KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 ― A former Sabah chief minister has suggested that ever since Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin took office as prime minister, there has been no anti-ethnic Chinese slurs such as “Cina balik China” (Chinese go back to China), or labeling them as “Communists”.
Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee, who was the state's two-term chief minister, from May 1996 to May 1998, told Malay daily Utusan Malaysia that inter-ethnic relations have improved during Perikatan Nasional (PN) took over Putrajaya.
“The relationship between races is recovering. Just like it was during the 1980s and 1990s. In Peninsular Malaysia the situation is beginning to improve,” he told the daily.
Instead, Yong attributed previous racial slurs to DAP being part of the federal government, saying such attacks were reaction towards the Pakatan Harapan component’s “provocations”.
“Human beings when provoked, surely there are reactions. That is why there are remarks such as ‘Cina komunis’, 'Cina balik China' and accusing the Chinese of their desire to control the country,” he reportedly said, but did not elaborate how DAP had provoked the public.
Yong who is Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, also claimed that there is now a sense of calm among the Chinese community, basing it on his observations.
He also accused Parti Warisan Sabah of playing with dangerous sentiments, by focusing on the theme of “unity” for its president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal during the Sabah state election.
“It is a dangerous sentiment. Unity meant that the people of all race and religion are united.
“There are no racial issues in Sabah. Sarawak too has no issues. I think in Semenanjung think there are no issues too,” he reportedly said.
When asked on plans to secure ethnic Chinese votes for Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Yong said Muhyiddin, who is party president, has a good image in Sabah.
“The prime minister's image is good. We know that in the city, there are Chinese voters who still side with the Opposition. Although they are strong DAP and Warisan supporters, they have very good response towards Muhyiddin.
“Whether it is neutral or positive, when we tell them that Muhyiddin is with PN they immediately draw a smile,” Yong was quoted saying.
Last month, SAPP confirmed that it has joined PN.
For the Sabah election, PN is part of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) together with Barisan Nasional (BN) and local Sabah Opposition parties, that was cobbled together to jointly challenge the ruling Warisan Plus pact.
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