The federal opposition blasted Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for his promise to provide greater assistance only to those who backed BN in Election 2013, saying the move was aimed at “victimising” voters in a bid to sustain its political dominance.
“It is not surprising as this has always been the way of BN which is to victimise those who vote against them and help those who back them,” PAS central working committee member Khalid Samad told The Malaysian Insider.
“That is how they ensure they stay in power. By victimising the voters. They will maintain an economic condition so that the Malays will continue to back them,” the Shah Alam MP added.
On Saturday, Muhyiddin was quoted as saying that the BN administration will direct “greater assistance” towards the communities that backed it during the general election in a move that gave out mixed signals over the Najib administration’s seriousness in pushing for national reconciliation.
The clear message is that the majority of the Malays, Indians, Bumiputeras, Orang Asli, Siamese community as well as those in Sabah and Sarawak still support the BN.
“We will continue to give them greater assistance; that is what we will do,” the deputy prime minister was quoted as saying by state news agency Bernama at a BN thanksgiving function in Kundang Ulu, Johor, in an apparent continuation of the vilification of Chinese voters following the general election.
The DAP’s Rasah lawmaker Anthony Loke said it was obvious that Muhyiddin’s statement was aimed towards the Chinese community of which majority of them had voted for the opposition in the last national polls.
“This shows that he wants to penalise the Chinese community.
The DAP central executive committee member cited analysis that pointed to an increased shift in Malay support towards the opposition and demanded to know why was the government only punishing the Chinese.
“It’s a very stupid statement and very irresponsible. He is saying something completely different from Najib who is pushing for reconciliation and so on and yet he is making all these divisive statements,” he said.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had spoken of a need to reconcile the country immediately after the polls outcome was announced, but it was not a theme that was universally accepted in the BN coalition.
Right-wing elements in Umno along with party mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia have sought to frame the May 5 polls as a Chinese-versus-Malay vote, after Najib’s reference to a so-called “Chinese tsunami” following the election.
Utusan Malaysia had front-paged an incendiary headline titled “Apa lagi Cina mahu?” (What more do the Chinese want?) while tabloid Kosmo! took the blame game further with an even more overt title, “Pengundi Cina bersikap talam dua muka (Chinese voters are two-faced)”, a day after polling.
However, analysts instead pointed to a growing urban-rural divide as well as the ascendancy of a “Bangsa Malaysia” who did not vote along racial lines, as the main factors for the outcome.
Khalid said Muhyiddin’s statement reveals BN’s true nature and said that until this government is voted out, discrimination against anyone who opposes it will continue.
“That is why we are here. To oppose them. After so long in power they still do not understand that the money belongs to the rakyat. Of course not everyone will vote for them but when they are elected into power, they must serve everyone,” he said.
Despite the burgeoning of right wing elements within BN, several leaders have rejected the attempt to pin the blame for the ruling coalition’s worst-ever electoral showing solely on the Chinese community.
BN won 133 seats in the 222-seat federal Parliament, seven fewer than in the 2008 polls.
An apparent crackdown against opposition politicians and activists for sedition, however, has cast doubt over the government’s commitment to reconciliation.