‘What Else Do the Chinese Want?’ Election Headline Enrages Malaysians

A Malay newspaper owned by the country's ruling party, which narrowly won last week's elections thanks in part to the ethnic Chinese community voting for the opposition, ran with the headline ‘apa lagi Cina mahu?’ (what else do the Chinese want?), immediately causing backlash from many Malaysians.

BN or Barisan Nasional is Malaysia's ruling party which has been in power since the 1950s. Pakatan is the Opposition coalition. BN won in the recent election although it lost many seats in the Parliament; and there are allegations that it committed electoral fraud to remain in power.

Following the announcement of the results of the 13th general election in Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak coined the term ‘Chinese tsunami’ to refer to the voting trend of the ethnic Chinese community, saying that ‘the polarisation in this voting trend worries the government. We are afraid that if this is allowed to continue, it will create tensions’, and called for a ‘national reconciliation process’.

The headline is about the reported frustration of the incumbent administration over the apparent support given by Chinese voters to the Opposition despite the implementation of programs and reforms intended to benefit the Chinese community in the past years. Some analysts think it irresponsibly reinforce the racist idea of “blaming the Chinese for dividing Malaysia.”

Balajoe disagreed that a ‘Chinese Tsunami’ led to the defeat of many administration candidates:

At the end of the day, it has nothing to do with the Chinese, Malay or even the Indian tsunami. Yes the number of Chinese turning up and voting for Pakatan was higher than before. Are you going to blame them for that? Where it says that the Chinese (or any Malaysians for argument sake) have to vote for BN only? What a bunch of sore losers! It’s a fact that Pakatan could not have gained more votes using Chinese votes alone.

A copy of the controversial headline of Utusan Malaysia which was widely shared on the internet

A copy of the controversial headline of Utusan Malaysia which was widely shared on the internet

In particular, the topic has been popular on Twitter using the hashtag #ApaLagiCinaMahu, albeit mostly used to mock.

@ChqminMataPecah valid question to BN: how can you provoke the chinese wins, when you always mentioning on unity of malaysian? #apalagicinamahu–is it?

@MalaysiaForAll #black505 The crowd wont be this big if not for najib's ‘Chinese tsunami’ & utusan's #apalagicinamahu Rakyat is truly angry with racist umno

@hwabeng My ancestors came 2 Msia 700 yrs ago with Hang Lipo,Hang Tuah & his bros,when did yours came 2 Msia 2 ask me #ApaLagiCinaMahu ?

@teohjitkhiam Waitwait! I'm still compiling my wants list, goddamnit. #ApaLagiCinaMahu Sheesh. And I thot Santa Claus was picky abt being naughty & nice.

@charmainelynn Why separate us by race? Take a look at yourself,your policies,and your cronies and corrupt government,before you blame us. #apalagicinamahu

Haris Ibrahim, posted this picture on his blog which probably reflects the sentiment of many Malaysians:

Junah clarifies that BN lost also the support of many Malays in the last elections:

Too much time has already been wasted upon thinking of what the Chinese want. It is not what more the Chinese want, in fact, its what the Malay wants all along.

As a conclusion if the Chinese doesn't want to be represented by the Malay so does the Malays.


Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.