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‘Don’t be victims of DAP-led Trump syndrome’

GEORGE TOWN: A Gerakan veteran has asked Malaysians to learn from the pitfalls of last year’s American election where a certain tycoon named Donald J Trump had upset the odds to claim the 45th US presidency.

“Trump promised the Americans heaven and earth, but now some eight months into his presidency, what has actually happened to the superpower?” asked Penang Gerakan election task force head Wong Mun Hoe.

The administration is struggling with uncertainties and infighting, with key aides either sacked or having resigned on their own accord, while their enemies have started to exploit the complexities of American politics, Wong asserted.

He said when Trump could not fulfill his promises and saw his presidency erode under intense public expectations, he began to blame the media and coined what is now termed as fake news.

“Trump didn’t realise that he has forsaken the thousands of committed men and women who work in the global media industry, whose only vocation is to report so their audience can digest and see whether it makes true sense.”

Just because one doesn’t like the media for reporting issues which are difficult to mitigate, it does not mean that one needs to entice others to similarly hate the media, Wong said.

Does Trump’s political style sound familiar in Penang?

To Wong, it is eerily the same; Penang has slammed the media for reporting allegedly fake news and the state has embarked on a campaign to sue almost every media organisation with no efforts spent on trying to resolve disputes diplomatically.

“When the DAP-led state behaves aggressively with threats to sue, they erode the confidence of the people in their ability to govern. It is easy to pick fights, but what is needed in a multi-ethnic Malaysia is the ability to resolve issues,” Wong added.

Wong said he has decided to be outspoken as Penang Gerakan had passed a resolution in its recent party convention asking for the DAP-led state government to exercise restraint when dealing with hostile media reports.

“Gerakan is not pure evil as what DAP had interpreted us to have become. We helped develop Penang. At least acknowledge that the present pillars of economic growth and the foundation were laid by Gerakan,” said Wong.

Wong reminded DAP that there was no shame in emulating the positive aspects of Gerakan if they have proven to have worked well in Penang.

And for some 35 years of the Gerakan administration, neither the party nor the ruling federal coalition of BN had sought to sue the media or their critics.

“The media is doing a job to be a constructive critic. And it is also the role of civil society and individuals to bring up shortcomings in Penang,” he said.

Wong asked if Gerakan, especially under the tenure of Dr Koh Tsu Koon, had sued the mass media over unfavourable press reports.

Responding to reports that state executive councilor Phee Boon Poh intends to sue the media for alleged wrongful reporting that his personal accounts were frozen by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Wong hoped that Phee could find another way to clarify the matter other than filing libel suits.

Wong said the hallmark of any political party was the ability to resolve issues which arise on a daily basis.

“It is not about passing the buck but resolving it.”

According to Wong, the key issue involving Phee is why enforcement against an alleged illegal factory had been delayed for some time, especially if the residents were unhappy with its presence.

The days of simply preaching to the people are over and people now want action to resolve their plight and injustices, said Wong.

Wong said if ever Penang leaders wished to imitate Trump’s call to make America great again, they should aspire to lift the living standards here.

“But we cannot be doing it if we are just fighting all the time.”