YAN: THE Barisan Nasional government will never discriminate against the Chinese community despite the ruling coalition suffering from a so-called Chinese tsunami during the last general election.
BN deputy chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday reiterated the government's commitment to being fair to all races as part of its good governance policies.
"We are committed to being fair to all despite assumptions that we had suffered from the so-called Chinese tsunami during the last general election," he said after a gathering with the Chinese community at BN's by-election operations centre in Sungai Limau here yesterday.
Muhyiddin said BN would continue assisting those in need among the Chinese despite the opinion of some in the coalition who wanted the government to be less generous to those who did not support BN in the general election.
He said after the last general election, there had been signs that the Chinese were now more willing to support BN.
"They can see for themselves that Pakatan is not all that good and that it is not really united.
"If they (the Chinese community) are not willing to consider supporting BN, then they would not have bothered to come here today," said Muhyiddin, referring to the 500 people at the gathering.
There are 1,840 Chinese voters in Sungai Limau among an electorate numbering 27,222 people.
Earlier, Muhyiddin, who is deputy prime minister and education minister, approved an allocation of almost RM2 million requested by three Chinese schools in Sungai Limau.
He also approved an additional allocation of RM200,000 requested by Chinese community leaders to set up an education fund, stressing that the allocations were given as they were requested by the schools and community leaders and, therefore, should not be misconstrued as an attempt to buy votes.
In his speech, Muhyiddin called on the Chinese not to believe the opposition's allegations that BN was practising discriminatory policies against them.
He said the government's non-discriminatory policy was reflected in the 2014 Budget, where Chinese vernacular schools received an allocation of RM50 million.
He said the government had at no point tried to diminish the importance of the Chinese education system and language, as accused by pro-opposition Chinese educationist organisation Dong Zhong, and expressed disappointment that Dong Zhong had repeatedly accused the government of having "evil intentions" when it wanted students of Chinese schools to be given more class hours to learn the national language.
"What is wrong with wanting our children to spend more time learning the national language?
"We are not in any way trying to downgrade the students' mother tongue but want them to have better command of the national language."
Meanwhile, speaking at another function, Muhyiddin said the government was committed to safeguarding the interest of fishermen.
He said the government had been supportive of the fishing sector and would continue doing so, adding that the fishing community, especially inshore fishermen, still needed support.