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Sunday, July 1, 2012
Umno creating racial bogeymen to woo Malay voters, PR leaders say
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
July 01, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Umno is playing a dangerous game of lies by stoking up fears that could split Malaysia along racial lines in its bid to win over Malay voters at the polls, two Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders said today.
Their remarks come after a Mingguan Malaysia columnist Awang Selamat accused the Singapore's ruling People's Action Party (PAP) of having ties with Chinese-dominant Malaysian party, DAP, to influence the 13th general elections here due within a year.
Mingguan Malaysia is the weekend edition of Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia and "Awang Selamat" is a pseudonym adopted by the paper's editorial team that often reflect the ruling party's views.
The DAP's Lim Kit Siang (picture) claimed today that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's uncertainty in winning the next general election has resulted in "desperate" tactics by Umno leaders and strategists.
Awang had accused Lim of being one of former Singapore prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's "trusted men" and former press secretary.
The DAP national parliamentary leader denied Awang's allegations and described them as "downright lies."
"I was never involved in PAP during my years as a reporter in Singapore from 1961 to 1964... I was never press secretary to Kuan Yew although I worked for a period in the press section of the Ministry of Culture," Lim said in a statement today.
He said it was not the first time Umno has raised such unsubstantiated allegations, pointing out that Utusan and other media linked to the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) have accused the DAP of conspiring to create a Christian Malaysia state, appoint a Christian prime minister and abolish the existing constitutional monarchy system led by the Malay sultans.
Lim added that Umno/BN cybertroopers had even claimed that he was responsible for the May 13 racial riots in 1969, while he was never even in Kuala Lumpur at the time.
"In desperation, Umno leaders and strategists including Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed have now resorted to a two-prong offensive- firstly, playing the race card to create racial suspicion and distrust to win the Malay heartland in utter disregard of Mahathir's Bangsa Malaysia and Najib's 1 Malaysia concepts; and secondly, a vilification and demonization campaign against DAP and Pakatan Rakyat leaders," Lim said.
He said Umno's heightened attacks against opposition leaders proved that PM Najib is not confident about winning the next elections.
Attacks against PR leaders have intensified ahead of the next GE, with many pro-BN mainstream media publishing lopsided reports of events.
"The 13th GE is going to be the dirtiest election in the half-century history of Malaysia," said Lim.
But PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar believes Umno's "divide and rule" strategy may not necessarily result in a GE win, saying that a mere ten per cent voter swing in PR's favour would impact BN's position.
"What people forget is that last GE, out of 139 BN seats, 56 were won with a majority of less than 10 per cent, and a 10 per cent swing in PR's favour would negatively impact BN's rule.
"Out of this 56 BN marginal seats, 14 are from Sabah and Sarawak, while the remaining 22 are multi-ethnic , in Peninsular malaysia - with less than 70 per cent Malay voters," she told The Malaysian Insider.
"Their true and tested racial tirade against their political opponents won't be as effective as previous years, as more Malaysians and Malays gain access to new media.
"Clearly, Najib's just a false democrat bent on playing the same old game as his UMNO counterparts, and that's sorely disappointing," the Lembah Pantai MP added.
Singapore was a part of Malaysia until it was kicked out of the federation in 1963. Ties between the two nations have been tense over the years, notably during Lee's administration of the republic while Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was Malaysia's prime minister until 2003.
The bilateral ties that warmed significantly after Datuk Seri Najib Razak took office in 2009, however, has cooled again in recent weeks after several right-wing Malay groups accused three Singapore envoys of taking part in a chaotic street demonstration led by electoral reform group Bersih.
Najib has publicly denounced the April 28 demonstration as an attempt to overthrow his government.