In this Caf Latte chat, we bring together Labis MP Datuk Chua Tee Yong, social entrepreneur and founder of Zubedy (M) SdnBhdAnasZubedy, Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran and PKR central committee member LatheefaKoya to discuss national unity and what are the best ways to move forward as a nation. The chat was moderated by Star online editor Philip Golingai.
Philip: What is your take on National Unity?
Rajiv: I think there is definitely room for improvement. Definitely, we can work towards ensuring that the society feels Malaysian and they will also not feel the gap between other races. I think the Government can do more for the people to gel as rakyat.
Anas: I think we are treading on thin ice. It has been going on for the past five years; I think we have been hurtful to each other. As a nation we are wounded and I feel both sides (Opposition and Government) feel so too. Why they feel wounded, it's a secondary thing. Everybody is “kecilhati”. If we don't handle this, it will be even worse. I've even received things that have not been published, which is hurtful. We should calm things down.
Latheefa: I totally agree that we are walking on thin ice but I think it's easy to say that both sides are hurt. One side is attacking the other! Most obvious is Utusan where they mentioned ApaCinaMahu?. No action has been taken and it is obvious that the media is being used by the ruling party. If it's still there, we can't talk about national unity.
Tee Yong: May 5 is over. For national reconciliation to happen, we ourselves have to work for it. After the election process, we have to accept the results. I think the opposition is clearly saying things without looking at themselves. If you look at their cybertroopers, the hate message they are spreading is bad. They threaten and attack people who support the Government. Both sides should acknowledge that the elections are over. They have the right to send the petitions, likewise for BarisanNasional. Things like this, you have due process. The rallies are not helping. We have to wait for another five years for elections to come.
Anas: We have to diagnose the situation. We should look at our education policy and economic policy. Should we continue to look at race based politics and religious based politicians? We need to look at all these things. Politicians will look at things right now but I think they should look at what transpired in the past too. Let's look at the real issues, what has been happening for the past 14-15 years.
Latheefa: For example who? Don't simply say things without evidence.
Tee Yong: If you look at websites and pages on Facebook being created that support DAP or PKR most of them are in Mandarin and show so much hate against BN. The amount of videos they have generated are immense. If you look at these GE13 results, we lost 96% of the seats with at least 40% majority Chinese seats around Malaysia. We lost their votes.
LatheefaKoya: 96% Chinese voters or urban voters?
Tee Yong: 96% of Chinese voters that were in areas with 40% majority of
Anas: If you guys (Pakatan) are saying that there is no Chinese tsunami, you're lying. If you guys (Barisan_ are saying that there is no urban tsunami, you're lying. Forth line of unity is not about race, but it's also urban and non-urban. The fact is that both sides feel that there is no urban tsunami or Chinese tsunami, please sit back and research on the results. I speak hokkien and I've been to Penang, the Chinese were organizing themselves for the last 3-4 years for a change.
The fact is there is an element of Chinese tsunami and urban tsunami. You guys want to fight it over, it's your right but as a non-politician, most of us feel that it was a Chinese and urban tsunami
Tee Yong: UMNO won 79 out of 88 parliament seats. Gerakan and MCA performed badly. Like what Zubedy is saying, I acknowledge that urban votes were also a factor but the Chinese swing was also there. For examples seats in Tebrau and Bachok, there have been swings. Both sides had their strategy but the opposition plan worked and they managed to get the votes. Personally, the term of Chinese tsunami to me is hurting especially after it was announced right after the results. People could not take it and they say whatever that comes into the mind first. We should analyse based on facts and not be too emotional about it. We also have to do a proper study when it comes to the results.
LatheefaKoya: When you say its Chinese tsunami and urban tsunami, what do you mean by that? It's because if you say it's a Chinese tsunami then the group of people who supported is overwhelming Chinese support which is also the urban support. To say it's both Chinese and urban tsunami, it's because they have access of information and have options to choose. In terms of Sabah, Sarawak and rural areas- they lack information.
We had a strategy or not, we had no access to media. It was a complete unfair field. You fly in via helicopter; we still go by boats to go into the area. You have to have some basis to say this. It depends back on what is our policy and constitution. This whole national unity discussion has been going on for years. The way it has been latched on, we do not have the same level playing field
Anas: I think parties should stop pointing at each other and look at their own flaws. In order to move forward, this is the best solution. Any party that says that they're not making any mistakes, they're lying to themselves.
Tee Yong: Question is, how we move forward, we have to accept that the elections are over. What is important, in these five years, how do we maintain our unity and don't implode. Some people disagree with the results and the opposition has been talking about popular vote. In this country, we have been using the first-past-the-post system for many years. It's like a badminton game.
Latheefa: Tilted a bit lah.
Tee Yong: This is the first-past-the-post system. There is no perfect election system. Even in the United Kingdom, they face the same problem. So, there is a problem. What needs to be done, it needs to be looked at and we should find ways to solve it. If Pakatan is sending the petition, I feel that is the right decision to make, I feel it's correct. When you file petition, they still cast their doubts. BarisanNasional also faced the same problems, but we accepted the results.
Philip: Idealistically, what is national unity? What kind of world Malaysia would see?
Latheefa: A wonderful world. Glimpses of unity have been witnessed in many ways. Some of us yearn for this. For me, it's not an issue about going to vernacular schools, for me if you provide proper national schools. Most national schools have become more one race based and more the policies have turned into Malay centric policy. Non-Malay kids have felt left out. I come from a mixed school, I remember not being reminded of my race. However, kids are now facing discrimination, they were questioned. If you want to talk about national unity, don't attack vernacular schools but go after what the teachers have been fed.
Philip: Ideally, according to you, we should be seeing each other as Malaysians?
Latheefa: Of course, yes! I think we have the potential to do it. For example, so many people have rallied and there were no racial incidents in these rallies. We can do it! I don't think because they go to vernacular schools, they are separated. It's because some of us prefer being in our own world. We are all living separately right now and it doesn't help with racial politics.
Anas: We can put 100% Chinese in our Cabinet and they think for all Malaysians. I think we have to work on that. The Cabinet was recently announced and we still talk about how many Malay, Indian and Chinese ministers. Whether you're from a particular race, you have to think for all Malaysians. I think that's the ideal way of coining things. That's the dream now! On schools, the teachers are saying hurtful things and we have to look into this. We have to look into our education policy. I disagree with kids that are being separated into different vernacular schools. We really have to look into our education policy.