Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

'Chinese tsunami' hits Malaysian politics
by Staff Writers
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) May 7, 2013

Malaysia's Chinese minority has for decades gone about its business and left leadership to a Malay-dominated regime, but in weekend polls they deserted it in what the premier called a "Chinese tsunami".

Prime Minister Najib Razak's term has since gone viral, touching off a debate over whether Sunday's bitter election battle presages a deepening divide between increasingly assertive urban Chinese and the country's majority Muslim Malays.

"Overall, the results show a trend of polarisation which worries the government," Najib said after declaring victory Monday, ruefully noting a "tsunami from the Chinese community."

Malaysia has enjoyed relative harmony among its main ethnicities for decades under the authoritarian template of the Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition, but the mere mention of racial tension remains a sensitive issue.

The political and economic system is built on decades-old policies that prop up Malays to prevent dominance by the Chinese, who immigrated under British colonialism and control much of the economy despite making up just a quarter of the 28-million population.

The ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which has towered over Barisan and the country since independence in 1957, routinely refers to deadly 1969 racial riots as a warning against minorities threatening this status quo.

But minority Chinese and Indians increasingly reject their "second-class" status, egged on by an opposition that made its best showing ever Sunday.

"For the very first time in Malaysia's political history... the Chinese have decided to vote as a bloc and they have decided to vote the opposition," said James Chin, a lecturer with Monash University.

Chinese are angry about Barisan corruption and feel "marginalised", he said.

After an often racially divisive campaign by Barisan, which the opposition says was tainted by massive fraud, the regime largely held firm in the 222-seat parliament, retaining a solid majority as core rural Malay support held.

But several urban, Chinese-heavy seats tumbled to the three-party opposition, whose Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party (DAP) was the alliance's big winner, gaining nine seats to end at 38.

The results were a snub to Najib, who reached out to minorities after a 2008 election setback with a much-touted racial-unity programme that is now in tatters.

It is considered imperative in Malaysia for government to project at least a facade of diversity, and Barisan's mix of 13 parties, several ethnic-based, were its claim to legitimacy.

But voters continued to desert its minority parties, which political analysts said increasingly reveals Barisan as a Malay camp under UMNO's thumb.

"We're lucky to still be in government at the federal level," said Saifuddin Abdullah, a Barisan reform voice who lost his seat Sunday, citing the "Chinese tsunami."

"There needs to be a new BN (Barisan)," he told online media, adding it was worrying that Barisan won with only a minority of the popular vote.

It held power thanks to a system of seat allocations that, critics say, unfairly favours Barisan strongholds.

But analysts said Najib faces an uphill task wooing back a Chinese community that UMNO has routinely made a bogeyman to shore up Malay support.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has for years called for reform of policies that give Malays advantages in business, education and home-buying, which he says are abused by a rich Malay elite.

Sensing the public mood, Najib also has promised some reforms.

But top opposition figure Lim Kit Siang, an ethnic Chinese who heads the DAP, said the country was set for deeper racial trouble if Najib does not fundamentally change the regime's ways.

"So long as he refuses to admit that, so long as he wants to polarise and racialise (the vote results), then they themselves are guilty of a racist outlook and they are incapable of any national reconciliation," he said.


Related Links
Democracy in the 21st century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Malaysia's government hangs onto power
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (UPI) May 6, 2013
Malaysia's re-elected Prime Minister Najib Razak said his government will embark on a national reconciliation program after polling results showed voting along racial lines. Razak, whose Barisan Nasional - National Front - party won 133 of the 222 seats in Parliament, said there were "very unhealthy sentiments," some racial, expressed during the election, a report by Malaysia's nation ... read more

Even Clinton couldn't get Led Zep to Sandy show

Brother admits defeat in tragic Bangladesh search

New York's Sandy lesson: evacuate and get boats

Global networks must be redesigned

General Dynamics Team to Develop Second Radar System for the US Army Range Radar Replacement Program

NASA Partners With Utah State University's Space Dynamics Lab

Silicone liquid crystal stiffens with repeated compression

Researchers tackle collapsing bridges with new technology

Indigenous activists stage new protest at Amazon dam site

U.S. agrees to propose protected habitats for endangered sea turtles

Solar-powered nanofilters pump in antibiotics to clean contaminated water

EPA to grant $569 million for New York, New Jersey water

NASA's IceBridge Finishing Up Successful Arctic Campaign

UN sounds alarm over record Arctic ice melt

Discovered: A mammal and bug food co-op in the High Arctic

EU spars with Canada, Norway at WTO over seal ban

China detains 900 over toxic meat scandal: official

U.S. not siding with Europe in blaming pesticides for honeybee losses

Substances in honey increase detoxification gene expression

Traditional ranching practices enhance African savanna

Saudi floods death toll rises to 20: civil defence

Flash floods in Saudi kill 16: civil defence

Earthquake rattles buildings in northern India

Two dead as quake shakes northern India

Zimbabwe defence chief refuses to meet PM: report

Tunisian army unable to find jihadists: ministry

Questions in S.Africa after Zuma's rich friends use military base

S.Africa army death toll in Central Africa rises to 14

Gentle touch and the bionic eye

Printable 'bionic' ear melds electronics and biology

CNIO researchers 'capture' the replication of the human genome for the first time

For ancient Maya, a hodgepodge of cultural exchanges

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement