Attackon Chinese billionaire exposes growing racial divide in Malaysia


FILEPHOTO: Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok attends a meeting in Fuzhou, Fujianprovince, China April, 18, 2005. REUTERS/China Daily/File Photo


KUALALUMPUR (Reuters) - A volley of insults hurled by ruling party officials inMalaysia at 94-year-old ethnic-Chinese tycoon, Robert Kuok, has exposed aracial and religious divide ahead of elections due by August.


Leadersfrom UMNO targeted Hong Kong-based Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok in thelast two weeks, accusing him of funding a majority-Chinese opposition party tooverthrow Najib's government.

在过去的两周里,马来民族统一组织(UMNO)的领导人以常驻香港的马来西亚亿万富翁郭鹤年(Robert Kuok) 为攻击目标,指责他资助了一个以华人为主的反对党来推翻纳吉布的政府。

Theattacks stopped after Kuok, Malaysia’s richest man, threatened legal actionagainst a website he said had cast aspersions on his commitment to democracy.Prime Minister Najib Razak also stepped in to calm the waters.

在马来西亚首富郭鹤年威胁要对一家网站采取法律行动的时候,这些攻击停止了。他说,该网站曾对他对的承诺进行过诽谤。马来西亚总理纳吉布·拉扎克(Najib Razak)也介入调停。

Manyin Malaysia's economically powerful ethnic Chinese community saw the criticismagainst Kuok as racial dog-whistling ahead of a very close and hotly contestedelection.


Apolarised electorate poses risks for Southeast Asia's third-largest economy.


Malaysia'sethnic minorities may end up with the short end of the stick if this year'selectoral results remains racially split, warned Abdul Rahman Dahlan, strategiccommunications director for Najib's coalition.

纳吉布联盟的战略沟通主管阿都·拉曼·达兰(Abdul Rahman Dahlan)警告说,如果今年的选举结果仍然种族分裂的话,马来西亚的少数民族最终可能会以短暂的失败告终。

"Ofcourse we’ll be happy we win the election. But it will be better if the supportcomes from a broad base of support from the communities of all kinds, theneverybody’s voice will be represented," said Abdul Rahman, who is also anUMNO member of parliament told Reuters.

“当然,我们会为赢得大选而高兴。但如果这些支持来自广泛的各个社区,那么就更好了,每个人的声音都将被代表。” 同时身为世卫组织成员的阿都·拉曼告诉路透社。



Najib'sUnited Malays National Organisation (UMNO) has increasingly relied on majorityMalay Muslims to stay in power, after minorities deserted the ruling coalitionthe past two general elections. An election won entirely with the support ofethnic Malays could stall reform of a decades-old race-based affirmative actionpolicy favouring indigenous groups, officials and analysts warn.


Thepolicy, which grew out of 1969 race riots, reserves a large share of governmentcontracts for Malay businesses. It remains in effect, even after it was due toexpire in 1990.


Najibproposed a new economic model soon after taking power in 2009, aimed atspeeding Malaysia's transition to a higher-income, knowledge-based economy, butrolled back some of those plans after a backlash from the Malay-Muslimcommunity.


EthnicMalays and other indigenous groups account for about 69 percent of thepopulation, with Chinese making up 23 percent, and ethnic Indians and other theremainder. Opinion surveys have found indigenous groups robustly supportaffirmative action policies.


UMNOhas also been courting hardliners on the religious right, seeking support fromthe Islamist opposition Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS), which advocates a strictIslamic penal code that religious minorities fear could infringe their rights.


Divisionsamong ethnic and religious groups are intensifying in Malaysia, said theEurasia Group, whose list of top risks for 2018 includes the growth of identitypolitics in Southeast Asia.

欧亚集团(Eurasia Group)表示,马来西亚各民族和宗教团体之间的分歧正在加剧。该集团在2018年面临的最大风险包括东南亚身份认同政治的强化。

"Thereis a trend towards a more conservative interpretation of Islam and the keyIslamic party PAS will play a significant role during the upcomingelection," Eurasia Group said in a recent research note about Malaysia.

欧亚集团在最近的一份关于马来西亚的研究报告中说:“ysl教的更保守的理解和关键的ysl政党“泛马来西亚ysl党” 在即将到来的选举中扮演着重要的角色。”



Dubbedthe “Sugar King of Asia”, Kuok became Malaysia’s richest man by expanding acommodities-based business to an international empire that includes theShangri-la hotel chain, plantations, property development and entertainment.


Hehas iconic status in the Malaysian Chinese community.


"Kuokis a successful man, and a true Malaysian," said 52-year-old Eric Hun at atea shop in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown. "This kind of comment will win them(UMNO) the Malay votes in the kampung (village). That's all they want ... theystopped caring about us a long time ago."

“郭鹤年是一个成功的人,一个真正的马来西亚人,”52岁的埃里克·杭(Eric Hun)在吉隆坡唐人街的一家茶馆说。“这类评论将在甘榜(村庄)战胜他们(马来民族统一组织),赢得选票。这就是他们想要的……他们很久以前就不再关心我们了。”

EthnicChinese voted heavily for the opposition camp in the last election in 2013,handing the UMNO-led coalition its first-ever loss of the popular vote. Najibcalled it a "Chinese tsunami".


Twoyears later, thousands of UMNO supporters marched through Chinatown to supportNajib, and assert Malay political power threatening to burn down shops in aracially tinged rally that prompted blunt criticism from China's ambassador toMalaysia.


Withnational polls just months away, the attacks on Kuok has strained relationswith the Chinese party in Najib's ruling coalition, the Malaysian ChineseAssociation (MCA).


TheMCA has demanded an apology from Malay leaders who criticised Kuok.


"Rightnow we're on extreme ends, with the government on the extreme right and theopposition on the extreme left," said Kong Len Wei, youth leader at MCA,whose parliamentary seats halved to just seven in the last election.

“现在我们正处于极端,政府处于极右,而反对党则处于极左,”马来西亚华人协会的青年领袖孔仁伟(Kong Len Wei)说,该协会的议会席位在上次选举中仅同比减少了7个百分点。

Najibtried to calm tensions by saying later in the week that Kuok's success as anentrepreneur is an inspiration for other entrepreneurs to succeed. Thegovernment ordered the news blog that published reports on Kuok to pull downthe stories.


Oppositionparties, led by Chinese-based Democratic Action Party (DAP), have also rampedup the racial rhetoric.


"TheRobert Kuok incident is not an isolated incident," said DAP's NationalPolitical Education Director Liew Chin Tong.

“郭鹤年事件不是一个孤立的事件,” 华人行动党的国家政治教育主任刘镇东(Liew Chin Tong)说。

"Itis just another example of the past decade or so in which UMNO survives on manufacturingfear among Malays towards others, in the hope to consolidate Malay support forUMNO."


Najibis still widely expected to win the elections on the back of a rebound in theeconomy and the support of rural Malay voters. Parliament is also expected toapprove a periodic redrawing of electoral boundaries, which critics say wouldalso favour the ruling coalition.




Disillusionedethnic Chinese have been voting with their feet over the past two decades,migrating to neighbouring Singapore and Western countries in a troubling braindrain of talent and capital.


Atotal of 56,576 Malaysians gave up their citizenship between 2006 and 2016 withover 90 percent of them being ethnic-Chinese, Malaysia's Deputy Prime Ministersaid in parliament in 2016, The Star newspaper reported.


Thirty-oneyear old Oh, who stayed back in Melbourne after her graduation there said shewon't return to Malaysia unless meritocracy is restored.


"Itis the race-based policies that are causing a brain drain and holding back theadvancement of the nation," said Oh, who is a senior designer at aMelbourne-based architectural studio.



terminus20hours ago
Nooffence but is there any Malay who got rich without government's tongkatassistance?


Mickey14hours ago


ahmad18hours ago
Kannenacinababi become rich from bribery and illegal business.. nothing to be proudoff.. understand!! you stupid monkey..


Fook19hours ago
Thereare good and intelligent Malaysian Malays - the real Malays and not thePendatangs from Indonesia who are ruling the country. But the national policiesare making it extremely difficult for real talent to emerge from the Malaypopulation. If money talks, a smart Malay will join politics. He will then haveto talk stupid because Najib has made it clear that he does not want brains; heonly wants loyalty to him and him alone. And these are the people now rulingthe country. The rural folks have to be suppressed of knowledge. The end resultis that the Malay race will not progress and will always be behind the minorityraces. The minority races will either leave the country but with so stupid amajority, many will still stay to make a few bucks - the popular count is thatone minority feeds 4 majority ........ sigh. The cure? Out with BN. Out withUMNO. Out with politics messed up with religion. But OUT Najib and his cronies.


SLY20hours ago
andmost rich chinese businessmen admitted they wont become rich and may closetheir business without malay customers..fact


TheReal Sum Siew20 hours ago
Youmean like tycoon gangster kongsi gelap who got rich by bribing UMNgOk leaders?


D20hours ago
2sides of economy equation - over burden civil servants needs money from privatesectors to feed. Destroying private sectors will result in difficulty to feedso many mouths in civil services.


AGG20hours ago
Theruling party is just a bunch of corrupted thieves out to squeeze money from therich Chinese tycoons. Lazy, lack integrity and have no shame. Claiming creditfor others hard work. The rot starts with head of the party


lanun20hours ago
Whenumno's faults are exposed they become unruly.


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