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No Atheists
In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

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He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Why even bother with religious dialogues? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, November 17, 2018
Malaysiakini : “One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.” ― Thomas Paine, ‘The Age of Reason’
COMMENT | An irate Malaysiakini subscriber emailed me about Abdul Hadi Awang’s call for Christian priests and Christians to have a dialogue with Muslim preachers like Zakir Naik to find the “truth” instead of distributing Christian literature. I have no idea what having a dialogue has to do with proselytisation, which is illegal to do to Muslims in Malaysia anyway.
It is easy to caricature someone like Hadi – I have done it a couple of times. But what Hadi said is calling for an SOP (standard operating procedure) for the Islamists in this country. I am also talking about the Islamists within Pakatan Harapan and political operatives (including non-Muslims) who profit from sustaining a particular narrative of Islam in this country.
What Hadi said is exactly the kind of rhetoric coming out from New Malaysia politicians. Every time when a question of religious policy or trespass crops up, the federal government makes a big show and dance about how they will consult with religious scholars to determine the best Muslim outcome available.
Never mind that religious policy should be set forward by the political body and enforced by the religious bureaucracy. To argue that nominal heads of religion set religious policy is disingenuous considering the way how the legislative body has set the religious agenda in this country.
This normally means caving into the “group think” that purports to be the sole Islamic narrative in this country. This also means that the so-called moderate, liberal or whatever else kind of Muslim in this country is left out in the cold. I have often argued that the Harapan government is not setting the Islamic agenda in this country but instead allowing the Umno-PAS combo to define the narrative.
To understand the kind of flip-flopping that goes on in the establishment when it comes to Islam in this country, consider the brouhaha that erupted when Islamic Affairs Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa was offended by headline in The Star that (gasp!) implied that the Harapan regime was, by implication, a moderate Islamic entity because it would cease intruding into the private sphere of Muslims.
I said this earlier: “The prime minister backing up Mujahid's stance that the federal government will not intrude into the private sphere of Muslims in this country is a good first step. Reading the old maverick's rather forceful defence of Mujahid policy intent and the kind of Islam Harapan wants to promote is a positive indication that (perhaps) this was really a new-ish Malaysia.”
The above is important for various reasons but the most important of which is that the prime minister was actually attempting to change the narrative – even though there is ample evidence when he was prime minister the first time around, he played footsie with Islamists – and this opportunity was lost when a supposed moderate Muslim (with federal power) decided it was better singing an Umno-PAS tune instead of coming up with another one.
Harapan fails to capitalise on its power
A couple of months ago, I took a swipe at Bersatu’s Rais Hussin for justifying moderate stances using Islamic dogma. I cannot remember exactly where I said this, but I said it. At the time, it made perfect sense to me. However, of late, I have been talking to many young Muslim religious operatives and I can sense their frustration when it comes to Islam and politics in this country.
Depending on where they operate, Islam has a far greater pull than the various pecuniary scandals that brought down the Najib regime. While these young Muslims worked in various political parties and aligned with various factions within Malay power structures, they could all agree on one thing - that “secular” Muslim narratives were doing more damage to the Harapan-Islamic cause than the machinations of Umno-PAS.
Mind you, they were also concerned about the influence of Umno political operatives upon Harapan, but I think this has more to do with political survival than any principled stand. Anyway, the consensus was that Harapan had failed to capitalise on its power and introduce a moderate alternative to the hard line of PAS and now, Umno. The problem was that Harapan was failing to use Islam to project a moderate Islam because:
  • those moderate Islamic preachers, activists and intellectuals were not invited to the table and,
  • the Harapan politburo was more interested in covering their asses when provocations were thrown their way, instead of justifying their moderate stand using religious sources.
One of young Islamic activists who is involved in student politics said that while people such as lawyers Latheefa Koya and Siti Kassim were needed, what was more important is that the Harapan political elite be brave enough to confront the Islamists from PAS and Umno using interpretations of the Quran which highlighted the “good side” of the religion.
To say I am sceptical of this, would be an understatement. I wrote this when questioning the moderation of Mujahid: “Would someone like Mujahid ever say ‘no parent can ever unilaterally convert a child’? He may find it in some obscure Islamic jurisprudence, or who knows, maybe even consult the work of the late Kassim Ahmad – but non-Muslims would still be at the mercy of the possibility of him finding something ‘fair’ in the Islamic canon or not finding anything at all.”
But who knows? Maybe these young people have the right notion. What they are most angry about is not that Islam is used in politics but rather that this Harapan regime is not using Islam as a means of transmitting moderate ideas.
“Everything can be found in the Quran, Commander,” a young Muslim activist told me. I do not know whether to be afraid or hope that she is right. Harapan has, at its disposal, a vast array of propaganda tools which it could use. These tools permit Harapan to broadcast its so-called moderate agenda into the homes of millions of Muslims in this country.
The question is, will Harapan politicians do this? Will they create their own narrative instead of cowardly allowing the likes of Umno-PAS to control the narrative because they fear they will lose the Malay vote?
All I know is that the next time someone like Rais Hussin uses Islamic dogma to justify a moderate position or the prime minister makes a statement about Islam which is in direct opposition to the mainstream narratives, I hope the Muslim members of Harapan show a bit of cojones and back up the statements instead of siding with the extremists.
Until there is an official counter-narrative of Islam in this country put forth by the establishment, there is no point in having “religious dialogues”.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 3:00 PM   0 comments
Death penalty - who is up for a killing? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Malaysiakini : “But secondly you say ‘society must exact vengeance, and society must punish’. Wrong on both counts. Vengeance comes from the individual and punishment from God.” ― Victor Hugo, ‘The Last Day of a Condemned Man’
COMMENT | I have never had a problem with the idea of killing but I am one of those people who is against the death penalty. When Pakatan Harapan promised to abolish the death penalty, I was all for it. I still am. With the cabinet decision of abolishing the death penalty for 32 offences including murder, the Harapan government is on its way of removing the death penalty from our judicial system.
The recent case of a toddler who died because of a sexual assault, however, has brought forth the revenge fantasies of those who are for the death penalty and, of course, political operatives who are ever ready to pander to angry mobs. The horrific death of an infant offers the opportunity for some to put forward the idea that the death penalty be retained for certain cases. This is morally and intellectually reprehensible but predictable.
Does everyone who kills an infant deserve death? Would it matter if that person were mentally ill or in drug-induced fugue? What of people who intentionally kill babies? I once had an interesting conversation with a police officer. She was part of a team attempting to find a young teen who had thrown her new-born baby into a storm drain. The baby’s body was smashed to a bloody pulp when it hit the pavement. I do not know why but what I kept imagining was the baby gurgling with laughter or wailing in frustration as the infant dropped to the pavement.
Does this girl deserve the death penalty, I asked this middle-aged Muslim police officer. “Unlike many in my religion who believe otherwise, I know only God can punish with death, Thaya” and added, “but I hope this young girl feels so guilty that she kills herself before we find her.”
I thought that was an honest reply, especially in the context of divine punishment as the only form of “justice” in the Victor Hugo (photo) quote that opens this piece. One sin leads to another and some sort of divine justice is achieved. Or so the godly think. Do you have a problem with killing a child because he or she killed an infant?
Do it yourself
Any discussion of the death penalty devolves into an emotional argument which I find hypocritical.  Self-righteousness is always easy. Some people when arguing about the death penalty attempt rhetorical challenges like, “imagine if your family member was raped or killed, would you not want the death penalty then?” or some variant of this line of argumentation. This is silly for two reasons.
The first is what about those people who have lost loved one through violence but who are against the death penalty? Is it so hard to believe that people could possibly not want the state to execute people on their behalf? Is it so hard to believe that for some the bereavement process does not include or end with the death of the perpetrator? This is not only a failure of imagination but also ignorance of the nuance of death penalty debates. Don't the voices of compassion carry as much weight as those of retribution?
Yes, you will never really know how you will react until it happens to you. You may want to kill the person who did this your loved one or you may see no reason or comfort in the vengeance by proxy of the state. And this is where the first component of Hugo’s quote about individual vengeance comes into play. An honest hypothetical when it comes to the death penalty is this. If someone you knew wanted to kill the perpetrator of a heinous crime visited on his or her family, what would you say if there was no death penalty? Would you say let the law handle it instead of your friend committing a crime?
Or would your friend’s grief outweigh the consequences by the state, especially if the state does not have the death penalty and you really did believe that some people deserved death? I know what I would say. As I said, I never had a problem with the idea of killing.
You can’t imagine how it feels when someone you loved is violently taken for you. You cannot understand the desire for vengeance. Some people want the perpetrator to die and want the state to kill them. Some people have no such interest and believe that the state cannot make such decisions. If it sounds as if I am saying that immediate family members should be able to kill the perpetrators of violent crimes, then this is exactly what I am saying.
I loved to see the day when a political operative says that we do not have the death penalty but when it comes to crimes like murder and rape, then the exception is that the family members themselves can kill the perpetrators to avenge their loved ones but the state will not do it for them. Wouldn’t that be something?
Which crime deserves death?
I suppose there are statistics for and against the efficacy of the death penalty but do those statistics matter when it comes to the grief and vengeance that we are told is paramount by people who advocate the death penalty. While I do not have an issue with individual vengeance, I do have a problem with the state dealing in death. I do have a problem with how the state defines crimes that necessitate the death penalty. I do have a problem with the legal process which differentiates between classes of people and the consequences of the crimes they commit. When it comes to different types of crimes, the idea that some crimes are deserving of death is always debatable. This is the most important reason why the state should not have the power to kill people.
I think rape is probably the most heinous crime a person could commit. Nearly every survivor I have spoken to says the crime has changed them. Each of them in their own way has articulated the same theme, which is the constant struggle to connect to normalcy, the struggle to connect with other people. In worse cases, they are estranged from the rest of humanity. Think about how rape is viewed in patriarchy, which is why there will never be a death penalty for such cases unless the victim dies, even though surviving rape often seems like living with a death sentence.
Drug offences? Most people who are hung for this offence are so low down the criminal food chain, their effects on society are minimal at best. The real drug entrepreneurs are living in luxury. Most of them are politically connected. Most of them laundering their money through institutions that good god-fearing people use.
When not busy corrupting the state security apparatus, they are corrupting the political process. Does the death penalty really seem appropriate for those people who are so low down the food chain while the real masterminds are probably propping up the banking institutions and the economy of the country?
China shoots people for corruption. If there should be an exception to the death penalty, is this it? Or maybe not. Maybe hard labour the length of which is determined by the amount stolen. When it comes to the death penalty, the state is not an honest actor. How could it be? The legal process is flawed, weighted to specific racial and class biases – my personal favourite is that retired judge who said that Muslims are more trustworthy than non-Muslims - there is enough evidence to support this.
The system defines crimes worthy of the death penalty is flawed and open to debate, which makes it a tragedy that the state has the power of life and death over its citizens. The security apparatus is corrupt and open to interference. Our penal system is a breeding ground for criminals and indeed perpetuates a cycle of violence and corruption. Let us not even talk about the ridiculous religious justifications for the death penalty.
We hand over too much power to the state even though we know the system is compromised. You do not have to believe in god to understand what Chekhov means - “The State is not God. It has not the right to take away what it cannot restore when it wants to.”
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 11:16 AM   0 comments
Is it really over for Zaid Ibrahim? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, November 12, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Here is a man who has done everything to alienate the political establishment by espousing views that are anathema to mainstream Malaysian politics.” – “Can Zaid make DAP more convivial to Malays?”
(Full disclosure: Zaid Ibrahim is a friend and I edited a collection of his articles.)
COMMENT | The best way to describe Zaid Ibrahim’s political career is that it is a self-inflicted wound. People tell me that when they read my articles about what the former de facto law minister said or did, their takeaway is always “Can Zaid ever play well with others?” Whether he was slaying Malay sacred cows or giving the middle finger to whoever is supporting him at the time, he has always been an interesting political operative to write about.
After May 9, I saw it coming. I was wondering when Zaid would upset the apple cart, and say something that would bother the power brokers in Pakatan Harapan. Truth be told, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. What most people – sometimes even this writer – do not understand is why Zaid is so eager to burn bridges. As he once told me, sometimes there is no diplomatic way to put things. I, of course, disagreed with him on this.
A higher standard
Mostly though, I think he wrongly assumed that when he wrote the way he did, especially if it was shining a light on the underbelly of politics, it would be embraced by an audience who were sceptical of power. He never understood the partisan fervour that tore him to pieces when he wrote on subjects which he believed would truly save Malaysia. Politicians play fast and loose with the facts, but someone like Zaid is held to a higher standard. And rightly so.
The irony of course is that what Zaid said about former finance minister Daim Zainuddin and the business interests that linger around the Harapan political elite had been spoken about since the Council of Eminent persons came to be. Political operatives from both sides of the political divide have painted Daim as some sort of Rasputin skulking around the motley collection of political operatives who surround the old maverick Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Even prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim had made comments about Daim in the past.
Zaid just said what some people have been saying ever since Daim started making statements which sounded like official Harapan policy positions. The problem is not the political baggage of people like Daim and Mahathir, but rather the enabling that the other parties have to do to maintain the new normal in Malaysian politics. Zaid said that in his last testament that finance minister Lim Guan Eng called him to say that his remark was not based on fact, and suggested that he make a retraction. What horse manure is this?
If Zaid’s statement was not based on fact, then the Harapan apparatus should refute it with facts, instead of asking him to fall on his sword. Has anyone even read Zaid's blog post about his advice to Umno, which has left some in the Harapan political elite butthurt?
Selective memory
Do I care that Daim and the corporate elite have influence in Harapan economic policy? This is a capitalist democracy, no matter what some people say of this being an Islamic state. Check that; even if this were some sort of moderate Islamic paradise, plutocrats would still have influence on the economic policy of this country.
Besides, in numerous forums before May 9, then-opposition supporters were talking about the wealth of talent that Mahathir could draw from to save Malaysia. And yes, Daim, for better or worse, is the perceived stable hands that the country was in for decades, where the majority of people voted for BN and the opposition was mocked and vilified as idealistic dreamers who were all talk and no action.
That is Malaysian politics for you. View everything ahistorically, and then selectively when it suits your agenda. I think the real issue here was not that Zaid attacked Mahahtir (photo) or Daim, but rather the economic policies that were being propagated.
As economist Thomas Sowell says, there are no solutions, only trade-offs. Which is why – and some will not like me saying this – the economic policies of the Harapan government will ultimately rest on its utilitarian value to the Malay community, which will determine the future of the Malay power structures in the coalition. It is these structures within Harapan which will determine if there is a Harapan at all.
The outlier
Read Zaid's advice to Umno and tell me it does not apply to Malay power structures in general, but specifically those that will exist as we enter a post-Mahathir political landscape: “The next leader must be able to talk to taxi drivers about his plans without banning Grab. He must be able to tell the Malays how he plans to cut out greed and curb crookedness in the way power is exercised.
“Any Malay party that can instil values such as honesty and integrity in our political culture, and help nurture the Malays to be successful, will get support.” The value of Zaid is his outlier status, which of course means that his political career took a back seat to the “real stuff” he often lamented people were not interested in.
His partisan pieces were well received, but his indictments of the system and the personalities that found succour in the system were met with much consternation by the political elites of this country and their base. I have no idea why Zaid wants to give up writing. There is a difference between speaking truth to power – even when flawed – and a political career. I know this having talked to him before May 9 about his political career being over.
Giving up writing is just another self-inflicted wound, but then again, with the players involved in this tragicomedy which is the new Malaysia, maybe it is self-preservation.
I will end this piece with Zaid’s own words. It is his response to a question I asked him about the trust issues some in the then-opposition had with him:
“I am surprised to know that I have ‘trust' issues amongst the people who will vote Pakatan. I always thought if there is a scale that we can measure integrity, honesty and commitment to worthy principles, I would rate highly. “What sort of leader can we trust? Surely someone who has proven by his actions to defend the rule of law and the rights of the people. I have done that. I have given up my job for that principle.
“I have had no scandals, no impropriety of any kind. I have been consistent in my speeches and in my writings about what I believe in. I believe in a secular democracy, in equality and freedom of all Malaysians. I never fudge on these issues. So on what score was I untrustworthy?”
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 9:54 AM   0 comments
Is it possible for Harapan to cease the blame game? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Malaysiakini : “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” ― Calvin Coolidge, former US president
COMMENT | Now-retired Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) chairperson Daim Zainuddin’s rejoinder to the Pakatan Harapan government to stop playing the blame game is one of the more honest moments the establishment has had since gaining power on May 9.
It has got to a point where every time the new government is waffling, demurring or flat-out reneging on their campaign promises or proposing unpopular policies, they blame the former Umno regime. (Same like the Nigra Barrack Obama blaming Bush) The minority (voters) who voted the Umno government out do indeed know why they are happy to see the fall of Umno, but for the majority Malays who voted for Umno and PAS, all they see is the new administration blaming the people they voted for, Umno and PAS.
They read about partisans who mock the Umno base, even though the Malay power structures in Harapan are desperate to shore up Malay support with the elected reps from the disgraced Najib regime. Part of this is because of the platform that Harapan ran on. Before joining Harapan, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in various interviews claimed that the primary goal was to remove a kleptocrat and that there were other “issues” that he could work with the Harapan coalition on but which were secondary.
When he formally joined Harapan, he had to sublimate his own baggage of autocratic tendencies to work out a compromise with Harapan brokers that included a host of issues that were related to reforming the system. He had to do this because his political party Bersatu was literally a newborn while the other partners in the coalition excluding Amanah, already had an established base with ideas of institutional reforms which would truly save Malaysia. The formation of Bersatu itself was one of racial necessity, or at least this was the coalition's party line.
Remember, it was not as if systemic corruption was unheard of in Malaysia. It is pointless dragging up the polemics of the then opposition when it came to the corruption and abuse of power during Mahathir's regime. The fact is that Najib’s regime corruption was so blatant, the regime’s attempt to stifle dissent so heavy-handed and its attempts to shore up Malay/Muslim support so detrimental to non-Malay interests, that a sufficiently diverse minority was moved to replace Umno/BN.
When Daim says that Harapan needs to fulfil its election manifesto, the reality is that the current prime minister has admitted that the campaign manifesto is a fiction based on the belief that Harapan could not win this election. In other words, it was a “say anything” manifesto. This, of course, was met with blowback from other Harapan coalition members but the cynicism of the old maverick’s statement is the kind of realpolitik that he and his kind of politicians have trafficked for decades.
Blaming a kleptocrat is easy. The real problem starts when the Harapan regime has to differentiate itself from the Umno regime. This is where the trouble starts. It started when Harapan began waffling about removing certain laws. Indeed, anecdotally speaking, there are more Harapan political operatives, Malay and non-Malay, who want election promises kept - or so they tell me - than the politburo of Harapan which has never failed to find an opportunity to blame the former regime for Harapan's lack of political will to carry out changes.
This is not that straw man argument about giving the coalition more time. There are already apologists who claim that the 100-day promises are a burden too heavy to carry. This is about outright not fulfilling promises and cynically expecting the base to support such decisions.
The shackles of reforms
And this is the problem right here. We are dealing with politicians whose currency is autocracy and a supplicating base, which was the norm for decades. These so-called reforms in the Harapan manifesto are in reality shackles for politicians who are used to dealing with the public, not as servants of the state, but rather as potentates to be followed.
Part of this is partisan politics, of course. These days, Mahathir has a loyal following in the Harapan political elite and amongst a certain segment of the Harapan base. He gets to accept someone like Mustapa Mohamed - better known as Tok Pa - into Bersatu, claiming that the criteria for such entry was that Tok Pa had been cowed when it came to standing up to Najib. One assumes, I suppose, that his cowardice evaporates before the majesty of Mahathir and he will suddenly discover the strength to fight for his constituents now that he is in Bersatu.
When Cynthia Gabriel of the Governance, Integrity, Accountability and Transparency (Giat) coalition threatens to name and shame establishment politicians who do not declare their full assets and not just their incomes, she is vilified on social media. Cynthia is just doing her job like she was when she was speaking truth to Umno power, but now, she is vilified. One Harapan political operative even emailed me asking where “she gets her funding from”.
Before May 9, when Cynthia had said the same when she was raging against Umno hegemony, Harapan partisans were ready to canonise her. This same political operative was worrying about her safety. As for what she thinks of her job, Cynthia said it all here, when she accepted the US-based National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED) 2017 Democracy Award: “This is not something (in which) we can just say 'enough', or it’s time to shirk away and do nothing about it. It is important to stay the course, fight the good fight, it is important to seek the truth.”
You see, what is important is not just removing the kleptocrat. What differentiated Harapan from Umno/BN was those promises in the manifesto which curtailed executive power, restored individual freedoms, reformed public institutions, and, most importantly, curtailed the power of the state security apparatus to hamper all of the above.
I mean, for a time there was talk of hate speech laws. This from a coalition which was targeted by the Umno state using instruments of the state for speaking truth to power. At a time when the Harapan government were waffling on repealing laws which limited our freedoms, there was actually talk of creating new laws which did the same.
Then, of course, Mahathir says this for justifying the retention of the Official Secrets Act 1972: "The law is not perfect. It is open to abuse, but you hope to find people who will not break the law, who will obey the rule of law. That is what is important. “The last government did not follow the rule of law. They did what they liked with the law. The main thing is to find a government that will not break the laws."
Does anyone really think that we have found a government which does not break laws?
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:51 AM   0 comments
Why bother ratifying Icerd? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Anonymous #07988903 : The answer to your question:" Is there an expiry date on the psychological loss of the Malay community?" is "never". Until and unless the Malays themselves come to acknowledge their own weaknesses and stop blaming others because of their unwillingness to step out of the "fire wall" of self-deluded supremacy psyche, they will forever be afraid of their own shadows while the world has moved forward.

The glaring failure of the top echelon of the Malay leaderships in UMNO is for all to see if we believe the idea of Ketuanan is anything but good. The down side of this mindset not only is detrimental to the community as a whole, it also hindered the progress of this nation because of the pulling effect on the other races.A while ago, when I went to downtown KL, I was surprised to see many of the shops near the Jalan Tun Perak are occupied by the Bangladeshi.If there is anything to learn from this reality is this: 

Even the more enterprising immigrants Bangladeshi and Indonesians are already ahead of the local Malays, while they still singing the supremacy tune. They can continue to shout Ketuanan until kingdom comes, very soon their bosses are no longer Chinese, but Indonesians or Bangladeshi or even those from Myanmar!
Malaysiakini : “However much history may be invoked in support of these policies (affirmative action), no policy can apply to history but can only apply to the present or the future. The past may be many things, but it is clearly irrevocable. Its sins can no more be purged than its achievements can be expunged. Those who suffered in centuries past are as much beyond our help as those who sinned are beyond our retribution.”
― Thomas Sowell, ‘Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality’
COMMENT | I may have said this differently elsewhere, but at this point, why bother ratifying the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd)?
This idea of Malay special rights or privileges and the affirmative action policies wrapped up in the propaganda of race and religion has been exposed for the sham that it is. The latest missive from the culture war about Icerd by Chandra Muzaffar, one of Malaysia’s most well-known public intellectuals, makes for depressing reading.
While the thrust of the piece was optimistic, in the sense that Chandra advocates taking certain steps that are in the spirit of Icerd, it still makes for bleak reading. For the most part, though, it was a kind of justification (maybe unintentional) for the aggrieved feelings of the Malay community (or the right and centre of the political spectrum) to perpetuate a system which has demonstrated that it cannot withstand moral or intellectual scrutiny.
It also places the non-Malay intelligentsia as part of the problem, which mainstream Malay politics routinely does, instead of part of the solution in dismantling a compromised system. While there is some truth in that, it is pointless asking everyone to come together on an issue which is fundamentally about the rights of everyone versus the privileges that come with being in the majority.
Chandra reminds non-Malay “elites” and opinion-makers to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the Malay situation, which is the psychological loss of becoming a community among communities. The way to appreciate this sentiment is to accept a simple historical fact that Malaysia evolved from a Malay sultanate system.
This is really a strange thing to say, because who the Malays are today has more to do with our colonial legacy, the social engineering of political power structures, state-sanctioned propaganda, the change of demographics through illegal and legal immigration and the influence of Islam over the Malay polity.
If the Malay community has this psychological loss, imagine what it must be for the Orang Asal in Malaysia. Not only are they a community among communities, but they are also a minority among those communities without a political voice except the one co-opted by the state.
In other words, whatever issues the Malays are grappling with today has roots in a system which has very little to do with the Malay sultanate system but everything to do with the colonial and post-colonial strategies of the Malay elite, which does not necessarily include the royalty.
A bogus threat 
I just do not get it. Anecdotally speaking, when talking to working-class Malays, for instance, what they tell me is that they are not competing economically with the Chinese and Indians but rather with foreign nationals. While religion is an equalising balance when it comes to these foreign nationals, Malay nationalists complain that Islam has to be protected from elements which would change the nature of the Malay struggle.
Meanwhile, Malays who support Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) for instance still believe in Islam, which they say is compatible with socialism on a thematic level, but mainstream Malay politics demonises them as traitors of their religion. So I may be wrong - and god knows if I am, I never had a problem admitting such in public - but this idea that the non-Malays are an existential threat to Malay identity and economic survival is bogus.
Indeed, the problem has always been started by the narrative of the Malay political elite and the enabling of non-Malay political operatives, which presupposes that the Malay community is invested in their narratives because the state funds activities that ensure compliance through religion and racial fearmongering. Forget about the fact that affirmative action for the majority is really a form of apartheid. Yes, I know, I hate people using that term.
However, when you have a set of policies which favours the majority community, wrapped up in propaganda that the community will always need assistance, and equate this with the affirmative action policies of other countries seeking to equalise the field for minorities in those countries, there is very little to discuss except to define the practice with a term that most accurately reflects it, hyperbolic though it may be. Chandra argues that the community's power and strength are derived from the community’s dominance - by policy, not by merit – of public institutions. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it is a double-edged sword.
If anything, our blame for our failing institutions has been laid at the Malay door precisely because those institutions have been defined by race. This reinforces the siege mentality that Malay political operatives like to talk about and furthers anti-minority narratives which are the foundation of mainstream Malay politics.
But really, what has this got to do with anything? In contemporary Malaysia, the existential question facing the Malay community, is why, if they are supreme, do they seem so powerless in the face of a system that purportedly represents their interest?
A baseline of democracy 
A common refrain before the election was that the Chinese community controlled everything and now, they want to control the politics of this country. After May 9, the non-Malay political elite in this country have settled down into their roles as enablers of Malay politics. Even when it comes to issues like freedom of information, for instance, DAP’s Steven Sim reminds us that certain values and “traditional worldviews” have to be taken into account.
As I wrote: “Since coming into power, non-Malay political operatives have suddenly become sensitive to what MCA and MIC went through all those years, kowtowing to a certain racial group, and justifying such actions with dodgy ideological claptrap, like social contract and power-sharing.”
Look, say what you want about the Umno regime, but Chandra was correct when he claimed that “rigid employment requirements in the 80s yielded to more flexible approaches from the 90s onwards. For almost two decades now, ethnic quotas are not adhered to in certain faculties in various public universities.”
So historically, this idea of racial and religious supremacy was always a flexible idea with the Malay political elite. Everybody keeps talking about taking the middle path in this issue. The problem is that there is no middle path to this issue. When we talk about the principles of something like Icerd, we are not talking about vague theories that help define democracy. We are talking about a baseline of democracy.
But again, at this point, I really do not care if Icerd is ratified. I really do not think things will change unless the narrative changes. Until then I will keep asking, is there an expiry date on the psychological loss of the Malay community?
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 6:22 PM   0 comments
Who else was afraid of Najib? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, November 05, 2018
Malaysiakini : “All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies.” - John Arbuthnot
COMMENT | When the Pakatan Harapan grand poobah claims that BN elected representatives will not be allowed to join Bersatu en masse but instead have to go through a “vetting” process, what the hell does this even mean?
The only elected reps that could join Bersatu are Umno elected reps. This whole horse manure about vetting and standing for independents is really just a fait accompli. And this – “Not those people who’ve got a charge against them” – is really quite sinister. I mean if the state were really interested in going after the den of thieves, which is what Harapan more or less called Umno before May 9, then there really would not be anyone left standing in Umno to cross over, right? So are there any ordinary members who “just wanted to be elected representatives” in Umno?
This would mean you have to believe that there are Umno elected representatives who did not want a first class ticket on the gravy train? This would mean that you have to believe that there are elected representatives who did not partake in the gravy train which was the 1MDB scandal.
When Dr Mahathir Mohamad says that these elected representatives have to be independents first but support the government, does anyone else see how farcical this statement is? How can you be “independent” but have to support the government? Although “appealing on bent knees” is exactly the kind of Mahafiraun statement that gets a certain segment of the Malay polity worked up. This, of course, will no doubt fire a very specific extremist base, which poses far more of a danger to Malaysia than Harapan supporters think that Umno does.
Of course, attempting to legally go after all these Umno miscreants is problematic. For one it takes time. The Attorney-General’s Chambers is already deep in covering the 1MDB scandal and of course the current Umno president's scandal. Going after every elected Umno member is mendacious, considering those who left did not exactly join Harapan with clean hands. Systemic Umno corruption is just that a complicated web of personalities, familial kinship and political alliances all wrapped around the upper echelons of a bureaucracy divided into various petty fiefdoms.
We are talking about decades of malfeasance with a cast of characters that could very well include the reformers that are saving Malaysia today. Besides, Mahathir has many loyalists from the old Umno regime who were no doubt loyal to their old patron. These people no doubt helped Bersatu in many ways before May 9 and are just waiting to cross over to the new mothership. This is politics and someone like Mahathir has spent decades cultivating people who were loyal to him but publicly towed the party line.
Washing away sins
While Mahathir entertains the idea of crossovers, Lim Kit Siang is telling us that Umno is naïve to believe that it can wash its hands off the 1MDB fiasco. When Kit Siang writes something like this – “How else to square with over RM400 million of 1MDB funds disbursed to various Umno organisations and personalities?” – what else could it mean but that the whole of Umno was involved in the 1MDB fiasco and that nobody is innocent in Umno.
Of course, if you left Umno and joined Harapan before May 9, then your sins were washed away. Can anyone really make the claim that the Bersatu folks are clean of the corruption that apparently was destroying this country? Can anyone seriously make the claim that the then opposition knew that they were essentially throwing in with people who knew exactly what was going on but chose not to do anything until the old maverick discovered that Umno was not bending to his will and left to form Bersatu?
I mean, really, when our prime minister says that someone like Tok Pa (Mustapa Mohamed, photo) was afraid to speak up against Najib Abdul Razak hence his entry into Bersatu was kosher, does this make any sense to anyone?
Suddenly people are talking about how Tok Pa was one of the better Umno leaders, forgetting the fact that he was vilified (rightly so in my opinion) by Harapan for toeing the Najib line. Who else was afraid of Najib who now can be embraced into the bosom of Harapan?
Ramkarpal Singh said all there was to say about this when he reminded Harapan that it was a betrayal of the mandate given to Harapan to accept crossovers. However, the reality is that Bersatu or any other party entertaining the idea of accepting these crossovers are not really interested in the elected representatives.
What they really are interested is in the Malay majority seats these representatives bring and the base who voted for them. As one Bersatu “online activist” told me – I like her a lot because unlike other Harapan strategist she does not shovel horse manure in my direction – that the goal is to get the representative, but replace him or her as soon as possible with a “clean” candidate in the next general election.
The base will vote for the Bersatu candidate as they would have done for the Umno candidate. People crossing over does not mean they want a political career – some do – but what they want is their sins washed away. “Like that Omar (from The Wire) quote, you like so much, Thaya, the game is out there, either you play or get played,” the strategist said.
This is the reality. Umno members are going to join Harapan. Bersatu cannot allow Umno to survive, especially with the internal schisms in PKR. The big question is, how much of a fight Harapan is going to put up and will the Harapan base, enamoured by the old maverick, going to acquiesce to a BN redux?
Before the election when Mahathir went to the DAP convention and said “I see amongst DAP members that some have a darker skin, some are a bit brown, and not all are yellow and so on. No such thing, it’s just the three races here.” Did anyone really believe, at that time, that there were yellow-bellied Umno members waiting for the Messiah to lead them out of the darkness?
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 8:27 AM   0 comments
Terrorism and the New Malaysia by R Paneir Selvam
Sunday, November 04, 2018
Anonymous 9916 : Well, Malaysia did not nip this scourge in the bud when it was needed. As we know certain people, certain groups, definitely certain states and certain political parties promote racism, hate culture, religious extremism and.bigotry. And please, the authorities and govt agencies, don't pretend as if you don't already know this had been happening since a long time ago. BTN, certain Islamist NGOs, certain persons (like Zakir Naik, Ibrahim Ali) had been allowed to run wild without prosecution. Those are some of the reasons this country is faced with this issue. The authorities are trying to make us all think, this problem is new, that is all hogwash.
This issue has been festering a long time. That's what happens when you allow govt agencies, individuals, political parties (like UMNO and PAS), to run wild with their brand of racism, hate rethorics and religious extremism. More appalling is that certain govt religious agencies have been accused of promoting these extremism and also involved in intimidation, even kidnapping, which is scary, isn't it? So, go on. Keep allowing these bigoted people, parties and agencies to promote their brand of extremism and this is what you'll get. Lets start calling a spade, a spade. Stop the denial. Be accountable.
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | Last month, the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) arrested five suspected terrorists, among them three foreigners including a former member of the Al Qaeda. They also arrested a woman and a man from Sabah who were involved in terrorist financing. Meanwhile, two months ago, the PDRM detained eight suspected terrorists in Perlis comprising seven foreigners and a Malaysian.
Their aim was to establish a learning centre promoting Salafi Jihadism in Southeast Asia. Last July, the PDRM also arrested another seven suspected terrorists including three Indonesians and a woman who were sending money regularly to Abu Gomez, a Malaysian terrorist in Syria.
According to PDRM, since February 2013 more than 400 suspected terrorists have been arrested including more than 40 women. Recently, the inspector-general of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun stated that a total of 45 foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) have been detained since early this year and most of them are ISIS-linked terrorists. The current pattern of terrorist activities in Malaysia is startling.
The influx of FTFs from various foreign countries is a matter of concern. These FTFs are from Europe, the US, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia and South East Asia. In my opinion, Malaysia is becoming a conducive environment or an incubator for terrorist groups like Isis, Al Qaeda, the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation, the Jammtul Mujahideen, the Lashkar-E-Taiba and other extremist groups who spread their ideology to influence Malaysians to declare war on their own nation. In addition, they also want to recruit locals based on their false religious teachings by declaring the Malaysian democratic system as “toghut”, that is, un-Islamic.
Further, the significant rise of women participation in terrorist activities - especially in financing matters – is evident because they pose less risk. Further, the terrorist groups view the contribution of women highly and they are considered an integral part of terrorist activities now.
The vigorous movement of terrorist groups within Malaysia indicates that they are no longer interested in parallel activities outside of Malaysia. Another serious indication is the rise in the detention of women and foreigners for terrorist-related offences here. Therefore, there is a very high possibility for terrorists to launch an attack in Malaysia by targeting public places and prominent people.
Unfortunately, there are now calls by NGOs and human right organisations in Malaysia to abolish security legislation like the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) When there is a conflict between individual rights and the rights of a nation and its people, which one is more important? Can we allow one person or a group of people to destroy this nation by killing innocent children and women in the name of religion or the ideology they subscribe to?
We must be foolish to believe that these hardcore terrorists who do not accept our belief system will not harm us in the future. We must recognise that these terrorists are a totally different breed of people. For them, their ideology is the way of their life. They are very difficult to reform. The classic example is Yazid Sufaat.
The real hypocrites
Under the Federal Constitution, Malaysians enjoy fundamental liberties like the liberty of the person, protection against retrospective criminal laws and repeated trials, equality and freedom of speech, assembly and association. The question is whether these liberties can be a reason to undermine the peace and security of this nation.
I am a strong believer in the rule of law. The law must protect the people. The requirement of human rights is fundamental in any legal system. According to the World Justice Project's definition, the rule of law is encompassed with accountability, just laws, an open government and accessible and impartial dispute resolution.
But for the terrorists and their sympathisers, the rule of law is irrelevant to them. They are in a different belief system which utterly shelves the core aspects of universal human rights requirements. In contrast, these people are relying on fundamental rights which are enshrined in our Federal Constitution and UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights to defend their rights and also to seek protection.
They don’t believe in the democratic system by declaring the said system to be un-Islamic. But they rely on the very same system to seek protection and justice. They are hypocrites.
Therefore, the calls to repeal security legislations like Sosma, Pota and other security laws by the human right organisations in Malaysia need to be considered by the current government with great attention by looking into the consequences of repealing them. The main reason to call to repeal these legislations is because of the way they were administered by the previous government. Those abuses can be remedied with a mechanism for check-and-balance which can be supervised by Parliament itself or by establishing a commission to oversee the entire process.
These legislations are the key factors to manage the terrorist threats in Malaysia apart from the de-radicalisation programme which is well appreciated by other security agencies in the world. Countries like the UK, France, Belgium, Germany and the US want to improve and tighten up their existing security laws to deter their nationals and foreigners from launching any attacks on their soil.
But in Malaysia, we moving towards the opposite direction on the said matter. It’s important to have key tools like the aforementioned legislations which give authority to the security forces to monitor and detain suspected terrorists and sympathisers to prevent any attacks in Malaysia. They need to be stopped by all means and also to deter the influence FTFs on locals which otherwise will disharmonise this nation.
Independent body
In a nutshell, the essential powers which are provided by security legislation like Sosma and Pota are decisive for intelligence and security forces to operate without fear or favour. These agencies cannot and should not allow nor tolerate anyone posing a threat to our national security.
These laws are so important to safeguard the sovereignty of this nation. If any attacks happen in future, the intelligence and security agencies will be blamed first by the people including by those who are defending these terrorists.
The present government in their election manifesto had promised to abolish these security laws but that can be circumvented by closing the loopholes which allow these laws to be manipulated. Further, the laws should also be amended to give the necessary protection to the detainees held under them.
Further, the judges who are presiding over these type cases must be given a free hand to determine the welfare of these detainees without any interference or influence. Moreover, an independent body needs to be established comprised of former judges, human rights lawyers, human rights campaigners, laypersons and former intelligence and security personnel to evaluate the conditions of these detainees.
Based on the report prepared by this body, the families of these detainees and public will know the actual conditions they are being held under. Further, the presiding judge can use this report as additional information on whether the detainees have been treated fairly by the security agencies.
Malaysia is in a new era. In this period, Malaysians should not experience any suppression or oppression by anyone or by any agency. That will not be tolerated. But the peace and security of this nation are paramount.
Therefore, the current government should weigh the need to maintain peace and security of this nation against the human right issues of potential terrorists. For instance, in the UK and in other European countries, many security legislation have been enacted recently and the people there are willing to sacrifice their liberty with limitations. They realise the importance of these laws to protect their freedom.
I am urging the present government not to abolished our existing security laws but rather make some improvements on them by consulting the relevant stakeholders. In my view, the law is not perfect but the people who are entrusted to safeguard and exercise these laws need to be transparent, accountable and of very high integrity to avoid them abusing their position and power.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 3:04 PM   0 comments
Malay Harapan MPs should not limit discourse in Malay polity - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, November 03, 2018
Malaysiakini : “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” ― George Orwell
COMMENT | The last time I broached the topic of veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin and his “personal opinion” about the expenses the royalty incurred, I wrote this – “So when Kadir makes a statement about royal expenses, his claim does not have to be challenged by the royalty but should either be verified and challenged by the Finance Ministry. End of controversy. However, Kadir’s piece is more than just about royal expenses.”
The last part of that paragraph about Kadir’s piece being about more than just royal expenses is the important bit. This, of course, goes beyond the simple platitudes the political elite in this country - Malay and non-Malay – spew about those institutions they believe sacred to mainstream Malay politics that they use to acquire and retain power. Kadir’s latest dust-up on the Kedah royalty got him the usual fascist attacks - that his comments were “seditious” and needed to be investigated by the authorities - from a PKR political operative, Johari Abdul (photo). I wish political operatives would advocate on behalf of rape survivors as they do for the royalty in this country.
By the way, I thought it was smart of Kadir in his response to criticism that he had overstepped when it came to this issue - that he quoted the lyrics of the Kedah state anthem and the national anthem to demonstrate that royalty were not beyond criticism, especially if their position (literally) departed from their traditional seats of power. If a non-Malay had said this, they would have been hell to pay. So the politically correct thing to do for non-Malay political operatives, journalists and other public commentators, is to remain silent when it comes to issues like these.
For non-Malay political operatives, it is merely playing the game of acquiring power in the Malay political landscape and any form of corruption, moral or fiscal, is ignored because we are told that this is Malay territory, so do not trespass. Before the election, a young Malay political operative now with Bersatu but formerly with one of the more intelligent think tanks in this country, wrote that he joined the political fray because there were some things that needed to be said but was better coming from a Malay. The irony, of course, is that his posts about affirmative action being morally wrong, for instance, has since been removed and any kind of “progressive” think pieces has been sanitised. This is what happens in mainstream politics in this country.
What right-wing Malay types fear more than non-Malays trespassing into their sacred domains is the idea that other Malays deviate from the group-think. This is why the public comments of a young Malay woman like Fadiah Nadwa Fikri (photo) about the royalty is feared by the Malay political elite in this country. This, of course, is hypocritical.
The Malay political elite in this country have redefined the monarchy to make them compliant to the political processes that the political elite in this country rely on to sustain power - “Let us not be precious. The ruling elite over the decades has curtailed the power of the monarchy. The last attempt was a brazen power grab by the former Umno regime through the National Security Council (NSC) gambit.
“The current Pakatan Harapan grand poohbah (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) has done his fair share of rabble-rousing when it comes to the power and the role of the monarchy. When it is convenient to defend the institution of the monarchy as a sacred cow of Malay/Muslim politics, political operatives jump up and down attempting to outdo one another in burnishing their ethnic and religious credentials.”
Fascist sedition law
So this PKR representative attacking the liberty of Kadir – which the fascist sedition law is – could be just another episode in the rather tedious ‘nicht deklarierter Krieg’ (undeclared war) between factions of Malay political operatives in Bersatu and PKR, or maybe just another way in which a Malay political operative scores points with the Umno base.
More importantly though it is an example of how the Malay community cannibalises itself – sorry, Umno leader Nazri Abdul Aziz (photo) – in an attempt to retain hegemony of thought in the Malay polity. When this PKR leader does something like this, it is a reminder to all the other Malay dissenters who believe that there is something wrong with their community.
It is easy to paint Malays who think that there is something wrong with mainstream Malay politics as “liberals”. I can’t speak for anyone else but the political operatives I talk to and the young Malay journalists and activists I speak to, who think that the royal institution should be open to public scrutiny especially when it comes to public funds, are not the average liberal that right-wing Malay types love to demonise.
Whenever a Malay political operative like say, PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim, talks about protecting Malay rights, or when someone like Bersatu leader Rais Hussin writes about recalibrating ‘ketuanan Melayu’, what they are really doing is attempting to perpetuate a system that not only disenfranchises the Malay community but more importantly relegates egalitarian democratic process – flawed as they are – to the back burner, which is the last thing that would save Malaysia.
Malay Harapan MPs should not attempt to stifle free speech in the Malay community. They can and should state their position clearly even if those positions follow the conventional narratives of mainstream Malay politics. What they should not do is attempt to use fascists elements of the state against those who do depart from the group-think when it comes to specific issues.
This is important because as long as there is a healthy discourse in the Malay community, issues such as corruption will not be hidden behind the veil of racial and religious supremacy and the institutions that service such imperatives. The reality is that the discourse within the Malay community has been going on for some time. What the Umno state and its thugs – institutional and outsourced – did was attempt to stifle such discourses.
It is incumbent on Malay Harapan political operatives to encourage this discourse if they really want to save Malaysia and this includes "recalibrating" institutions that limit such freedoms. Otherwise, carry on usual and reap the extremists wind when it finally blows into Malaysia in full force.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 3:04 PM   0 comments
Yes, the gov’t does take marital rape lightly - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Unfortunately, as with many sexual crime cases, victims who try to make a report are often not given any support by the front desk officers. This often stems from a lack of understanding and patriarchal beliefs that a wife must submit to her husband.” - Loh Cheng Kooi, the executive director of Woman Centre for Change (WCC)
COMMENT | Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah worries that Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Hanipa Maidin dismissal of the criminalisation of marital rape - because it is difficult to prove - could be “misinterpreted” that the government takes the issue lightly and has no intention of criminalising marital rape.
Here is the thing though, if the government took marital rape seriously, they would not dismiss it on the grounds that it was difficult to prove. I cannot believe that a seasoned activist like Maria Chin, who no doubt has witnessed the Malaysian criminal justice system up close, does not understand that rape in Malaysia – and elsewhere – is difficult to prove.
In Malaysia, it is made worse by the diktats of religious extremists who not only control the discourse but also legislation. And yes, when the government says it has no intention of criminalising marital rape, there is no room for misinterpretation when it comes to the intention of the state.
While Perak amends its laws to make polygamy easier (another goal for team patriarchy, I guess), the federal government is dismissing rape survivors because the crime is difficult to prove, or so they say. And marital rape is rape.
Maria is correct when she points out that the exception under Section 375 of the Penal Code is not legislation that deems marital rape a crime, and this of course was the position of the former Umno regime. Then Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri stated that - “The provision with regard to Section 375 that intercourse between a legally married couple continues to remain in force and cannot be considered as rape.”
Some of you no doubt would have taken offence at what Hanipa said, but really this is just the narrative of mainstream sexual politics in this country. Besides, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok has said the same thing in 2017 when she was part of a bipartisan committee, Select Committee on the Review of the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code.
“How are you going to prove that it is marital rape? This is very difficult to describe and argue in court and that’s why we put it the way it is under 375A, where the jail term can come up to five years. In a way, it covers incidents of violence, including marital rape.” Which is, of course, horse manure because as Maria pointed out (emphasis mine) - All this means that it is not a crime for a husband to rape a wife unless the husband causes injury when intending to have sexual intercourse.
Think about it this way. This line of reasoning would mean that rape is not a crime unless some sort of violence has been part of the process. Is this what the government is saying when it comes to rape, or is the issue that a marriage because of the husband’s rights – which is normally grounded in some form of religious dogma – means that sex without the wife’s consent is perfectly acceptable? Is this the sexual politics of new Malaysia, or as I like to refer to it, neo Malaysia?
Even more toxic
Of course, it gets much more toxic. Kok made the following points last year when it came to the issue of marital rape –
(1) “If you want to translate it into the Malay language, for example, you have to face the mullahs and explain to them what exactly you mean by marital rape.” This may have carried some weight when opposition MPs like Kok were dealing with the Umno regime, but why should this be the case now? Look, in a letter published by Malaysiakini authored by Zarizana Abdul Aziz of Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), the words of Perak mufti Dr Harussani Zakaria were referenced – “... the subject of marital rape, when a husband forces a wife to have sex against her will, is relevant only to non-Muslims' adding that 'Islamic law is adequate to check a husband's abuses' as a Muslim wife can turn to Syariah Court if she is treated cruelly and demand a divorce under a procedure called 'fasakh'.”
So I understand where Kok is coming from, but the reality is now Harapan is the government and should be defining the Islamic discourse. This is what they promised voters who voted for them. If there is no difference between the way how Harapan deals with the religious bureaucracy and the way how Umno did, then what is the point of this new Malaysia?
Furthermore, I will argue (and have) that the Umno regime had no problem defining the Islamic discourse by fiat, at times going against the religious bureaucracy, so Harapan should discover its cajones and do the same.
(2) “She (Teresa Kok) noted that the term ‘marital rape’ was usually used in discussions of issues in which the crux of the problem was the difficulty for women to divorce their husbands. She said this was something that should be addressed.” Really? Three years ago, the WAO, stated in a report that “an average of 40% of their cases in the last five years include sexual violence within a marriage. The Women’s Centre for Change in Penang (WCC) handled 38 cases of marital rape last year alone.”
From the same article, a survivor’s perspective and the indifference of the state security apparatus – “Marital rape survivor Amy (not her real name) shared her experience when she attempted to make a police report the morning after she was raped by her husband five years ago. “It wasn’t the first time it happened but this time, he did it in front of my children. I had to do something. But the police officer asked me why I was there. I remember he told me, ‘Ini masalah rumahtangga. Nak buat report macam mana?’ (This is a domestic problem. How can you lodge a police report on that?) and told me to go back and try and ‘buat baik’ (reconcile) with my husband,” says Amy. This, says Loh, is a common experience many victims face.”
Funnily enough, Kok (last year) encouraged activists to continue highlighting these kinds of issues “The media and NGOs must continue to work together and highlight problems faced by women because there are still many cases of domestic violence and abuse.” So it may seem comforting that we have a prominent activist now turned politician like Maria Chin bringing this issue to the public, but what is the point? The narrative is the same and anything someone like Maria’s says sounds like establishment apologia.
Rape survivors deserve better.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 2:46 PM   0 comments
Syed Saddiq’s ‘hidden hand of the corporate market’ - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | Di manakah "ketuanan" pada hari ini? Adakah Melayu betul-betul tuan di tanah air tercinta ini, atau adakah kita hanya sekadar "tuan" pada tanda nama, tetapi hakikatnya, semakin terpinggir dan diperhambakan tanpa sedar?
– Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman on Twitter

[What is the state of this “Malay supremacy” today? Are Malays truly lords in their beloved homeland or are we just “lords” in name but in reality, getting more marginalised and enslaved without realising it?] Here are some other things that the Youth and Sports minister has said on Twitter – “Namun, sebagai seorang anak muda yang tidak ingin melihat masa depan anak bangsa dibuai mimpi yang palsu, saya bertanggungjawab untuk berkongsi rasa sebelum maruah nasib bangsa saya terhakis perlahan-lahan.”
[However, as a young man who doesn’t wish to see Malay youths buoyed by false dreams, I take the responsibility of speaking up because the pride of my race is being slowly eroded.]
Mana perginya "Ketuanan" apabila 7 daripada 10 orang penagih dadah di Malaysia merupakan anak muda Melayu?
[Where is the “supremacy” when seven out of 10 drug addicts in Malaysia are Malay youths?]
Mana perginya "Ketuanan" apabila kontraktor-kontraktor Melayu sanggup berkiblatkan modal ali-baba untuk makan untung atas angin?
[Where is the “supremacy” if Malay contractors are guided by Ali Baba-style practices of making a profit without putting in any effort or investment?]
Mana perginya "Ketuanan" apabila individu Melayu hanya memiliki kurang dari 4% kekayaan di pasaran saham negara
[Where is the “supremacy” when Malay individuals own less than four percent of the stocks on the country’s bourse.]
Mana perginya "Ketuanan" jika 9.8 juta orang Melayu mempunyai pelaburan ASB kurang dari RM5 ribu sedangkan 500 ribu orang Melayu lain mengumpul 63% jumlah pelaburan ASB.
[Where is the “supremacy” if 9.8 million Malays have Amanah Saham Bumiputera investments worth less than RM5,000 whereas 500,000 other Malays are reaping 63 percent of ASB investments.]
Mana perginya "Ketuanan" apabila ramai anak muda Melayu memilih utk merempit sampai ke lewat malam sambil rakan-rakan bangsa lain gigih mengejar ilmu utk melakar masa depan yang lebih cerah? Tidak dinafikan,ada segilintir anak Melayu yg cemerlang,namun masih ramai yang terkandas
[Where is the “supremacy” where so many Malay youths choose to go drag racing late into the night while those of other races are diligently studying to carve out a brighter future for themselves? There’s no denying that there are a handful of bright Malay youths but many more are lost.]
Mana perginya "Ketuanan" apabila pemimpin Melayu yang dahulu disegani dan dihormati, kini dilihat terpalit dengan rasuah dan salah guna kuasa.
[Where is the “supremacy” when Malay leaders who were previously feared and respected, are now seen to be embroiled in corruption and abuse of power.]
Dari pekerja di kilang sampailah ke chef di restoran mewah, pekerja asing juga yang dicari, sambil bangsa kita masih menunggu dan mengharapkan tawaran kerja yang selesa berhawa dingin yang belum kunjung tiba.
[From factory workers to chefs in high-end restaurants, foreign workers are still sought to fill these roles while those of our race are still waiting and hoping for job offers in comfortable, air-conditioned workplaces.]
Memang indah untuk kita dibuai mimpi "Ketuanan", tetapi realitinya ternyata berbeza. Memang popular apabila kita laungkan "Hidup Melayu", tetapi laungan itu kosong apabila berpijak di bumi yang nyata
[Clearly we are being buoyed by “supremacy” dreams but the reality is clearly different. Slogans like “Long Live the Malays” are popular but it is empty on the ground.


And my favourite: Sambil kita menjulang keris dengan bangganya, perlahan-lahan kita sedang menghunusnya ke hati kita sendiri tanpa kita sedari.
[While we raise the keris with pride, slowly we are raising it to our own hearts without realising it.]
Hasn’t the old maverick said some of these things before, while he was in Umno? Yes, he has. I give kudos to Syed for articulating these things because at least (even with the backtracking), this is what a youth leader should be doing. And if these are the kinds of ideas transmitted during the revamped national service and Biro Tata Negara courses, then perhaps there is some value to these programmes.
What the youth and sports minister has done is merely articulate what has been brewing beneath the surface of right-wing types for decades, which is that the failed policies of mainstream Malay politics have damned the community in more ways than one.
Do you think that only leftist/liberal Malay types think this way? Nearly every Umno political operative I have spoken to, has at one time or another, acknowledged that this “Ketuanan” policy is a failing policy. It may be a winning strategy but the economic and social data speak for themselves. Of course, there is a concerted effort to hide those facts but really, any rational political operative will tell you that these race-based policies are failing the country.
Of course, even saying what he said, Syed Saddiq has to make it clear that the bumiputera policy will not end. That these so-called Malay rights as “enshrined in the Constitution” will be looked after by the potentates of Bersatu, the mandarins of the DAP and by the reformers of PKR. There really is no need for the Bersatu big guns to say that Syed Saddiq’s words were misinterpreted because anyone reading it understands that he left no room for misinterpretation.
While there is no room for misinterpretation, this is mainstream politics, so there is always room for backpedaling, which young Syed Saddiq has demonstrated that he is more than capable of doing. The more interesting question posed by Syed Saddiq and which has not gained much traction in the national discourse is Syed's contention of the hidden hands of the corporate market:
“If you look at studies by UM and UKM, Malay applicants who graduated in engineering are three times less likely to land a job when compared to his or her peers. So this must be a comprehensive [agenda] allowing equal and equitable access in opportunities.
“It is easy to say that people are hired on merit but what underlies a merit is a system of discrimination. This doesn’t just happen here, but also in other countries. It is a subconscious discrimination and a hidden hand of the corporate market.”
This, of course, is the counter-narrative of the “ketuanan” ideology. The narrative that the Chinese-dominated corporate market is discriminatory against the Malay polity. Or if you prefer, the sub-narrative that the discrimination is a reaction against the “ketuanan” ideology. Some could argue that the very reason there is this so-called discrimination is because of the issues raised in Syed Saddiq’s tweets but, as usual, any discussion on this blows away the façade of this bangsa Malaysia Kool-Aid. Which is a good thing.
You have to ask yourself: why is the majority discriminated against in the corporate sector – if this is really the case. Of course, there is discrimination in the corporate sector. Why wouldn't there be – in a country which does not address questions of race and gender but instead hides behind racial and religious politics, or the bangsa Malaysia Kool-aid, which is a form of racial and religious politics.

Remember that study about hiring practices that caused a storm a couple of years ago by Lee Hwok Aun and Muhammad Abdul Khalid (photo)? Well, imagine if Harapan was really interested in exploring this question instead of hiding behind these stupid ideas of race and religion? By the way, Muhamad Abdul Khalid is now an economic adviser to the prime minister. So, anytime he wants to contribute to what Syed Saddiq said and inform the rakyat of how the current regime intends to tackle such issues, now is a good a time as any.
However, as usual, nothing will come out of this. I doubt there will be any serious movement to enact anti-discrimination laws in Malaysia and if the current regime will address any form of discrimination beyond the uttering of pablums that would satisfy the base. Nobody is interested in taking these issues on even though with the changing demographic, this country will have a reckoning when it comes to its racial politics.
But as long as Najib and Umno continue to provide the bread, the Harapan regime will carry on with the circus.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 9:05 AM   0 comments
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