By TK Chua
When Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said opposition-held states are doing no better than Barisan Nasional-held states, what message was he trying to convey?
When he urged the Chinese community to avoid being manipulated by the opposition, what was that supposed to mean?
When he said he had personally approved citizenship applications of those who were qualified, what exactly was he trying to tell the Chinese?
First, I do not know for sure opposition-held states are doing as badly as BN-held states. Second, I do not know if the state governments, given the nature of our constitution, are given the “freedom” to administer the states freely and independently.
Be that as it may, if opposition-held states are doing as badly as BN-held states (as claimed), are we supposed to feel happy about it? We should, in fact, get our bearings right – if the country is badly administered, one extra state badly governed by the opposition will not vindicate the bad government the country is saddled with.
It is time the federal government and all the state governments learn to recognise that the people of this country deserve better. There are so many things the government should have done differently from economic management to public safety and security, national unity, education, to local government and rural development.
I disagree with the notion that the Chinese community are being manipulated by the opposition. I don’t think the Chinese are easily manipulated. On the contrary, I think they are much more independent and well informed than others.
The government (both federal and states) must sell the right “product” to the people. The Chinese community does not need special favours or preferential treatment. They only need fairness, good governance, a level playing field, and the opportunities to earn, bring up their kids and excel in whatever they do without being unduly constricted by bigotry and narrow-minded philosophy.
Approving citizenship for those who are qualified as citizens of this country is the duty and responsibility of the government. While the Chinese may feel grateful, surely it should not be an intention to make the Chinese feel less worthy of their place in this country.
Sometimes statements intending to be magnanimous and inclusive could be condescending without the person realising it.
I am sure the home minister would like to approve citizenship based on qualifications, not on racial or religious backgrounds.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
* The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.