Time for PPBM to be multi-racial, DAP’s Chin Tong suggests

Azril Annuar
In an interview published today, Liew said multi-racial parties have gone mainstream following GE14, and even race-based parties in rival BN are considering becoming multi-racial. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong urged Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) to abandon race-based politics and join the ranks of its Pakatan Harapan (PH) allies DAP and PKR as multi-racial parties.

In a Malaysiakini interview, Liew said multi-racial parties have gone mainstream following GE14, and even race-based parties in rival Barisan Nasional (BN) are considering becoming multi-racial.

“At the time [when PPBM was founded], strategically it couldn’t be done. Now the pressure isn’t there. Likewise, when we decided to use the PKR flag [to contest in the election], why?

“Because it is the most pragmatic move. If we used the DAP flag, we’re doomed. There is no need to fight,” Liew was quoted as saying.

“So, to turn defeat into victory we need to outmanoeuvre them strategically. If we had danced to our opponent’s tune, we’re dead. We’d have to outmanoeuvre them, and now looking back it was the right decision,” he added, referring to BN.

Liew, who lost the Ayer Hitam seat to MCA’s Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, said there is no more political pressure from mainstream media such as Utusan Malaysia or TV3 stoking racial sentiments, so the political scenario has changed.

Currently full membership in PPBM is allowed only for Bumiputeras. Non-Bumiputeras can join as affiliate members but cannot contest in party elections. However, they can be appointed to party posts.

Liew also pointed out that PPBM had won multi-racial seats such as Tanjung Piai and Simpang Renggam — defeating ethnic Chinese candidates from MCA and Gerakan.

“The whole environment is now different, so you can think about all kinds of possibilities. Of course, these things are not going to happen immediately, but reality on the ground is that Maszlee Malik can’t just represent Malays,” he said, referring to PPBM’s Simpang Renggam MP who was appointed education minister.

“If he did, he couldn’t have won. He had the support of many Chinese, many Indians, and half the Malays,” he reportedly said.