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Monday, December 9, 2013

Like in 1999, Malay tsunami can happen again, Nurul Izzah tells BN

DECEMBER 8, 2013
Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said today that policies like the proposed
Goods and Services Tax (GST), electricity hike and subsidy reduction
will negatively impact the Malays, who form the bulk of the bottom
60 per cent of Malaysians in terms of household income. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Barisan Nasional (BN) cannot rule out the possibility of a Malay tsunami, Nurul Izzah Anwar said today, reminding the ruling pact of the 1999 federal polls when many from the dominant ethnic group voted for the opposition.

The PKR vice-president said creating this “tsunami” would not be Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) main objective but noted should BN continue implementing policies that burden Malaysians, the pact could see a shift in support from its key vote bank.

She said policies like the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST), electricity hike and subsidy reduction will negatively impact the Malays, who form the bulk of the bottom 60 per cent of Malaysians in terms of household income.

“All these policies they have announced including hike in terms of assessment rate are going to affect majority Malay, Bumiputra population more so than the rest.

“I think it’s a real possibility but I will not go down their level to say that our focus is going to be getting in terms of Malay tsunami.

“We want a Malaysian tsunami, rejecting a corrupt government, so I think that is our focus and it has been possible, in the 1999 elections,” she told The Malay Mail Online after launching “Surat Untuk Anak”, a book chronicling the journey of a father with two children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, at Universiti Malaya here.

Barisan Alternatif (BA), which was a coalition of opposition parties formed in September 1998 to counterweight the ruling BN, had won more than half the Malay votes in the 1999 general election, according to Nurul Izzah.

In constituencies with more than two-third Malay voters, BN only scored 48.6 per cent of the votes, compared to 60.8 per cent the previous 1995 polls.

The BA coalition was disbanded after the 2004 general election, after winning only eight out of 219 seats. After the 2008 general election, PAS, PKR and DAP banded together again in another loosely formed coalition — Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

Earlier today, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor dismissed an editorial by Utusan Malaysia warning of a “Malay tsunami” if Umno does not continue to be a “party loved by Muslims, Malays and the Bumiputera”.

In its “Awang Selamat” column, the Umno-owned daily said PAS and PKR will try to create a “Malay tsunami” in the next general election.

“After the shocking Chinese tsunami in GE-13 failed to overthrow the government, the strategy is now to focus on creating a Malay tsunami in GE-14.

“Beware, although Umno is strong it is not invincible.

“Strive to be the party that is loved especially by the Muslims, Malays and Bumiputera. There is no other option,” it said.

Tengku Adnan, however, dismissed it as only the views of the editors at Utusan Malaysia, and not Malaysians.

“Look at what happened to Umno, we increased from 79 seats to 88 seats and after this there will be increase of more seats, believe me.

“We will gain more seats from the rakyat because they will realise that this is the party they can rely on,” he said, referring to BN.

He also said that it was “impossible” for a Malay tsunami to take place.

But Nurul Izzah disagreed with the minister, noting that if such a “tsunami” had happened in the past, it could be repeated again.

“What ever Tengku Adnan has said, has been negated by incidents in the past,” she said.

“So I would argue, I’m pretty confident, the only issue is to address the Malay community’s fear of losing political clout, and to say that under Pakatan Rakyat’s government, our focus is to address their needs, the bottom 60 per cent, regardless of race but of course they would be the major recipients.

“If you look at the income levels, I think the fact speaks for itself, the only problem we have is to communicate and to continue to challenge this racist dogma that they keep repeating,” she added.

The Lembah Pantai MP also said just-concluded Umno general assembly has “demolished” Najib’s 1Malaysia because a Penang delegate had urged Putrajaya to use “1Melayu” in place of its all-inclusive “1Malaysia” slogan since efforts to reach out to Chinese voters were snubbed in the 13th General Election.

“The fact that they mentioned this whole issue about “1Melayu” concept really goes against everything he’s been trying to campaign for and promote before elections,” Nurul Izzah said.

In the 13th General Election, BN won 133 federal seats in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat against the 89 bagged by Pakatan Rakyat, despite the opposition winning 53 per cent of the popular vote against just 47 per cent going the way of BN.

The results also drove a wedge in racial relations, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also the Umno president, blaming a “Chinese tsunami” for BN’s poor performance.

MCA performed poorly in the last two elections, securing only 15 seats in 2008 and decreasing its share to only seven seats in the 13th general election this year.

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