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Thread: Kee Thuan Chye: Open Letter to Chua Soi Lek

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Kee Thuan Chye: Open Letter to Chua Soi Lek

    Wednesday, 12 January 2011 12:46
    Last updated on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 17:28

    Open Letter to Chua Soi Lek
    by Kee Thuan Chye

    You are a highly educated person and one with the ability to think. As such, you are probably aware that the welfare of this nation rests on more than just the MCA winning its share of seats at the next general election and remaining in the coalition that holds the power to decide the fate of Malaysia.

    You are probably aware that the way forward for Malaysia is renouncing the way of the Barisan Nasional, led by Umno, falling back on an outdated decades-old formula. And that if you and the MCA continue to collude with the other parties in BN to retain power, you are subscribing to practices that could lead the nation to racial rifts and economic ruin.

    Would you not agree with me that at this point in our history, as we stand at this crucial crossroads deciding which is the best path to take, national politics should no longer be race-based?

    If you do agree, what then is the rationale for the MCA to continue to exist as an ethnocentric party? What is the rationale for you and your party members to stick with Umno which avowedly fights for the Malays and the MIC which avowedly fights for the Indians?

    How long more do you see this ethnocentric equation taking hold of the lives of Malaysians, causing strife from time to time when disputes arise over who should get what and how much? We’ve had 53 years of that; isn’t it enough?

    Which is more important for you and your MCA colleagues: To stay on in BN in order to reap the rewards of being in government positions, or to do something that will ensure the honor and integrity of your party and of yourselves? I cannot tell you what that thing is which you could do to gain rectitude. You have to find it yourself.

    But as you search for an answer, perhaps you would like to reflect on how strong the MCA’s position really is within the BN coalition for the party to achieve its aims. Are you, for instance, contributing to inter-racial understanding and harmony? How could that be when you have to speak up against any threat to the position of the Chinese? How could that be when Umno must speak up against any perceived threat against the Malays?

    It’s a game full of contradictions, isn’t it? You can’t have one and the other, can you? In fact, your attempts over the past several months to speak up for the Chinese – indeed, for the country as a whole – clearly illustrate this.

    Last August, after the Malaysian Chinese Economic Congress, when you called on the Government to gradually remove the 30 per cent Bumiputra equity in all sectors of the economy, you were immediately jumped upon by Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin. He even warned you about May 13.

    A few days later, in your interview with a Malay-language newspaper, you had to soften what you had said, clearly showing your vulnerability.

    Even Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein told you to “stick to the struggles of BN”. What are they? Do you know?

    You were even a target of criticism at the Umno general assembly last October. A delegate slammed you for saying that the social contract should not be discussed openly.

    Then at the BN convention last month, you called for a ban on the use of the term “Ketuanan Melayu”, and you told Umno it should not approve government policies during its supreme council meetings. But straight away, Hishammuddin said you had upset many BN leaders, including those in the MCA.

    This boggles the mind. What you said was absolutely right – how could Umno take it upon itself to decide on government policies when it is only one of the component parties of BN? Does the MCA have no say? So how could MCA leaders be upset by what you said? Have they become Umnofied themselves? Have they become slaves of their masters? Or, as former Perak menteri besar Nizar Jamaluddin said, “running dogs”?

    If so, what dignity is left in them? And in you, if you continue to serve the MCA within the BN fold?

    Isn’t it obvious, too, that what you say doesn’t count for “doodley-squat”, as the American novelist Kurt Vonnegut would call it?

    To be brutally honest, what good is your speaking up when you are still within the same cabal and your partners not only disagree with you, they don’t respect what you say?

    As you have probably been informed, people outside don’t give much credence to your speaking up, anyway. They think it’s just a sandiwara act to merely give the impression that you are standing up for what is right. But it’s just an act.

    I admit that going by the issues you have been bringing up recently, you are highlighting the fact that things are not being done right, and that your political partners should be held accountable. I might even hazard that you are at least concerned. What I fail to see, though, is your commitment.

    For instance, at the MCA general assembly last October, Umno president Najib Razak told your party right within your own premises to be less communal and less demanding. Did you have an answer to that? Did you tell him in return to ensure that Umno would be less communal too? Did you tell him that the MCA was not being more demanding, that it was merely asking for what is guaranteed all Malaysians?

    You see, I believe you know what is right for the country, but you are not willing to go all the way to ensuring that what is right prevails. If you were, you would not continue with the current regime. You would press for reform.

    Surely, you would not disagree with me if I said the judiciary needs to be independent, that it needs to regain the trust of the people? The same with the police, the mainstream media and the civil service?

    Surely, you would not disagree with me if I said our education system needs to be totally revamped to institute quality and regard for merit?

    Surely, you would not disagree with me if I said that the way we award government projects needs to be transparent to eliminate cronyism? Or is that too tough a call after your appointment as Penang Port Commission chairman, a move that raised many eyebrows?

    Above all, surely you would not disagree with me if I said we need a government that is clean; tells the truth; follows the rule of law; uses public funds for the people’s sake rather than for its own; and upholds the country’s institutions rather than abuses them for its own advantage?

    Do we have such a government today?

    If we did, you would not have said what you said last Dec 5 – when you called for each BN component party to have an equal voice and to share power “genuinely”; when you said BN had to change to be inclusive, multi-racial and to put the people first.

    I know how to read between the lines, Soi Lek, and what you said that time said a lot about the coalition your party is part of.

    Do you think it is capable of responding to your calls for change? Right now, looking just at the Cabinet line-up, we can see what a far cry it is from the days of Tunku Abdul Rahman. Will we ever see an inclusive government that has non-Malay ministers for the portfolios of Finance, Trade and Industry, or Defence? That no longer looks at skin color but at ability, integrity and character?

    I think you might better serve the people by taking the first step that leads away from race-based politics. If you choose to do that, you will be blazing a trail. And that could bring honor not only to you but your party as well. Unless, of course, you’re a politician first and a public servant last. Then all I’ve been saying here is worth doodley-squat.


    Chye Malaysiandigest....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Kee Thuan Chye
    Tuesday, 04 September 2012 13:07
    1 Comment
    Dear Soi Lek,

    I last wrote an open letter to you that was published in this same website on Jan 12, 2011.
    In it, you may recall, I said that being a highly educated person with the ability to think, you should consider renouncing race-based politics for the good of the nation.

    I also wondered if the MCA still had any dignity left for continuing to be a part of Barisan Nasional (BN).

    Since then, you have said or done nothing to indicate that you will change.

    You have, however, threatened that if BN wins the next general election, the MCA will not accept any ministerial positions if it does not enjoy Chinese support. All I can say to that is good luck to you then.

    If by that statement you mean to frighten the Chinese into voting for the MCA for fear of not being represented in the next Cabinet, I don’t think it has worked. Certainly not on the thinking Chinese. I, however, can’t speak for the simple-minded or the stupid ones.

    Perhaps the latter are the ones you are targeting but in this day and age, there are not many of them left.

    After all, if we are to think logically, even now, as a senior partner in BN with four ministers, the MCA comes across as little more than a toothless Pekingese that wags its tail when Umno yells. So what difference would it make if the MCA were not in the Cabinet? What representation are the Chinese getting even now?

    In short, you are impotent within BN. If you want to toot about the Government finally deciding last June to retrospectively recognize the 70 diplomas and advance diplomas awarded by Kolej Tunku Abdul Rahman (KTAR), I would suggest you don’t.

    You and I know why the recognition came at this time – so many years after the diploma courses were introduced.

    Even Mahathir Mohamad sneered at it, blatantly saying that it was just an attempt by the Government to win Chinese votes. He even said, offensively, that it had come about due to Malay “stupidity” – because the Malays were giving in to the minorities.

    But never mind the old codger and his racist rants. Just ask yourself why the MCA just stood impotently and sulked during those years of non-Government recognition. Why couldn’t the MCA have pressed the Government to give the recognition that would, in turn, have allowed those KTAR graduates to apply for government jobs or pursue further studies at Malaysian public universities?

    And isn’t it ironic that it was actually the MCA that founded KTAR? And that these diplomas have been given recognition by ACCA and CIMA, and been accepted for direct entry into degree courses in countries like the US, the UK and Australia, but not Malaysia?

    Your impotence is also demonstrated in the kind of statements you have been making in the past year or so.

    One of the most pathetic and unbecoming was your derisive statement regarding the turnout at Bersih 2.0 in July 2011.

    You parroted your master’s voice when you pooh-poohed the estimated 50,000 that showed up at the Bersih 2.0 rally and said it was a minuscule number. You boasted that you could muster up 50,000 MCA members, no problem. Najib Razak said he could round up 1 million Umno members; you were more modest. But please, do demonstrate that you can.

    I would like to see you round up 50,000 people and bring them out onto the streets of Kuala Lumpur while defying roadblocks put up by the police and facing the prospect of being attacked with teargas and water cannons, and getting arrested.

    Without paying them a sen, mind you.

    You also said there were not many Chinese at the rally. Were you there to take note of that? I was. And I can testify that there were thousands of Chinese present – and they were ordinary citizens, not people with political affiliations.

    But let me ask you this. Do you not secretly believe, as a good citizen, that what Bersih stands for – clean and fair elections – is something good for the nation? If you do believe it to be so, why do you not say so publicly instead of running down the good citizens who took to the streets because they cared for their country?

    You did nothing when Najib and his cohorts committed all those ruthless acts against Bersih 2.0 and its sympathizers. As it turned out, Najib realized eventually that he had done much wrong – because his ratings plunged. Didn’t you see the wrong he was doing at the time? Did you agree with what he did then? Tell me honestly.

    Have you been afflicted by the Pekingese syndrome and therefore cannot be your own man and speak your own mind?

    Is that why you have little else to say these days except to pick on the DAP and its association with PAS, and accuse it – erroneously, I might add – of colluding with PAS to bring about hudud law and an Islamic state?

    Is that why you have nothing to contribute to the Malaysian political debate except the flawed threat to non-Muslims that a vote for the DAP is a vote for PAS and therefore a vote for an Islamic state?

    What about your Umno colleague in Johor, Ayub Rahmat, calling for hudud to be implemented for all, including non-Muslims? What about the resolutions passed by the Penang state Opposition leader and the Kepala Batas Wanita Umno division supporting hudud for all?

    Why don’t you ask your own partner, Umno, to come right out once and for all to state its stand on whether it will or will not support hudud? If you can’t do that, isn’t your calling the DAP a “political eunuch” the same as the pot calling the kettle black?

    And why did you say nothing when Umno made overtures to PAS to hold a muzakarah for the sake of Muslim and Malay unity? Why didn’t you chide your partner for not consulting the MCA about it first?

    All this makes me see that you don’t practise what you preach. Similarly, you recently said that religion should not be politicized, but look at you politicizing it each time you bring up the hudud issue. To be honest, that makes you one of the biggest politicizers of religion.

    Apart from that, recently you even descended to the level of saying that the DAP intends to join BN at the expense of the MCA. I don’t know where you plucked that from, but if the DAP were to do that, it would not only be betraying its supporters, it would also be betraying its own founding principles.

    I am more inclined to believe what Lim Guan Eng said in response to your statement – that the DAP has no wish to replace the MCA; instead, together with PKR and PAS, it wants to replace BN.

    I notice that you have had nothing significant to say these days except hit out at the Opposition for even the most trivial of matters.

    The most recent case was when you handed out cheques to Lee Chong Wei and Pandalela Rinong. You couldn’t resist taking a swipe at M Manoharan of the DAP. Was it necessary? I agree Mano said a stupid thing in his tweet about Chong Wei’s performance at the Olympics, but the man had already apologized. Why say his apology was meaningless? Were you being ungracious?

    Worst of all, you even went so low as to call him politically retarded. That was cheap. And then, in the same breath, you said sports should not be politicized.

    If sports should not be politicized, why were you the one giving out the cheques to Chong Wei and Pandalela? The money came from The Star, and normally, it is the CEO of The Star who gives away such cheques. Why did you want to be in the limelight?

    Is it because you wanted people to see that the MCA was involved in giving out the money to the duo? But then, as a political leader, even though the MCA is the major owner of The Star, shouldn’t you adopt a non-involvement policy?

    If you really want to use whatever influence you have to depoliticize sports, you should go on a campaign to call for politicians to step down from being heads of sports organizations. Let these sports bodies be run by people who know sports, not people out to gain political mileage.

    You could also make yourself useful and respected by talking about more significant issues, like Section 114A of the Evidence Act, which you cannot possibly agree with – if you are not a politically retarded person.

    How can it be fair for an accused person to be presumed guilty and be compelled to prove his or her innocence? Even your Umno colleague Saifuddin Abdullah and your own MCA Vice-President Gan Ping Sieu are in favor of its removal.

    You could also question why 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is buying Genting Berhad’s old power asset for RM2.3 billion when it could build a new power plant with the same amount of money. And why 1MDB is going into real estate development in competition with the private sector.

    And of course Najib’s awarding of the Ampang LRT extension tender to George Kent (Malaysia) Berhad despite it’s having allegedly failed the initial tender test.

    These are just suggestions; there are many more national issues to choose from. They will certainly make you look a national leader instead of a communal bickerer who is constantly picking on the DAP.

    Oh, one more thing. Did you not think that the choice of the BN’s election campaign slogan ‘Janji Ditepati’ as the theme of this year’s Merdeka Day celebrations was inappropriate? Surely, you are smart and sharp enough to realize that such an occasion should not be politicized for BN’s benefit? Why didn’t you point it out? After all, you have been saying we shouldn’t be politicizing this and that.

    OK, Soi Lek, I’ve gone on quite a bit. I’m saying all this because you yourself are aware – going by your recent interview in The Malay Mail – that the people want change and the political parties must respond accordingly. The turnout at the ‘Janji Demokrasi’ gathering in Dataran Merdeka on Aug 30, to demonstrate that the Government has not kept its promises, must surely reinforce that view.

    So I’ve taken this trouble to write this to you, and to ask you what you’ll be doing from now on. Whether to be the Pekingese that sits, stands on its hind feet, rolls on the floor or pretends to be dead at the command of its master, or to be someone who is free, stands tall and speaks his own mind. Or whether you have other options.

    Let me assure you that if you choose the option that is good for the country, I’ll certainly be rooting for you.



    * Kee Thuan Chye is the author of the bestselling book 'No More Bullshit, Please, We’re All Malaysians'. The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer.


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