Liu criticised for “toxic Chinese chauvinist” remarks.
DAP’s Ronnie Liu under heavy criticism over his statement that the party should not belittle or degrade itself just to gain Malay support. Liu has brushed off the criticisms, saying they revealed a personal prejudice against him.
DAP heavyweights Tony Pua and Hannah Yeoh have lambasted the party’s central committee member Ronnie Liu for a speech in which he said the party should not belittle or degrade itself just to gain Malay support.
In a no holds barred response, Damansara MP Pua said that Liu is the “Chinese chauvinist the party doesn’t need”.
“For decades, the DAP has been labelled, both with justification and often unfairly, that we are a Chinese chauvinist party.
“This is a direct result of the party focusing its efforts to ensure that the rights of the minority are not trampled on by a brute majority during BN’s rule.
“The minority, in this case, was made up overwhelmingly of the Chinese, while the Indians made the bulk of the balance,” Pua said in a statement today.
“The unfortunate outcome of this fight is the ease at which the party was tainted as a Chinese chauvinist party, because of the frequency at which Chinese-related issues were raised,” he added.
He said that since 2005, the party under Lim Guan Eng’s leadership has made a concerted effort to debunk that label and image.
Yesterday, Liu said DAP should not belittle or degrade itself just to gain Malay support but instead safeguard its culture as well as its constitutional spirit, pluralistic and democratic political struggle.
DAP is preparing itself for its national congress and central executive committee (CEC) election in June. While the party has made efforts to reach out to other races, Raub MP Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji is the only one of its 42 Federal MPs who is Malay.
“We have many more young and progressive Malay leaders who have joined us at the branch and grassroots levels.
“They have joined the party in recent years as they see DAP as a party that has fought for the rights of all Malaysians, regardless of race and religion,” Pua said.
These younger leaders include Penang Infrastructure and Transport exco Zairil Khir Johari and state assemblypersons Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali (Paloh, Johor), Young Syefura Othman (Ketari, Pahang), Jamaliah Jamaluddin (Bandar Utama, Selangor), Edry Faizal (Dusun Tua, Selangor) and Syerleena Abdul Rashid (Seri Delima, Penang).
Pua said that they were inclined to join a party that had strong, competent and capable leaders who are able to communicate and implement coherent socio-economic policies, instead of just spewing endless political rhetoric.
Segambut MP Yeoh took to Facebook to declare that Liu does not represent her views as a DAP member.
“Ronnie Liu does not represent me. The DAP that Ronnie wants is not the DAP that I joined.
“I joined DAP because this party defends the rights of all Malaysians. I don’t agree with his speech.
While admitting that her experience in DAP was less than Liu, Yeoh said her experience and fight in the party did not match his words.
She also recalled how when Pakatan Harapan was in government, Liu, who was a staunch supporter of then prime minister-in-waiting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, did disservice to the coalition with his taunts.
When we were in Putrajaya, I could only remember Ronnie’s constant countdown on his Facebook for Tun M (former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) to step down and hand over to Anwar.
“For Ronnie, Tun M can do no right. For Ronnie, Anwar can do no wrong,” she said.
“Everyone, including Tun M, Anwar, Ronnie (and myself included) must shoulder some blame in the collapse of the Pakatan government,” she added.
The former deputy women, family and community development minister said although she stopped listening to Liu “a long time ago”, this time she could not stay silent as his remarks were doing disservice to DAP leaders who were working hard to fend off prejudices and stigmas against the party.
Liu, who is Sungai Pelek assemblyperson, meanwhile, brushed off criticisms by Pua and Yeoh, saying that the reactions revealed a personal prejudice against him.
“My original speech was in Mandarin. Hannah and Tony added their own misinterpretations and prejudices against me and started to bash me,” claimed Liu, without elaborating on the precise nature of the misinterpretations.
“DAP is a multi-racial party. The party need not dilute its Chineseness just because of the criticism from our political enemies.
“We have to safeguard the culture of the party, as well as the party’s constitutional spirit, pluralistic and democratic political struggle,” he said in a speech at DAP veteran Liew Ah Kim’s book launch in Klang on Sunday.
Saying that he has always been happy to work with all communities, Liu called attention to a poster of him wearing baju Melayu and issuing Ramadan greetings.
“I have been wearing Malay costume since my sixth form. I stayed and studied in a hostel where Malay students were the majority,” he recalled of his time at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Mahmud in Raub, Pahang.
DAP organising secretary, Anthony Loke meanwhile said the party’s direction must be based on multiracialism and not on a single race.
“This is based on the Malaysian context as the base,” said Loke when asked about Liu’s remarks.
Loke said that Liu’s views were his own and did not represent DAP as a whole.
Liu, however, is free to air his views as DAP is open to criticisms, added the Seremban MP.
“But the leadership believes in multiracialism and hence there is a debate in the party now,” said Loke.
DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang also said DAP had been falsely accused of being anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-royalty when throughout its history, the party had remained committed to the “Malaysian dream” for the country to become a world-class nation regardless of race, religion or region.
“The party does not advocate any de-Chinese, de-Malay, de-Indian, de-Kadazan or de-Iban policy, but to accept that Malaysians will have multiple identities and acknowledge that they are all Malaysians,” he said at an event last night.
Lim said it was a failure of Malaysian nation-building and nationhood if, after six decades, Malaysians still regard their ethnic, religious or cultural identity first and consider their common Malaysian identity second.