Much ado is still being made of the Sarawak state election, but even as the finger pointing and blame shifting takes up much of our time and many precious headlines, what is clear is that the opposition must regroup and rebuild before the next general election. “Pakatan”, regardless of whatever flowery word is added to it, is an unstable entity if not an altogether damaged brand.
Many of the key events that have led to the public’s disenchantment with Pakatan were brought about by itself. The so-called Kajang Move and the Selangor Menteri Besar crisis paved the way for PAS’ split with Pakatan Rakyat, which in turn led to a split in PKR, and which in turn can be blamed for the war between PKR and DAP that robbed Pakatan Harapan of credibility in Sarawak.
Unfortunately, some supporters of the opposition have seen it fit to equal or surpass Hew Kuan Yau in horrendous, debasing and arrogant rhetoric as they vent their anger over BN’s victory.
Hew, the so-called DAP Superman, told voters in Batu Kitang to vote DAP candidate Abdul Aziz Isa in order to “screw the Malays” and to “screw the Malay leadership”. He has since tried to pedal back and reframe his remark as an attack on the PBB. However, the fact that he used “Malay” to refer to the PBB, like an epithet, betrays a mindset that some people have associated with DAP.
Many social media users who belong to the Chinese community have always been quick to wave away criticisms against such a mindset, dismissing them as “cybertrooper attacks” or racism from the other side. But the truth is that there does exist such a cohort in the Chinese community. Would we be wrong if we said that Hew, in making his offensive remark, was perhaps expecting applause from that particular section of the community?
It took the MCA’s crowing about DAPs’ hypocrisy for party supremo Lim Kit Siang to come out and denounce Hew, but the damage had been done. Lim waited for far too long. It’s now harder to counter the accusation from Umno supporters and surrogates that DAP represents Chinese chauvinism.
Chauvinism, the idea that we or the people we represent are somehow better than others, is a lizard-brain impulse in all of us. It is often said that everyone is racist to varying degrees, but it is personal choice that defines whether or not we become racist and chauvinistic because we are ultimately responsible for our actions. Based on this supposition, there is no excuse for Hew’s behaviour, and for the behaviour of so many hardcore opposition supporters online in the wake of the Sarawak election result. Going by a cursory check, these online warriors appeared to be mainly Chinese.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. The Chinese community has long had something of a superiority complex, and it gets worse the higher you rank on the social ladder. Any opposition supporter who adopts this attitude is a supporter the opposition does not need. He is just as bad as the extremist on the other side. Those wanting to see the end of BN’s reign shouldn’t be struggling merely to change the government, but to install a worthy government.