Will appointment of Matthias Chang help or hinder the Prime Minister from
a better understanding of the legitimate aspirations of the Chinese community
in Malaysia, whether political, economic, educational or cultural?
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The Prime
Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad yesterday appointed lawyer Matthias
Chang as his first Chinese political secretary, saying that this
is to help him to deal in matters pertaining the Chinese community.
by Lim Kit Siang
The question is whether Matthias Chang’s appointment will help
or hinder the Prime Minister from a better understanding of the legitimate
aspirations of the Chinese community in Malaysia, whether political, economic,
educational or cultural?
It is not going to be an easy job for Matthias Chang, as reflected
from the fact that not all Chinese newspapers could get his Chinese name
right and very little is known about his involvement with Chinese community
The first challenge for Matthias Chang is whether he could correct the
Prime Minister’s gross misperceptions and misunderstandings
about the Chinese community, Chinese education and the Chinese
newspapers as highlighted by his recent statements which constitute
major stumbling blocks to the nation-building process in the fourth decade
of nationhood in Malaysia.
From the Prime Minister’s speeches and statements in the past
week, it would appear that Mahathir really believed the various allegations
which he had made publicly, viz:
that the DAP had virtually taken over the Chinese newspapers after the
1999 general elections, in particular Nanyang Siang Pau and China
that the DAP is now in conspiracy with Suqiu, Chinese teachers and
some Chinese organisations to make it look like the government is anti-Chinese;
that this conspiracy is promoting “Chinese special rights”, which
do not want Chinese schoolboys to mix with Malay schoolboys and that
a Chinese school may not be anywhere near a national school.
Can Matthias convince Mahathir that he is doing a great disservice
to the Chinese community and Malaysian society in coining the divisive
term “Chinese special rights” to refer to their legitimate citizenship
aspirations in a democratic plural Malaysia?
*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman