With the total defeat of SUPP, which used to be a dominant Chinese –based political party, in the April 2011 State Elections, the Chinese community now has only two out of 58 elected representatives in the Government. It managed to retain Bawang Assan and Senadin with the support of Bumiputra voters only by the skin of their teeth.
In spite of the defeat, the leaders continue to fight tooth and nail against each other to the benefits of DAP, which used to have only five or six elected representatives in the opposition bench to 12 now.
SUPP’s candidates, made up of the party big wigs led by the President Datuk Patinggi Dr. George Chan (Piasau), Secretary- General Professor Dr. Sim Kui Hian (Pending), Treasurer General David Teng (Repok) and others all dropped like paper pins against unknown politicians being nominated by DAP against them.
Obviously, the Chinese community, out of the doing of members, is experiencing the politics of under representation in the government. They are indulging in a very unhealthy trend of politics of political and racial polarization in a multi-racial and multi-religious society like Sarawak. They are creating a situation where an overwhelming majority of them support the opposition while the majority of Bumiputeras support the Government.
Given the existing political framework, yelling at the top of their voices as members of the opposition, they do not solve problems. They may look good in newspapers or at a mass rally, but they do not bring any results.
Obviously, it is important for the Chinese community to recognise that it would be more effective to be in the Government as the task of building a better future is the collective responsibility of every citizen.
It must begin with positive thinking and correct attitude. They must be prepared not just to bemoan problems, being antagonistic and confrontational but be more cooperative with the other communities to solve their problems.
Generally, members of the Chinese community have high ideals and targets to such an extent they become unrealistic. The targets could not be achieved due to lack of fundamental understanding and unity of purpose. They blame others for their failures.
Given the existing political framework, it is one thing not to know what are the problems facing the Chinese community, it is another not to have looked at the problems in the correct perspective.
The Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, in his winding speech on the debate of the Governor of Sarawak, Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud’s opening speech during the last sitting of the State Legislative Assembly, said as a Cabinet Minister, he considered it appropriate for him to appeal to Chinese to change their attitude, political approach and ways they manage their affairs given the existing political framework.
He said they should take the opportunity to work with the Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Haji Satem, with his emphasis on efficiency, integrity and good governance, in order to keep pace with his decisiveness of action and admirable courage to imbue a greater sense of belonging into the people of different races and move with greater unity to the task of building a more united Sarawak and a better future.
Dato Sri Wong said Datuk Patinggi Adenan has proven himself to be very decisive in addressing any political and economic issues. He likes his administration to be inclusive, which means all the communities should be part of the Government. He has been particularly vocal in so far as the Chinese community is concerned as he really wants the community to be represented in his administration.
He said Datuk Patinggi Adenan is ever willing to listen to grievances and address issues affecting them. His efforts should be lauded so that no one community would be left out of his Government. The Chinese community should take stock, change the political attitude and approach and work with him.
They should help him to create an environment more conducive for the greater unity and solidarity for the people in Sarawak. With his emphasis on efficiency, accountability and integrity, the Chinese can ask for no better time than now to start working with him.
He regretted that the polarization of political parties by claiming Chinese interests has led to a wide dissipation of Chinese voice. The parties concerned also lack the communication in the search for basic denominators for concerted efforts for the community. There has been an inadequate common voice for the community.
For example, too often, the Chinese community talks a great deal about issues they have to face but they are indisposed by political apathy, which used to be further aggravated by negative attitude in registering protests instead of positive participation.
Dato Sri Wong said he shared a view that Chinese community has been likened to a boat with under-powered motor tossing about in the high seas. Therefore, the members should concentrate on the paramount of the politics of under representation in the mainstream of politics.
He believed members of the Chinese community must do some fundamental re-thinking in their efforts to forge a consensus on political issues and a common direction. The present practice of fragmenting Chinese political support among DAP, UPP and SUPP is doing nothing good for the Chinese community. Even DAP with a dozen representatives carrying the so-call Chinese voice has not done anything to exert any perceptible influence on the Government.
He also believed any objective analysis would conclude that a Chinese-based opposition would only lead to further erosion of the community’s position of political representation in the Government.
Obviously, the Chinese community needs a real political break-through, which requires political wisdom and courage to change. They can face the future either positively or negatively or constructively or destructively.
They can choose to approach challenges by viewing each other positively or adopt a negative attitude by deliberately misinterpreting and opposing anything that come along the way to arouse emotions of the people.
Dato Sri Wong said the Chinese community must have the foresight to recognize the necessity to be represented in the Government and participate in the process of development to benefit from the economic and socio-political opportunities that will come up more and more.
They must appreciate that the development of the economy and socio-political future cannot be gambled away by allowing themselves to be fooled by mere rhetoric, slogan-shouting, empty promises, blatant allegations and negativism.
He believed the Chinese can achieve much by having a good representation in Government to enable them to participate in the transformation of opportunities into results and benefits for all communities."
The Chinese community in the Government, just like in a family, could use the combined resources and common spirit to overcome crises, in striving for the common goals. They should all join hands together to become united and strong in striving for a shared vision of the community. The choice before the Chinese community is clear but daunting one namely to unite the members to join the mainstream politics in the Government.
22 June 2015