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Chinese Community, Harmony, Kuching, Malaysia, Sarawak, Sarawak Politics, Sarawak United Peoples' Party (SUPP), Sarawakian, SUPP

Federation of Seven Clan Associations – Will it split the Chinese community?

THE Federation of Seven Clan Associations, which continues to be featured rather prominently in my morning paper, has managed to pique my interest as well.

Probably because The Star had an interview with former Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Dr George Chan on the matter, which I found online. Since losing his Piasau seat to newcomer Ling Sie Kiong from the DAP, Datuk Patinggi has been very low key.

In fact a few months back it was his lovely wife Datuk Lorna Enan Muloon who was in the media spotlight, for sacrificing her gorgeous locks for charity. And good on her by the way – she managed to raise RM1 million for the Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society by going bald! Brave woman and she still looked fantastic.

Anyway, I am getting carried away with the Michelle Yeoh lookalike’s exploits (though personally I think she is far more attractive than Malaysia’s most famous actress).

Back to Datuk Patinggi. The Star quoted him as saying that the Federation could be divisive – that it would cause more splits in the Chinese community.

This coming from the President of the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP). Although SUPP began as a multicultural party and supposedly still is, it has over the years become the party for Chinese community voices. Or so we thought.

In the 2006 State election, the Chinese voters already sent a clear message to the party that it was not on the right track. Surely Datuk Patinggi must have realised that there were already many splits in the community then?

If he did, it would seem that little was done to listen to the dissenting voices that struggled to be heard. Proof of this was clear from this year’s election results.

Obviously many in the community feel that they are still not being heard. They want their concerns to be heard by the government and more importantly for action to be taken. If those who are supposedly doing this were doing a good job, there would be no need for a new movement like the Federation of Seven Clan Associations to appear on the scene.

Instead of turning on each other for trying to speak out on behalf of the community, Datuk Patinggi and other Chinese leaders should embrace the opportunity for more voices to be heard. At the end of the day surely all involved just want the best for the Chinese community.

The splits are already there. What’s necessary now is for the healing to begin.

The report from The Star:

Rocking the boat

KUCHING: The state’s top leaders are split in their views about the newly formed Federation of Seven Clan Associations in Sibu and its effects on the Chinese community.

While Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud welcomes the organisation as a uniting factor, SUPP president Tan Sri Dr George Chan fears that the federation will be divisive.

“It’s not good to have so many associations particularly if they are formed out of political differences because it will just cause more splits within the community,” the former deputy chief minister told The Star.

The federation was registered on Aug 18 and its initiator, Chai Then Sian, would not say what its agenda is when met at Taib’s Hari Raya open house here on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, he dismissed claims that the federation had political ambitions and that it was out to replace the ailing SUPP in the ruling coalition.

The formation of the federation could not have come at a more trying time for Barisan Nasional as the Chinese community’s support for the coalition appears to have waned during the April state polls.

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