Why even bother with religious dialogues? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, November 17, 2018
Malaysiakini : “One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.” ― Thomas Paine, ‘The Age of Reason’
COMMENT | An irate Malaysiakini subscriber emailed me about Abdul Hadi Awang’s callfor
Christian priests and Christians to have a dialogue with Muslim
preachers like Zakir Naik to find the “truth” instead of distributing
Christian literature. I have no idea what having a dialogue has to do with proselytisation, which is illegal to do to Muslims in Malaysia anyway.
is easy to caricature someone like Hadi – I have done it a couple of
times. But what Hadi said is calling for an SOP (standard operating
procedure) for the Islamists in this country. I am also talking about
the Islamists within Pakatan Harapan and political operatives (including
non-Muslims) who profit from sustaining a particular narrative of Islam
in this country.
What Hadi said is exactly the kind of rhetoric
coming out from New Malaysia politicians. Every time when a question of
religious policy or trespass crops up, the federal government makes a
big show and dance about how they will consult with religious scholars
to determine the best Muslim outcome available.
Never mind that
religious policy should be set forward by the political body and
enforced by the religious bureaucracy. To argue that nominal heads of
religion set religious policy is disingenuous considering the way how
the legislative body has set the religious agenda in this country.
normally means caving into the “group think” that purports to be the
sole Islamic narrative in this country. This also means that the
so-called moderate, liberal or whatever else kind of Muslim in this
country is left out in the cold. I have often argued that the Harapan
government is not setting the Islamic agenda in this country but instead
allowing the Umno-PAS combo to define the narrative.
understand the kind of flip-flopping that goes on in the establishment
when it comes to Islam in this country, consider the brouhaha that
erupted when Islamic Affairs Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa was offended by
headline in The Star that (gasp!) implied that the Harapan
regime was, by implication, a moderate Islamic entity because it would
cease intruding into the private sphere of Muslims.
I said this
earlier: “The prime minister backing up Mujahid's stance that the
federal government will not intrude into the private sphere of Muslims
in this country is a good first step. Reading the old maverick's rather
forceful defence of Mujahid policy intent and the kind of Islam Harapan
wants to promote is a positive indication that (perhaps) this was really
a new-ish Malaysia.”
The above is important for various
reasons but the most important of which is that the prime minister was
actually attempting to change the narrative
– even though there is ample evidence when he was prime minister the
first time around, he played footsie with Islamists – and this
opportunity was lost when a supposed moderate Muslim (with federal
power) decided it was better singing an Umno-PAS tune instead of coming
up with another one.
Harapan fails to capitalise on its power
A couple of months ago, I took a swipe at Bersatu’s Rais Hussin for justifying moderate stances using Islamic dogma. I
cannot remember exactly where I said this, but I said it. At the time,
it made perfect sense to me. However, of late, I have been talking to
many young Muslim religious operatives and I can sense their frustration
when it comes to Islam and politics in this country.
where they operate, Islam has a far greater pull than the various
pecuniary scandals that brought down the Najib regime. While these
young Muslims worked in various political parties and aligned with
various factions within Malay power structures, they could all agree on
one thing - that “secular” Muslim narratives were doing more damage to
the Harapan-Islamic cause than the machinations of Umno-PAS.
you, they were also concerned about the influence of Umno political
operatives upon Harapan, but I think this has more to do with political
survival than any principled stand. Anyway, the consensus was that
Harapan had failed to capitalise on its power and introduce a moderate
alternative to the hard line of PAS and now, Umno. The problem was that Harapan was failing to use Islam to project a moderate Islam because:
those moderate Islamic preachers, activists and intellectuals were not invited to the table and,
Harapan politburo was more interested in covering their asses when
provocations were thrown their way, instead of justifying their moderate
stand using religious sources.
One of young Islamic
activists who is involved in student politics said that while people
such as lawyers Latheefa Koya and Siti Kassim were needed, what was more
important is that the Harapan political elite be brave enough to
confront the Islamists from PAS and Umno using interpretations of the
Quran which highlighted the “good side” of the religion.
To say I
am sceptical of this, would be an understatement. I wrote this when
questioning the moderation of Mujahid: “Would someone like Mujahid ever
say ‘no parent can ever unilaterally convert a child’? He may find it in
some obscure Islamic jurisprudence, or who knows, maybe even consult
the work of the late Kassim Ahmad – but non-Muslims would still be at
the mercy of the possibility of him finding something ‘fair’ in the
Islamic canon or not finding anything at all.”
But who knows?
Maybe these young people have the right notion. What they are most angry
about is not that Islam is used in politics but rather that this
Harapan regime is not using Islam as a means of transmitting moderate
“Everything can be found in the Quran, Commander,” a young
Muslim activist told me. I do not know whether to be afraid or hope that
she is right. Harapan has, at its disposal, a vast array of
propaganda tools which it could use. These tools permit Harapan to
broadcast its so-called moderate agenda into the homes of millions of
Muslims in this country.
The question is, will Harapan politicians
do this? Will they create their own narrative instead of cowardly
allowing the likes of Umno-PAS to control the narrative because they
fear they will lose the Malay vote?
All I know is that the next
time someone like Rais Hussin uses Islamic dogma to justify a moderate
position or the prime minister makes a statement about Islam which is in
direct opposition to the mainstream narratives, I hope the Muslim
members of Harapan show a bit of cojones and back up the statements
instead of siding with the extremists.
Until there is an official
counter-narrative of Islam in this country put forth by the
establishment, there is no point in having “religious dialogues”.
Death penalty - who is up for a killing? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Malaysiakini : “But secondly you say ‘society must exact vengeance, and society
must punish’. Wrong on both counts. Vengeance comes from the individual
and punishment from God.” ― Victor Hugo, ‘The Last Day of a Condemned Man’
COMMENT | I have never had a
problem with the idea of killing but I am one of those people who is
against the death penalty. When Pakatan Harapan promised to abolish the
death penalty, I was all for it. I still am. With the cabinet decision
of abolishing the death penalty for 32 offences including murder, the Harapan government is on its way of removing the death penalty from our judicial system.
The recent case of a toddler who died
because of a sexual assault, however, has brought forth the revenge
fantasies of those who are for the death penalty and, of course,
political operatives who are ever ready to pander to angry mobs. The
horrific death of an infant offers the opportunity for some to put
forward the idea that the death penalty be retained for certain cases.
This is morally and intellectually reprehensible but predictable.
Does everyone who kills an infant deserve death? Would it matter if
that person were mentally ill or in drug-induced fugue? What of people
who intentionally kill babies? I once had an interesting conversation with a police officer. She was
part of a team attempting to find a young teen who had thrown her
new-born baby into a storm drain. The baby’s body was smashed to a
bloody pulp when it hit the pavement. I do not know why but what I kept
imagining was the baby gurgling with laughter or wailing in frustration
as the infant dropped to the pavement.
Does this girl deserve the death penalty, I asked this middle-aged
Muslim police officer. “Unlike many in my religion who believe
otherwise, I know only God can punish with death, Thaya” and added, “but
I hope this young girl feels so guilty that she kills herself before we
I thought that was an honest reply, especially in the context of
divine punishment as the only form of “justice” in the Victor Hugo (photo)
quote that opens this piece. One sin leads to another and some sort of
divine justice is achieved. Or so the godly think. Do you have a problem
with killing a child because he or she killed an infant?
Do it yourself
Any discussion of the death penalty devolves into an emotional
argument which I find hypocritical. Self-righteousness is always easy.
Some people when arguing about the death penalty attempt rhetorical
challenges like, “imagine if your family member was raped or killed,
would you not want the death penalty then?” or some variant of this line
of argumentation. This is silly for two reasons.
The first is what about those people who have lost loved one through
violence but who are against the death penalty? Is it so hard to believe
that people could possibly not want the state to execute people on
their behalf? Is it so hard to believe that for some the bereavement
process does not include or end with the death of the perpetrator? This is not only a failure of imagination but also ignorance of the
nuance of death penalty debates. Don't the voices of compassion carry as
much weight as those of retribution?
Yes, you will never really know how you will react until it happens
to you. You may want to kill the person who did this your loved one or
you may see no reason or comfort in the vengeance by proxy of the state.
And this is where the first component of Hugo’s quote about individual
vengeance comes into play. An honest hypothetical when it comes to the death penalty is this. If
someone you knew wanted to kill the perpetrator of a heinous crime
visited on his or her family, what would you say if there was no death
penalty? Would you say let the law handle it instead of your friend
committing a crime?
Or would your friend’s grief outweigh the consequences by the state,
especially if the state does not have the death penalty and you really
did believe that some people deserved death? I know what I would say. As
I said, I never had a problem with the idea of killing.
You can’t imagine how it feels when someone you loved is violently
taken for you. You cannot understand the desire for vengeance. Some
people want the perpetrator to die and want the state to kill them. Some
people have no such interest and believe that the state cannot make
such decisions. If it sounds as if I am saying that immediate family members should be able to kill the perpetrators of violent crimes, then
this is exactly what I am saying.
I loved to see the day when a political operative says that we do not
have the death penalty but when it comes to crimes like murder and
rape, then the exception is that the family members themselves can kill
the perpetrators to avenge their loved ones but the state will not do it
for them. Wouldn’t that be something?
Which crime deserves death?
I suppose there are statistics for and against the efficacy of the
death penalty but do those statistics matter when it comes to the grief
and vengeance that we are told is paramount by people who advocate the
death penalty. While I do not have an issue with individual vengeance, I do have a
problem with the state dealing in death. I do have a problem with how
the state defines crimes that necessitate the death penalty. I do have a
problem with the legal process which differentiates between classes of
people and the consequences of the crimes they commit. When it comes to
different types of crimes, the idea that some crimes are deserving of
death is always debatable. This is the most important reason why the
state should not have the power to kill people.
I think rape is probably the most heinous crime a person could
commit. Nearly every survivor I have spoken to says the crime has
changed them. Each of them in their own way has articulated the same
theme, which is the constant struggle to connect to normalcy, the
struggle to connect with other people. In worse cases, they are
estranged from the rest of humanity. Think about how rape is viewed in
patriarchy, which is why there will never be a death penalty for such
cases unless the victim dies, even though surviving rape often seems
like living with a death sentence.
Drug offences? Most people who are hung for this offence are so low
down the criminal food chain, their effects on society are minimal at
best. The real drug entrepreneurs are living in luxury. Most of them are
politically connected. Most of them laundering their money through
institutions that good god-fearing people use.
When not busy corrupting the state security apparatus, they are
corrupting the political process. Does the death penalty really seem
appropriate for those people who are so low down the food chain while
the real masterminds are probably propping up the banking institutions
and the economy of the country?
China shoots people for corruption. If there should be an exception
to the death penalty, is this it? Or maybe not. Maybe hard labour the
length of which is determined by the amount stolen. When it comes to the death penalty, the state is not an honest actor. How could it be? The legal process is flawed, weighted to specific racial and class
biases – my personal favourite is that retired judge who said that
Muslims are more trustworthy than non-Muslims - there is enough evidence
to support this.
The system defines crimes worthy of the death penalty is flawed and
open to debate, which makes it a tragedy that the state has the power of
life and death over its citizens. The security apparatus is corrupt and
open to interference. Our penal system is a breeding ground for
criminals and indeed perpetuates a cycle of violence and corruption. Let
us not even talk about the ridiculous religious justifications for the
We hand over too much power to the state even though we know the
system is compromised. You do not have to believe in god to understand
what Chekhov means - “The State is not God. It has not the right to take
away what it cannot restore when it wants to.”
(Full disclosure: Zaid Ibrahim is a friend and I edited a collection of his articles.)
COMMENT | The best way to describe Zaid Ibrahim’s political career is that it is a self-inflicted wound. People tell me that when they read my articles about what the former
de facto law minister said or did, their takeaway is always “Can Zaid
ever play well with others?” Whether he was slaying Malay sacred cows or giving the middle finger
to whoever is supporting him at the time, he has always been an
interesting political operative to write about.
After May 9, I saw it coming. I was wondering when Zaid would upset
the apple cart, and say something that would bother the power brokers in
Pakatan Harapan. Truth be told, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. What most people – sometimes even this writer – do not understand is
why Zaid is so eager to burn bridges. As he once told me, sometimes
there is no diplomatic way to put things. I, of course, disagreed with
him on this.
A higher standard
Mostly though, I think he wrongly assumed that when he wrote the way
he did, especially if it was shining a light on the underbelly of
politics, it would be embraced by an audience who were sceptical of
power. He never understood the partisan fervour that tore him to pieces when
he wrote on subjects which he believed would truly save Malaysia.
Politicians play fast and loose with the facts, but someone like Zaid is
held to a higher standard. And rightly so.
The irony of course is that what Zaid said about former finance minister Daim Zainuddin and the business interests that linger around the Harapan political elite had been spoken about since the Council of Eminent persons came to be. Political operatives from both sides of the political divide have
painted Daim as some sort of Rasputin skulking around the motley
collection of political operatives who surround the old maverick Dr
Mahathir Mohamad. Even prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim had made
comments about Daim in the past.
Zaid just said what some people have been saying ever since Daim
started making statements which sounded like official Harapan policy
positions. The problem is not the political baggage of people like Daim
and Mahathir, but rather the enabling that the other parties have to do
to maintain the new normal in Malaysian politics. Zaid said that in his last testament that finance minister Lim Guan Eng called him to say that his remark was not based on fact, and suggested that he make a retraction. What horse manure is this?
If Zaid’s statement was not based on fact, then the Harapan apparatus
should refute it with facts, instead of asking him to fall on his
sword. Has anyone even read Zaid's blog post about his advice to Umno, which has left some in the Harapan political elite butthurt?
Do I care that Daim and the corporate elite have influence in Harapan
economic policy? This is a capitalist democracy, no matter what some
people say of this being an Islamic state. Check that; even if this were
some sort of moderate Islamic paradise, plutocrats would still have
influence on the economic policy of this country.
Besides, in numerous forums before May 9, then-opposition supporters
were talking about the wealth of talent that Mahathir could draw from to
save Malaysia. And yes, Daim, for better or worse, is the perceived stable hands
that the country was in for decades, where the majority of people voted
for BN and the opposition was mocked and vilified as idealistic dreamers
who were all talk and no action.
That is Malaysian politics for you. View everything ahistorically, and then selectively when it suits your agenda. I think the real issue here was not that Zaid attacked Mahahtir (photo) or Daim, but rather the economic policies that were being propagated.
As economist Thomas Sowell says, there are no solutions, only
trade-offs. Which is why – and some will not like me saying this – the
economic policies of the Harapan government will ultimately rest on its
utilitarian value to the Malay community, which will determine the
future of the Malay power structures in the coalition. It is these structures within Harapan which will determine if there is a Harapan at all.
Read Zaid's advice to Umno and tell me it does not apply to Malay
power structures in general, but specifically those that will exist as
we enter a post-Mahathir political landscape: “The next leader must be able to talk to taxi drivers about his plans
without banning Grab. He must be able to tell the Malays how he plans
to cut out greed and curb crookedness in the way power is exercised.
“Any Malay party that can instil values such as honesty and integrity
in our political culture, and help nurture the Malays to be successful,
will get support.” The value of Zaid is his outlier status, which of course means that
his political career took a back seat to the “real stuff” he often
lamented people were not interested in.
His partisan pieces were well received, but his indictments of the
system and the personalities that found succour in the system were met
with much consternation by the political elites of this country and
their base. I have no idea why Zaid wants to give up writing. There is a
difference between speaking truth to power – even when flawed – and a
political career. I know this having talked to him before May 9 about
his political career being over.
Giving up writing is just another self-inflicted wound, but then
again, with the players involved in this tragicomedy which is the new
Malaysia, maybe it is self-preservation. I will end this piece with Zaid’s own words. It is his response to a
question I asked him about the trust issues some in the then-opposition
had with him:
“I am surprised to know that I have ‘trust' issues amongst the people
who will vote Pakatan. I always thought if there is a scale that we can
measure integrity, honesty and commitment to worthy principles, I would
rate highly. “What sort of leader can we trust? Surely someone who has proven by
his actions to defend the rule of law and the rights of the people. I
have done that. I have given up my job for that principle.
“I have had no scandals, no impropriety of any kind. I have been
consistent in my speeches and in my writings about what I believe in. I
believe in a secular democracy, in equality and freedom of all
Malaysians. I never fudge on these issues. So on what score was I
Is it possible for Harapan to cease the blame game? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Malaysiakini : “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” ― Calvin Coolidge, former US president
COMMENT | Now-retired Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) chairperson Daim Zainuddin’s rejoinder to the Pakatan Harapan government to stop playing the blame game is one of the more honest moments the establishment has had since gaining power on May 9.
It has got to a point where every time the new government is
waffling, demurring or flat-out reneging on their campaign promises or
proposing unpopular policies, they blame the former Umno regime. (Same like the Nigra Barrack Obama blaming Bush) The minority (voters) who voted the Umno government out do indeed
know why they are happy to see the fall of Umno, but for the majority
Malays who voted for Umno and PAS, all they see is the new
administration blaming the people they voted for, Umno and PAS.
They read about partisans who mock the Umno base, even though the
Malay power structures in Harapan are desperate to shore up Malay
support with the elected reps from the disgraced Najib regime. Part of this is because of the platform that Harapan ran on. Before
joining Harapan, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in various
interviews claimed that the primary goal was to remove a kleptocrat and
that there were other “issues” that he could work with the Harapan
coalition on but which were secondary.
When he formally joined Harapan, he had to sublimate his own baggage
of autocratic tendencies to work out a compromise with Harapan brokers
that included a host of issues that were related to reforming the
system. He had to do this because his political party Bersatu was literally a
newborn while the other partners in the coalition excluding Amanah,
already had an established base with ideas of institutional reforms
which would truly save Malaysia. The formation of Bersatu itself was one
of racial necessity, or at least this was the coalition's party line.
Remember, it was not as if systemic corruption was unheard of in
Malaysia. It is pointless dragging up the polemics of the then
opposition when it came to the corruption and abuse of power during
Mahathir's regime. The fact is that Najib’s regime corruption was so blatant, the
regime’s attempt to stifle dissent so heavy-handed and its attempts to
shore up Malay/Muslim support so detrimental to non-Malay interests,
that a sufficiently diverse minority was moved to replace Umno/BN.
When Daim says that Harapan needs to fulfil its election manifesto,
the reality is that the current prime minister has admitted that the
campaign manifesto is a fiction based on the belief that Harapan could
not win this election. In other words, it was a “say anything”
manifesto. This, of course, was met with blowback from other Harapan coalition
members but the cynicism of the old maverick’s statement is the kind of
realpolitik that he and his kind of politicians have trafficked for
Blaming a kleptocrat is easy. The real problem starts when the Harapan regime has to differentiate itself from the Umno regime. This is where the trouble starts. It started when Harapan began waffling about removing certain laws. Indeed, anecdotally speaking, there are more Harapan political
operatives, Malay and non-Malay, who want election promises kept - or so
they tell me - than the politburo of Harapan which has never failed to
find an opportunity to blame the former regime for Harapan's lack of
political will to carry out changes.
This is not that straw man argument about giving the coalition more
time. There are already apologists who claim that the 100-day promises
are a burden too heavy to carry. This is about outright not fulfilling
promises and cynically expecting the base to support such decisions.
The shackles of reforms
And this is the problem right here. We are dealing with politicians
whose currency is autocracy and a supplicating base, which was the norm
for decades. These so-called reforms in the Harapan manifesto are in
reality shackles for politicians who are used to dealing with the
public, not as servants of the state, but rather as potentates to be
Part of this is partisan politics, of course. These days, Mahathir
has a loyal following in the Harapan political elite and amongst a
certain segment of the Harapan base. He gets to accept someone like Mustapa Mohamed - better known as Tok
Pa - into Bersatu, claiming that the criteria for such entry was that
Tok Pa had been cowed when it came to standing up to Najib. One assumes,
I suppose, that his cowardice evaporates before the majesty of Mahathir
and he will suddenly discover the strength to fight for his constituents now that he is in Bersatu.
When Cynthia Gabriel of the Governance, Integrity, Accountability and
Transparency (Giat) coalition threatens to name and shame establishment
politicians who do not declare their full assets and not just their
incomes, she is vilified on social media. Cynthia is just doing her job like she was when she was speaking
truth to Umno power, but now, she is vilified. One Harapan political
operative even emailed me asking where “she gets her funding from”.
Before May 9, when Cynthia had said the same when she was raging
against Umno hegemony, Harapan partisans were ready to canonise her.
This same political operative was worrying about her safety. As for what she thinks of her job, Cynthia said it all here,
when she accepted the US-based National Endowment for Democracy’s (NED)
2017 Democracy Award: “This is not something (in which) we can just say
'enough', or it’s time to shirk away and do nothing about it. It is
important to stay the course, fight the good fight, it is important to
seek the truth.”
You see, what is important is not just removing the kleptocrat. What
differentiated Harapan from Umno/BN was those promises in the manifesto
which curtailed executive power, restored individual freedoms, reformed
public institutions, and, most importantly, curtailed the power of the
state security apparatus to hamper all of the above.
I mean, for a time there was talk of hate speech laws.
This from a coalition which was targeted by the Umno state using
instruments of the state for speaking truth to power. At a time when the
Harapan government were waffling on repealing laws which limited our
freedoms, there was actually talk of creating new laws which did the
Then, of course, Mahathir says this for justifying
the retention of the Official Secrets Act 1972: "The law is not
perfect. It is open to abuse, but you hope to find people who will not
break the law, who will obey the rule of law. That is what is important. “The last government did not follow the rule of law. They did what
they liked with the law. The main thing is to find a government that
will not break the laws."
Does anyone really think that we have found a government which does not break laws?
Why bother ratifying Icerd? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Anonymous #07988903 : The answer to your question:" Is there an expiry date on the psychological loss of the Malay community?" is "never". Until and unless the Malays themselves come to acknowledge their own weaknesses and stop blaming others because of their unwillingness to step out of the "fire wall" of self-deluded supremacy psyche, they will forever be afraid of their own shadows while the world has moved forward.
The glaring failure of the top echelon of the Malay leaderships in UMNO is for all to see if we believe the idea of Ketuanan is anything but good. The down side of this mindset not only is detrimental to the community as a whole, it also hindered the progress of this nation because of the pulling effect on the other races.A while ago, when I went to downtown KL, I was surprised to see many of the shops near the Jalan Tun Perak are occupied by the Bangladeshi.If there is anything to learn from this reality is this:
Even the more enterprising immigrants Bangladeshi and Indonesians are already ahead of the local Malays, while they still singing the supremacy tune. They can continue to shout Ketuanan until kingdom comes, very soon their bosses are no longer Chinese, but Indonesians or Bangladeshi or even those from Myanmar!
Malaysiakini : “However much history may be invoked in support of these policies
(affirmative action), no policy can apply to history but can only apply
to the present or the future. The past may be many things, but it is
clearly irrevocable. Its sins can no more be purged than its
achievements can be expunged. Those who suffered in centuries past are
as much beyond our help as those who sinned are beyond our retribution.”
― Thomas Sowell, ‘Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality’
COMMENT | I may have said this
differently elsewhere, but at this point, why bother ratifying the
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
This idea of Malay special rights or privileges and the affirmative
action policies wrapped up in the propaganda of race and religion has
been exposed for the sham that it is. The latestmissive
from the culture war about Icerd by Chandra Muzaffar, one of Malaysia’s
most well-known public intellectuals, makes for depressing reading.
While the thrust of the piece was optimistic, in the sense that
Chandra advocates taking certain steps that are in the spirit of Icerd,
it still makes for bleak reading. For the most part, though, it was a
kind of justification (maybe unintentional) for the aggrieved feelings
of the Malay community (or the right and centre of the political
spectrum) to perpetuate a system which has demonstrated that it cannot
withstand moral or intellectual scrutiny.
It also places the non-Malay intelligentsia as part of the problem,
which mainstream Malay politics routinely does, instead of part of the
solution in dismantling a compromised system. While there is some truth
in that, it is pointless asking everyone to come together on an issue
which is fundamentally about the rights of everyone versus the
privileges that come with being in the majority.
Chandra reminds non-Malay “elites” and opinion-makers to demonstrate a
deeper understanding of the Malay situation, which is the psychological
loss of becoming a community among communities. The way to appreciate
this sentiment is to accept a simple historical fact that Malaysia
evolved from a Malay sultanate system.
This is really a strange thing to say, because who the Malays are
today has more to do with our colonial legacy, the social engineering of
political power structures, state-sanctioned propaganda, the change of
demographics through illegal and legal immigration and the influence of
Islam over the Malay polity.
If the Malay community has this psychological loss, imagine what it
must be for the Orang Asal in Malaysia. Not only are they a community
among communities, but they are also a minority among those communities
without a political voice except the one co-opted by the state.
In other words, whatever issues the Malays are grappling with today
has roots in a system which has very little to do with the Malay
sultanate system but everything to do with the colonial and
post-colonial strategies of the Malay elite, which does not necessarily
include the royalty.
A bogus threat
I just do not get it. Anecdotally speaking, when talking to
working-class Malays, for instance, what they tell me is that they are
not competing economically with the Chinese and Indians but rather with
foreign nationals. While religion is an equalising balance when it comes to these
foreign nationals, Malay nationalists complain that Islam has to be
protected from elements which would change the nature of the Malay
Meanwhile, Malays who support Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) for
instance still believe in Islam, which they say is compatible with
socialism on a thematic level, but mainstream Malay politics demonises
them as traitors of their religion. So I may be wrong - and god knows if I am, I never had a problem
admitting such in public - but this idea that the non-Malays are an
existential threat to Malay identity and economic survival is bogus.
Indeed, the problem has always been started by the narrative of the
Malay political elite and the enabling of non-Malay political
operatives, which presupposes that the Malay community is invested in
their narratives because the state funds activities that ensure
compliance through religion and racial fearmongering. Forget about the fact that affirmative action for the majority is
really a form of apartheid. Yes, I know, I hate people using that term.
However, when you have a set of policies which favours the majority
community, wrapped up in propaganda that the community will always need
assistance, and equate this with the affirmative action policies of
other countries seeking to equalise the field for minorities in those
countries, there is very little to discuss except to define the practice
with a term that most accurately reflects it, hyperbolic though it may
be. Chandra argues that the community's power and strength are derived
from the community’s dominance - by policy, not by merit – of public
institutions. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it is a
If anything, our blame for our failing institutions has been laid at
the Malay door precisely because those institutions have been defined by
race. This reinforces the siege mentality that Malay political
operatives like to talk about and furthers anti-minority narratives
which are the foundation of mainstream Malay politics.
But really, what has this got to do with anything? In contemporary
Malaysia, the existential question facing the Malay community, is why,
if they are supreme, do they seem so powerless in the face of a system
that purportedly represents their interest?
A baseline of democracy
A common refrain before the election was that the Chinese community
controlled everything and now, they want to control the politics of this
country. After May 9, the non-Malay political elite in this country have
settled down into their roles as enablers of Malay politics. Even when
it comes to issues like freedom of information, for instance, DAP’s
Steven Sim reminds us that certain values and “traditional worldviews”
have to be taken into account.
As I wrote:
“Since coming into power, non-Malay political operatives have suddenly
become sensitive to what MCA and MIC went through all those years,
kowtowing to a certain racial group, and justifying such actions with
dodgy ideological claptrap, like social contract and power-sharing.”
Look, say what you want about the Umno regime, but Chandra was
correct when he claimed that “rigid employment requirements in the 80s
yielded to more flexible approaches from the 90s onwards. For almost two
decades now, ethnic quotas are not adhered to in certain faculties in
various public universities.”
So historically, this idea of racial and religious supremacy was always a flexible idea with the Malay political elite. Everybody keeps talking about taking the middle path in this issue.
The problem is that there is no middle path to this issue. When we talk
about the principles of something like Icerd, we are not talking about
vague theories that help define democracy. We are talking about a
baseline of democracy.
But again, at this point, I really do not care if Icerd is ratified. I
really do not think things will change unless the narrative changes.
Until then I will keep asking, is there an expiry date on the
psychological loss of the Malay community?
Who else was afraid of Najib? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, November 05, 2018
Malaysiakini : “All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies.” - John Arbuthnot
COMMENT | When the Pakatan
Harapan grand poobah claims that BN elected representatives will not be
allowed to join Bersatu en masse but instead have to go through a
“vetting” process, what the hell does this even mean?
The only elected reps that could join Bersatu are Umno elected reps.
This whole horse manure about vetting and standing for independents is
really just a fait accompli. And this – “Not those people who’ve got a charge against them” – is
really quite sinister. I mean if the state were really interested in
going after the den of thieves, which is what Harapan more or less
called Umno before May 9, then there really would not be anyone left
standing in Umno to cross over, right? So are there any ordinary members
who “just wanted to be elected representatives” in Umno?
This would mean you have to believe that there are Umno elected
representatives who did not want a first class ticket on the gravy
train? This would mean that you have to believe that there are elected
representatives who did not partake in the gravy train which was the
When Dr Mahathir Mohamad says that these elected representatives have
to be independents first but support the government, does anyone else
see how farcical this statement is? How can you be “independent” but
have to support the government? Although “appealing on bent knees” is exactly the kind of Mahafiraun
statement that gets a certain segment of the Malay polity worked up.
This, of course, will no doubt fire a very specific extremist base,
which poses far more of a danger to Malaysia than Harapan supporters
think that Umno does.
Of course, attempting to legally go after all these Umno miscreants
is problematic. For one it takes time. The Attorney-General’s Chambers
is already deep in covering the 1MDB scandal and of course the current
Umno president's scandal. Going after every elected Umno member is mendacious, considering those who left did not exactly join Harapan with clean hands. Systemic Umno corruption is just that a complicated web of
personalities, familial kinship and political alliances all wrapped
around the upper echelons of a bureaucracy divided into various petty
We are talking about decades of malfeasance with a cast of characters
that could very well include the reformers that are saving Malaysia
today. Besides, Mahathir has many loyalists from the old Umno regime who
were no doubt loyal to their old patron. These people no doubt helped
Bersatu in many ways before May 9 and are just waiting to cross over to
the new mothership. This is politics and someone like Mahathir has spent decades cultivating people who were loyal to him but publicly towed the
Washing away sins
While Mahathir entertains the idea of crossovers, Lim Kit Siang is
telling us that Umno is naïve to believe that it can wash its hands off
the 1MDB fiasco. When Kit Siang writes
something like this – “How else to square with over RM400 million of
1MDB funds disbursed to various Umno organisations and personalities?” –
what else could it mean but that the whole of Umno was involved in the
1MDB fiasco and that nobody is innocent in Umno.
Of course, if you left Umno and joined Harapan before May 9, then
your sins were washed away. Can anyone really make the claim that the
Bersatu folks are clean of the corruption that apparently was destroying
this country? Can anyone seriously make the claim that the then opposition knew
that they were essentially throwing in with people who knew exactly what
was going on but chose not to do anything until the old maverick
discovered that Umno was not bending to his will and left to form
I mean, really, when our prime minister says that someone like Tok Pa (Mustapa Mohamed, photo) was afraid to speak up against Najib Abdul Razak hence his entry into Bersatu was kosher, does this make any sense to anyone?
Suddenly people are talking about how Tok Pa was one of the better
Umno leaders, forgetting the fact that he was vilified (rightly so in my
opinion) by Harapan for toeing the Najib line. Who else was afraid of
Najib who now can be embraced into the bosom of Harapan?
Ramkarpal Singh said all there was to say about this when he reminded Harapan that it was a betrayal
of the mandate given to Harapan to accept crossovers. However, the
reality is that Bersatu or any other party entertaining the idea of
accepting these crossovers are not really interested in the elected
What they really are interested is in the Malay majority seats these
representatives bring and the base who voted for them. As one Bersatu
“online activist” told me – I like her a lot because unlike other
Harapan strategist she does not shovel horse manure in my direction –
that the goal is to get the representative, but replace him or her as
soon as possible with a “clean” candidate in the next general election.
The base will vote for the Bersatu candidate as they would have done
for the Umno candidate. People crossing over does not mean they want a
political career – some do – but what they want is their sins washed
away. “Like that Omar (from The Wire) quote, you like so much, Thaya,
the game is out there, either you play or get played,” the strategist
This is the reality. Umno members are going to join Harapan. Bersatu
cannot allow Umno to survive, especially with the internal schisms in
PKR. The big question is, how much of a fight Harapan is going to put up
and will the Harapan base, enamoured by the old maverick, going to
acquiesce to a BN redux?
Before the election when Mahathir went to the DAP convention and said
“I see amongst DAP members that some have a darker skin, some are a bit
brown, and not all are yellow and so on. No such thing, it’s just the
three races here.” Did anyone really believe, at that time, that there
were yellow-bellied Umno members waiting for the Messiah to lead them
out of the darkness?
Anonymous 9916 : Well, Malaysia did not nip this scourge in the bud when it was needed. As we know certain people, certain groups, definitely certain states and certain political parties promote racism, hate culture, religious extremism and.bigotry. And please, the authorities and govt agencies, don't pretend as if you don't already know this had been happening since a long time ago. BTN, certain Islamist NGOs, certain persons (like Zakir Naik, Ibrahim Ali) had been allowed to run wild without prosecution. Those are some of the reasons this country is faced with this issue. The authorities are trying to make us all think, this problem is new, that is all hogwash.
This issue has been festering a long time. That's what happens when you allow govt agencies, individuals, political parties (like UMNO and PAS), to run wild with their brand of racism, hate rethorics and religious extremism. More appalling is that certain govt religious agencies have been accused of promoting these extremism and also involved in intimidation, even kidnapping, which is scary, isn't it? So, go on. Keep allowing these bigoted people, parties and agencies to promote their brand of extremism and this is what you'll get. Lets start calling a spade, a spade. Stop the denial. Be accountable.
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | Last month, the Royal
Malaysian Police (PDRM) arrested five suspected terrorists, among them
three foreigners including a former member of the Al Qaeda. They also
arrested a woman and a man from Sabah who were involved in terrorist
financing. Meanwhile, two months ago, the PDRM detained eight suspected
terrorists in Perlis comprising seven foreigners and a Malaysian.
Their aim was to establish a learning centre promoting Salafi
Jihadism in Southeast Asia. Last July, the PDRM also arrested another
seven suspected terrorists including three Indonesians and a woman who
were sending money regularly to Abu Gomez, a Malaysian terrorist in
According to PDRM, since February 2013 more than 400 suspected
terrorists have been arrested including more than 40 women. Recently,
the inspector-general of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun stated that a total
of 45 foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) have been detained since early
this year and most of them are ISIS-linked terrorists. The current
pattern of terrorist activities in Malaysia is startling.
The influx of FTFs from various foreign countries is a matter of
concern. These FTFs are from Europe, the US, the Middle East, South
Asia, East Asia and South East Asia. In my opinion, Malaysia is becoming a conducive environment or an
incubator for terrorist groups like Isis, Al Qaeda, the Abu Sayyaf
Group, the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation, the Jammtul Mujahideen, the
Lashkar-E-Taiba and other extremist groups who spread their ideology to
influence Malaysians to declare war on their own nation. In addition,
they also want to recruit locals based on their false religious
teachings by declaring the Malaysian democratic system as “toghut”, that
Further, the significant rise of women participation in terrorist
activities - especially in financing matters – is evident because they
pose less risk. Further, the terrorist groups view the contribution of
women highly and they are considered an integral part of terrorist
The vigorous movement of terrorist groups within Malaysia indicates
that they are no longer interested in parallel activities outside of
Malaysia. Another serious indication is the rise in the detention of
women and foreigners for terrorist-related offences here. Therefore,
there is a very high possibility for terrorists to launch an attack in
Malaysia by targeting public places and prominent people.
Unfortunately, there are now calls by NGOs and human right
organisations in Malaysia to abolish security legislation like the
Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) and the Prevention
of Terrorism Act (Pota) When there is a conflict between individual rights and the rights of a
nation and its people, which one is more important? Can we allow one
person or a group of people to destroy this nation by killing innocent
children and women in the name of religion or the ideology they
We must be foolish to believe that these hardcore terrorists who do
not accept our belief system will not harm us in the future. We must
recognise that these terrorists are a totally different breed of people.
For them, their ideology is the way of their life. They are very
difficult to reform. The classic example is Yazid Sufaat.
The real hypocrites
Under the Federal Constitution, Malaysians enjoy fundamental
liberties like the liberty of the person, protection against
retrospective criminal laws and repeated trials, equality and freedom of
speech, assembly and association. The question is whether these liberties can be a reason to undermine the peace and security of this nation.
I am a strong believer in the rule of law. The law must protect the
people. The requirement of human rights is fundamental in any legal
system. According to the World Justice Project's definition, the rule of
law is encompassed with accountability, just laws, an open government
and accessible and impartial dispute resolution.
But for the terrorists and their sympathisers, the rule of law is
irrelevant to them. They are in a different belief system which utterly
shelves the core aspects of universal human rights requirements. In
contrast, these people are relying on fundamental rights which are
enshrined in our Federal Constitution and UN’s Universal Declaration of
Human Rights to defend their rights and also to seek protection.
They don’t believe in the democratic system by declaring the said
system to be un-Islamic. But they rely on the very same system to seek
protection and justice. They are hypocrites.
Therefore, the calls to repeal security legislations like Sosma, Pota
and other security laws by the human right organisations in Malaysia
need to be considered by the current government with great attention by
looking into the consequences of repealing them. The main reason to call to repeal these legislations is because of
the way they were administered by the previous government. Those abuses
can be remedied with a mechanism for check-and-balance which can be
supervised by Parliament itself or by establishing a commission to
oversee the entire process.
These legislations are the key factors to manage the terrorist
threats in Malaysia apart from the de-radicalisation programme which is
well appreciated by other security agencies in the world. Countries like
the UK, France, Belgium, Germany and the US want to improve and tighten
up their existing security laws to deter their nationals and foreigners
from launching any attacks on their soil.
But in Malaysia, we moving towards the opposite direction on the said matter. It’s important to have key tools like the aforementioned legislations
which give authority to the security forces to monitor and detain
suspected terrorists and sympathisers to prevent any attacks in
Malaysia. They need to be stopped by all means and also to deter the
influence FTFs on locals which otherwise will disharmonise this nation.
In a nutshell, the essential powers which are provided by security
legislation like Sosma and Pota are decisive for intelligence and
security forces to operate without fear or favour. These agencies cannot
and should not allow nor tolerate anyone posing a threat to our
These laws are so important to safeguard the sovereignty of this
nation. If any attacks happen in future, the intelligence and security
agencies will be blamed first by the people including by those who are
defending these terrorists.
The present government in their election manifesto had promised to
abolish these security laws but that can be circumvented by closing the
loopholes which allow these laws to be manipulated. Further, the laws
should also be amended to give the necessary protection to the detainees
held under them.
Further, the judges who are presiding over these type cases must be
given a free hand to determine the welfare of these detainees without
any interference or influence. Moreover, an independent body needs to be established comprised of
former judges, human rights lawyers, human rights campaigners,
laypersons and former intelligence and security personnel to evaluate
the conditions of these detainees.
Based on the report prepared by this body, the families of these
detainees and public will know the actual conditions they are being held
under. Further, the presiding judge can use this report as additional
information on whether the detainees have been treated fairly by the
Malaysia is in a new era. In this period, Malaysians should not
experience any suppression or oppression by anyone or by any agency.
That will not be tolerated. But the peace and security of this nation
Therefore, the current government should weigh the need to maintain
peace and security of this nation against the human right issues of
potential terrorists. For instance, in the UK and in other European
countries, many security legislation have been enacted recently and the
people there are willing to sacrifice their liberty with limitations.
They realise the importance of these laws to protect their freedom.
I am urging the present government not to abolished our existing
security laws but rather make some improvements on them by consulting
the relevant stakeholders. In my view, the law is not perfect but the
people who are entrusted to safeguard and exercise these laws need to be
transparent, accountable and of very high integrity to avoid them
abusing their position and power.
Malay Harapan MPs should not limit discourse in Malay polity - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, November 03, 2018
Malaysiakini : “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” ― George Orwell
COMMENT | The last time I
broached the topic of veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin and his “personal
opinion” about the expenses the royalty incurred, I wrote this
– “So when Kadir makes a statement about royal expenses, his claim does
not have to be challenged by the royalty but should either be verified
and challenged by the Finance Ministry. End of controversy. However,
Kadir’s piece is more than just about royal expenses.”
The last part of that paragraph about Kadir’s piece being about more
than just royal expenses is the important bit. This, of course, goes
beyond the simple platitudes the political elite in this country - Malay
and non-Malay – spew about those institutions they believe sacred to
mainstream Malay politics that they use to acquire and retain power. Kadir’s latest dust-up on the Kedah royalty got him the usual fascist
attacks - that his comments were “seditious” and needed to be investigated by the authorities - from a PKR political operative, Johari Abdul (photo). I wish political operatives would advocate on behalf of rape survivors as they do for the royalty in this country.
By the way, I thought it was smart of Kadirin his response
to criticism that he had overstepped when it came to this issue - that
he quoted the lyrics of the Kedah state anthem and the national anthem
to demonstrate that royalty were not beyond criticism, especially if
their position (literally) departed from their traditional seats of
power. If a non-Malay had said this, they would have been hell to pay. So
the politically correct thing to do for non-Malay political operatives,
journalists and other public commentators, is to remain silent when it
comes to issues like these.
For non-Malay political operatives, it is
merely playing the game of acquiring power in the Malay political
landscape and any form of corruption, moral or fiscal, is ignored
because we are told that this is Malay territory, so do not trespass. Before the election, a young Malay political operative now with
Bersatu but formerly with one of the more intelligent think tanks in
this country, wrote that he joined the political fray because there were
some things that needed to be said but was better coming from a Malay.
The irony, of course, is that his posts about affirmative action being
morally wrong, for instance, has since been removed and any kind of
“progressive” think pieces has been sanitised. This is what happens in
mainstream politics in this country.
What right-wing Malay types fear more than non-Malays trespassing
into their sacred domains is the idea that other Malays deviate from the
group-think. This is why the public comments of a young Malay woman
like Fadiah Nadwa Fikri (photo) about the royalty is feared by the Malay political elite in this country. This, of course, is hypocritical.
The Malay political elite in this country have redefined the monarchy
to make them compliant to the political processes that the political
elite in this country rely on to sustain power
- “Let us not be precious. The ruling elite over the decades has
curtailed the power of the monarchy. The last attempt was a brazen power
grab by the former Umno regime through the National Security Council
“The current Pakatan Harapan grand poohbah (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) has
done his fair share of rabble-rousing when it comes to the power and the
role of the monarchy. When it is convenient to defend the institution
of the monarchy as a sacred cow of Malay/Muslim politics, political
operatives jump up and down attempting to outdo one another in
burnishing their ethnic and religious credentials.”
Fascist sedition law
So this PKR representative attacking the liberty of Kadir – which the
fascist sedition law is – could be just another episode in the rather
tedious ‘nicht deklarierter Krieg’ (undeclared war) between factions of
Malay political operatives in Bersatu and PKR, or maybe just another way
in which a Malay political operative scores points with the Umno base.
More importantly though it is an example of how the Malay community cannibalises itself – sorry, Umno leader Nazri Abdul Aziz (photo)
– in an attempt to retain hegemony of thought in the Malay polity. When
this PKR leader does something like this, it is a reminder to all the
other Malay dissenters who believe that there is something wrong with
It is easy to paint Malays who think that there is something wrong
with mainstream Malay politics as “liberals”. I can’t speak for anyone
else but the political operatives I talk to and the young Malay
journalists and activists I speak to, who think that the royal
institution should be open to public scrutiny especially when it comes
to public funds, are not the average liberal that right-wing Malay types
love to demonise.
Whenever a Malay political operative like say, PKR leader Anwar
Ibrahim, talks about protecting Malay rights, or when someone like
Bersatu leader Rais Hussin writes about recalibrating ‘ketuanan Melayu’,
what they are really doing is attempting to perpetuate a system that
not only disenfranchises the Malay community but more importantly
relegates egalitarian democratic process – flawed as they are – to the
back burner, which is the last thing that would save Malaysia.
Malay Harapan MPs should not attempt to stifle free speech in the
Malay community. They can and should state their position clearly even
if those positions follow the conventional narratives of mainstream
Malay politics. What they should not do is attempt to use fascists
elements of the state against those who do depart from the group-think
when it comes to specific issues.
This is important because as long as there is a healthy discourse in
the Malay community, issues such as corruption will not be hidden behind
the veil of racial and religious supremacy and the institutions that
service such imperatives. The reality is that the discourse within the
Malay community has been going on for some time. What the Umno state and
its thugs – institutional and outsourced – did was attempt to stifle
It is incumbent on Malay Harapan political operatives to encourage
this discourse if they really want to save Malaysia and this includes
"recalibrating" institutions that limit such freedoms. Otherwise, carry
on usual and reap the extremists wind when it finally blows into
Malaysia in full force.
Yes, the gov’t does take marital rape lightly - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Unfortunately, as with many sexual crime cases, victims who try
to make a report are often not given any support by the front desk
officers. This often stems from a lack of understanding and patriarchal
beliefs that a wife must submit to her husband.” - Loh Cheng Kooi, the executive director of Woman Centre for Change (WCC)
COMMENT | Petaling Jaya MP Maria
Chin Abdullah worries that Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s
Department Hanipa Maidin dismissal of the criminalisation of marital
rape - because it is difficult to prove - could be “misinterpreted” that
the government takes the issue lightly and has no intention of
criminalising marital rape.
Here is the thing though, if the government took marital rape
seriously, they would not dismiss it on the grounds that it was
difficult to prove. I cannot believe that a seasoned activist like Maria
Chin, who no doubt has witnessed the Malaysian criminal justice system
up close, does not understand that rape in Malaysia – and elsewhere – is
difficult to prove.
In Malaysia, it is made worse by the diktats of religious extremists
who not only control the discourse but also legislation. And yes, when
the government says it has no intention of criminalising marital rape,
there is no room for misinterpretation when it comes to the intention of
While Perak amends its laws to make polygamy easier (another goal for
team patriarchy, I guess), the federal government is dismissing rape
survivors because the crime is difficult to prove, or so they say. And
marital rape is rape.
Maria is correct when she points out that the exception under Section
375 of the Penal Code is not legislation that deems marital rape a
crime, and this of course was the position of the former Umno regime.
Then Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri stated that
- “The provision with regard to Section 375 that intercourse between a
legally married couple continues to remain in force and cannot be
considered as rape.”
Some of you no doubt would have taken offence at what Hanipa said,
but really this is just the narrative of mainstream sexual politics in
this country. Besides, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok has said the same thing
in 2017 when she was part of a bipartisan committee, Select Committee
on the Review of the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code.
“How are you going to prove that it is marital rape? This is very
difficult to describe and argue in court and that’s why we put it the
way it is under 375A, where the jail term can come up to five years. In a
way, it covers incidents of violence, including marital rape.” Which is, of course, horse manure because as Maria pointed out (emphasis mine) - All this means that it is not a crime for a husband to rape a wife unless the husband causes injury when intending to have sexual intercourse.
Think about it this way. This line of reasoning would mean that rape
is not a crime unless some sort of violence has been part of the
process. Is this what the government is saying when it comes to rape, or
is the issue that a marriage because of the husband’s rights – which is
normally grounded in some form of religious dogma – means that sex
without the wife’s consent is perfectly acceptable? Is this the sexual
politics of new Malaysia, or as I like to refer to it, neo Malaysia?
Even more toxic
Of course, it gets much more toxic. Kok made the following points last year when it came to the issue of marital rape –
(1) “If you want to translate it into the Malay language, for
example, you have to face the mullahs and explain to them what exactly
you mean by marital rape.” This may have carried some weight when opposition MPs like Kok were
dealing with the Umno regime, but why should this be the case now? Look,
in a letter published by Malaysiakini authored by Zarizana Abdul Aziz of Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), the words of Perak mufti Dr Harussani Zakaria were referenced – “... the subject of marital rape, when a husband forces a wife to
have sex against her will, is relevant only to non-Muslims' adding that
'Islamic law is adequate to check a husband's abuses' as a Muslim wife
can turn to Syariah Court if she is treated cruelly and demand a divorce
under a procedure called 'fasakh'.”
So I understand where Kok is coming from, but the reality is now
Harapan is the government and should be defining the Islamic discourse.
This is what they promised voters who voted for them. If there is no
difference between the way how Harapan deals with the religious
bureaucracy and the way how Umno did, then what is the point of this new
Furthermore, I will argue (and have) that the Umno regime had no
problem defining the Islamic discourse by fiat, at times going against
the religious bureaucracy, so Harapan should discover its cajones and do
(2) “She (Teresa Kok) noted that the term ‘marital rape’ was usually
used in discussions of issues in which the crux of the problem was the
difficulty for women to divorce their husbands. She said this was
something that should be addressed.” Really? Three years ago, the WAO, stated in a reportthat
“an average of 40% of their cases in the last five years include sexual
violence within a marriage. The Women’s Centre for Change in Penang
(WCC) handled 38 cases of marital rape last year alone.”
From the same article, a survivor’s perspective and the indifference of the state security apparatus – “Marital rape survivor Amy (not her real name) shared her experience
when she attempted to make a police report the morning after she was
raped by her husband five years ago. “It wasn’t the first time it happened but this time, he did it in
front of my children. I had to do something. But the police officer
asked me why I was there. I remember he told me, ‘Ini masalah
rumahtangga. Nak buat report macam mana?’ (This is a domestic problem.
How can you lodge a police report on that?) and told me to go back and
try and ‘buat baik’ (reconcile) with my husband,” says Amy. This, says
Loh, is a common experience many victims face.”
Funnily enough, Kok (last year) encouraged activists to continue
highlighting these kinds of issues “The media and NGOs must continue to
work together and highlight problems faced by women because there are
still many cases of domestic violence and abuse.” So it may seem comforting that we have a prominent activist now
turned politician like Maria Chin bringing this issue to the public, but
what is the point? The narrative is the same and anything someone like
Maria’s says sounds like establishment apologia.
Syed Saddiq’s ‘hidden hand of the corporate market’ - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | Di manakah
"ketuanan" pada hari ini? Adakah Melayu betul-betul tuan di tanah air
tercinta ini, atau adakah kita hanya sekadar "tuan" pada tanda nama,
tetapi hakikatnya, semakin terpinggir dan diperhambakan tanpa sedar?
– Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman on Twitter
[What is the state of this “Malay supremacy” today? Are Malays truly
lords in their beloved homeland or are we just “lords” in name but in
reality, getting more marginalised and enslaved without realising it?] Here are some other things that the Youth and Sports minister has said on Twitter – “Namun, sebagai seorang anak muda yang tidak ingin melihat masa
depan anak bangsa dibuai mimpi yang palsu, saya bertanggungjawab untuk
berkongsi rasa sebelum maruah nasib bangsa saya terhakis
[However, as a young man who doesn’t wish to see Malay youths buoyed
by false dreams, I take the responsibility of speaking up because the
pride of my race is being slowly eroded.]
Mana perginya "Ketuanan" apabila 7 daripada 10 orang penagih dadah di Malaysia merupakan anak muda Melayu?
[Where is the “supremacy” when seven out of 10 drug addicts in Malaysia are Malay youths?]
Mana perginya "Ketuanan" apabila kontraktor-kontraktor Melayu sanggup berkiblatkan modal ali-baba untuk makan untung atas angin?
[Where is the “supremacy” if Malay contractors are guided by Ali
Baba-style practices of making a profit without putting in any effort or
Mana perginya "Ketuanan" apabila individu Melayu hanya memiliki kurang dari 4% kekayaan di pasaran saham negara
[Where is the “supremacy” when Malay individuals own less than four percent of the stocks on the country’s bourse.]
Mana perginya "Ketuanan" jika 9.8 juta orang Melayu mempunyai
pelaburan ASB kurang dari RM5 ribu sedangkan 500 ribu orang Melayu lain
mengumpul 63% jumlah pelaburan ASB.
[Where is the “supremacy” if 9.8 million Malays have Amanah Saham
Bumiputera investments worth less than RM5,000 whereas 500,000 other
Malays are reaping 63 percent of ASB investments.]
Mana perginya "Ketuanan" apabila ramai anak muda Melayu memilih
utk merempit sampai ke lewat malam sambil rakan-rakan bangsa lain gigih
mengejar ilmu utk melakar masa depan yang lebih cerah? Tidak
dinafikan,ada segilintir anak Melayu yg cemerlang,namun masih ramai yang
[Where is the “supremacy” where so many Malay youths choose to go
drag racing late into the night while those of other races are
diligently studying to carve out a brighter future for themselves?
There’s no denying that there are a handful of bright Malay youths but
many more are lost.]
Mana perginya "Ketuanan" apabila pemimpin Melayu yang dahulu
disegani dan dihormati, kini dilihat terpalit dengan rasuah dan salah
[Where is the “supremacy” when Malay leaders who were previously
feared and respected, are now seen to be embroiled in corruption and
abuse of power.]
Dari pekerja di kilang sampailah ke chef di restoran mewah,
pekerja asing juga yang dicari, sambil bangsa kita masih menunggu dan
mengharapkan tawaran kerja yang selesa berhawa dingin yang belum kunjung
[From factory workers to chefs in high-end restaurants, foreign
workers are still sought to fill these roles while those of our race are
still waiting and hoping for job offers in comfortable, air-conditioned
Memang indah untuk kita dibuai mimpi "Ketuanan", tetapi
realitinya ternyata berbeza. Memang popular apabila kita laungkan "Hidup
Melayu", tetapi laungan itu kosong apabila berpijak di bumi yang nyata
[Clearly we are being buoyed by “supremacy” dreams but the reality is
clearly different. Slogans like “Long Live the Malays” are popular but
it is empty on the ground.
And my favourite: Sambil kita menjulang keris dengan bangganya, perlahan-lahan kita sedang menghunusnya ke hati kita sendiri tanpa kita sedari.
[While we raise the keris with pride, slowly we are raising it to our own hearts without realising it.]
Hasn’t the old maverick said some of these things before, while he
was in Umno? Yes, he has. I give kudos to Syed for articulating these
things because at least (even with the backtracking), this is what a
youth leader should be doing. And if these are the kinds of ideas
transmitted during the revamped national service and Biro Tata Negara
courses, then perhaps there is some value to these programmes.
What the youth and sports minister has done is merely articulate what
has been brewing beneath the surface of right-wing types for decades,
which is that the failed policies of mainstream Malay politics have
damned the community in more ways than one.
Do you think that only leftist/liberal Malay types think this way?
Nearly every Umno political operative I have spoken to, has at one time
or another, acknowledged that this “Ketuanan” policy is a failing
policy. It may be a winning strategy but the economic and social data
speak for themselves. Of course, there is a concerted effort to hide
those facts but really, any rational political operative will tell you
that these race-based policies are failing the country.
Of course, even saying what he said, Syed Saddiq has to make it clear
that the bumiputera policy will not end. That these so-called Malay
rights as “enshrined in the Constitution” will be looked after by the
potentates of Bersatu, the mandarins of the DAP and by the reformers of
PKR. There really is no need for the Bersatu big guns to say that Syed
Saddiq’s words were misinterpreted because anyone reading it understands
that he left no room for misinterpretation.
While there is no room for misinterpretation, this is mainstream
politics, so there is always room for backpedaling, which young Syed
Saddiq has demonstrated that he is more than capable of doing. The more
interesting question posed by Syed Saddiq and which has not gained much
traction in the national discourse is Syed's contention of the hidden
hands of the corporate market:
“If you look at studies by UM and UKM, Malay applicants who graduated
in engineering are three times less likely to land a job when compared
to his or her peers. So this must be a comprehensive [agenda] allowing
equal and equitable access in opportunities. “It is easy to say that people are hired on merit but what underlies a
merit is a system of discrimination. This doesn’t just happen here, but
also in other countries. It is a subconscious discrimination and a hidden hand of the corporate market.”
This, of course, is the counter-narrative of the “ketuanan” ideology.
The narrative that the Chinese-dominated corporate market is
discriminatory against the Malay polity. Or if you prefer, the
sub-narrative that the discrimination is a reaction against the
“ketuanan” ideology. Some could argue that the very reason there is this
so-called discrimination is because of the issues raised in Syed
Saddiq’s tweets but, as usual, any discussion on this blows away the
façade of this bangsa Malaysia Kool-Aid. Which is a good thing.
You have to ask yourself: why is the majority discriminated against
in the corporate sector – if this is really the case. Of course, there
is discrimination in the corporate sector. Why wouldn't there be – in a
country which does not address questions of race and gender but instead
hides behind racial and religious politics, or the bangsa Malaysia
Kool-aid, which is a form of racial and religious politics.
Remember that study about hiring practices that caused a storm a couple of years ago by Lee Hwok Aun and Muhammad Abdul Khalid (photo)? Well, imagine if Harapan was really interested in exploring this
question instead of hiding behind these stupid ideas of race and
religion? By the way, Muhamad Abdul Khalid is now an economic adviser to
the prime minister. So, anytime he wants to contribute to what Syed
Saddiq said and inform the rakyat of how the current regime intends to
tackle such issues, now is a good a time as any.
However, as usual, nothing will come out of this. I doubt there will
be any serious movement to enact anti-discrimination laws in Malaysia
and if the current regime will address any form of discrimination beyond
the uttering of pablums that would satisfy the base. Nobody is
interested in taking these issues on even though with the changing
demographic, this country will have a reckoning when it comes to its
But as long as Najib and Umno continue to provide the bread, the Harapan regime will carry on with the circus.