PETALING JAYA: Klang MP Charles Santiago says the real reason Pakatan Harapan (PH) lost the Semenyih by-election is because the Malays believe they are losing power in the country.
“I wish the defeat was caused by PH not doing enough to address the day-to-day issues affecting the people. But we can’t go on kidding ourselves,” he said in a statement today.
In fact, he said, it was the Malays’ fear of “losing out on their favourable position” that had cost PH the votes.
“This is the sad reality and one that was propagated by Umno during its six decades of rule,” he added.
Referring to the remark by Barisan Nasional (BN) secretary-general Nazri Aziz in his campaign speech on the appointment of non-Malays as attorney-general, chief justice and finance minister, he said fear mongering and the use of race and religion in politics had kept the former government in power.
“Umno and PAS continue to manipulate this fear to keep Malays on a leash,” he added.
In the by-election on Saturday, PH candidate Muhammad Aiman Zainali lost by 1,914 votes to BN’s Zakaria Hanafi.
PSM’s Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul got 847 votes while independent candidate Kuan Chee Heng garnered 725.
Santiago said the policies put in place by Umno to uplift the economic status of the Malays had only created a small group of elite individuals within the community.
“If we care to be honest, we will admit that the vast majority of Malays remain poor,” he said.
However, he assured that the Malays had no reason to fear just because certain key positions are held by non-Malays.
He said it was the government’s responsibility to create equal opportunities for everyone, adding however that this could not be done by “mollycoddling the Malays or topping up on privileges for them”.
“However tough it may seem, the government must work towards earning the trust of the Malays without compromising the rest of its people.
“Or this will just end up as another Umno rule,” he said.