Mahathir’s bumi-only party ‘a backward step’

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PETALING JAYA: The DAP’s Youth leader has expressed dismay that a new party proposed by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad is likely to be open only to bumiputera members.

Wong Kah Woh, national leader of DAP Socialist Youth, questioned whether such a membership policy was “a big step backward” and pointed out that even Amanah, which broke from the Islamic party PAS was open to all regardless of race and religion

Speaking at the youth wing’s summit in Ipoh today, he urged youth leaders to discuss whether political parties based on ethnic origin were still relevant in Malaysia.

Wong, who is state assemblyman for Canning, criticized the politics of race or religion of the past, which he said was a result of the divide-and-rule policy of Barisan Nasional and Umno.

“Have we not heard often enough the saying that ‘only Umno can represent the Malay’ and ‘only MCA can represent the Chinese’ and ‘only MIC can represent the Indians’? Have we not had enough of PAS trying to portray an image of being more Islamic than any other party?” he said.

He said the youth wing should brainstorm on the various reasons for banning race-based parties and also examine what lay in the mind of proponents of race or religion-based parties so that the DAP would be in a better position when dealing with such parties.

Wong also shared an ancient Chinese maxim on “the swift horse and the pak lok” and challenged youth wing members to spot at least 60 talented leaders from among them. He said the hallmark of a good leader was someone who had a natural successor to take over when he was ready to retire.