Chew reprimanded for what other DAP leaders have said - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, March 18, 2019
Malaysiakini : Don't you see that the whole aim of newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? - George Orwell, “1984”
| It bothers me when people say the massacre of Muslims in their place
of worship in Christchurch was an attack on humanity. This was an attack
on Muslims. This was an attempt to further religious and racial
division between (white) Christian communities and Islamic communities
in the West.
The killer made this clear in his manifesto. He
specifically chose a close-knit community, where his actions would cause
the most damage in the sense that people would begin to question their
values and government policies.
When people say this was an attack
on humanity, it blurs the line between the agenda of the perpetrator
and the beliefs of his targets. It fuels a narrative that slips into
easy political and social bromides, while diminishing the danger of the
ideology that was the basis of his crimes. It was not an attack against
humanity; it was an attack against Muslims.
You do not need to
generalise the incident to make it accessible for people to empathise
with the survivors. The sooner the West wakes up to the fact that
right-wing white nationalism poses a greater threat than Islamic
terrorism (there is enough empirical evidence to support this
statement), the better we non-Whites will be able to handle death cults
like IS and their ilk.
Was what DAP Mengkibol assemblyperson Chew Chong Sin said (and since retracted) 'politically incorrect' but 'true'? No,
it was propaganda meant to further non-Malay political narratives to
sustain mainstream “moderate” Malaysian politics, which is anything but
moderate. His retraction means little, not because the damage has been
done – which merely means the Malay far right is using it to further
their narratives - but because this type of propaganda has taken root in
the Harapan non-Malay base.
Think about what Chew (above)
said: "The alliance of Umno and PAS and their vigorous agitation on
race and religion is totally irresponsible. It serves no benefit in the
building of a new Malaysia and can also be taken advantage of by foreign
terrorist groups." This is false. What Umno and PAS are doing is
no different from what Bersatu, PKR and Amanah are doing, except that
since the last GE, Umno does not have the fig leaf of inclusiveness that
the DAP and non-Malay political operatives from PKR give their Malay
The basis of the then opposition hooking up with
Bersatu was race and religion. This was something only Bersatu could
give them. Mahathir acknowledged this. Lim Kit Siang endorsed this,
together with many other non-Malay Harapan political operatives. So,
from the start, Harapan was playing the exact same game as Umno and PAS. When
it comes to racial and religious agitation, Harapan is doing its fair
amount of it. When Azmin Ali wants to carry out a bumiputera agenda
without apology, this is racial agitation. When the Islamic affairs
minister in the Prime Minister's Department hooks up with Zakir Naik,
this is religious agitation.
When Harapan goes after the LGBT
community and initiates criminal investigations against women NGOs, this
is agitation against democratic principles. When Harapan backs out of
Icerd and the non-Malay political operatives make excuses, this is
racial and religious agitation.
When Harapan non-Malay
powerbrokers accept in spirit, if not in rhetoric, the beefing up of
Bersatu through frogs from Umno, this is racial and religious agitation,
since the basis of Bersatu is to protect Malay sacred cows, which are
anathema to a functional democracy.
Umno and PAS are honest about
their racial and religious supremacy, but what Harapan is doing is
making excuses for theirs. What Harapan non-Malay political operatives
do is to point to the Umno/PAS union as an example of Malay extremism
while ignoring the basis of their union with Bersatu, and the
furtherance of racial and religious policies - which are no different
from the Umno/PAS union.
This is why someone like Chew has the
temerity to make the claim that the extremism of Umno/PAS would court
foreign extremists, when the reality is that foreign extremists set
themselves against the government of the day – Harapan – and make use of
the religious bureaucracy nurtured by Muslim power brokers, but before
they do this, they destroy home-grown Islamic power brokers. In other
words, foreign extremists will hook up with anyone whom they believe
will further their agenda, but more importantly, court the Harapan elite
through "legitimate" agents to further their Islamic caliphate goals.
is not the “extremism” of Umno/PAS that Malaysians need to worry about,
but rather the manner in which the Harapan government deals with its
Islamic narratives. It is not Umno/PAS that are bringing home IS
returnees, for example; it is the Harapan federal government.
what do non-Muslim political operatives say about this? They are too
busy not spooking the Malays, or they spew propaganda like the kind Chew
espoused, which gains currency in the non-Malay Harapan base and is
thought of as some sort of truth-telling. It is not.
When former Umno Youth leader Razlan Rafii (above)
says that the "puak DAP" should be shot, some people are up in arms,
but if you believe the Umno/PAS union would lead to a Taliban country,
why should this surprise anyone? This is the point of it all, right?
Everyone is playing to everyone else's narratives.
reprimanded Chew for his statements. What were they reprimanding him
for? Lim Guan Eng said the Umno/PAS union was targeting non-Malays, and
Nga Kor Ming said this would lead to a Taliban theocracy. The only thing
Chong did was to use the Christchurch massacre to advance the same
propaganda. Was that the mistake, using the Christchurch massacre
when there are other better opportunities or examples to spread such
Here is the hard, bitter politically incorrect
“truth”: either Harapan will stall our descent into a theocracy or they
will enable it.
Malaysiakini : "Terrorism works better as a tactic for dictatorships, or for would-be dictators, than for revolutionaries." - Christopher Hitchens
The idea that Islamic State (IS) "returnees" would be accepted back in
Malaysia should be of concern for citizens of this country. Some people
believe that these returnees
should not be allowed back into the country. Others believe that they
should be allowed to return to the country but stand trial for possible
Islamic State activities.
This is in line with what Bukit Aman
Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay
said in that if there was any evidence that these returnees were
involved in "IS militant activities" they would stand trial.
problem here is what exactly are "IS militant activities"? Remember that
IS is a death cult whose adherents swore to wage war even against their
brethren for the glory of an imagined past transposed on this
contemporary age of wonderment. The wives and children of these fighters
– even if they were not involved in the conflict – were aiding,
abetting, enabling and sustaining a genocidal culture which they
believed was their spiritual destiny. There is nothing more “militant”
The South China Morning Post did a piece
which described the travails of a Malaysian IS bride, Lidia, 29, (a
Malay-Muslim laboratory technician who can also speak Mandarin) who
contacted her father in an attempt to find safe passage home. "Lidia
left Malaysia for Syria in October 2014 with her husband and son who was
then only a few months old. She remarried and had a second child after
her first husband was killed. Her second husband has since also died.
and her sons are now among the 66,427 people – mostly women and
children – living in the cramped conditions at the al-Hol camp,
according to a UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
statement issued on Monday.”
This, of course, is but one story of
the kind of people who are returning to our country. Whether you believe
that they should be denied the right to return or stand trial if
evidence of militant activity is discovered, what we are really dealing
with here is the return of people who have battlefield experience either
as participants or enablers and who - no matter what the
politically-motivated spin claims - believe that their religion should
be imposed violently on their fellow citizens. This is just one step
removed from the rhetoric of the Malay far-right.
question we should ask is, what type of rehabilitation will these people
receive and also, does anyone really believe that a month is sufficient
to de-radicalise someone? I have written
about the so-called deradicalisation experts before. Remember when the
preacher Zamihan Mat Zin was supposed to be an asset for the former Umno
state when it came to deradicalising, terror suspects?
discussed why I thought this was laughable. “How can a preacher like
Zamihan be an asset to the state when it comes to rehabilitating
extremists when his own ideas of Islam are anathema to a functional
democracy and a pluralistic society? Here is Muslim preacher who
advocates 'Muslim only' establishments, rails against the so-called
enemies of Islam - Wahhabi, Shia, liberals and other deviant teachings –
and constructs a Manichean view of Islam that goes against the
so-called 'moderate' Islam advocated – in word but rarely in deed – by
the mainstream political establishment of this country.”
I said that IS was a death cult, keep in mind what someone like Zamihan
believes: "(The pursuit) of the truth and the (our) struggle for dakwah
(preaching Islam) will never stop until the apocalypse." So who are
these clerics and psychologists who would stamp a seal of approval on
these IS returnees?
Does anyone else see the problem here? I
really do not want to get into the issue of whether these people should
return home. My opinion is that once you leave the country to wage war
in another country – even if you are just a spouse – then you lose the
right (legal and moral) to return to the homeland you betrayed. You may
What is important is that the government be
transparent – maybe to our elected representatives if not to the public
(for security reasons) - as to what exactly is the rehabilitation
process and have independent experts to judge the credibility of the
programmes. The problem, of course, with our current batch of sycophants
is that they would probably just nod their heads and go along with
anything because they do not want to spook the Malays.
Hence, any kind
of oversight on this process is non-existent. Let us be very clear
here. IS has already launched an attack in Malaysia. This idea that all
that these returnees need is counselling is, well, complete horse
manure. Remember the grenade attack in Puchong which was directed by IS and carried out by local talents? This was what then inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar said of the 15 people arrested:
found that the two of them had received instructions from one of our
citizens in Syria, Muhamad Wanndy Muhamad Jedi, who told them to launch
attacks in Malaysia against senior government leaders, senior police
officers and judges because these three obstruct their activities,” he
said. Entertainment centres are also being targeted for purportedly
think about this way. The country is entering a period of uncertainty
because Malay power structures are going through birthing pains
attempting to discover a new order. We have radical preachers like Zakir
Naik who is wanted for alleged crimes in other countries and banned
from others for his radical speeches. Yet the Harapan political and
religious elite are embracing him for political purposes.
state security apparatus is not only dealing with the political fallout
from the recent elections but also has its hands full countering the
machinations of various political demagogues and, of course, we have the
machinations of the Islamic deep state. This idea that there are
no consequences to the return of these people is ludicrous. Some people
have told me that these returnees are mostly women and children. Most of
the men have perished on the battlefield, a source close to the
situation informed me. These people are not terrorists, he said.
not the issue. I have no interest in ideological loaded definitional
debates about what constitutes terrorism. What I am talking about here
is an ideology of a death cult which finds very little pushback from the
radical polemics of the Malay far-right or the Islamic narratives of
the Harapan state.
What I am talking about is the return of people
who have no problem with Muslims slaughtering other Muslims in the name
of god, which makes slaughtering non-Muslims less of an issue in a
This really is a situation of chickens coming home to roost.
Harapan, stay out of the comment section - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Singing a different tune now, de Puddy Cat.
Amendment I. Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;
or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the
government for a redress of grievances. The Second Amendment of the United States
Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the
security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,
shall not be infringed." “I don't agree with what you say but I
will defend to the death your right to say it.” Unfortunately, the
quote isn't real — or at least, it's not really Voltaire. It comes from a 1906 biography by Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in which it was intended to represent a summary of his thinking on free speech issues.
Malaysiakini : "One of the problems with defending free speech is you
often have to defend people that you find to be outrageous and
unpleasant and disgusting." - Salman Rushdie
| When Gobind Singh Deo says he is considering creating legislation
that takes action against news portal operators who do not take action
against readers who leave comments “that touch on racial, religious and
royal institution sensitivities,” what he is doing is curtailing free
speech in Malaysia.
Whenever political operatives talk about the
sensitivities which revolve around the 3 “Rs,” I always wonder why they
do not talk about the big “G” – gender. What about the misogynistic
rhetoric in the comments sections, especially against women when they
offer outlier views?
Remember when Maryam Lee was viciously
attacked for her role in the Undirosak movement? Empower (an NGO) summed
up the situation: “Instead of demonstrating maturity when engaging in
the discourse, many supporters of the opposition resorted to unwarranted
sexist, misogynist and extremist harassment against Maryam, and
targeted their attacks solely at body shaming and (at) her identity as a
“Many of these attackers have accessed, taken and
used her pictures without Maryam’s knowledge and consent. They further
manipulated and/or morphed her photographic images into sexually
explicit ones. “These images are accompanied by extremely demeaning and sexualised insults and name-calling.”
My take on those cowardly attacks on Maryam Lee (photo, below):
“Nearly every opposition personality laments the fact that the
opposition is under attack by the establishment propaganda instruments,
but ignore the lies and online abuse committed by their supporters. This
is a reckless omission because (1) this is reflective of the kind of
Malaysia they want to create and the people who support them; and (2)
the racist comments – not so much the misogynist comments – are used by
the establishment to demonstrate the hypocrisy and race hate of the
is censorship in Malaysia. The press practises self-censorship when it
comes to news stories and certain opinions. There are laws that restrict
free speech. What we are talking about here is the Harapan regime's
attempt to silence the average citizen from expressing his or her
perspective as it relates directly to news reports. Even when it comes
to certain social media posting – Facebook, Instagram, etc – this is not
the same as news stories and the reception it gets from the subscribers
of news portals.
Some of these comments are bigoted, racist, lies
and not only contribute but sustain the toxicity in the national
discourse. I understand why some people would be offended by the speech
in comment sections of news stories. Indeed, many news portals have
their criteria as to what kind of speech should be restricted. There are
many who would argue – considering the vile rhetoric - that this is not
Claiming to want to instil responsibility by holding news
portals responsible for what happens in the comment section is
mendacious. Comments sections, by nature, are reactionary. When people
read the toxic things political and religious operatives say, they will
react. Reacting even if it means being racist or bigoted, unfortunately,
is a legitimate, if morally reprehensible (not to mention
hypocritical), form of expression.
When Lim Kit Siang (photo, above)
says something like this, for instance - “If Malaysians can develop a
healthy scepticism of what they receive on the social media and check
their veracity before they share it with others, it will be a big step
to check the abuses of social media in the country” - he is missing the
The reality is that toxic material, and this includes lies
and “fake news,” are intentionally passed around by partisans, even
though they know the veracity is suspect. The same reasoning applies to
comments in the comment sections. Anonymity, often times, brings out the
worst in people. In fact, there are subscribers who make toxic posts on
news stories, and generally behave as if the comment section is their
own personal venting mechanism for the apparent discrimination they face
from a system they keep voting for. Some people have questioned
how Harapan is going to police the comment sections and social media
when it comes to this issue?
They do not have to. What they can do is
make enough examples of individuals who go against this supposed law,
expand the type of comments the state finds unacceptable and Malaysians
will fall into line. Furthermore, news portals will, on their own
initiative, crack down on what they think the state finds offensive, and
subscribers would be penalised, based on the fear of repercussions from
So, when Gobind says he is considering legislation to
penalise news portals that allow certain comments to pass, some people
think this is a good thing. This is a bipartisan issue because both
camps think their speech would be protected and the other side censured.
are news portals going to determine which comments from readers need to
be censored? Outright racists and bigoted comments are easy to spot and
I suppose one could make the case – I would not – that they need to be
censored, but what of comments which make people uncomfortable and,
hence, are termed as inciting racial or religious discord? How are news
portals supposed to police these types of comments?
noticed that whenever political operatives say they have received
numerous complaints on an issue like this, for instance, they never give
examples as to what constitutes censure-worthy speech It is always in
Is this any reason to censure such speech? This is a
country where race and religion for the majority community are not
mutually exclusive. This is a country where some minorities claim they
are living in an apartheid system. This is a country where the ruling
coalition makes the claim that it needs a race-based party to win
What Gobind is proposing is just another Harapan red herring.
Malaysiakini : “Enough of beating up on a marginalised community. Does it make
you feel strong and powerful? Do you know you endanger their lives and
safety every time you attack them?” - Ambiga Sreenevasan
I have one question for Mujahid Yusof Rawa. If the LGBT “practices” are
illegal, why isn’t the government rounding up LGBT people and
incarcerating them? Mujahid asked this question of his critics before
and babbled on about how these people have not committed any crime - "I have explained that (it cannot be done) unless they have committed a crime,"
we know that in Malaysia, if you are from the LGBT community - and
Muslim - you will be whipped if your “practices” are discovered – “Two
women convicted for attempting sexual relations will be fined and caned, a prosecutor said today, in a rare case against same-sex couples in the country.”
In a piece I wrote about the road to a theocratic state, I asked Mujahid to keep his mouth shut
when it came to these issues, instead of playing to the far right crowd
- “And no Mujahid, I do not want you to arrest them. I want you to keep
your mouth shut about them, and instead create a counter-narrative that
Harapan's Islam is about promoting a first class education for your
brethren, weeding out corruption in the political and religious class,
ensuring the healthcare system is one of the best in the region, and
ensuring a plurality of Islamic voices, so young people do not join
extremist groups that pose a danger to the citizens of this country.”
he did not take my advice. Instead, Mujahid has done what the Umno
regime did before, which is demonise human rights groups, like Sisters
in Islam and the WAO for standing up for the rights of disenfranchised
citizens of this country in the recent woman's right march, which he
found offensive because it included the rights of the LGBT community.
have never believed that Mujahid was a reformer like he claimed he was.
His allies, who included many prominent non-Malay supporters, held
Mujahid as an example of the kind of Islamic moderation this country
would have if ever Harapan came into power. We now know that for the lie
Mujahid is a big proponent of the Racial and Religious
Hatred Act, and Harapan seems enamoured of hate speech laws. But you can
bet your last ringgit these laws would be used to safeguard the
religion of the state and not crack down on hate speech that happens in
social media. Marginalised communities like the LGBT community, who are
routinely savaged by some Harapan supporters, will, of course, be exempt
from these laws.
Want to know what real hate speech is? Read the
comments on social media, describing the community in the most hateful
language. Then compare those comments with the actions of the state and
federal governments when it comes to this community. Bullies, especially
those who weaponise religion and culture, always target the
marginalised in communities before working up the courage to move on to
Consider what Mujahid said: “I am shocked by the actions of a handful of people today who abuse the democratic space to defend practices that are against the Islamic teachings.”
is the kind of slimy double talk religious operatives engage in. Forget
the fact that so-called moderate Muslims like Mujahid have always been
accused by the Islamic far right of abusing the democratic space to go
against the teachings of Islam (or their version of it). But since when
do the teachings of Islam determine how our public spaces are used in
this country? Is it in our Federal Constitution?
colonial-era laws against specific sexual practices involving same sex
individuals, but where in our Constitution does it say we cannot use our
democratic space to voice out issues that go against Islam? Harapan is
attempting to blur the line between criticising Islam and insulting
Islam, but this is exactly what the Umno regime did, and religious
operatives like Mujahid were telling non-Malays and Muslims to speak up
instead of ignoring the corruption of the state and Islam.
that we cannot “insult Islam” and could get up to 10 years imprisonment
for this, but is the Harapan regime’s policy that we cannot use our
democratic space to go against the teachings of Islam, even if such
teachings go against our constitutional rights? Is this official Harapan
policy? Where are all the non-Malay political operatives who were
speaking out against this kind of discrimination before May 9?
also said that it was up to the Home Ministry to take action against
the organisers of the rally for holding a rally without a permit. How
many times, when the Harapan regime was the opposition, did they hold
rallies without permits, and political operatives like Mujahid
encouraged people to attend those rallies because it was our democratic
and constitutional right?
I guess when people accuse PAS and Umno of being hypocrites, we may as well add Mujahid to the list. Hew Wai Weng, in an article last year for the New Mandala, discussed the ‘Himpunan Kebangkitan Ummah’ (Ummah Awakening Gathering),
noting: “The new Religious Affairs Minister Mujahid Rawa was criticised
for 'not defending Zakir Naik' and 'compromised on LGBT issues'. PAS
leaders tried, through these criticisms, to portray a more ‘Islamic’
image compared with Pakatan’s Muslim leaders.”
Which is why, like
an insecure person in a position of political and social power, Mujahid
always has to display his religious and racial bona fides, because he is
in a coalition which loudly proclaimed they were the progressive
coalition of Malaysia. Furthermore, he belongs to a moderate
“Islamic” party – Amanah – which gets a lot of love from easily fooled
non-Muslims, but which has, so far, merely conformed to the religious
narratives of the Malay far right.
For most so-called progressives
and the Malay right which supports Harapan, specifically the Bersatu
faction, this is a non-issue. These people hate the LGBT community and
understand their speech will always be protected by the state. Nobody
cares that this is a government which claims to want to protect the
constitutional rights of all citizens, but has no problem using religion
to suppress the voice and rights of those it considers politically
How toxic is Harapan’s Islamic agenda? Well, you have
someone who has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for insulting Islam
and nobody in the Harapan political establishment has spoken out about
it, excluding the always forthright Latheefa Koya.
Now, you have a
minster in the Harapan regime attempting to hoodwink Malaysians into
believing our democratic spaces can only be used for those issues which
do not go against the teachings of Islam. Mujahid Rawa's Islamic state
of play is only going to get more toxic, and so far there is nobody in
Harapan willing to confront it.
Malaysiakini : "Wherever the real power in a government lies, there is the danger
of oppression. In our governments, the real power lies in the majority
of the community and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be
apprehended, not from the acts of government contrary to the sense of
its constituents, but from acts in which the government is the mere
instrument of the major number of the constituents." ― James Madison
| The Bangsa Malaysia propaganda will not save anyone from the
far-right rhetoric of Umno and PAS. The real danger of the Umno-PAS
union is not in their rhetoric – which is more potential policy
proposals rather than empty polemics – but rather the reactionary nature
of Pakatan Harapan’s response to this union.
Most Malay political
operatives in Harapan cannot even bring themselves to utter the words
'Bangsa Malaysia'. The only people who use this term are the non-Malay
political operatives in Harapan and their enablers that feed into the
Malay far-right narratives of the loss of Malay political and economic
DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang is wrong when he claims that Harapan defeated
the lies and hate of Umno-PAS and won GE14. What Harapan managed to do
was just squeak past between the goalposts. Harapan is now deathly
afraid because they do not hold the holy grail of Malaysian politics
which is majority Malay support. This kind of thinking is misguided and
does not reflect the reality of a post-May 9 Malaysia.
meanwhile, have to grapple with the reality that they will never be a
force to be reckoned with in urban – non-Malay areas – because no matter
how Harapan stumbles, the alternative of an Umno-PAS rule is worse than
the failures of Harapan. What they can, and have done, is to ensure
that Harapan Malay power structures conform to the narratives and policy
proposals that they set and not to the egalitarian agenda that Harapan
When PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang claims that the reason why Umno and PAS are “getting married” is that they can rightfully reclaim
rule over the non-Malays, this is neither controversial nor
disingenuous. The much sought after Malay base probably think this way
too which is why Malay political operatives do not bother countering
this narrative with the Bangsa Malaysia propaganda. It didn’t take long
for Umno and PAS to understand that there will never be a sole protector
of Malay rights and Islam in this country anymore.
narrative Hadi is pushing, specifically, the talking points about Malay/
Muslim unity is exactly the same as what ex-PAS leader Nasharudin Mat
Isa did three years ago when he was leading Najib Abdul Razak’s Global
Movement of Moderates (GMM). You can read my take on it here and the importance of meaningful choices when it comes to the Malay/Muslim political schisms in this country:
every party is shovelling the same manure with a different shovel, then
chances are that angry disenfranchised youths will turn to seductive
religious voices in the belief that some meaning will be given to their
lives and a solution to their economic and social estrangement.”
racial discourse in this country has become even more problematic after
the historic May 9 Harapan win with people attempting to navigate
between various freedoms and the realpolitik of "Malay" rule. Remember
when lawyer Art Harun (now Election Commission chief) told Finance
Minister Lim Guan Eng not to be stupid when the whole fiasco about issuing government statements in Mandarin first cropped up?
I argued what
the limits in this “New Malaysia” are and restated my case that this
whole Bangsa Malaysia nonsense gets Harapan into more trouble than it is
worth – “The problem with the Bangsa Malaysia ‘Kool-Aid’ is the
negation of race and the hypocrisy of action(s) that precede or proceed
it. It is always better to acknowledge your ethnicity and the reality of
racial and religious politics in this country rather than put forward a
hypocritical narrative that the non-Malays have to subscribe to in
order to share power with the majority Malay community.”
situation, Art had to qualify his criticism: “I am not racist. And I am
not talking about Malay rights or the proverbial mertabatkan Bahasa Melayu
and stuff.” Which is what happens when progressive Malay political
operatives and intellectuals find themselves in the quagmire of post-May
9 racial politics.
Meanwhile, Malay Harapan political operatives
who viewed the removal of Najib as the primary goal of regime change,
now have to contend with this idea that the Harapan (non-Malay and
progressive Malay) base wants political and institutional reforms. As
one Harapan Malay political operative told me, “How do you expect us to
win when you want us to fight with one hand tied behind our back?”
sent me a long text message berating me for not supporting the return
of Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s realpolitik. Mind you, this was not a Bersatu
member. However, I am very well aware of the realpolitik of the
situation. I wrote a decidedly morally ambiguous piece when commenting about Bersatu vice-president Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman’s 'by hook or by crook' electoral strategy.
really think that someone like Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed
Abdul Rahman has a finger on the pulse of the agitated Malay electorate
or the guts to acknowledge the Umno system without resorting to the kind
of euphemisms that people like Rashid have no time for or, to be
honest, understand?” “You want us to lose, is it? Which is how he ended his long rant."
Lose what exactly? Forget about the unity of the ummah.
The reality is that the political landscape of Malaysia is not
conducive to the kind of Malay/Muslim hegemony envisioned by Malay
political structures which want to be the sole custodian of Malay rights
and Islam. While Harapan could lose certain states, they will retain
certain states because the non-Malay base will never buy into the
rhetoric of Umno-PAS.
The electoral numbers and party positioning
just do not add up for PAS and Umno. And the former realises - or at
least those political operatives who still speak to me - that
eventually, squabbles will begin in the union because for now, PAS is
not interested in expanding while Umno is just interested in clawing
back its territory.
Federal power will never again rest in the
hands of a sole Malay structure. Instead, it will be diffused amongst
disparate power groups. What the Umno-PAS union really demonstrates is
that Malay power structures cannot do it on their own anymore. This is
the most important point of the historic May 9 Harapan win. The federal
government and Malay power structures have changed. The real issue
of the Umno-PAS union is not a war against non-Malays but rather a war
in the Malay community.
The difference between Harapan and the Umno-PAS
union is that the latter have reconciled with the reality that the
political landscape has changed while the former is still invested in
the idea that one party should represent the Malay polity.
How 'soft' does Rais Yatim want DAP to be? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Malaysiakini : “I would be guilty only if I were innocent of working to destroy racism in my country.” - Nadine Gordimer
| Pakatan Harapan has been scrambling to pin the blame on someone,
anyone, for the recent defeat in Semenyih. The issue of identity
politics has dominated the discourse, but nobody wants to admit that
Harapan and BN ran more or less the same game. Umno/PAS, unshackled by
coalition partners, played the race card more effectively.
DAP, of course, has become the whipping boy, for Harapan’s failure in
Semenyih. If the Malays are spooked, it is because of the DAP. Umno and
PAS went out of their way to play the same kind of game current Prime
Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad played all those years ago, when he was
prime minister the first time around.
As someone who has had no
problem chronicling the failures of the DAP, I am disgusted by the way
Bersatu is attempting to paint the failure in Semenyih as partly that of
the DAP. Think about what Bersatu leader Rais Yatim said – Rais said
Malays in Semenyih could not accept "careless actions" or DAP's presence
in Malay villages.
The DAP has bent over backwards to court the
Malay vote. The DAP has bent over backwards most times sacrificing their
secular principles to appease Malay sentiment. The only time they
discover their cojones is when they receive pushback from their
supporters. If anything, a case can be made that the DAP has done
everything in their power to ingratiate themselves with the Malay
community at the expense of their non-Malay base.
It is funny; in
my last article I discussed how the DAP was slowly morphing into the MCA
and were enabling the bumiputera agenda of the current prime minister.
Evidently it is not enough for the DAP to be like the MCA, they need to
sublimate their behaviour even further to calm the sensitivities of the
DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang talks about a post-Semenyih formula,
but what does this mean? As far as I can see, the DAP was doing its
utmost best not to step on anyone’s toes in Semenyih. The fact is Umno
and PAS were using national issues, which had little relevance in a
place like Semenyih, to rattle the race and religion crowd.
Harapan have played a better game? No doubt about it. The fact that the
Harapan regime was caught squabbling over an issue like a hospital for
Semenyih demonstrates the kind of ineptness that permeates the corridors
of power in the Harapan-led Putrajaya.
all the DAP has done for the Malays, Rais has the audacity to claim
that the Malays in Semenyih cannot accept the “careless” actions or
DAP's presence in the villages. Has Bersatu and any other
Malay power structures in Harapan come out and laid waste to the
propaganda of Umno and PAS using every weapon in their arsenal? Have
they brought legal challenges against Umno and PAS for lying about the
government? Have they used the state security apparatus – like they have
in other cases – to prosecute the lies and propaganda-makers of the
No, they have not. What they have done is bend
over backwards and claiming to want to carry out the bumiputera agenda
without apology. If anything, the DAP has been getting blowback
from some supporters because they have had to sublimate their secular
principles and egalitarian agenda so as not to spook the Malays. Every
time a Malay power broker says something which is against the spirit of
reform that Harapan promised, the DAP has to cautiously reply in case
they are told their stance is "careless".
Look at the whole
debacle over the International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd). The DAP was getting battered by
non-Malays for not doing anything, and by the Malay far right for just
being the DAP. So to non-Malays the DAP is castrating itself,
while bending over backwards to prop up the current prime minister, but
to the far right and the Umno/PAS base, the DAP is attempting to subvert
Harapan supporters always make this mistake. They
say that if Umno and PAS are raising issues about race and religion,
Harapan has to move away from this kind of politics. The problem - it is
not that Harapan should move away from this kind of politics, but
rather that Harapan is more or less sending the same message as that of
Umno and PAS.
Apparently we have to be 'pragmatic' if we want this
new regime to survive. You want to know what 'pragmatic' really means?
It means the DAP having to soften its image amongst the Malays. Rais
thinks the Malays are so easily distracted, that instead of focusing on
corruption, they are focusing on how the DAP, a supposed Chinese-based
political party, is attempting to subvert Malay power.
reality is that the Malay power structures are using the DAP as a
scapegoat for their ineffective strategies to court the Malay vote. What
is worrying is that by claiming the DAP has to soften its image, what
Rais is doing is legitimising the propaganda of the Malay far right.
What he is doing is essentially reinforcing the narrative that non-Malay
power brokers have to always appear subservient to Malay power brokers.
In 2017, I wrote an article about how Umno should ban all non-Malay political parties. Here
is the relevant bit – “When you consider the racist rhetoric coming out
of Umno power brokers, government ministers and government
institutions, the religious bigotry from the same, Umno should just drop
this charade of democracy and ban all non-Malay/Muslim political
parties. This way, the Malay community, or least that section of the
Umno voting base, will not have to be encumbered by the existential
threat the non-Malays supposedly pose to their bangsa and agama.”
if Bersatu, or any other Malay power structure, does not want equal
partners, because it supposedly scares the base, why not just dump this
whole charade of democracy.
Malaysiakini : "This does not mean that MCA is finished, however. You remain the only opposition in town." – My open letter to MCA
COMMENT | Many readers have been emailing me asking what I thought of Pakatan Harapan’s lossin the Semenyihby-election. Two points need to be considered. The first is whether this victory will stem the leakage of Umno into Bersatu.
The second I elaborated in my article about that familiar Malay tune
in Semenyih – “So, the real question about playing the Malay tune, in
Semenyih and beyond, is how far right is the Malay Harapan establishment
willing to go to defeat the Umno and PAS union, and how far is the
non-Malay establishment willing to follow the Harapan Malay establishment?”
MCA secretary-general Chew Mei Fun’s claim that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is using DAP to further his Bumiputera agenda is correct. Malay power brokers have always used their non-Malay coalition members to further their racialist agendas.
is part of the 'social contract' that supposedly maintains 'tolerance' –
an odious word – amongst the various communities in Malaysia. The
thing that strikes me about Chew's claim is that while social media
still likes to portray MCA as a spent force, there are many diehard
Harapan supporters who grudgingly admit there is some 'truth' in what it
I, on the other hand, do not have to grudgingly admit
anything. I think MCA has been highlighting issues that need to be heard
in this do-not-spook-the-Malays era. However, it is not
only Mahathir who has been using DAP to further his Islamic agenda; he
is just the latest. Ever since Pakatan Rakyat, I warned that certain PAS
personalities – and now Amanah political operatives – blurring the
lines between Islam and the supposedly secular politics of DAP could
only lead the latter down a very dangerous path.
Not mutually exclusive
this country, race and religion are not mutually exclusive. You cannot
court the one without the other. I have never seen the visceral hatred
some Islamists – from any of the Malay power structures – have towards
DAP than they ever exhibited towards MCA. Why is that? Because MCA
never attempted to define Islam as some in DAP and their supporters do
when going about this Bangsa Malaysia propaganda.
While MCA has
always been opposed to the policies of PAS, they went through a bad
patch when the late Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat was in charge, because what
he managed to do was play well with others in an attempt to
democratically win federal power. This changed with Abdul Hadi Awang leading PAS and Pakatan falling apart, which resulted in the birth of Amanah.
Just recently, a PAS strategist said that while the party
has had its issues with MCA, they never thought it was hypocritical.
They supported Umno – especially in the 'Mahafiraun' years when Mahathir
was in power the first time – and did not hide their “Chinese face.”
when Chew talks about DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng’s eagerness to
discard his 'Chinese' image in furtherance of Malay support, this goes
to the heart of the horse manure politics of this new Malaysia.
I was appalled by the finance minister’s statement that he was “Malaysian”
when he was chosen as finance minister. “When DAP leader and
newly-appointed finance minister Lim says he considers himself Malaysian
first, it is mendacious and subservient since he sitting at a table
with someone who heads a Malay-only organisation, feebly makes noises
(with his non-Malay partners) about following the constitution (as if
the Federal Constitution is not a compromised document) when confronted
about 'Malay rights,' but most importantly, it is a negation of
non-Malay cultural identity at the expense of Malay realpolitik, which
is the foundation of 'ketuananism'."
But didn’t MCA do the same
thing during the long Umno watch? Yes and no. Yes, they were furthering
the bumiputera agenda of whichever Malay potentate was in power, but no,
they were not raising the toxicity level in the political landscape. They
never attempted to promote any agenda like the Bangsa Malaysia
Kool-Aid, nor did they attempt to redefine Islam as a 'moderate'
religion with the aid of Islamic political and religious operatives.
relied on Umno to do that, which was self-defeating, but if we are
talking realpolitik, then it was the only option they had and for a time
they had the support of the majority in the Chinese community.
I cannot blame MCA for this, nor DAP for that matter, because this is after all the malaisesystem:
“Now I am not saying that the non-Malays had no part in making this
system, but as recent events have demonstrated, most of us have very
little intention of destroying the current system. "Replacing
former premier Najib Abdul Razak, in case you did not get the memo, is
not destroying the system. It merely means we are setting the system
back to its default setting.”
No lessons learned
Here's the thing. Why hasn’t DAP learned the lesson of the downfall of MCA? This
is not a question of inexperience. DAP has led Penang and been a part
of the Selangor government, and within this context, all they have
managed to do is walk in the footsteps of MCA, while attempting to
destroy it once and for all.
Did it ever occur to anyone that the
problem with the Malay community is that there is very little choice
when it comes to the political parties they vote for? Do we want the
same kind of dilemma in the non-Malay communities? I think not.
if you are a non-Malay mainstream political party, in varying degrees,
you have to service Malay power structures when it comes to the
bumiputera agenda. What you can do is remain staunchly secular
eschewing any kind of agenda of attempting to court Malay votes through
Islam, and loudly advocate for egalitarian policies while supporting
non-religious affirmative action programmes for the Malay community.
You have to do this so long as you are aligned with Malay-only political power structures.
Semenyih – Harapan could win even if it loses - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, March 02, 2019
Malaysiakini : "Representative government is artifice, a political myth, designed
to conceal from the masses the dominance of a self-selected,
self-perpetuating, and self-serving traditional ruling class." - Giuseppe Prezzolini
| Who knows how it will turn out in Semenyih today but what we have
seen leading up to this big day is that the Pakatan Harapan regime is
committed to becoming the new BN. Forget all that big talk of reform and
the self-righteous polemics coming out of Harapan before the historic
May 9 election last year.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s rejoinder
to the folks at Semenyih not to vote BN (or anyone else besides
Harapan) because to do so would mean "development" deprivation is the
kind of politics that the then opposition was fighting against all those
years under BN. And let us be honest, under Mahathir's rule too.
happens if Harapan loses Semenyih? Will there be no development in this
area? Will Harapan just pack up and go? And here's the thing, if you
were really a friend of "capitalism" (to use the context
of the prime minister), you would be encouraging business in areas like
Semenyih. Because regardless of who the residents of Semenyih vote for,
the federal government would be collecting taxes.
The reason why
this kind of punitive politics is used is that the federal government,
like the government before it, has not been able to fulfil its promises. The
then Harapan opposition used to claim that the BN federal government
used to keep people dumbed down in the rural and semi-rural areas
because they were a reliable vote bank. How is punishing the people of
Semenyih for not voting for the federal government any different?
the prime minister says – and gets no blowback for his coalition
partners – that Umno is finished and its members want to join Harapan,
what he is really saying is that the era of big government is still the
only game in town. And who knows, even if Harapan loses Semenyih to
Umno, the Umno candidate may at a later date jump ship to Bersatu.
this: the winning Umno candidate realises that he cannot get things
done for the good people of Semenyih without federal help. And because
there are no democratic mechanisms which would ensure federal/state aid
regardless of party affiliation, he has no choice but to “serve” the
people of Semenyih by joining Bersatu. And do not blame Mahathir for
this. This is the rationale of Harapan partisans for anyone not towing
the party line.
Will BN's Zakaria Hanafi (above) sign a pledge that he will not join Bersatu if he wins Semenyih? I do not think so. However,
this is not the cherry on top of the manure cake that Harapan has been
pushing since gaining federal power. The prime minister’s rejoinder to
the Harapan political elite to shed its opposition skin is a really a
clarion call to revert to BN style “crony capitalism” that we were told
was destroying this country. His rejoinder is loaded with the kind of
dog-whistle politics that - not surprisingly - the non-Malay coalition
partners have chosen to ignore for various reasons.
importantly, his message was not really for the Harapan political elite
but for the plutocrat class which is still giving succour to Umno and to
the bureaucratic class which is still hedging its bets. His
message was simple - Harapan is open for business. The kind of business
that the former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak took to its logical
extreme. This baloney that the opposition should stop behaving like
“socialists” and stop characterising the “capitalists” as oppressors is
straight out of the racial playbook that we were told was not going to
be used in this “New Malaysia”.
how many times the current prime minister has condemned the “Chinese” community as economic pirates holding the Malay community to ransom but –
and this is the important part – he has relied on Chinese plutocrats to
fuel his economic and social agenda. Is there any evidence that his
trickle-down economic theory of artificially creating a wealthy Malay
plutocrat class to mitigate the influence of the Chinese community has
been rejected by the Harapan elite? I do not think so.
hooking up with Mahathir, what the opposition - by opposition I mean the
DAP (and sometimes even PAS) - did really well was to tease out the
nexus between the plutocrats and politicians (Umno/MCA) who were
creating a system of privilege and corruption that lubricated mainstream
Malaysian politics. There are many examples but the most relevant would
be the alleged footing of Hadi Abdul Awang's bill by a person that heads a GLC (government-linked company).
no mistake, when the prime minister talks about being
business-friendly, he means collusion between the business class and
politicians. He certainly does not mean free-market ideas that encourage
unbridled capitalism – which is a beast of its own – but rather a
relationship of mutual benefit between the business class and the
political elite. “Socialism” is just a red herring meant to distract
from the real message to the powerbrokers and their minions in this
country. For a country with as much
entitlements programmes like this one, not to mention subsidised
programmes in the guise of “development” programmes, it should not have a
beef with “socialism”. And with all the development going on in Penang
at the expense of social and environmental issues, there is no way
anyone could make a rational argument that the DAP’s supposed socialist
imperatives trump their capitalist impulses.
Remember what Mahathir said about demonising the
opposition when he campaigned for Lim Kit Siang in the election?
Excerpt: "'The government (under me), in the past, labelled the DAP as
Chinese chauvinists. That was the nature of politics - to win, we label
the opponents. In the case of DAP, it was considered a Chinese
chauvinist party. In return, I was also labelled an extremist (by the
opposition). However, Mahathir said, in reality, this was not true and
that was why he was willing to cooperate with DAP.'” Want to know the kind of politics we have bought into?
In my review of Mohamed Tawfik Ismail and Ooi Kee Beng’s book on Malaya’s First Year in the UN,
I ended with this snippet from the book – “(Then deputy prime minister)
Abdul Razak (Hussein) had just secured a low-interest loan from the
Sultan of Brunei in order to implement some of the short-term projects
for the rural areas before the elections. The letter, among others,
discusses the nearing election, which was 'getting warmer'. And with
that, we are back on familiar terrain.”
Familiar terrain indeed. A terrain where big government could win if it loses in the short term.
Malay uber alles, above everybody else - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
East Malaysians, don't count?
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | After Harapan won the last election, I assumed we had some breathing space.
I urge young Malays to plan their lives properly. Don’t make the same
mistake I did. Malaysia is a sick Muslim country that teaches you the
wrong things.” – Zaid Ibrahim
The recent comments by BN
secretary-general Nazri Abdul Aziz on the Semenyih campaign trail about
the racist inclination of the Umno grassroots on their fear of
non-Malays leading certain ministerial portfolios is neither shocking
All this is part of the Malay über alles strategy
of the far right and the foundation of mainstream Malay politics.
Non-Malay political operatives in Pakatan Harapan, now that the
coalition has achieved federal power, have to be careful about how they
define their power because everyone has been told not to spook the
Furthermore, because Bersatu was not the powerhouse Malay
bloc that Harapan had hoped for, the old maverick has had to resort to
all sorts of stratagems to entice Umno political operatives to step into
All this, of course, plays into the hands of Umno and
PAS who can now freely explore their racial and supremacist ideologies
without fear of losing their non-Malay base because the MCA and MIC are
out of play.
Two years ago, former minister Zaid Ibrahim, encouraged young Malays to leave this country
because of the policies of BN. This, of course, caused a stir. As
always, whenever Zaid says something, he does so without political
consideration. He spits it out because he knows that outlier Malay
voices think this way.
were the usual calls to stay and fight by those in the intelligentsia
who supported the then opposition Harapan. I was sceptical. In a piece
exploring what Zaid actually said – there is always confusion because
some pundits do not bother to refer to what he said, instead relying on
what others claim he said – I wrote:
“If you want people to stay
and fight for their rights, you must be able to demonstrate that staying
and fighting is something that is worthwhile. We are not yet at the
stage where you can point to incremental changes (elsewhere) and say
that this is progress. We are a developed country with narratives that
are evidence that religious and racial plurality is something we had,
but lost like many Islamic state narratives in countries all over the
After Harapan won the last election, I assumed we
had some breathing space. To my thinking and I suppose some people who
voted for Harapan, we believed that if we begin the process – however
incrementally - of dismantling the Malay uber alles ideology, we could
at least set the foundation for a brighter tomorrow for future
generations. This kind of thinking is not based on any idealist
impulses. This is pure self-preservation. People sometimes confuse
capitulation with pragmatism.
But as the days drag on, I see very
little hope or evidence that things are going to change. While I
received the usual hate mail for my last piecefrom
the usual suspects, I received many emails from Malays overseas, who
claimed that what Zaid two years ago was the right thing to do.
young Malays ask me how they can overcome a system which is against
them, but which people think provides privileges for them? Zaid said it
best: “They will continue to make you intellectually poor by stifling
you, giving you no freedom to grow and develop your minds.”
young Malay activist told me, there is this bubble we exist in. There
is some freedom in the political/activist circles, but it slowly
evaporates depending on where you go. Non-Malays, although they face
discrimination, do not have to look over their shoulder all the time in
case they are targeted by the religious bureaucracy or they are
sanctioned for making racially provocative statements which are in
reality egalitarian statements.
political operatives make an argument about how “immigrants” assimilate
in the West “Western” culture and norms, so why can’t the non-Malays do
it here too? This is a silly argument because assimilation of Western
culture generally means assimilating democratic and egalitarian norms
and not sublimating culture to Islam and racial hegemony which is what
is expected of the non-Malays here.
Please note, I am not saying
that the “West” is perfect, only that assimilation in the West means
submitting to a whole different set of values which are more aligned to
democratic first principles, rather than being pak turuts
(yes-men) which is how someone like PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang and the
rest of the Malay political elite sees the non-Malays. Are there
extremists in the West pushing a right-wing Judeo/Christian agenda? Yes,
but we should note the blow-back this agenda receives.
what you like about Nazri, but he is saying exactly what the Malay
grassroots believe, and keep in mind this is the base that Bersatu and
other Malay power structures in Harapan want.
How can you change
this sort of thinking? How long will it take? A generation? Two
generations? The non-Malays are losing the numbers game and in a couple
of decades, will there be any young Malays who would even think of
migrating because of a totalitarian government?
People often ask
what can they do. I have no idea. I cannot point to alternatives in
mainstream political parties. Young people who have left the country and
who correspond with me, tell me the same thing. There are no mainstream
alternatives in the Malaysian political landscape. One Malay power
structure is the same as the next. Lawyer Latheefa Koya correctly
points out that Nazri’s comments are an insult to Malays, but so is
claiming Malays need a party to defend them, that Islam needs to be
protected, the Malays are under siege and the DAP is working to destroy
Malay rule in Malaysia.
If Nazri is being investigated for sedition, then perhaps, the mainstream political system in Malaysia is seditious.
Those who believe they are saving Indira Gandhi's daughter - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, February 25, 2019
Malaysiakini : “What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not
that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not
what they say about their cause, but what they say about their
opponents.”- Robert F Kennedy
| The disappearance of Pastor Koh and the kidnapping of Indira Gandhi’s
daughter are manifestations of what is wrong with this country. I
believe religious extremism is the existential threat facing our
However, I have focused my attention on personalities,
rather than acknowledge the fundamental divide among the people in this
country. There is something dark bubbling beneath the surface. When I asked why the government is not interested in finding Indira’s daughter, I referenced a young friend in the state security apparatus - "Siapa nak (who will) believe that our boys cannot find this orang bodoh (idiot), tuan?” The police officer who said this may be young, but he has field experience in the Anti-Narcotics Division.
the anti-ICERD rally, I was exposed to the other side of the Malaysian
story, specifically the Indira Gandhi narrative. It was an education for
me, because while many people welcomed me into their discussion, what I
discovered was that for many people, rational discussion has no room in
While rational people sympathise with Indira,
there are many people out there who despise her. Despise her so-called
“victimhood”. Despise the fact that she tenaciously goes against the
system, which allows her to live in this country.
on social media, you will discover that while most non-Malays view this
kidnapping as a transgression against a mother, there are many Muslims
who have no sympathy for Indira. They believe that her young daughter
was saved from an idol-worshipping culture and from her race, which they
define in the most racist of stereotypes.
my attention has been focused on the efforts of the government – or
lack thereof – to find this kidnapped child, the reality is there are
many Muslims in this country who do not view this as a kidnapping case.
I make the mistake of talking about Islamic extremism in the abstract,
talking about how political operatives make use of religion or how they
do not want to change the narrative. My young Muslim friends remind me
of the reality that there are many Muslims who are comfortable with the
mainstream narrative and not merely because of the entitlement it
brings. They are secure in the knowledge that their religion is the only
These are not stereotypical religious people. These are
educated people, some even Western-educated, who view Indira as some
sort of racial and religious provocateur whose intent is to tarnish
their religion by going against the rights of her husband. We see
this kind of thinking in the mainstream “Islamic” think tanks who have
been opposed to any kind of “just” resolution in cases like Indira
because they view any kind of (secular) interference in their religion
as a sign that Islam is under attack. So the tendency for people like me
is to put a target on them, without realising that their audience is
perhaps the greater danger.
We are not talking about racists or
bigoted comments online. Indira gets that from deranged partisan cretins
who view her and her case as inconsequential in the larger scheme of
things, and that she is a constant reminder of how Harapan is failing.
No, what I am talking about are the people who would support her
ex-husband Muhammad Riduan Abdullah because they believe it is their
Kidnapper has 'a support system'
believe if the state security apparatus wanted to find Indira’s
daughter, they could. I believe they have no interest in finding her. I
also believe this kidnapper has a support system which helps him evade
are so many ways Muhammad Riduan Abdullah could evade the law and it
does not have to include the complicity of the state security apparatus,
although I suspect they are complicit. What people fail to understand
is that the religious bureaucracy is a system of its own, with
tributaries that riddle the country.
It would not surprise me, if
there are enablers, who are average citizens, conspiring to keep this
child within Islam. I do not think these people consider Riduan as some
sort of religious martyr, but rather they believe that Indira’s daughter
belongs to them and their faith. It pains me to say this, but Indira's
daughter probably has been indoctrinated to believe the narrative of her
captors instead of her mother.
I get that all this is politically
incorrect to say. My mistake has been to focus on the obvious targets. I
forget that extreme religious polemics is not necessarily propaganda to
some people, but dogma. I forget that while some people can empathise
with the anguish of Indira, there are many who think that her child has
been saved and it is the people who support Indira who are the
All of this is part of the complex web of bigotry
and religious extremism that we are told is the fringe, but in reality,
is part of the mainstream of Malay society. You think that PAS is
tarnishing Islam? What about people who believe that Indira’s daughter
belongs to the Islamic faith? What about a system which has not
discovered the whereabouts of a kidnapped child because the child is a
Muslim? What about politicians who claim that Islam is a moderate
religion, but are quiet when it comes to the case of Indira?
is worse, a state security apparatus which could not be bothered to find
this kidnapped child, or the possibility that this kidnapped child is
living in a community which views her kidnapping as saving her from her
mother, her culture and her race, and have indoctrinated her?
Malaysiakini : “We are a party
for the Malays and bumiputera. Not just in name, but this party was
formed for the Malays whom we see now as having lost their protectors.”– Dr Mahathir Mohamad
| Let me get this out of the way. Maybe some of you think like this
too. I do not care that former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak is not
in jail. I am reasonably confident that the process that could put
him in jail is underway albeit at a snail’s pace because the nature of
his malfeasance, the scope of his criminality and the players involved
warrant slow meticulous, legal work. To claim that people are
disappointed in Pakatan Harapan because the former prime minister is not
in an orange jumpsuit is disingenuous.
Some people are
disappointed in Harapan not because the pace of reforms is slow but as
the months drag on, it is becoming obvious that Harapan has no intention
– unless forced to – to carry out its elections promises. In fact, if
they are not backtracking on campaign promises, they are outright
claiming that they have no intention of carrying them out.
removing Najib was the only reason you voted Harapan, then this is not
an issue for you. I would argue that if you are a non-Malay, you voted
for Harapan even with Bersatu in the mix because you thought that
finally, this country could move in a direction where Malay supremacy
and religious extremism would be tempered with egalitarian policies that
were needed in this fast-changing geopolitical landscape.
idea that only Mahathir can undo the damage he did displays a profound
lack of introspection by people making this argument. In addition, it is
naive. The road Malaysia was on was not created by Umno alone but
rather, a compliant polity who voted in the BN regime for decades and
often demonising the opposition as idealists or worse, claiming that the
opposition could not run the federal government.
There is this
dumb argument floating around that we should give Harapan more time
since BN had six decades (or thereabouts) to “destroy” this country.
This argument is not only ignorant, but it is also ahistorical. BN had
functional policies at various times (just ask the current prime
minister) and the opposition had a decade (or thereabouts) in control of
certain states to differentiate itself from the federal government.
are not talking about political newbies struggling with new-found
policy-making power but rather mainstream political cabals which
understand how the system works because most, if not all of them, were
practising the mainstream politics of BN.
When Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman claimed that Harapan may lose
the next general election if it pushes reforms too fast, he is merely
claiming that those ideas that the non-Malays (and some Malays) believe
in such as equality and secularism are anathema to how mainstream
political coalitions function in Malaysia.
This is not the fault
of Bersatu alone. This is also the fault of the non-Malay coalition
partners in Harapan. Everything is connected to race and religion in
this country; hence, even when it comes to reforms, which you would
think have nothing to do with race and religion, the Harapan government
What do people mean when they say Harapan is like BN? For someone like Terence Gomez, it has to do
with the economic institutions of this country and the similarities in
policy-making. For others, it is the similar Islamic narratives that
fuel a supremacist mindset in the greater Malay community. For most
though, it is the protectionist policies – economic and social – that
are the bedrock of “ketuanism”.
Pointless to defend
whenever Umno talked about “Malay” rights, they always had this useless
qualifier that the “rights” of the non-Malays would not be forgotten.
What did the MCA and MIC do? They dutifully nodded their heads and were
mocked by the then opposition. Now Bersatu makes the same claim
that Malay rights will be upheld but this does not mean the non-Malays
would be forgotten.
And what does the DAP – the dominant non-Malay power
structure - and the non-Malays in PKR do? They dutifully nod their
heads. If non-Malay rights were not forgotten, then something like recognising the United Examination Certificate (UEC)
would not be put in cold storage for the next five years to be “studied
with relevant parties” or the Harapan government would not be bending
over backwards to satisfy the religious extremists in this country.
is exactly the “social contract” of the BN regime and now Harapan,
which is why protestations that Harapan is not like BN are worthless. Honestly,
the MACC going after the former BN regime does not really inspire
confidence in me. When they start going after the Harapan establishment,
then I know that we have a truly independent institution.
keep telling Harapan political operatives who talk to me, there is only
so long that you can give them bread and circus. Sooner rather than
later, the people will be tired of the constant exposé of the corruption
of the former BN regime and those Malays who voted for Harapan will
want to know how exactly their lives have improved under a Mahathir
I want to know from the youth and sports minister is exactly which
social and economic reforms, if rushed too quickly, would lose the Malay
base? What institutional reforms, which if pushed too quickly, would
lose the Malay base.
Maybe if the young minister answered these
questions, people who have an issue with the non-existence of political
will when it comes to reforms would have a better understanding of what
is possible in this new Malaysia.
Until Harapan answers these
questions, it is pointless defending the idea that Harapan is not like
BN. Honestly, if Harapan just said that we were talking about those good
ideas of the BN regime and going back to basics before "you know who"
screwed it up, there would not have to be these articles defending
Harapan's nine-month record. It turning into BN is not the problem
especially if one (objectively) considers some of the policies which
did work or could have worked.
Claiming to be something else when you aren’t, is.