MANY politicians do not seem to understand what the Chinese in multi-racial Malaysia want.
Yet, the Chinese have simple wishes. They want a peaceful life, living in harmony with Malays, Indians and other groups.
Like others, they hope the Government will create a conducive environment for them to work in and do business. They yearn for equal opportunities and good governance.
Although their ancestors came from China in the 19th and 20th centuries to clear jungles for rubber trees and open up tin mines, they see themselves as Malaysians.
They hate being called pendatang (immigrants) and hope their nation-building efforts are recognised.
In the last two state polls of Sarawak, Barisan gained overwhelming support from the Chinese there partly because their Chief Minister had stated in many occasions that Chinese are Sarawakians who have made huge political and economic contributions.
Though good at doing business, Chinese Malaysians also want to share their skill in wealth creation with the other races in the country.
In fact, the ACCCIM and Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce are inviting non-Chinese to join them in exploring Belt and Road opportunities.
But the unchecked utterances of insensitive statements by some politicians have caused uneasiness, as reflected in regular resolutions tabled at the AGMs of ACCCIM and other Chinese associations.
However, the Government’s effort in recent years to woo Chinese investments into Malaysia on the back of China’s Belt and Road initiative has laid a “feel-good” factor in the community.
To Chinese businessmen, this initiative – spanning 30 years – is providing a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to enter a new frontier and expand trade and investments.
Citi Research estimates that Beijing will pour RM400bil into ports and railways construction in Malaysia.
This China factor has helped improve MCA’s image as it has done a lot of groundwork to engage the Chinese at a time when Western investors shun Malaysia due to 1MDB and other controversies.