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“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

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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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”
COMMENT | 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 power brokers.
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.
It 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.
And 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.
The DAP 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 propaganda?
Here is the hard, bitter politically incorrect “truth”: either Harapan will stall our descent into a theocracy or they will enable it.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 11:18 AM   0 comments
The danger of IS returnees - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Malaysiakini : "Terrorism works better as a tactic for dictatorships, or for would-be dictators, than for revolutionaries." - Christopher Hitchens
COMMENT | 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.
The 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” than that.
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.

"She 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.
An important 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?
I 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.”

When 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 believe otherwise.
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:
“We 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 being 'un-Islamic'”.

Now 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.
The 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.
That’s 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 Muslim-majority country.
This really is a situation of chickens coming home to roost.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:48 AM   0 comments
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 CatAmendment 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
COMMENT | 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 young woman.
“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 opposition.”

There 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 enough.
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 point.
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 the state.
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.
How 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?
Have you 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 the abstract.
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 elections.
What Gobind is proposing is just another Harapan red herring.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:39 AM   0 comments
Mujahid Yusof Rawa is not a reformer like he claims he is - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, March 11, 2019
Zaid Ibrahim
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
COMMENT 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,"
However, 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.”
Obviously, 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.
I 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 it was.
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 bigger targets.

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.”
This 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?
There are 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.
I get 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?

Mujahid 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 expendable.
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.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 9:25 AM   0 comments
The real issue of the Umno-PAS union - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, March 09, 2019
UMNO - Piss oops PAS marriage
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
COMMENT | 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 power.
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.

Umno-PAS, 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 ran on.
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.
The 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:
“If 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.”
The 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.”
In that 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?”
He 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.

“You 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.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 2:30 PM   0 comments
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
COMMENT | 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.
The 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 Umno/PAS/Bersatu base.
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.
Could 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.

With 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 Umno/PAS union?
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 Malay hegemony.
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.

The 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.”
So 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.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 11:57 AM   0 comments
The MCA is right, but it's cold comfort - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, March 04, 2019
MCA's Wee Wee
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 loss in the Semenyih by-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.
This 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 is saying.

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
In 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.”
'Bangsa Malaysia'
Look, 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.
They 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 malaise system: “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.
Ultimately, 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.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 1:29 PM   0 comments
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
COMMENT | 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.
What 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?
When 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.
Picture 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.
More 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”.
Familiar terrain 
Look 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.
Before 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).
Make 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.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 3:08 PM   0 comments
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. “So 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 nor unexpected.
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 Malays.
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 his tent.
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.

There 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 Middle East.”
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 piece from the usual suspects, I received many emails from Malays overseas, who claimed that what Zaid two years ago was the right thing to do.
Many 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.”
As one 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.
Umno 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.

Say 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.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 2:37 PM   0 comments
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
COMMENT | 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 country.
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.
Attending 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 their worldview.
Indira Gandhi
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.
Reading comments 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.
While 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.
Admittedly, 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 truth.
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 religious obligation.
Kidnapper has 'a support system'
I 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 capture.

There 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 transgressors.
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?
What 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?
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 5:33 PM   0 comments
Harapan turning into BN is not the problem - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Our "Great Leader"
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
COMMENT | 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.
Now, if 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.
This 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.

We 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 is backtracking.
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
Look, 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.
This 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.
And I 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 stewardship.

What 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.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 5:19 PM   0 comments

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