Absolute power, like an elixir of youth, is what keeps nonagenarian Mahathir Mohamad going. And his age is hardly showing as he undertakes the thankless job to house train DAP.
Plus he’s doing a better at bossing around compared to his predecessors Najib Razak and Abdullah Badawi.
Let’s compare Umno bossiness vs Pribumi bossiness under Badawi and Mahathir respectively. It’s understandable that Umno was once quite bossy. It’s however more difficult to justify Pribumi’s current I’m-the-boss! attitude, and hence props to Mahathir for being fully up to the task.
Facts and figures quoted below reveal the glad tidings.
The peak of MCA-BN achievement came in the 2004 general election, and DAP-Harapan’s in 2018.
Following GE11, the parliament seats won by BN peninsula parties were:
- Umno — 109
- MCA — 31
- MIC — 9
- Gerakan — 10
- PPP — 1
Note: All of Gerakan’s 10 MPs were Chinese; PPP was represented in Taiping by M. Kayveas
BELOW: Umno president (2004) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Following GE14, the parliament seats won by Harapan (excluding frog leap from Umno to Pribumi) were:
- PKR — 50*
- DAP — 42
- PAN — 11
- Pribumi — 12
Note: *PKR is the country’s most multiracial party and has 26 Malay MPs; three independents – P. Prabakaran (Batu), Larry Sng (Julau) and Jugah anak Muyang (Lubok Antu) joined PKR shortly / a few days after the conclusion of the polls on May 9.
Meanwhile DAP is dominated overwhelmingly by the nons and has only one Malay MP out of its total 42.
BELOW: Pribumi president Muhyiddin Yassin
DAP ditch their ‘meritocracy’ pitch
Next in our discussion, I’m going to narrow the racial breakdown of the MPs limited to elected reps in the peninsula only, so as to be able to home in on Chinese (and Indians) since my good news is directed at Dapsters.
This means excluding the Sabah and Sarawak MPs whose ethicity and religion is sometimes difficult to guess outwardly from their names.
• BN 2004
So, excluding Sabah Umno’s 13 MPs from our 2004 election result count, Umno had (109 – 13 =) 96 Malay MPs in the peninsula, Following GE11, BN totalled Malay MPs (96), Chinese (41), Indian (10) in the peninsula representing Umno, MCA, MIC, Gerakan and PPP.
In 2004, Umno’s Malay MPs in the peninsula were roughly double in number the BN non-Malay MPs. Umno’s MPs (96), excluding Sabah, were more than triple that of MCA’s MPs (31).
BELOW: Head of Pribumi women’s wing Rina Harun
• Harapan 2018
Minus its Sabah and Sarawak reps, PKR has 25 Malay and 16 non-Malay MPs. Overall, Harapan has 49 Malay MPs in the peninsula.
Minus its Sabah and Sarawak reps, DAP has 32 non-Malay and one Malay MPs. Overall, Harapan has 48 non-Malay MPs in the peninsula.
Hence the number of Malay MPs (49) and non-Malay MPs (48) is almost equal for Harapan in the peninsula.
DAP parliamentarians (33) – excluding the party’s nine Sabah and Sarawak MPs – are still nearly triple that of Pribumi’s 12-13 MPs at the time that Mahathir made his cabinet appointments.
Okay, let’s now get down to examining the level of Umno vs Pribumi bossiness.
BELOW: Pribumi youth chief Syed Saddiq
Compare & Contrast their electoral muscle
While MCA had always been second banana in BN to Umno, DAP is today nothing more than Pribumi’s tiny chihuahua. And Dapsters are accepting their ‘running dog’ status with a waggy tail.
• Umno-MCA relationship
In 2004 at the height of BN power, Umno had triple MCA’s number of MPs in the peninsula alone.
This is against a backdrop where Umno MPs (minus Sabah) were still double all MPs from the BN peninsular parties combined. [Note: MCA, MIC, Gerakan and PPP did not have any Malay MPs between them.]
If Umno acted like Big Brother, it was entirely on merit based upon their actual parliamentary strength in numbers.
• Pribumi-DAP relationship
Pribumi is also acting like Big Brother, such is Mahathir’s bossy aura.
In 2018 after MCA, MIC and Gerakan had been successfully killed off, DAP as the ruling party’s Chinese-dominant component has almost triple Pribumi’s number of MPs in the peninsula. [Note: Pribumi and PAN do not have MPs in Borneo.]
Not counting the Sabah and Sarawak parliamentarians – the number of Malay and non-Malay MPs in Harapan overall are equal. If Borneo MPs are to be counted in, the position of Harapan Malays will be further weakened when put beside the Harapan non-Malay leadership.
The upshot: Umno was 3x MCA whereas Pribumi is 1/3 DAP (in terms of their MPs)
But how does the Chinese community fare at the negotiating table (a) in MCA hands under an Umno prime minister in 2004 vs (b) in DAP hands under a Pribumi PM in 2018?
Much has already been said about how Mahathir fed the lion’s share of war spoils to his own Malay-only party.
The Yang Berhormats most shortchanged by Mahathir’s greedy grab fest were Chong Chieng Jen and his DAP party colleague Nga Kor Ming, both of whom had been MPs since 2004 and 2008 respectively.
BELOW: DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen
Mahathir appointed only five Chinese as full ministers in his cabinet compared to Badawi who had in 2004 appointed six Chinese full ministers.
Out of Mahathir’s five Chinese cabinet ministers, four are staunch CHRISTIANS!!
- Lim Guan Eng — Christian
- Teresa Kok — Christian
- Yeo Bee Yin — Christian
- Liew Vui Keong — Christian
Transport Minister Anthony Loke is, apparently, the sole non-Christian among the lot. Sebenarnya Christians cukup untung bersama Harapan tapi Chinese Buddhist, Taoist and Confucianist voters manyak rugi loh.
Badawi when PM was inclusive and had native, non-Muslim Sabah and Sarawak ministers in his cabinet despite Umno Sabah itself being so strong.
Mahathir has very few ministers of Bornean origin in his 2018 cabinet despite DAP’s own numerous Sabah and Sarawak Chinese MPs.
DAP’s Chong was merely made a deputy minister despite being a fourth term MP and representing the biggest state Sarawak.
DAP’s Nga failed to make the cut altogether for cabinet despite opting out of his Taiping safe seat to take on and slay the president of a BN component party, Gerakan, in the latter’s incumbent parliament seat Teluk Intan.
Instead Mahathir chose to make his 25-year-old Bathtub Baby, the first-time Pribumi MP Syed Siddiq, a full cabinet minister.
Settling for “crumbs from the master’s table”
Just as the Badawi administration did not have a Chinese deputy prime minister, the Mahathir administration does not have a Chinese DPM either despite an unprecedented 95 percent of the community voting to install the DAP gang in Putrajaya.
Under Badawi’s watch, one state – Penang – was headed by a Chinese. Under Mahathir’s watch, similarly one state – Penang only – is being headed by a Chinese.
Malacca does not have a Chinese chief minister despite that the state (like its cousin Penang) was formerly a British Straits Settlement and thus without a sultan.
Clearly Chinese voters are no more influential today despite wholeheartedly throwing themselves into the DAP’s aggressive election campaign.
BELOW: Sit Pinky sit, good boy
In the recent general election, DAP won 8 state seats in Malacca which is still more than the rest of Harapan combined – PKR (3), PAN (2) and Pribumi (2). Yet the post of Malacca chief minister went to a PAN Adun.
In Negeri Sembilan, DAP won the most 11 state seats which is still more than the rest of Harapan combined – PKR (7), PAN (2) and Pribumi (0). Yet the post of Negeri Sembilan menteri besar went to a PKR Adun.
In Perak, DAP won the most 18 state seats which is still more than the rest of Harapan combined – PAN (6), PKR (4) and Pribumi (1). Yet the post of Perak menteri besar inexplicably went to the sole Pribumi Adun!
In Johor, DAP won the most 14 state seats compared to PAN (9), Pribumi (8) and PKR (5). Yet the post of Johor menteri besar went to the Pribumi Adun, again.
Doesn’t it look like DAP was tremendously shortchanged by Mahathir?
Dapsters love to vilify MCA as Umno’s “running dog” but never in Malaysian election history had MCA been stronger than Umno. So it is unreasonable to expect MCA to play the role of tai kor.
DAP, on the other hand, is clear and away the strongest state-level Harapan party in Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Perak and Johor but it nonetheless failed to obtain the chief minister top post in any of these states.
MCA’s failure to ascend the pinnacle of power makes perfect sense as it never held more seats than Umno. On the contrary, DAP certainly has multiple times more seats than Pribumi but like a docile house pet, it has been effectively tamed by a bossy 94-year-old. The party no longer has any bark much less bite.
Chinese were far better off under Umno than Pribumi.