PETALING JAYA: Umno should be cautious in its relationship with MCA, MIC and Gerakan and not with DAP, says former information minister Zainuddin Maidin.
In an interview with FMT, Zainuddin accused Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties of having stabbed Umno in the back several times.
“In fact, the reason why BN has lost the two-third majority is that MCA, Gerakan and MIC were dishonest and not loyal,” he said, referring to the past two general elections.
Zainuddin recalled a rebellion in the 1960s by a group of MCA members against the then president of the party, Tan Siew Sin, because he did not push for recognition of Mandarin as an official language.
This group eventually formed a new party, which came to be known as Gerakan. As a result, during the 1969 general election, MCA lost more than half of its seats to DAP and Gerakan.
“After the May 13, 1969, incident, MCA became helpless because DAP and Gerakan were supporting the constitution and Malay rights,” he said. “That’s why the government amended the federal constitution to make the matter of race and religion sensitive issues.
“This was to help MCA. At the time, (former deputy prime minister) Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman said it would be the last time the government would help MCA.”
According to Zainuddin, Umno’s BN partners keep losing in elections because they tend to cater only to the races they represent.
Referring to MCA and Gerakan, he said, “They always follow the Chinese sentiment. They never dare to speak up on closing down Chinese vernacular schools.
“This is unlike (former Singapore prime minister) Lee Kuan Yew, who in 1965 emphasised that he would never allow Chinese culture to become dominant in Singapore.
“He said that if Chinese culture were to be dominant in Singapore, it would split the society.”
Zainuddin said the main problem with BN component parties was their obsession with competing with DAP.
“Once the DAP pleases the Chinese, these parties would then want to please the Chinese more to show that they are better than DAP.”
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said BN was considering getting rid of component parties’ seat allocation quotas in the upcoming general election.
This followed Prime Minister Najib Razak’s statement that the ruling coalition would evaluate its candidates for the 14th general election using a “new and tough” system.
MCA, MIC and Gerakan performed poorly in the last election, but Umno increased its federal seat count from 79 to 88. -FMT