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Malaysia’s DAP accused of blindly copying PAP

KUALA LUMPUR — A leader of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno) has accused opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) of blindly emulating Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), after former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad praised the DAP for having a stronger Malaysian spirit.

Former Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad (right) is pictured sitting next to DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang at the DAP National Conference 2016 in Shah Alam, December 4, 2016. Photo: The Malay Mail Online

Former Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad (right) is pictured sitting next to DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang at the DAP National Conference 2016 in Shah Alam, December 4, 2016. Photo: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR — A leader of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno) has accused opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) of blindly emulating Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), after former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad praised the DAP for having a stronger Malaysian spirit. 

Mr Mohd Puad Zarkashi, who is a member of Umno’s supreme council, hinted on Monday (Dec 5) that the Malay community in Singapore is marginalised.

“Did Tun M forget, DAP only copies the strategy of Singapore’s PAP?” 

Mr Puad asked in a post on his Facebook account, referring to Dr Mahathir. “Singapore’s national anthem is also in Malay, but what happened to the Malays under the Malaysian Malaysia policy practised in Singapore?” 

Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who led the PAP, had advocated the “Malaysian Malaysia” motto, which promotes equality for all races, at a gathering called the Malaysian Solidarity Convention in May 1965 when Singapore was still part of the Federation of Malaya.

The then-Malayan government saw the motto as going against its racial affirmative policies and that, together with disagreements on political and economic issues, saw Singapore kicked out of the Federation three months later.

The PAP branch in Malaysia was de-registered, with its former members subsequently setting up the DAP.

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang, who was then a journalist, joined the party not long after it was formed. Mr Lim had called for a “Malaysian Malaysia” campaign in 1999, and his party’s “Middle Malaysia” concept in 2010 has been accused by detractors of being a continuation of the former campaign. 

Mr Puad said on Monday the “Malaysian Malaysia” and “Middle Malaysia” concepts were against the country’s Federal Constitution, especially regarding Article 153, a provision that governs the rights and privileges of the Malays and indigenous bumiputras. 

“Even in the DAP Constitution, it is obvious that they are fighting for a ‘secular’ country. This is against the spirit of the Federal Constitution, where Islam is the religion of the federation.” 

During DAP’s annual general assembly on Sunday, the party pledged to uphold Bahasa Malaysia’s position as the national language while encouraging the use of mother tongues and to preserve the Malay and bumiputra communities’ special position while protecting the rights of other ethnic groups. It also said it would safeguard Islam as the religion of the federation, while championing freedom of practice for other religions.

The assembly was attended by Dr Mahathir for the first time in DAP’s 50-year history. The veteran leader praised the DAP for using Bahasa Malaysia and having a multiracial membership.

Dr Mahathir, who was Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister, quit Umno earlier this year after accusing Prime Minister Najib Razak of corruption linked to state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). 

The Prime Minister has denied any wrongdoing over 1MDB and consolidated power by cracking down on dissenters, stacking his Cabinet with loyalists, and securing the backing of powerful Umno division chiefs.

Dr Mahathir subsequently formed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and joined hands with the opposition and critics of Mr Najib. Aligned with the opposition bloc, the bumiputra-centric party is made up mostly of former Umno members dissatisfied with Mr Najib. The realignment of political alliances in Malaysia has resulted in warmer ties between Umno and its rival, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), with an Umno minister saying that the formation of PPBM brought the two Malay parties towards a united agenda.

“This is one of the advantages in the current political situation. Before this, we could not think that PAS and Umno could talk together,” said Mr Abdul Rahman Dahlan, a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, in an interview published in Malay daily Utusan Malaysia on Monday.

He suggested that the time was now ripe to unite the supporters of his party and PAS because the presidents of the two organisations had put the unity of the community above political or personal considerations.

“I feel that in decades of us politicking in this country, this is the best time to unite the Malays. At least among the supporters of Umno and PAS,” he said. AGENCIES

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