Johan James (in his Free Malaysia Today piece “The China deal: A blessing for local Chinese”) said that, lately, Chinese Malaysians have been feeling on top of the world and were jumping for joy because of Beijing’s so-called “massive investments” in our country.
Johan predicted a large swing to the Barisan Nasional at the next General Election because the Chinese were “practical people”. They are being wooed aggressively by the Prime Minister and, according to Johan, the Government has never ceased to remind the Chinese community of its valuable contributions to the national economy.
I don’t care much about his polls prediction but there are things he said that are awfully wrong and dangerous. First, he said that “the Government has begun to tone down its hardline conservatism to slowly draw the Chinese people’s support.” My God. Is the Government’s unrelenting attacks on the DAP and its leaders not an attack on the Chinese community?
The DAP has been described as anti-Islam and anti-Malay, and all kinds of lies about the party taking power and endangering Malay power have been spread. This is certainly not softening “hardline conservatism”. It’s the opposite.
He then said “you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to discover that the culture of the Chinese community here is still largely similar to the one in China. The Chinese, no matter where they live, will not compromise on their deep-rooted cultural aspects”.
Johan then asked: “So, what do you expect from them [local Chinese] when their country of origin—now the second largest economy after the US—is opening up plenty of business opportunities through multibillion deals with Malaysia?”
He then goes on to conclude that the Chinese community, although critical of the Government on social media, will support the BN because Chinese Malaysians place more importance on earnings than political rhetoric.
Johan James doesn’t sound like a Chinese Malaysian to me, but if he is, then I believe he rather lacks the attributes one normally associates with that community.
I don’t know any Chinese from Beijing but I have known many Chinese Malaysians over the years. Our Chinese might still use chopsticks and eat a lot of pork but it’s shameful to say that they are closer to mainland Chinese than they are to other Malaysians.
Chinese Malaysians have been here for generations and they are culturally so very different from the citizens of China. Chinese Malaysians are on the whole much more educated, refined and sophisticated than those from the mainland.
Chinese Malaysians love this country and, if allowed, they would like to contribute more to the building of this country. They are not so selfish as to think only of earnings.
They are not much involved in the administration of this country because they have not been allowed to serve by UMNO, which likes to portray itself as the defender of Malays and Islam while giving MCA the responsibility to do business deals.
The Chinese community must be wary of the wrong advice they will be getting this election year. Their long-term prosperity and peaceful co-existence with the rest of Malaysia means that everyone needs to work together as one people to remove corruption, injustice and unfairness from the system.
Chinese Malaysians want to be part of the nation. They don’t want merely to run profitable businesses and nothing else. They want to belong to this country—and they will, with Pakatan Harapan.
Only when the other communities are safe will they be safe. Only when we have real unity will we be able to prosper together. The uncontrolled influx of foreigners, whether from China or Bangladesh—whether people or money (including fraudulent megaprojects)—will harm our country beyond repair.
Giving away our land, ports, power stations and our security will not bring peace. It just brews trouble that can explode at any time.
Unlike Johan James, I appeal to the Chinese community to continue supporting the Opposition because Malays are now with us. Don’t spoil our chances. While it’s true that investments from anywhere must be welcomed, Malaysia must come first.
We must decide together on all kinds of decisions, but we should use only one criterion when deciding what is and isn’t important: will it be good for the country and the people?
This is not the time for narrow group interests to surface. It is certainly not the time for misplaced arguments about culture and history to be bandied about for votes. This is the time for serious and responsible discussions about the future of our country.
To participate in those discussions meaningfully, we must do come together as a single people united by a common purpose, and that is: the betterment of our country and all its inhabitants.