Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nor Mohamed Yakcop is no different from Perkasa by playing the “Ketuanan Melayu” race card with threats and fears that Malaysia will revert to 1511 if BN loses the 13th general elections.
1511 was the year that the Melaka Sultanate was successfully invaded by the Portuguese, the start of foreign colonisation of Malaya.
Nor used 1511 to back up his false claims that the opposition did not have the capability to pursue the bumiputera agenda.
This is a wrong comparison as the Portuguese were a foreign power and the 13th General Elections will be decided by Malaysians. Ironically, it is PR that should be laying this allegation against BN and the Election Commission due to the presence of phantom and dubious voters, including foreigners as registered voters, who could play the decisive role in the next general elections.
By playing the race card of bumiputera agenda in the next general elections, Nor and UMNO have sent a strong signal that they do not care about the non-Malay voters. They are using the bumiputera agenda as the only agenda for winning the general elections, citing Penang as an example where the Malays have been neglected.
The Penang PR state government challenges Nor to state how Malays in Penang have been neglected under PR rule. Can he spell out the programmes that the previous state government had done under former Chief Minister Dr KohTsu Koon that had not been continued by the present PR state government? Should Nor fail to do so then he is no different from Perkasa in adopting the tactics of race-baiting and fear-mongering.
In fact not only was welfare assistance continued, PR has increased them to higher levels. More than RM50 million have been spent on introducing and increasing cash assistance ranging from RM 100 yearly aid for senior citizens, the disabled, single mothers as well as students in Standard 1 & 4, Form 1 & 4. Further assistance inculde micro-credit loans for the poor and single mothers, one-off payments of RM1,000 to beneficiaries of senior citizens and government universities students from household with monthly income less than RM4,000 as well as RM200 for every child born.
Most impressive of all is Penang’s success in wiping out hard-core poverty in one year which was what BN could not achieve in 50 years, by ensuring that every household enjoys a minimum monthly income of RM600. By 2015 Penang will be the first state in Malaysia to wipe out poverty.
Even when state government contracts were awarded by open competitive tender based on the best price, quality and management, 70% of the contracts were won by Malay contractors. This is a reduction from the previous practice of giving 100% to UMNO cronies, but in terms of value the genuine Malay contractors gained more as compared to that awarded under the previous government.
The reason for this is that the PR state government had increased the expenditure for social programs and infrastructure by 55% from RM1,387 million in the 4 years of 2004-7 to RM2,142 million spent under 4 years of PR rule from 2008-2011. For instance,Penang state allocation for road projects, where nearly 100% were won by Malay contractors, were increased from RM 10.25 million in 2007 to RM 41.6 million in 2012. And in 2012, the largest allocation in Penang’s history for Islamic affairs of RM64 million was approved.
By playing with emotion and sentiment, Nor shows that he is no different from Perkasa. In Penang, Perkasa members were allowed to beat up and injure reporters, not once but twice in the Penang Bridge in July last year and on 26th February in the anti-Lynas rally in Esplanade.
No action has been taken on those Perkasa and UMNO attackers. On 10 May 2012. Perkasa members were even allowed by the police to conduct a Hindu death ritual on the main gate of my residence in Penang.
If Nor can succeed in exploiting fear dating back to 1511 by pursuing a racist approach of only bumiputra agenda and ketuanan Melayu, this is the death ritual of democracy, multi-racial harmony, multi-cultural diversity and 1Malaysia!
LIM GUAN ENG