A Chinese In Kelantan Speaks Out

Posted on February 18, 2008

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Received this in the mail a little while ago. The document is dated 8th January, 2008.

Don’t know who the author is, but I think this article is timely.

It addresses several concerns directed to me by e-mail from readers.

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Most non-Muslims, when you ask them about PAS, probably fear them more than they fear the evil BN. That fear is not entirely misplaced, because of PAS’ previously stated ambitions to make this country into an Islamic state. But I would say, non-Muslims should fear the BN more, especially since BN is no longer an equal coalition, but one that is led by UMNO and UMNO Youth, followed by “dan lain lain”.  In a bid to out-Islam the PAS, we have got UMNO politicians releasing statements to try to show the Kelantanese voters that they are also very strong in Islam.  In the near term, non-Muslims should certainly fear BN more since BN has all the power, and PAS has limited power.
 
First, UMNO politicians claim that this country is an Islamic country, just to win some votes.
 
Then, Badawi introduces Islam Hadhari, which honestly, could probably have just come out from a Pendidikan Moral textbook.
 
Recently, Najib promises Kelantan that the government will build many many mosques, and will turn Kelantan into an Islamic civilization hub.  How that will help Kelantan, he didn’t say.  And whatever an Islamic civilization hub really means, I don’t know either.
 
Right now, it seems like in UMNO’s zealousness to prove their Islamic credentials and win back control of Kelantan, the interests of non-Muslims in this country has been ignored or sidelined.  So if it came down to it during the elections, if it’s BN vs. PAS for the parliamentary seat, how would you vote?
 
Perhaps this letter from Richard Teo, taken from Lim Kit Siang’s blog can open up some eyes.
 
Yes the tide is turning in Kelantan but certainly not in favour of BN but for PAS.  As a Kelantanese I can safely tell Najib the true current political situation in Kelantan.  How could Zubaidah Abu Bakar speculate in the 6th Jan.2008 NST that “there are many in Kelantan who want to see a change of government”?
 
This is farthest from the truth. The Malay psyche in Kelantan is vastly different from the psyche of Malays from the other states.  The Malays in Kelantan are astute when it comes to politics.  That explains why it is the only Malay state where the opposition party other than UMNO has ruled for a substantial period since Merdeka.
 
During BN’s tenure, pork sellers in the Chinese market were harrassed daily .  They were confined to a small inconspicous space where pork could be sold hidden from public view.  There was conditional and restricted time when pork could be sold.   When PAS took over the government in 1990, they improved the Chinese market and pork was sold without any restrictions .  In short they were not harrassed.
 
Again, during BN’s tenure, Chinese could not buy houses built on Malay reservation land .  Since most of the land come under the purview of Malay reservation, most Kelantanese Chinese could not own a home.   But all these changed when PAS came to power.
 
Under the able DUN of Kota Bharu, Dato Annuar Tan, 30% of houses built on Malay reservation land were allocated for sale to the Kelantan Chinese.
 
Any doubts where the Chinese loyalty lies can easily be dispelled by visiting the Chinese enclave in Jalan Kebun Sultan.  Ask any Chinese business community there and they will brazenly tell you that they will vote for PAS.   Yes the Chinese votes in Kelantan are solidly behind PAS.
 
It is also a fact that the Chinese miniority’s vote in Kelantan are insignificant and confined to only few seats where their votes are crucial for victory or loss.  But in a state where a lot of seats are won and lost by a handful of votes this becomes immensely important where in the final analysis the fate of the government could merely depend on the margin of one or two seats.
 
The Malays in Kelantan were generous in giving Pak Lah a resounding victory in 2004.  But this was partly due to PAS over-zealous Islamic reforms which persuaded the Malays to vote for Pak Lah’s Islam Hadhari.  Further they were captivated by Pak Lah’s assurance of tackling corruption which was beginning to be rampant in all branches of the government.  But alas, Pak Lah was a disappointment.  Instead he took it as an opportunity for his relatives and family to plunder the nation’s wealth by giving contracts to his son and son-in law.
 
There is a saying among the Malays in Kelantan that UMNO can fool the Malays in the other states with their rhetoric of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ but they cannot fool the Malays in Kelantan .  They are aware that BN has introduced many programmes and development projects.
 
According to Datuk Annuar Musa “RM2 billion worth of projects are flowing into the state”.   But the local malays will ask you who are the beneficiaries of these projects?  Yes, its the UMNO cronies and the UMNO connected politicians who will secure all the major contracts.
 
Of late, the sprinkling of Indians are also behind PAS not due to Hindraf’s effort but because of the awareness that it was under PAS rule that a prominent land in Jalan Hamzah was approved for the Hindus to build a temple when the same approval was rejected by BN four times before.
 
Because of centuries of close proximity of Kelantan to Thailand and the close rapport between the Chinese and the Kelantanese Malays, the local Malays are not only intelligent and well-versed in commerce but they are very conversant with local and federal politics.  This perhaps explain why UMNO with their brand of politics can never fool the Kelantan Malays.

In the coming general election BN will not only lose in Kelantan it will lose as badly as in 1990. This is not only a fact, it is a promise.
 
So how?  Can BN count on your vote?  Or would you take a chance on PAS, to deny BN the chance to ruin this country further? 

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