Members of the Taiwanese band Mayday and Hong Kong-based journalist Leung Mantao (梁文道) were criticized by a spokesman for Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition last week for allegedly interfering in Malaysia’s internal affairs.
Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) representative Chiew Lian Keng (周連瓊) on Friday specifically named Leung and Mayday, saying that as they are not citizens of Malaysia, they should not side with the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Pact) alliance or openly state anti-government opinions.
Chiew singled out Leung, saying that he had encouraged Malaysians to oppose the government during a trip to the country before the recent elections, adding that Leung had stumped for Pakatan Rakyat candidates.
Malaysia held elections for its House of Representatives on Sunday last week, with Barisan Nasional winning 133 seats and Pakatan Rakyat claiming 89 seats. Pakatan Rakyat has refused to accept the election results, saying the polls were fraudulent.
“Criticism and stumping are two different matters; one can critique an event and analyze it, but they should not stump for a particular party,” Chiew said
Leung should not intervene in Malaysian politics in such a public manner, especially as he is not a Malaysian citizen, Chiew added.
Chiew said Leung’s actions had constituted interference with Malaysia’s internal affairs.
Chiew said Mayday’s refusal to perform at a rally for Barisan Nasional, as well as their call for Malaysians to pursue democracy, were also inappropriate.
However, Chiew did not criticize Malaysian actors, such as Michael Wong (光良), Victor Wong (品冠), Angelica Lee (李心潔), Jasmine Leong (梁靜茹), Gary Chaw (曹格), Nicholas Teo (張棟樑) and Rynn Lim (林宇中), who have chosen to develop their careers in Taiwan.
“These people are Malaysian citizens and have the right to make any comments they wish,” Chiew said.
The actors had made a number of posts on social media Web sites calling for a change in Malaysia’s political landscape.
Barisan Nasional has been in power in Malaysia since its formation in 1973.
Many Taiwan-based Malaysian celebrities supported Pakatan Rakyat, and their friends in Taiwan also posted messages on Facebook encouraging Malaysians not to give up on democracy.
In response to the comments by the Barisan Nasional spokesman, Mayday changed the profile picture on its Facebook page to a black background, with the members of the band pictured covering their mouths with their shirts.