ANWAR Ibrahim’s appointment as the10th prime minister seemed to have given the Chinese community some hope.
They hope that Malaysia could finally have a government that is inclusive of all races and one that moves away from the race and religious rhetoric of past governments.
After witnessing his long delayed swearing in finally taking place late Thursday afternoon, Chinese business and community leaders said they were now waiting in eager anticipation of what his cabinet would be like.
They said they were looking for pointers in which direction the country could be heading under Anwar’s watch.
Malaysia-China Chamber Of Commerce vice president Kerk Loong Sing told The Malaysian Insight he hoped the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman lived up to his electoral promises.
Kerk said Anwar accepting the support of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) showed he was trying to close the divide separating the people in the peninsula with those across the South China Sea in Sabah and Sarawak.
“In his first press conference after he was sworn in, Anwar said he would accept long time rivals Barisan Nasonal (BN) to be in his new government,” said Kerk.
“Being inclusive is very important. Getting together political parties with differing political ideologies, people of different religious faith and from different regions will do wonders for Anwar,” he added.
Kerk said only an inclusive government will bring the political stability that has been missing in the country in the last four years.
“Political stability allows all communities to live together in harmony.”
“When there is peace and harmony, our economy will definitely do well and be an incentive for foreigners to invest in Malaysia.”
No honeymoon period
United Chinese School Teachers’ Association (Jiao Zong) president Cheah Lek Aee meanwhile said the expectations of the Chinese community were buoyed because Anwar was the first prime minister from a multiracial party.
“Our desire is for policies that treat every ethnic group fairly. To get this country back on the right track, it should practice meritocracy that is not biased on any particular race or religion.”
As an educationist, Cheah said he hoped Anwar’s government would adopt “an open, fair and inclusive approach” to the vernacular education of all ethnic groups in the country.
The country’s existing multi-stream education system should be strengthened and given equal treatment, he added.
Cheah said the just concluded general election had also shown the racism of political parties, and politicians had played the race and religion card to “deliberately stir up inter-communal friction”.
That, he added, further aggravated the already fragile race and religion relationship within the country.
“It’s fuelling extremism and that is worrying.”
“My hope is that this unity government Anwar is forming with PH, BN and GPS can tackle racial and religious extremism, building consensus and strengthening our resolve for a multiracial and secular state,” he said.
Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) president Goh Tian Chuan, believes there would be no honeymoon period for the new government as the country is saddled with so many problems.
“It needs to bring back political stability. The country could not be effectively governed and developed with political instability.”
“The country cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the last four years.”
Goh said his greatest hope was that the new government could serve until the end of its term.
“That would mean we will have political stability in the next five years.”
He said the other priority issues the new government should address were to revitalise the economy, improve the livelihood of the people, control inflation, halt the depreciation of the ringgit, reduce the cost of living and stop the brain drain. – November 27, 2022.