Najib fails to master Chinese art of wooing
| March 13, 2013
The Chinese detest a leader who pledges to give something only after one's candidate has won and the prime minister has shown himself up as a less-than-brilliant strategist.
First, for delaying the 13th general election when it should have been held last year; and second, for not giving prompt recognition to the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) which has been given due recognition by universities worldwide.
Najib’s political advisers have shown themselves to be lacking in intelligent ideas concerning the second point. Here is the reason why.
The prime minister had attended the Dong Zong (Chinese educationists) Chinese New Year open house last month and many Chinese were expecting him to make the all-important announcement giving recognition to the UEC, but none was forthcoming. Word has it that the announcement on the UEC would only be made after the 13th general election.
In contrast, Pakatan Rakyat’s manifesto launched on Feb 25 had promised to give recognition to the UEC if Pakatan becomes the federal government after the general election. This means that Pakatan has stolen a march over Barisan Nasional and is now one step ahead in this matter.
As it is, Najib has already lost many Chinese votes due to the delayed general election and this UEC issue only adds to his difficulty in trying to woo the Chinese.
Therefore in regard to the UEC, he has missed a golden opportunity to gain the Chinese vote. He should have capitalised on this issue during his visit to Dong Zong’s open house but as is typical of him, he let the opportunity slip.
Failing to act fast was a big blunder and shows him up as a less-than-brilliant strategist.
If Najib now makes an announcement that the BN federal government will recognise the UEC, the Chinese will say that he is only copying Pakatan’s idea.
The Chinese public will mock his move by saying, “Other people say first and then only you follow, bunkum lah.”
In Chinese philosophy, you must be daring to make the first move when promising something. That is the reason why BN lost in the Sibu parliamentary by-election in May 2010 when Najib promised funds to mitigate the flood woes if the Sibu folk were to vote for BN; this is known as “kom kar geh” which means “very fake”.
The Chinese detest falsehood in the art of wooing voters and this is exemplified in Sibu where Najib should have given the funds for the flood mitigation project first, and then leave it to the people to vote.
Do note that Najib’s infamous phrase of “I help you, you help me” had its origins in the Sibu by-election.
It is still a form of vote-buying and is still very bad but not as bad as the move of giving the funds only after the BN candidate wins.
Chinese are smart voters
Long accustomed to Chinese heroes like Guan Yu, Zhong Fei and the heroes of the Water Margin (a famous classic of common people rising against oppression), the Chinese voters are quite smart in seeing through a person’s falsehood even if one attempts to conceal it.
A person who is false does not have what can be labelled as “enough dare”. And that is the reason why many Chinese are in favour of Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister; it is because they view Anwar as “kow thum” (daring enough).
Giving something only after one’s candidate has won is simply plain bunkum and the Chinese do not want this type of leader. Moreover, delaying the battle too long is a sign of cowardice and the Chinese also reject this type of leader.
For unwanted leaders, they must be brave enough to face this fact – that they are no longer wanted and should do the honourable thing by stepping down graciously.
Clinging on to power or grabbing victory via dubious means is a trait much abhorred by the Chinese, and the same goes for unethical and immoral leaders or leaders who bully the underdog. If one has to face defeat, one should be able to face it courageously.
In ancient Chinese history, renowned military commanders also have had their share of defeats and one should be able to take defeat in a brave and honourable manner.
If BN wins the general election due to the rakyat’s overwhelming support, then so be it. But if the win is tainted with suspicion that it was due to the assistance of phantom voters and aliens, then it is a hollow victory and the Chinese will say that BN has won due to “kow kan” (play cheating).
Then the losers will be respected while the winners will be mocked.
But what is worse is that the rakyat will have to bear the consequences of being overwhelmed by too many low-skilled or unskilled labourers who are now Malaysian citizens via dubious means –and this is a very disastrous and terrible situation indeed.
Selena Tay is a DAP member and a FMT columnist.