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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guan Eng's Malay Dilemma

By : Haider Yutim - Malaysian Digest   

Is it true that everything revolves around Malays? Malay sovereignty is not the case here. We are not to talk about sovereignty or proliferation. We're talking about the Malay community in Penang that's been lacking in TLC (tender loving care) from the state government.

What happened to Lim Guan Eng? Why all of the sudden there are numerous complaints about him? Why have there been unruly protests against the state government by the Malay Penangites?

Who is at fault here? What have the DAP-ruled state government done to upset the Malay traders in Penang? Have the power of being a Chief Minister gotten to Lim's head that he can't be bothered about certain minorities in the state?

 Black Heart Cake Incident

The Penang Malays were sending signals to their chief minister. One of the most memorable gestures was the 'token of disappreciation' in a form of a black-heart cake that was especially sent to Lim on his birthday by a group of Malay traders.

Maybe their intention was to make their chief minister well aware about the fact that Penang is a melting pot of different races. There are Malays, Indian-Muslims or affectionately called as 'Mamaks' as well as Chinese who speaks in a variety of dialects.

The NGOs in Penang are also concerned about this issue and they have been voicing out on behalf of the Penangites who felt that they have not been receiving a fair treatment.

Undeniably, presenting a black-heart cake on Lim's birthday was not a very good deed, but for the senders, it was a perfect timing to symbolically give Lim a subtle nudge that there are other 'minorities' that make up Penang.

Malay Traders Issue

So what is it about mamaks and Malays that annoy Lim Junior so much? Why do these two Muslim communities feel that they are being sidelined by their chief minister? The situation remains unresolved and, since, there has been a recent spate of attacks spearheaded by the Penang Malay Chambers of Commerce, which accused the DAP-led Pakatan government of having the tendency of penalizing Malay small traders.

Rewind back to fasting month last year, there were news of the Penang administration preventing Malay traders from setting up Ramadan stalls.

The incident caught the attention of Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was concerned enough and question why the Penang government treated the Malay traders unfairly.

A forum was held to address the dispute and three groups – the Penang Malay Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Peninsular Malaysia Students Associations (GPMS) and Umno – had organised a rowdy demonstration which saw the burning of Lim's effigy.

I doubt that anybody wants such ruckus in Penang. Penang is supposed to be the Pearl of Orient and, as the state's leader, it is Lim's job to polish the blemished pearl so that it shines brightly under the torch of his leadership. Instead, Lim chose to made decisions that marginalizes these traders.

I hope Lim comes to his senses and do what's right and practice democracy we often hear being preached by DAP.

*The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer.

Sent by Maxis from my BlackBerry® smartphone

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