Press Statement By DAP Secretary-General And MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 13.12.2021:
DAP regrets that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has used the analogy of the Chinese community using chopsticks to highlight the challenges in assimilating the non-Malay population in the country, and as proof that they identify with the country of their origin. Tun is wrong to focus on assimilation instead of integration and that using chopsticks instead of adopting the Malaysian way of eating with their hands is one of the reasons leading to separation amongst the people. This is not only simplistic but offensive to the Chinese community here.
Tun should be reminded that not just China or Taiwan but countries such as Japan, South Korea and Vietnam also uses chopsticks. As Tun is a proponent of the Look East policy that encompasses these countries, Tun has never brought up eating by using chopsticks as an issue.
Does that mean a Malay using chopsticks or fork and spoon to eat loses his Malayness? In fact, many non-Chinese Malaysians and Westerners are proud of their ability to use both chopsticks as well as fork and spoon without any loss of their national identity.
For Tun to talk about assimilating the non-Malay population, he forgets about the non-Malays amongst the orang Asli and native population of Sabah and Sarawak. Is Tun saying that the non-Malays in the Borneo states such as Iban, Dayaks, Melanaus, Kadazan Dusun Muruts must also lose their character and identity to assimilate?
Even his Tun’s Bangsa Malaysia recognises the diversity that is Malaysia and talks about a Malaysian people regardless of race and religion. Instead of assimilation, the focus should be on integration of the rakyat similar to integration of Sabah and Sarawak with Peninsular Malaysia to achieve unity in diversity as a Malaysian nation.
Eating with chopsticks does not make any one less a Malaysian. Malaysians of Chinese descent born here are proud of our loyalty to Malaysia and have no wish to return to a China growing with wealth and prosperity, even if given an opportunity to do so.
The Chinese community in Malaysia have always identified itself with Malaysia and never with China. Even the 2 million Malaysians who migrate, just like other Malays and Indians, choose Western countries because of better pay prospects and equal opportunities. And yet Tun does not say that the Chinese community here identify with Western countries.
Helping one or two Chinese tycoons is like helping any tycoon from other races and cannot be equated with helping the Chinese community. The contributions of the Chinese community should not be questioned or discriminated against just because of the different language, customs, names, lifestyles or even the way they eat. The problem is when politicians refuse to accept what they are and are more interested in who they are and where they come from.
Even Tun’s example of America’s former president Dwight David Eisenhower who was appointed as the commander in chief of the Allied army forces that won against Germany in World War II, underlines the difference in that Eisenhower not only sees himself as an American but was fully accepted by others as an American.
The Chinese community see themselves as Malaysian but unfortunately there are those who are unwilling to accept this fact. The time has come to put past prejudices and such divisiveness behind by accepting the Chinese community as Malaysian citizens with full rights as enshrined in the Malaysian Federal Constitution. Then only can we work together to realise our full potential to make Malaysia fairer, more prosperous, free and upholding justice for all.
LIM GUAN ENG
马来西亚的华人群体一直认同的是马来西亚，而非中国。即使是 200 万迁移民出去的马来西亚人，包括马来和印裔同胞，大家皆是因为更好的薪酬前景和平等机会而选择到西方国家去。然而，敦马却没有因此认为这里的华人群体认同西方国家。