Wednesday, May 8, 2013

MCA, Gerakan men back Utusan, say Najib should be disappointed with Chinese

The tone of Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia’s post-election coverage continued today to be focused on blaming the Chinese community for Barisan Nasional’s poor showing.

Utusan Malaysia also maintained its defence of its incendiary front-page headline on Tuesday “Apa lagi Cina mahu? (What more do the Chinese want?)” by soliciting comments from Malay leaders to say the newspaper was not racist but merely championing the majority race of the country.

Analysts have said data from voting trends showed the outcome of Election 2013 was not simply the result of a “Chinese tsunami” as Datuk Seri Najib Razak had claimed, but a major swing in the urban and middle-class electorate that saw Malaysia’s urban-rural rift widen.

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But Utusan Malaysia, a newspaper that has represented the right-wing forces aligned largely with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has been highlighting a Chinese-versus-Malay theory of the election results.

Today, the newspaper’s front-page headline was “Pengundi Cina jerat diri (Chinese voters trapping themselves)” and featured arguments from MCA and Gerakan leaders to suggest Chinese voters had scorned Najib’s overtures to the community.

“The prime minister has a right to be disappointed with Chinese voters... after he had worked so hard to win over the community through various programmes and aid,” Prof Dr Ho Khai Leong, the Chinese Studies Institute’s dean at the MCA’s Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, told Utusan Malaysia.

Perak MCA secretary Datuk Tan Chin Meng said the rejection of BN by Chinese voters showed the community was still easily duped.

Gerakan’s deputy Perak chief Liew Yew Aw was quoted as saying that Chinese voters had trapped themselves and their future by voting for the opposition parties.

The newspaper emphasised the Chinese vote swing against BN, but steered clear of mentioning the Malay shift.

The newspaper also did not note the point that BN lost the overall popular vote count for both federal and state seats, depending largely on rural votes in smaller constituencies for its victory.

In a separate article inside the newspaper, a senior lecturer from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) said the newspaper was only reflecting the reality of the country when it published the words, “What more do the Chinese want?”

The police said they had started investigating Utusan Malaysia for sedition hours after the Umno-owned daily sparked a nationwide uproar with its incendiary front-page report seen to blame the Chinese for BN’s weaker score in Election 2013.

The prime minister was seen as deflecting criticism against the broadsheet, claiming the predominantly-Chinese DAP had misled the Chinese into greater racial polarisation by making them think that voting the party would lead to a change of government.

“You blamed Utusan but you don’t ask about the Chinese papers,” Najib told a press conference on Tuesday when asked how he plans to achieve national reconciliation if the daily kept harping on race issues.

He did not say what was objectionable in the Chinese-language newspapers.

Najib had alluded to a “Chinese tsunami” in an immediate speech just after midnight on Sunday when the Election Commission announced BN as winners by a simple majority.

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