Thursday, February 12, 2015

2479) MALAY MAIL -07/02/2015 - Misperception — Lim Sue Goan

FEBRUARY 7 — The boycott call by agriculture and agro-based industry minister Ismail Sabri, along with the response of Umno grassroots and Malay NGOs, show their misperception of the Chinese community in this country,
This misperception could be traced back to 2013 general elections, when the prime minister described the outcome as a “Chinese tsunami.” Given their population ratio, there is no way for Chinese Malaysians to stage a remarkable tsunami. Unfortunately this misperception has since been deeply planted in the heads of many Umno members and their supporters.
That also explains why there have been statements and actions targeted specifically at Chinese Malaysians since then. On May 29, 2013, the Muslim Consumer Association of Malaysia (PPIM) called for boycott of products of eight Chinese traders while warning Chinese businesses not to support Pakatan’s illegal rallies and street protests.
We can see the same kind of attitude from the agriculture minister’s statement.
There are three reasons why they have thought this way:
First of all, they think majority of Chinese voters support Pakatan Rakyat and have “betrayed” BN or Umno.
To them, democratic choices and rights are non-existent. They equate Chinese businesses to the general Chinese population, and these traders are seen as the ones financially assisting Pakatan.
Secondly, they think there are ill political motives behind their refusal to lower goods prices in hope of causing public dissatisfaction towards the BN government in justifying Pakatan’s ridicule of BN as Barang Naik.
Ismail’s second FB post said the refusal to lower goods prices despite falling oil prices was a destructive behavior aimed at inciting public wrath towards the government. During an interview with TV1, he reiterated this viewpoint, questioning the hidden agenda behind the traders’ move.
Thirdly, they feel that the status of Malays has been threatened and the community under oppression.
The agriculture minister’s FB post did make mention of this, and the same concern was raised by PAS president Hadi Awang when commenting on local council elections.
Such an attitude is nevertheless extremely naive. Businessmen regardless of race have one objective in common, that is to make as much money as possible. This explains why they have tried to distance themselves from politics lest it would affect their businesses. There must be reasons why a businessman has to openly declare his political stand. The ruling coalition should look into this instead of hitting out specifically at certain businesses.
This kind of thinking is gradually developing into the mainstream thought, so we see 92 Umno divisions standing up to rally behind Ismail Sabri, while the PM has attempted to ‘tame down” the whole thing.
And since Umno has been dominated by this kind of attitude, its supreme leader finds it hard to reproach and rectify. We expect similar conflicts will rise over the next three years until the next general elections.
This attitude also gives our ministers good reasons to be indolent. If they don’t have any idea to resolve a problem, the easiest way is to find some scapegoats. This will only bring long-term damages to the nation.
The first to suffer will be interracial relationship. Malaysians from different ethnic backgrounds become skeptical towards one another.
Businesses and investment environment will also be hurt thanks to deliberate calls of boycott by politicos. They can boycott McDonald’s on one day, and businesses supporting Pakatan on the other day.
Too much politicking and too little real effort to get our jobs done will only create more troubles for this country.
The agriculture minister should focus on addressing the issues of over 6,000 tons of rotten rice, corrupt practices and self sufficiency in food production. If we all do our parts properly, our economy will only get better and our incomes will far outpace the rise in goods prices.
At a time when the country is facing the tough challenges from slumping oil prices, fast depreciating ringgit and the upcoming GST, all we should do is to put our economy on the right track and not create more havoc. — MySinchew.com
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online. 

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