards governing the country — as the best way forward towards building a better nation.
He said parties like his own should not be construed as contrarian and permanent residents in the Opposition bench, but must become advocates of a middle ground to represent the voices of all Malaysians and not just the non-Malays.
“It is both electorally fatal and terribly bad for nation building to advocate DAP for the non-Malays only, with Malays being mere token in the party.
“This may perpetuate the myth that everything in this country stems from a racial tussle, and for the DAP not to try to win power in a coalition setting,” he wrote.
Liew acknowledged that there were those within DAP’s ranks who advocate the needs of the non-Malays over the Malays, but again warned that such sentiments could invite further racial polemic against the party.
However, Liew said he believed most DAP leaders and members aspired towards multiculturalism despite the party’s overwhelmingly non-Malay membership.
“I am also certain that the centre in DAP wishes to see the party as a partner in the national government, and not to return to be a permanent opposition party harping on limited racial interests,” he said.
Liew said DAP must again work beyond racial lines if it is to rejoin the national government.
He asserted that history and voting trends have shown that there was public appetite for DAP to be part of the government, rejecting the notion that only non-Malays voted for the party.
“The nation’s history has pushed DAP to the national stage. The public wants us to not just be a permanent opposition party. Together with our coalition partners, DAP must present itself as a government-in-waiting, in every sense of the term.
“We must not just oppose for the sake of opposing; we must provide sensible policy solutions. We must speak for all Malaysians, and to represent the Malaysian Middle Ground, and not to dance to the tune of the extremists on any side.
He also touched on how DAP was undergoing what PAS experienced in 1999 after winning 27 seats during the general election, its best performance ever, which included seats outside their fort of Kelantan and Terengganu.
However, PAS later grew divided between its progressive and conservative leaders, eventually resulting in a breakaway that birthed Parti Amanah Negara and cost it seats in subsequent elections.
Moving forward, the Johor DAP chairman said Pakatan Harapan would be the best coalition to govern the country towards a middle ground with sensible policies instead of racially charged polemics.
He again warned that perpetuating racial tensions and polemics further would only bring negative effects to DAP’s reputation, directly affecting the chances of PH in an election.
“However, if we fall for the same racial framing and race baiting of our opponents, it’s not impossible for the DAP and PH to wither away from Malaysian politics.
“Racism and racial politics will continue to make everyone suffer, except those at the top.
“For Malaysia to move forward, the middle ground, as I had written in 2009, is still the battleground in both election and nation-building,” he added.