MCA-DAP rivalry furthers anti-Chinese narratives

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“Hakikatnya, masyarakat Cina sememangnya sudah lama menyimpan hasrat untuk memiliki kuasa politik yang kuat.”

- Utusan Malaysia, ‘Apa lagi orang Cina mahu?

COMMENT | Should Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng debate Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Wee Ka Siong or any other Chinese political operative from BN? Why yes, he should.

I do not know about anyone else but the back and forth on the Penang undersea tunnel has not done any favours for either side - if one is looking at it rationally, that is - and if anything, MCA-DAP debates usually dissolve into slagging matches between the two parties as to who has the Chinese community's interest at heart, which is always fun to watch.

That’s it, isn’t it? Political racial theatre that keeps us entertained while real policies that the progressives claim to want, disappear beneath a cloud of smoke of the spectacle of Chinese leadership slugging it out. MCA knows what it is and this does not mean running dogs for the establishment (it’s more complicated than that), while DAP has to keep a schizoid perspective depending on what type of kool-aid they are dispensing.

Non-Malay political parties have this delusion that they are independent operators. They are not. They are in reality proxies for Malay power structures, with varying degrees of public and private influence within Malay hegemons. To believe otherwise, would be delusional. While it is easy to paint MCA as running dogs of Umno, the same could be said of DAP, who have had to bend over backwards to accommodate the return of Dr Mahathir Mohamad into the opposition ranks.

Official narratives of the state through their racial and religious bureaus paint the community as avaricious, opportunists waiting to usurp Malay power and distort Malay culture. Religious preachers talk of how “rude” the Chinese community is and point to internecine conflicts which either reinforces the stereotype that the community cannibalises itself for Malay power or points to the uncouth and insolent behaviour of the community when it comes to politics.

The opposition and MCA are merely furthering anti-Chinese narratives in their quest to sustain ownership of the votes of their community. Anti-Chinese narratives include DAP colluding with Malay oppositional personalities that claim China is attempting to subvert Malay power. Anti-Chinese narratives are fostered by the so-called war with MCA.

This is what is problematic in the war between MCA and DAP. This idea that minorities have to tear each other apart in service of Malay power structures. If the fight between MCA and DAP was solely based on policy or whatever corruption scandal du jour, it would not be a bad thing. Competition in the marketplace of ideas and propaganda is good thing. However, both always brings it back to whose voice is more important because they have the vote of the Chinese community...