Whether it was because of the Chinese vernacular school issue raised at the UMNO Petaling Jaya Utara annual general meeting or the ensuing discussion on the root of Chinese vernacular school as education for the children of then Chinese immigration worker, the Malay "pendatang" remark uttered at the Gerakan AGM was unnecessary.
Surely it is untrue and illogical, be it from the archeological or historical or geo-cultural or even DNA finding done. Not only former MP Dato Zulkifli Nordin immediately rebutted, one article by a Chinese writer by the name Tai Zee Kin disagreeing to any intention to claim Malays as "pendatang' from Indonesia has gone viral. Prior to modern nation-state introduced by colonial masters, Malay archipelago is one big "nation".
Politically, it is not a smart move, even for merely a drama to attract the attention of Chinese voters and hopefully secure back their votes.
If that is what the Gerakan delegate from Johor, Tan Lai Soon intended, that is not the way since such remarks makes politics a zero sum game. By attracting one group, one anger another group.
How did Gerakan do their number crunching?
For that matter, the one that used to utter the same remark in Parliament, the Ketua Wanita Dato Tan Lian Ho had focused her speech on the fanaticism and radical politics of DAP.
Basically, the Gerakan AGM should have been the platform for Gerakan politicians to use to lambast DAP Penang at a time when the Penang voters are slowly begining to realise the ugly head and incompetence of Lim Guan Eng.
It is certainly not the time to attack fellow BN party members or their voters. MCA and Gerakan's existing presence in Parliament and State Assemblies come at the camarederie spirit and willingness of UMNO to giveaway Malay majority seats for MCA and Gerakan to contest and remain relevent.
Tan Lai Soon made a statement to retract his statement yesterday. But the damage is done.
Already some Malays felt the apology is not sincere because an old timer politician like Tan cannot claim ignorance.
Some remain slighted and see that it was an intentional act. Although there was an apology, it was a ploy to put the argument into play to put into the general Chinese psyche that only orang asli are Bumiputera.
That has seditous implication to indirectly question article 153 of the Federal Constitution.
The opposition could exploit it or maybe they would not. However, the argument presented by Tan Lai Soon echoes the same argument uttered by DAP, and PKR.
At a time BN should be uniting, working and be seen together instead of working as three seperate entities under a Kapitan Cina, Kapitan Keling and Malay artisticrat as in the colonial days, it only brings back suspicion on the Chinese majority component parties of Peninsular Malaysia.
Believe me, that view have been heard uttered and Gerakan's pre-May 13 1969 history as a feisty opposition was recalled. Some believed Gerakan has not shed that past especially since Pemuda Gerakan was at time on a combative mode and calls to leave BN was heard.
Some may even view it as a sabotage from within Gerakan to assist the trouble brewing DAP. MCA is still grappling with the conscience that their own members voted for DAP.
Now, Mah have committed to be firm on any members taking extremist views. That puts pressure on him to deal with the wayward delegate. A political polemic could arise as there will be voices demanding on UMNO to act the same.
Interestingly, the words uttered by Tan Lai Soon is seditous in nature. If DAP is so worked up to see ISMA and Perkasa President charged for sedition despite them opposing the Sedition Act, will they demand Tan Lai Soon be charged for sedition?
Their silence will mean agreement.