Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan had disclosed their manifestos for PRU14 one after another. Both had included the recognition of UEC in their manifestos.
Leaders and supporters on both sides of the political divide criticized each other about the sincerity and hidden problems in the process of recognizing the UEC. Anyhow both factions have endorsed the recognition in their election manifestos and this is a first in Malaysian history. It is an important breakthrough.
For the past few decades, recognizing the UEC was a sensitive issue; as there were worries about backlash from the Malay community. Some Malay racists or organizations including some Chinese from the English and Malay stream in education also objected to the recognition. There was also a well-known opponent Professor Teo Kok Seong of the ethnic research centre in UKM who had objected to the proposal.
Today it is out of expectations that both BN and Pakatan included the recognition of UEC in their election manifestos. Previously these people or organizations had objected strongly to this issue. It comes as a surprise they have changed their stand including PERKASA leader Ibrahim Ali who had once threatened to sue the government if it recognized UEC. Somehow he had remained silent without any action taken.
This shows that when BN decided to announce recognition of UEC in its manifesto, it had already communicated to those individuals and organizations concerned to avoid possible backlash. What is most important is that the Malay community has now changed their perception towards UEC. Although we are not able to determine how far their attitude had changed towards UEC, but the dislike is definitely not as strong as before. That is the reason why there was no strong objection from the Malay community when the manifestos of both BN and Pakatan have included the recognition of UEC.
BN manifesto is too official
Election manifesto is one of the election battles, thus the contents in their manifesto would of course be a target of its rival. In the BN manifesto which mentioned about the recognition of UEC, the phrase “boleh dipertimbangkan” appeared. In Chinese translation it literally means “can be considered”. It was therefore questioned by Pakatan on the sincerity of BN in recognizing the UEC.
However, for those who are always in contact or familiar with the format of government circulars will be able to understand. It is often found and used in official government documents or correspondence. Hence the phrase “boleh dipertimbangkan” implies that the issue is qualified to be considered. When it is found not to be qualified, it will not be considered at all.
For instance, in 2010 while announcing the 10th Malaysian Plan by the Prime Minister on the intake of teachers into the teachers’ training college, he also used the phrase “boleh dipertimbangkan”. It was to allow UEC to be one of the qualifications to apply and to be accepted into the teachers’ training college. Since then this policy was implemented by the government.
The phrase “boleh dipertimbangkan” was also used by the DAP state government in Penang when they disbursed the flood relief fund to the victims. Does it mean that the flood victims in Penang did not receive their flood relief aid?
Hence the phrase used is not a problem at all. The only problem lies in the manifesto written in a very serious official tone.