Malaysia's opposition cranks up anti-DAP rhetoric in fight for Malay votes

Umno, PAS stoking fears with claims that Chinese-led party is pulling govt's strings

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (second from left) at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur after Malaysia's general election in May last year. With him are (from left) Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Democratic
Backed by opposition parties Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia, Malaysians took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur in December last year to protest against the Pakatan Harapan government’s plan to ratify the United Nations’ International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The government ultimately did not sign the accord.PHOTO: SIN CHEW DAILY
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (second from left) at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur after Malaysia's general election in May last year. With him are (from left) Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Democratic
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (second from left) at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur after Malaysia’s general election in May last year. With him are (from left) Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Democratic Action Party veteran Lim Kit Siang.ST FILE PHOTO

In the intense fight for the Malay vote between the Malaysian government and opposition parties, one rallying cry has buttressed the opposition in recent months: that the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party (DAP) is in control of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

The two biggest Malay Muslim parties - Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) - are banking on people like Mr Zam Yahaya, information chief for Umno Bangsar South, to spread the trope widely, as many Malays are anxious about what they see as the sidelining of Malay and Muslim issues by the year-old government.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2019, with the headline 'Opposition cranks up anti-DAP rhetoric in fight for Malay votes'. Print Edition | Subscribe