MARCH 1 — You know, watching the Chua Soi Lek and Lim Guan Eng debate was a bit harrowing. And before I continue, let me state that I put Dr Chua’s name first due to his initials, not due to my support during the so-called debate. I just need to point out very quickly that what we saw was not a debate. There is a format to debates which was clearly absent. There was no proper format that made it a debate. What we saw were two Chinese leaders being given a stage to duke everything out in front of a crowd. It made me wish they had held it in KLPac and the Cameronians were still around to give out the award for best screenplay.
While watching this I couldn’t help remembering my few days at a Biro Tatanegara camp when the instructor told us that we should be ashamed that in 1998 the Chinese had to save the Malay government. Well, now I feel quite ashamed that the Chinese took the lead to show that they are actually willing to give the stage to two leaders from opposite political factions while the Malay leadership is floundering and refusing to engage with each other.
The debate highlighted one of the most supposedly sensitive issues of all — race. The MCA called the DAP the equivalent of a PAS lackey, while the DAP said the same thing about the MCA’s relationship with Umno. There was some comparison to table scraps and crumbs causing Ong Tee Keat’s dismissal as MCA president. There was also some talk about toll gate abolishment and even a mention of how Chinese schools had non-Mandarin-speaking principals.
But let me state the most important part of all; the MCA, judging by the conditions in the hall, perhaps celebrated their victory in the debate without thinking of the possible repercussion of their actions. Let me elaborate. The MCA supporters, regardless of whether they were at the front or on one side of the hall, actually jeered, booed and harangued Lim Guan Eng during the Q&A session. This was broadcast over Astro and via YouTube.
And this is where the DAP gained the upper hand. The MCA, it seems, had let the euphoria of having a public stage to bash the opposition get the better of themselves by asking questions which were dumb and clever. Let’s start with the latter.
Yes, Lim Guan Eng must answer for what happens if PAS insists on implementing hudud law on a federal level. Now, there are two answers to this that I can offer, either from an Islamic viewpoint or a legislative one. From an Islamic viewpoint, hudud law can only be implemented if everyone is treated equally. Note the fact that by everyone, it means everyone. Chinese, Indians, immigrants and all. As such, will PAS be ever so gracious to then amend the Federal Constitution to repeal Bumiputera rights?
From a legislative standpoint, as pointed out by writer Kee Thuan Chye, is the need for a two-thirds majority to allow the amendment to go through. While Lim Guan Eng does not bring this up, I do hope that Malaysians will realise that one of the reasons there are no amendments to the Constitution thus far to allow for local council elections is for the same reason. The opposition does not have a two-thirds majority to allow its passing.
Anyway, had you analysed what happened during the debate, you will notice that the euphoria of the MCA in the form of opposition bashing is akin to shooting oneself in the foot. One such sign of this is how the MCA’s Jessie Ooi, who is working in Selayang, is now being ridiculed on Facebook — to the same level that would drive a gay American teenager to commit suicide — for her really, really dumb question on why cars are towed in the middle of the night.
Look. I was at the Laneway Festival in Singapore with a bunch of other Malaysians and the event manager had to announce that illegally parked cars were about to be towed during an international music festival. Do you honestly think that just because nobody’s around at 10:30pm, or that you are at a music festival attended by thousands, you should be exempt from a standing law?
Honestly, if this is the mindset of MCA Youth, then perhaps the brain drain is more serious than I thought. Well, either that, or they all sided with PR, who just kept quiet and let the MCA euphorically march to the guillotine.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.