Gov't schools teach wife beating, Chinese schools teach science by Mariam Mokhtar
Monday, September 24, 2018
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | The rakyat did what was
right for Malaysia, but some ministers in Pakatan Harapan give us cause
for concern. A change from Umno-Baru/BN to Harapan is not like changing
It is a requirement of change that we deal with all the problems
which almost destroyed the nation, but change also means tackling
head-on, the issues which some of us term "sensitive". So, how's this for double standards? When critics and columnists censured Umno-Baru, and singled out their
leader, the disgraced, former prime minister, Najib Abdul Razak and his
wife, the former self-styled 'First Lady of Malaysia' (FLOM), we were
described as courageous and "talking the truth".
Today, we realise that Harapan's politicians only want reporters who
are "yes-men". The rakyat voted for change. We demand politicians with
high standards of integrity, honesty and principles. Many of us are unhappy about nepotism in the various political
parties. Despite acknowledging our views about this, Anwar Ibrahim and
his inner circle, pushed ahead to engineer a by-election in Port
Dickson. Manipulating the electorate is not change for the better. He
should unify and strengthen his party, instead of being distracted by
the race to the top.
Columnists (and cartoonists) recall a time when their work was not
published by independent newspapers, for fear of the authorities. Today,
many publishers still pander to the ruling party, and the voices of the
opposition and critics of the new administration, are largely unheard.
Little has changed in the media.
We cannot undo 61 years of mismanagement, misrule, corrupt practices
and injustice in 100 days. It may take several terms of office. Already,
power has got to the heads of some Harapan politicians, who act like
Umno-Baru Version 2. It is the rakyat's responsibility to censure misbehaving Harapan
politicians. Those who hold public office must observe a code of
The Deputy Home Minister, Azis Jamman (photo), was
accompanied by his aide, on a visit to have his eyes checked, when the
aide took an upskirt photo of the optician. The aide was sacked when his
sexual indiscretion was publicised. An aide is for work, not personal
use. Don't blame Harapan's critics, if BN were to seize back control.
Safeguard the children
The Deputy Prime Minister, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (photo), who is also the Minister for Women, has failed to protect and safeguard the rights of children. How many children will suffer, before drastic action is taken to stop paedophiles from giving Islam and Malaysia a bad name?
Would she marry off her granddaughter to a 40-year-old man? Will she
advise Muslim families to practise birth control, to stop them from
having large families? In the second child marriage, the parents
exchanged their daughter, one of 13 children, for a dowry, so their
child could escape the poverty trap, as the second wife of a man, who is
old enough to be her father.
Yesterday, we learnt that a single mother will be whipped for selling
her body in exchange for money. Her husband had failed to pay any
alimony. This story of the single mother, prostituting herself, to support
herself and her children is not new. It has existed for decades. Wan
Azizah is in a strong position to act to change the fortunes of single
mothers. We used to criticise Umno-Baru ministers for the same failure.
The ex-husband who abandons his wives and children, without paying
maintenance, should be severely punished. Men who abandon their wives
and children are becoming the norm. Some refuse to divorce their wives,
leaving them in a bind, if they find a new love.
It is not just about love and marriage. The syariah laws pertaining
to inheritance need an urgent review. Single women are also at risk when
their parents die. If they predecease their parents, their money and
property will go to the baitulmal fund, if they have failed to make a
The two-tier system of civil and syariah laws has to be disbanded.
Men find the loopholes in the syariah laws and take advantage of them.
Overhaul the education system
The Minister for Education, Maszlee Malik, has failed to overhaul the
syllabus for Muslim children in schools. An examination paper showed
how young Muslim adults are told that wife beating is acceptable;
furthermore, men are taught how to beat their wives in the Muslim way. Elsewhere, a new wife is told that she cannot leave the house without her husband's permission. She is not a slave.
A few years ago, a teenager said that in her school, sex education
was about the many ways of preparing delicious rice dishes for her
husband. Sex education is not about the ability of the wife to be a
whore in bed, a cleaner and a good cook. The root of the matter is how Islam is practised in Malaysia. Our
interpretation of the Koran has been hijacked by certain warped mullahs.
Wan Azizah cannot look over her shoulder to see if her husband
approves of her actions. If she does, then she is not fit to be a
minister. Like her, the other Muslim ministers, like Maszlee and Mujahid Yusof
Rawa, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, need to lead the
way and overhaul the system, where Muslims are concerned.
Malaysian children who attend Chinese, and International schools
focus on science, technology, IT, and the creative arts, to expand their
minds. Malays in government type schools, and tahfiz schools, are returned
to the stone ages, where males are taught how to control their women.
A vote for change on May 9, was not a vote for Umno-Baru ministers to
be replaced by Harapan ministers who would continue with the old ways.
It was certainly not a vote for ministers to do nothing, but hide behind
the cloak of religion or male superiority. On May 9, the rakyat voted for a radical overhaul of the way Malaysia
was governed. Unfortunately, we must now question, if some in the
Harapan government are capable of administering this change.
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the
Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation
(PLO). Blog, Twitter.
Malaysiakini : “My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the
dictates of truth and the teachings of science. Superstition must go.
Let them worship as they will; every man can follow his own conscience,
provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him against the
liberty of his fellow men.” – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
COMMENT | The same day Malaysiakini runs a piece about DAP’s Lim Kit Siang saying in Sydney that he has no doubt that Malaysia is a secular country, the fabulous Siti Kasim asked our Education Minister Maszlee Malik why there is a ‘ wife-beating’ question in an Islamic Studies exam paper, followed the next day with a rationalisation of ‘ death to apostates’ in a revision book.
Meanwhile, the affable Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu is determined to counter the bad rap
of Islam but offers no other narratives that would give the religion in
this country a better image, and PKR’s Wan Ji Wan Hussin – labelled a deviant by the former Umno regime – is attempting a discourse
within his religion, which as far as I am concerned is a good thing,
even it would probably not gain much traction with the mainstream Malay
And of course, a woman in Terengganu faces whipping for supporting
herself through prostitution because her husband has not paid alimony.
Is Malaysia a secular country? The old maverick who is now prime
minster (again) certainly didn’t think so. He referred to Malaysia as a
fundamental Islamic state, and reminded people back in the day that it
was not a ‘moderate’ Muslim country. Perhaps his thinking has changed in this “new” Malaysia, but I do
wonder if any of the Malay political operatives from Pakatan Harapan
would endorse Lim's message that “constitutionally” we are a secular
Besides the Malay political operatives from DAP, Lim’s message would
carry more weight – and would be true in some sense – if a majority of
Malay political operatives from Harapan endorsed the elder
statesperson's message. I will wager that there will be no such endorsement from the
mainstream political class, and I will also wager that this statement
will sooner or later be used as a weapon by the Islamists in this
The mainstream Malay political class in Harapan will make some sort
of weasely statement confirming that Malaysia is a moderate Islamic
state which respects the rights of all peoples, and the base will just
forget about this incident, with more news of the plagues on house Najib
offered as bread for the circus.
‘As close as we can get’
What would these statements sound like? Well, they would sound like
the feeble statements made by DAP’s Syahredzan Johan when he said this –
“And as for the recent caning of the two women (in Terengganu), we have
come as close as we can get to a government saying the laws (that led
to the prosecution and caning) are wrong.” Really?
That is your pitch to young people that Malaysia is a secular
state, that the Harapan government came as close it could, that caning
two women for sexual acts that the religion of the federation deems
immoral is wrong? This is the best you can offer young Malaysians as to
how the political apparatus of the DAP defines a secular state?
So if two young gay Malays come home and are caught (most probably in
the privacy of their home) by the religious police for engaging in
sexual acts deemed immoral and are punished for it, what they can be
assured of in this so called secular country is that Harapan will come
close to deeming such actions by the religious apparatus wrong? Which is more dangerous, "not spooking the Malays" or "coming as
close as we can to get the government to say those laws are wrong"? (The
latter, by the way, is my new favourite phrase.)
When we talk of Malaysia being a secular state, we are talking to an
urban audience, which laps this kind of horse manure up. We are
certainly not talking to the so-called rural heartland, not to the Malay
vote base of Bersatu, Amanah and PKR. And we are certainly not talking
to the those who voted for Umno and PAS.
That’s the divide, right? Secular is what divides non-Muslims (and
those Muslims who are demonised for thinking the same way as the ‘nons’)
and the theocratic political mainstream Malay power structures.
When Syahredzan (photo) talks about the blurring of lines
between politics and religion and that the government is concerned about
this, everyone assumes he is talking about the machinations of Umno and
PAS. But really what people should be worried about is the
syariah-compliant guidelines being cooked up by the Harapan regime. Of
course, all this is supposedly done to protect the rights of Muslim
women, and not as a means of societal control.
Or how about when Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department
Fuziah Salleh, talks about how the Harapan government is committed to
uplifting the Syariah Court system – "In relation to the Syariah Courts
(Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 and other relevant laws, we are looking
at them in more detail and … we are committed, ready to amend the act
in empowering the Syariah Court as a whole," – which I referenced in my piece of how some of my Malay friends think public caning is a good idea.
What is the most dangerous aspect of all these manoeuvres? Many
Harapan supporters will make any excuse, when Harapan Malay and
non-Malay political operatives engage in the Islamisation process in
this country. They minimise when they should be dissenting. You know why? Because
although they have no problem attacking PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim when he
cautions against not spooking the Malays, these people do not want to
spook the Malays either, lest their non-Malay political operatives get
kicked out of office. They allow Harapan to get away with things that
they never would allow the Umno state to get away with.
Secularism isn’t about theory
Everybody writes about how the Federal Constitution is supreme, but
is it in practice? You could mount an argument about why the public
caning of those two women went against the constitution, but what does
this mean in practice? Absolutely nothing. And secularism is not about theory. It is about practice. Sure, there
are variations of secularism, but where it counts, it means that the
religion of the federation – which is ridiculous if you make the claim
that yours is secular country – does not in practice trump the
Have the mainstream Malay power structures in Harapan come out with a
statement recognising the supremacy of the civil courts over the
syariah courts? No, they have not. A couple of months ago, when I asked what was Harapan’s Islamic
agenda, I referenced the flash points that we should pay attention to –
“These days, it would seem when it comes to these types of provocations,
the ruling establishment is silent. Since Harapan took over, we have
had provocateurs at Kampung Manjoi, a prime minister hopeful telling us
not to spook the Malays, a mufti telling a deputy chief minister of a
state to leave the country if he loses a rigged debate, and of course, a
Malay politician threatened with death because of the fake news that
she wants to destroy an Islamic institution.
We are supposed to believe that this is a normal situation? We are
supposed to not draw attention to this because the hard work of ‘saving
Malaysia’ means we have to put up with this horse manure?
So please don’t tell me that there is a blurring of lines and that
the Harapan government is monitoring it. I would argue that in many
instances, it is the Harapan government which is doing the blurring.
I would also argue that they do this because the non-Malays who used
to be that line in the sand when it comes to the Islamic state are now
worried that dissent would mean going against the groupthink, and upset
the balance of power that this ‘new Malaysia’ desperately needs.
Actually what this new Malaysia needs are Islamic counter-narratives
that would ensure that the secular road is not closed to us. But of
course, the political operatives in Harapan do not want to gamble on
other Islamic narratives.
Their supporters are too blind to notice that it is not Umno/PAS that
is defining the narrative, but rather the Harapan establishment ceding
ground because the base allows it. The strange thing is. I do not blame the majority for wanting their
Islamic lifestyle (or should that be Arabic lifestyle?). But why am I am
resisting? Why am I fighting this?
Because I remember a time when it was not like this. I remember a
time when religion did not divide us, and my Malay friends were not so
afraid – not afraid of their religion and certainly not afraid that
their religion would be conquered by the non-Muslims. You could say that I am not fighting for some sort of utopia, but for
a past where one could make a credible argument that we were a secular
What did LP Hartely say? “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” They certainly did.
COMMENT | When Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad reminds Suhakam that our value system is not the same
as the West, this is complete horse manure. Are there differences in
what we as Asians value than that of the West? Sure, there is. You could
make the argument that what we value as a community, regardless of race
and religion, differs from the West. So, there’s that.
But when it comes to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,
and queer) issue, what separates us from the “West” is that we are bare
naked hypocrites. Indeed, all you weaselly politicians are big stinking
hypocrites. And anyone who supports you in this thinking is a big
stinking hypocrite, too.
When the Wikileaks cables scandal erupted many years ago, tongues
were waging of the gay politicians within the then Umno establishment.
Does anyone really know of the gay politicians in the now Harapan
establishment? What about the grassroots level operators who are gay?
What about the propagandists from Harapan – DAP, PKR, Bersatu, even
Amanah – who are gay?
All these gay people helped create your new Malaysia and you have the
audacity to lecture Suhakam about not following Western values? But
forget about that. Even in the old Malaysia, there were gay people who
were part of the gravy train and who had no problem weaponising
sexuality to destroy people, especially if they were part of the
opposition or who sympathised with the opposition's values.
In fact, whenever the state wants to demonise an opponent, they
usually claim that the opponent is attempting to propagate Western
values when it comes to issues which at the core are about freedom of
speech or expression, sexuality being part of the latter. You know what really bothers me about this whole issue? It like this.
First, the establishment attacks people who have very little say in
society. They attack them along racial or cultural values lines because
they know they have the support of other “religious” people. They know
they can get away with it because people do not really care.
Then they move on. They always do. Take these attacks
against lawyer/activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri. You really think that the
attacks against the LGBTQ community and Fadiah are not part of a larger
narrative of social/political control? The difference between the two is
the reception of the public. In Fadiah's case, what she dissenting
against finds some currency in the way how some people think of state
power when it comes to history and the royal institution. So, the
establishment is careful in the way how they handle the Fadiah issue.
But when it comes to the LGBTQ community, they know that people
generally do not care for obvious religious or cultural reasons. They
also know that their hypocrisy will not be unmasked on a political level
because while political parties rely on gay people, they know that
nobody wants to rock the boat in case the balance of power is
threatened. So, all that is left are gay activists, and nobody cares
much for them or their cause.
Meanwhile, people are licking their lips at the situation the former
Umno grand poohbah Najib Razak finds himself in, and the prime minister
gets to remind a human rights organisation to marginalise certain people
based on their gender or sexuality. The state security apparatus gets
to mess around with an activist who is challenging the official
narratives, pedophiles have a field day because child marriage laws
allow them some leeway in their perversion because religious people are
more involved in the sex lives of consenting adults than the grooming –
see what I did there? – of children.
Come on, how many lawsuits and state-motivated legal harassment
against opposition-now-establishment politicians have been dropped? How
many legal suits against media practitioners who were supposedly
pro-opposition have been dropped? You think this is a coincidence? If
the state wants to disentangle itself from what it did before, it can.
The reason why Fadiah is attacked is the same reason why the LGBTQ
community is attacked. Because this is what the state condones.
In Fadiah’s case,
you really think that whoever these goons are that lodged a report
against her, does not have the backing of the state? What I mean is, it
is convenient for the state that a police report was lodged and the
state security apparatus investigates because then they do not have to
deal with the messy issues that Fadiah brings up. But what really
bothers me is the hypocrisy. The former prime minister rewrites his own
history all the time, so why shouldn’t the average citizen, do the same.
Similarly demonising the LGBTQ community is easy because then the
state does not have to answer questions of how the religion of the state
has played a part in how various communities are at each other’s
throats and how the religion of the state has hampered the growth of a
community which we are told are in constant need of state intervention. Remember the syariah-compliant guidelines
for the private sector? Here’s what I thought of it -"This is how it
starts – innocently enough. Hidden behind a message of fairness is
actually the tools for compliance. Guidelines eventually become dogma,
and because they think people will not notice – most often they do not –
they encroach into our public and private spheres uncontested."
People always forget that things start small. Brazenly telling a
human rights organisation to marginalise a certain segment of Malaysian
society or the state security apparatus investigating an activist in
violation of promises to respect freedom of speech and expression is the
larger narrative of state control. That’s how the state manages to divide us. First, they attack easy
targets, then they normalise fascism by rejecting counter-narratives.
This piece ends which a question Fadiah asks - “Does that mean the change on May 9 is just an illusion?"
Harapan’s enemy within - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Success sometimes may be defined as a disaster put on hold. Qualified. Has to be.”
– Nadine Gordimer, ‘Get a Life’
COMMENT | Opposition political operative Nazri Abdul Aziz’s contention
that he does not foresee Umno coming into power anytime soon but that
an alliance with PKR is possible is an interesting comment for a variety
Nazri the brigand/politician understands the game far better than
most Umno political operatives, and with the party now in a state of
post-traumatic stress, his maverick nature goes unchecked while the rest
of his ilk run around like headless chickens.
Part of it is because Nazri is just at adept as slaying Malay sacred
cows as he is nurturing them. He understands that Umno was merely the
gravy train, and his rhetoric now is that since the train was derailed,
why not just commandeer a new one for the betterment of the mainstream
Malay political class?
Could this be part of the psy-war
that Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin claims are the recent moves by Umno to
form alliances with PKR (among others), the perceived weak link of
It could be, but the reality is that as long as the Malay vote,
unlike the Chinese and Indian votes, is not secured by the Malay power
structures in Harapan, there will always be plays by Umno to destabilise
the coalition, or even better – align with an insecure power structure.
An old friend, who was an early supporter of Dr Mahathir Mohamad
joining the opposition, made it very clear early on that the goal of
removing then-prime minister Najib Abdul Razak was paramount. The old
maverick had intentions of reforming the system, but not Malay politics –
a system which, my friend claimed, was too far down the road to reform.
This friend now acts as consigliereto one of the numerous
powerbrokers attempting to shore up Malay support for the Bersatu base. While I think that the attempts by Umno to destabilise Harapan with
these manoeuvres are worth paying attention to, I also think that what
will ultimately cause more damage to the coalition is the kind of
culture that sustained BN for decades before they were voted out.
Internal schisms Critics of PKR used to say that the party had Umno DNA, so it must be
strange to have Bersatu in the mix now, which its founders claim is a pure uncorrupted version of Umno and its original intent. Or is that original sin?
The influx of new grassroots members from Umno into Bersatu does pose
a problem for the new government. The aforementioned consigliere tells
me that these new members join because they believe that Mahathir and
his men will take care of their interests, and because of the anti-PRC
narratives (which has some blowback on the local Chinese population) and
the peals to race and religion, they truly see Bersatu as the new Umno. “They do not really understand the reform agenda,” my friend says,
because while they believe that Najib was a “thief,” they did not get
that it was the system that needed to be reformed.
This, of course, poses a problem, especially to those Bersatu members
(the intellectual cabals as I call them) who truly desire reform; the
civil servants who do not understand that it is not their job to support
Bersatu, but to serve the people; as well as other Harapan members
involved in their own schisms, and struggling with the new reality of
being the government instead of rabble-rousers, which was in some ways
This does not take into account Umno potentates like Mustapa Mohamed who are told that they have to show some kind of "difference"
if they are to be accepted into the New Malaysia coalition which is
Harapan. All of this is just drama for people who are enjoying all the
schadenfreude they ever wanted from the slow demise of Umno not
realising that sub rosa moves are being carried out to shore up support
for a Malay base. It is one thing to use race and religion when your opposition
partners keep quiet because they do not want to rock the boat on the way
to Putrajaya. It is another game entirely when policy decisions are
based on race and religion, and your partners have to keep silent
because of their bases.
However, this is just one aspect of the problem. The internal schisms
within PKR also contribute to the lack of trust in the Malay community,
because for all intents and purposes, the squabble between the Malay
powerbrokers in PKR is a sign of weakness that they cannot defend what
Malays are told to be scared of losing.
The fact that Bersatu has to cannibalise from Umno is also a sign of
weakness from diehard grassroots Umno supporters, who now view the
current prime minister as some sort of hate figure.
Mix this with the machinations of PAS who – depending on whose rear
ends they are kissing – are resurrecting the ‘Mahafiraun’ narrative for a
new generation, but with unknown variables, because we now have Umno
members who truly see the old maverick as a traitor to race and
As one DAP political operative confided in me, “Only god knows what
the real relationship is between Malay powerbrokers in Harapan is.” She says that some confuse a "unified front” with sycophancy, and
what is troubling is that political operatives are acting the way BN
political operatives did, instead of in accordance to the new paradigm,
as was promised.
Always remember that Mahathir was much beloved before Anwar Ibrahim’s
fall from grace, and that the current prime minister always seems to
grow a personality cult wherever he plants his flag. Some folks actually
forget his long record of political dysfunction, and use his long
“experience” as prime minister as some sort of fig leaf in their
DAP’s Charles Santiago echoed this sentiment when he warned of the
growing “yes men” culture in this new administration. “The cabinet is
largely dependent on Mahathir, and that’s a mistake,” the Klang MP said
in an interview, days after Mahathir’s public admission that he was not happy with the ministers he appointed four months ago. Santiago said that while ministers must toe the line, they should
also have the courage to question their big boss. “If Mahathir says no,
then you have to question and ask why. If you just say, ‘Mahathir wants
it,’ then it shows you’re weak.”
This, of course, is to be expected. BN is a victim of its own
success. For years they coasted on the fact that Malaysians were
comfortable with the system. While Harapan (as yet) cannot claim to enjoy the same support as BN
at its zenith, the reality is that the fear of some of some in Harapan
of alienating the Malay base is resulting in all sorts of screw-ups.
Coupled with this is their confidence that the Harapan base is with
them, and that there is practically no opposition but Umno, which is a
dangerous brew of insecurity and arrogance. Does all of this sound
familiar? The insecurity of the Malay base coupled with the arrogance
that their base – non-Malays included – will support the ruling hegemon?
Another DAP political operative echoes my belief that the disconnect
between the rural and urban youths and their predation by Malay power
structures – using race and religion for the former and the Bangsa
Malaysia Kool-Aid for the latter – will come back to haunt Harapan.
The predation of young people by Malay powerbrokers using race and
religion and the enabling of non-political operatives is straight from
the Umno playbook. As one young Malay activist/journalist (and who took exception to my last piece
about Anwar), plying his trade online told me, that people do not
really need to worry about Umno joining the new establishment because if
the “Umno culture” (which also means the complicity of non-Malay power
structures) carries on, this would do far more damage to any kind of
reforms that are needed in this country because it would that people
accepted the old comfortable ways of BN.
So while Umno may still pose an external threat, a culture that is slowly growing in Harapan has to exorcised.
As always, the more dangerous adversary is the enemy within.
Anwar Ibrahim is no angel and some of his recent utterings becomes worrisome for many of us looking forward to a New Malaysia. His previous track record too when he was a BN minister & DPM isn't exactly brilliant and had in fact, contributed to the many disasters we see in our poor education system today.
And apart from this Anwar Ibrahim has always been pro UMNO, so when he becomes PM be assured many UMNO morons will be back in Action..
To me a leopard cannot change its spots. Same with Anwar Ibrahim. I'm apolitical but I do support Mahathir and his government.
When Anwar was the Education Minister in the late 80s it was him that started the pro-islamic movements in Universities that trickled down to schools.
The radicalization of the Malay Muslims was the brain child of Anwar Ibrahim. The removal of the crucifixes in Mission Schools and school badges, the replacing of nuns and brothers in mission schools, the conversation of Christian school to national type ,the acquisition of church lands, was some of his agenda, the starting of pro-islzamic ideology and terrorism in UiTM also started with Anwar Ibrahim.
The removal of Scattered Hindu temples (Kg Rawa in Penang case) and the introduction of headscarf in schools, Government department stopping services during Azan magrib and discrimination to non Muslim public servants were some of his doings...
Now ask yourself this question can a leopard change its spots. Do you think this man will be an honest worthy PM.
East Malaysian have already rejected Anwar when the question was asked, "Why did you give the go- ahead to remove our crucifixes from our Mission Schools and school badges. Anwar could not answer. His fanatic action of yesterday speaks for itself today. Anwar was power crazy then what makes you think he has changed.
Think again people a leopard cannot change its spots.
VERDICT: ANWAR should never become PM of Malaysia. He'll be a disaster to this country. So if you're a non-muslim and voting for him is just like preparing your own funeral..........- Major D Swami (Retired)
Malaysiakini : “If I want a crown I must go and hunt it for myself.”– Rudyard Kipling, 'The Man Who Would Be King'
COMMENT | With DAP secretary-general and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s endorsementof the Port Dickson gambit of Anwar and his merry men after the blessings
of the current prime minister, the PKR leader finally gets his chance
to make his move closer to the ultimate prize of sitting on the throne
While I have made many public statements against some of the things
Anwar has said and done, I never understood the vitriol spewed against
him and his claim to the stewardship of this country. If anyone has
earned the right to the highest office of this country, it is Anwar.
Let me be very clear, I have been relentless in my criticisms of his
words and deeds. However, I still remain one of the few people who think
that Anwar should have his time in the hot seat. I should be the last person writing an article like this, but the
events of the past few weeks have muddied the waters when it comes to
politics in this country, and I think Anwar and his crew, especially a
political operative like PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli, have been
given a bad rep.
Of course, I have never had a problem venting against them, but my
main issue with this Port Dickson gambit is why didn’t Pakatan Harapan
come out earlier as an alliance and support this move, instead of having
this drama which served nobody, certainly not the people who voted them
The fact that all this had to play out the way it did should tell
rational people about the kind of moves made against Anwar, and the
narrative that Anwar is a power-hungry political operative who does not
really care about this country, unlike certain political operatives
whose sins were washed away just before May 9 and have been given a free
The political machinations of the elite who decided to use this
opportunity to play their power games and manoeuvre various people into
possible positions of power is typical 'Malay politics', but
scapegoating Anwar and his faction is mendacious when everyone is
attempting to get theirs.
Is Anwar power hungry? Impatient? Which political operative is not?
Some folks are now dismissing the fact that Anwar was a political
prisoner. The reason why he has to resort to such tactics is because his
rights were flushed down the toilet by the Umno regime and by some of
the people who are now attempting to save Malaysia in the first place.
Say what you like about Anwar’s so-called lust for power, but there
have always been political operatives who have stood in his way using
legitimate – but most often illegitimate – means to hamper his
democratic right to assume the highest office in the land.
When it comes to Islam, can anyone really trust that the Malay
political elite would not cave in to the extremists? While Anwar says
things that I disagree, as yet he is not in a position to do anything
like the other Malay powerbrokers in Harapan. And look at some of the
statement emanating from them.
Would this change if he is in a position to actually do something
about Islamic extremism in this country? He certainly has said things
which coddle the Islamic elites in this country but so have the majority
Malay powerbrokers in Harapan. This, of course, is my main concern when it comes to Anwar. Truth be
told, it is a concern of mine for most Malay political operatives.
The old maverick has a reputation for coddling but also confronting
Islamic extremism in this country. Can we say the same of Anwar? This is
what concerns me about Anwar assuming the highest office in the land
but since as I said, the other Malay powerbrokers – with a few
exceptions of course – are not exactly the egalitarian types, what
difference would it make?
Fellow columnist James Chai may have laid it on a bit thick,
but I understand the sentiment. Anwar did not inherit a ready-made
opposition, he had to cobble one together to wage war against the Umno
hegemon, which at one time included the current prime minister, Dr
Mahathir Mohamad, who is an extremely influential operative in Harapan
and who has his slavish devotees.
While the various alliances were flawed, what Anwar managed to do was
demonstrate that people working together even if in a compromised
fashion, could wreak havoc on the Umno hegemon. This should not only
count for something, it means that the "hope" people have sprung from
the moves the post-Umno moves he made.
Anwar did not start a Malay-only party because as the current prime
minister says, this is the reality of this country. He started a
multiracial party, cobbled together an alliance with the DAP and PAS,
and in perhaps the best moment of his political career denied BN its
coveted two-thirds majority.
However, why replay the greatest hits of a man some say has no role
to play in this new Malaysia? Because part of it is wonky thinking on
the part of some of Anwar critics. For instance, when Anwar has this ‘que sera, sera’ (whatever will be, will be) attitudewhen it comes to a future working possibility with Umno, it is all part of mainstream Malay politics.
How could anyone take exception to what Anwar says when Bersatu is
openly accepting former Umno powerbrokers and regular Umno members to
shore up its base. Anwar's qualified acceptance of Umno leader Nazri
Abdul Aziz's support should not surprise anyone, especially those who
understand that Nazri always had convivial relationships with many
political operatives in the then opposition.
Anwar’s daughter, Nurul Izzah, says she takes charges of nepotism
positively, but really, why should she? The opposition is riddled with
nepotism most often at the highest level in the form of powerbrokers and
political dynasties placing their pawns for future political power.
This is not solely an Anwar problem but the way how some folks talk, it is as if they are blind to what is going on around them. Admittedly, I played a part in this whole PKR is the weakest link in
Harapan narrative, but I also have said, I would take the open fighting
in PKR over the nefarious backrooms deals or fascist diktats of some of
the other parties in Harapan.
While I am not taking sides when it comes to the whole Rafizi versus
Azmin Ali fight, it is far better for voters to understand the power
plays at work and pay attention to what these camps say and do when it
comes to reform principles for this country. Remember folks, when
politicians do not wash their dirty linen in public, we end up
supporting their soiled agendas.
Granted, the way that Port Dickson MP Danyal Balagopal Abdullah gave
up his seat and the murmurs of approval by Anwar made this whole Port
Dickson gambit sleazy, but that is politics.
There are many elected representatives who do not care about the
people who voted for them and probably are using their seats as stepping
stones to profit from the bureaucracy when it comes time to reward
If the power elite really approved of this succession plan then they
would have made it clear – that at least one political operative was a
seat warmer for Anwar to re-enter politics or failing which, come up
with a unified statement that they approved of the Port Dickson gambit
before various political operatives waged a media war.
Seeing as how the opposition did not believe that they could win May
9, the former may not have been possible, but after winning, they should
have made it clear that Anwar was in play for the top job instead of
feeding the narrative, relying on the base and the schisms within PKR,
to wage a very public war on the Anwar clan.
Will Anwar be the kind of prime minister that his supporters claim he
would be? Who knows? Like I said, I am not worried about his reform
agenda because apparently, even the old maverick wants reform.
Now the powerbrokers of Harapan are getting on board the Anwar
Express but the fact is that all this was unnecessary. Heroes and
villains have been created when the reality is all this is because some
people cannot stand the idea of Anwar becoming prime minister. Are their concerns legitimate? It would be if reforming the system
was a top priority, but this is about personality politics and those
"not loyal" to Anwar merely means their loyalties lay elsewhere.
When people say they do not trust Anwar, all I can think, is that you
trust other politicians? What I am worried about is Anwar’s infatuation
that religion is the lodestar for the Malay community, but this should
not detract from the fact that he is no pretender to the throne.
Malaysiakini : “But you know as well as I, patriotism is a word; and one that
generally comes to mean either my country, right or wrong, which is
infamous, or my country is always right, which is imbecile.” ― Patrick O'Brian, ‘Master and Commander’
COMMENT | In responding to my piece critical of his piece, Rais Hussin makes a couple of fundamental errors
regarding my position on the issue of the Uyghur Muslims. The first is
his claim that I wrote that Malaysia is still practising some sort of
"apartheid” system. This is objectively false. In fact, I argued the
Here is what I wrote: “People have stopped using the term 'apartheid'
when they talk to me about the institutionalised discrimination because
they understand that I go a bit bonkers. The last person who used it
got testimonials from a South African friend of mine, which he submitted
in one of the truth and reconciliation committees. But I digress.”
Indeed, in numerous other articles pre and post-May 9, I have made it
clear that use of the word “apartheid” to describe the systemic
discrimination that non-Malays face in this country is morally
reprehensible. This is a matter of public record and, of course, there
are many readers of Malaysiakini who disseminate my articles elsewhere who disagree with me.
The second error Rais makes is claiming that I do not think
it is in “the ambit of Malaysia to speak out against the atrocities of
the Rohingyas nor Uyghurs.” This again is a willful misreading of my
Here is what I wrote: “We could argue about the means they take to
ensure their security but is this really a productive discussion since
we cannot fall back on any first principles that would legitimise our
criticism against the PRC?”
In other words, I am of the opinion that China has every right to
defend itself against what it views as “internal” threats and if we do
criticise them, our criticism would carry more weight if we relied on
first principles, a history of rejecting extremism and a contemporary
commitment of ensuring an egalitarian Malaysia.
I have no idea why Rais would bring up the New Economic Policy (NEP)
and the narrative of correcting whatever perceived “imbalance” between
the various ethnic groups in this country. In my piece, I made it very
clear that the alleged systemic discrimination that the Uyghurs face was
not the same as “bumiputera” rights or the manifestations of those
rights through state power.
I was very clear that only people in Malaysia who face the kind of
discrimination that the Uyghurs allegedly face are the Orang Asal and I
reminded my Chinese and Indian brethren of this reality:
“Malaysians should educate themselves on the realities of these
people when it comes to how the majority deals with minority ethnic
communities - beyond the Chinese/Indian dialectic. Then you will
discover the real horrors of what some communities go through.”
This is the reason why I highlighted the issue of the systemic
discrimination faced by the Orang Asal, which is far more severe than
anything the “other” minorities face in this country. You see, we have,
for the most part, a political apparatus which deals which our
grievances, whereas the Orang Asal are most often left to the mercy of
the state and whoever that controls it. So there’s that.
Now, Rais further claims that it is “shocking” that a retired naval
commander whose “first moral duty” must include rushing to the aid of
sinking vessels, would go against any attempt to highlight the plight of
the Rohingyas and Uyghurs.
This is a straw man argument. I have never been against highlighting
the plight of any marginalised communities, foreign or domestic, but I
have always been critical of those who “champion” certain causes because
of the hypocrisy of their conduct.
Cruel, inhumane treatment
With the Rohingyas for instance, I questioned the motives of PAS and
Umno for holding that convenient solidarity rally. I discussed this here:
“For example, where was the large-scale demonstration when the bodies
of five Orang Asli children were discovered in the jungle when they ran
away from school fearing abuse? Where was the large-scale Muslim outrage
to this tragedy?”
Then, of course, there is the double speak when it comes to domestic security and Muslim solidarity, which I discussed here:
“Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed explained that Malaysia was
willing to accept more refugees but was concerned of the possible influx
of 'sympathisers to the militants'.
“This kind of doublespeak is mendacious; on the one hand, we have
state-sanctioned operatives wanting the Umno state to expel Myanmar’s
diplomats and citizens and on the other, the acknowledgement (by the
state) that armed resistance against the Myanmar regime is something
that the Umno regime is concerned about.
“This kind of balancing act is what emboldens extremists who have
always viewed Malaysia as a transit point for regional and global
terrorism.” Furthermore, in various pieces, I have not only highlighted the way
the state mistreats various refugee groups but also highlighted the
contributions of NGOs (like Tenaganita), various political operatives
and journalists who write about these "refugee" stories that most
Malaysians have very little interest in.
As far as I am concerned, it is these people who highlight the plight
of refugees like the kind Rais mentions and the indifference of the
state. It is they who do the hard, thankless work of genuinely
attracting public interest to the plight of these disposed peoples. When I talk of people who have been subjected to cruel and inhumane
treatment, I do not have to look to other countries to feel outraged. I
only have to look at what is happening in the dark places of our
For instance, how many people like the Rohingyas and Uyghurs have
been trafficked or killed in this country? How many minorities from
other countries have vanished in this country? Would it matter what
religion they believed in?
This is why, as someone who was attached to the state security
apparatus, I want the Pakatan Harapan regime to unearth the Wang Kelian
“The Harapan regime should expose the slavers and killers of Wang
Kelian, discover what happened there and inform the public of the real
nature of the corruption of our state security apparatus. They should expose
how deep the rot goes when it comes to the abuse suffered by
disenfranchised people, migrant workers and the rest under the boot of
those colluding with crime syndicates.”
Why bother about the Chinese Uyghur when they turn against their own country? The Chicoms persecute the Christians too. Mao Tse Tung a godless bastard once said "Religion is the opium of the people". Rais Hussin for your take, People who live in glass houses should not throw stones". Or you cannot see the beam in front of your eyes but you can see a flea across the ocean. Capiche?
Malaysiakini : “And what sort of lives do these people, who pose as being moral,
lead themselves? My dear fellow, you forget that we are in the native
land of the hypocrite.” - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray<
COMMENT | The last time Rais
Hussin mentioned the Uyghur Muslims (as I remember it) was in the
context of Zakir Naik. Free Malaysia Today reported
him as saying, “Rais said he personally could see no wrong in Naik’s
activities and speeches. Deporting him would be akin to deporting Uighur
(Uyghur) Muslims to China, he said, referring to a request by China for
the extradition of 11 Uighur men who entered Malaysia illegally last
year from Thailand.”
Seriously? It’s one thing for Muslims to champion the cause of
persecuted Muslims in other countries, but comparing the realities of
the Uyghurs to an alleged money launderer and religious provocateur?
Ever since I started writing for Malaysiakini, I have made
it a point to refrain from writing about international issues. I do this
because I am a firm believer in taking care of the business in our
backyard, instead of pontificating about the alleged transgressions of
others. However, I sometimes have to step into the fray.
And really, equating the alleged systemic discrimination of the
Uyghurs to the Shoah? Remember when Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar was
jailed for six months for making the same kind of claim with regard to
the disenfranchised Indian community? Here is what DPP Noorin Badaruddin
“The words used by Uthayakumar such as ‘mini genocide’ and ‘ethnic
cleansing’ at an international level gives the impression that grave
crimes and racial oppression were committed.” This should tell us
something about what is acceptable and what isn't when it comes to
making careless statements.
Opposition supporters, now Establishment supporters, have been
writing to me, decrying this op-ed piece by Rais Husin. How can he say
such things when, in our own country, the non-Malays are oppressed, they
ask? People have stopped using the term “apartheid” when they talk to
me about the institutionalised discrimination because they understand
that I go a bit bonkers. The last person who used it got testimonials
from a South African friend of mine, which he submitted in one of the
truth and reconciliation committees. But I digress.
When we talk about systemic oppression like the kind Rais (photo)
talks about, we only have to look at the reality the Orang Asal find
themselves dealing with when it comes to Malay/Muslim hegemons. Not only
have their land be taken away from them, their very culture and
identity have been robbed by conversions – sometimes forced – and the
ongoing machinations of the Muslim state. Of course, the kind of
persecution these people face is rarely talked about in the mainstream
Back in 2005, Malaysiakini highlighted one such case of forced conversion among the Orang Asal in Kelantan, with this allegation made by a convert, Hassan bin Ain: "Hassan believes more than 500 had converted to Islam out of the 2,600 Orang Asli in Kuala Betis.
"Over 60 people got duped into converting to Islam the same way as me," he added. "Hassan also claimed that more than 10 physically-disabled, ill, aged
and mentally-unstable Orang Asli were allegedly dragged out of their
homes by force and registered. "One day, my son and his friends who were on their way to play
football at a nearby field were stopped midway by MAIK officials and
made to recite the kalimah shahadah (declaration of testimony) on the spot. Each boy was then given RM400 and a sarong with a white kopiah(skullcap)," he said."
Discovering the real horrors
Malaysians should educate themselves on the realities of these people
when it comes to how the majority deals with minority ethnic
communities - beyond the Chinese/Indian dialectic. Then you will
discover the real horrors of what some communities go through. Add to this the concept of racial and religious superiority of this
Muslim country and it makes it pretty difficult for someone to mount a
rational, credible defence of the plight of Muslims in foreign
countries. Or at least it should. Unless, of course, the point of
raising the plight of Muslims in other countries is just window
And really, Islam is not the only Abrahamic faith that the faithful outside of China get worked up about. As reported in the South China Morning Post
(Want to escape poverty? Replace pictures of Jesus with Xi Jinping,
Christian villagers urged):
“Thousands of Christians in an impoverished
county in rural southeast China have swapped their posters of Jesus for
portraits of President Xi Jinping as part of a local government
poverty-relief programme that seeks to transform believers in religion
into believers in the party.” This of course was met with international
condemnation, even from gorups here in Malaysia but not from the
officials of the then Umno state. I am just waiting for my Hindu friends or people who read my articles
for some sort of grievances against China so, that they too can
“champion” some sort of Hindu related cause against the People’s
Republic of China (PRC).
And China has every right to be worried about Islamic extremism. We
could argue about the means they take to ensure their security, but is
this really a productive discussion since we cannot fall back on any
first principles that would legitimise our criticism against the PRC?
Just last year, Foreign Policy magazine wrote report about how the
Islamic State (IS) is attempting to curry favour with China’s repressed
minorities: “A 2016 study from New America, a Washington-based think
tank, found 114 Uighurs from Xinjiang joined the Islamic State. Xinjiang
furnished the highest number of foreign ISIS fighters from any one
region of the world outside of Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, the study
In my article
about the Rohingya rabbit hole, I cautioned that this sort of Muslim
solidarity should not be something that the Najib administration engages
in and which should not be replayed by the current Harapan regime. “The
idea that the IS is going to make Southeast Asia as the main theatre of
operations is widely acknowledged in intelligence circles and security
agencies regionally and internationally. We have to remember that the
region provides ample opportunities based on religious and ethnic
conflicts for the Islamic State to latch on to.”
What does all of this mean? Our relationship with China is already
fraught because we made stupid deals and, as usual, demonised the
Chinese government. Not only that, we continue demonising the Chinese
community here because it makes appeals to the sensibilities of the
political elite. And I m not only talking about the Malay/Muslim
Now, of course, we use this issue of the Chinese Uyghur Muslims as
some sort of fig leaf to demonstrate that, as a Muslim nation, we stand
with our brothers overseas, not realising that such proclamations make
it so much easier for foreign groups to view Malaysia as some sort of
safe house to plan and launch terror activities against the Chinese
interests here and elsewhere.
This goes beyond an op-ed piece by a political operative. There are
homegrown activists groups, religious figures and the numerous little
tributaries that plead the case for oppressed Muslims in other countries
based in Malaysia. Some of these groups are even funded by our tax
Besides the obvious danger that these groups may pose, all of
this really detracts from the hard work of getting this country back on
track, and of course, makes a mockery of attempting to change the
mindset of the Malay polity, which is apparently one of the agendas of
this new administration.
Indian M'sians do not need a party to represent them - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, September 10, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
COMMENT | Indian Malaysians do
not need a political party to look after their ‘interests’. I am not
saying this in some politically correct Kool-Aid way, but rather the
with the grim judgement of history backing my statement.
While the MCA may have made strategic mistakes in the way how they
handled the Umno/Malay hegemon, an argument could be made that they
managed to balance the expectations of Chinese Malaysians against the
ketuanan ethos, laying the foundation for the community’s independence
from the discriminatory ‘malaise’ system.
What do I mean by independence? I made two points in one of my earlier articles about MCA’s decline:
1. What is really destroying MCA is not DAP propaganda, but the
acceptance by a large voting demographic of the Chinese community that
no representation in the government is better than MCA representation.
2. Corruption, systemic discrimination, the erosion of religious
freedoms and the dysfunction of public institutions have become
important issues cutting across class lines, but more importantly, act
as a common ground for a certain section of the voting public looking
for an alternative – any alternative – to Umno-BN.
The first point is not new to Indian Malaysians. MIC was more of a
force of subjugation for the community rather than the unintended
emancipatory role that MCA played. The reality is that the Indian community is neither a potent economic
or electoral force when it comes to determining the political process
in this country.
While the original Hindraf movement managed to galvanise the
Malaysian political scene, much to the consternation and protestation of
the mainstream political class, it fizzled out for numerous reasons,
and become a mockery of its original intentions.
In mainstream Malaysian politics, Indian representatives are reminded
not to make noise because they are beholden to Chinese and Malay votes
to sustain their political careers. Since I do not want to prolong old
feuds, I won’t cite the numerous times, political operatives have made
this clear in numerous tweets and speeches.
But if this is indeed the case, what is the point of having an Indian political party? Minister in the Prime Minister's Department P Waythamoorthy’s (photo below) announcement of a new Indian political party
could not come at a worse time. Not to mention what a dumb idea it is
for the minister in charge of national unity and social wellbeing to
lead a race-based party with no purpose except the dodgy agenda of
uplifting the Indian community.
Can you imagine the fireworks between Pakatan Harapan Indian
political operatives and this newly formed Indian party? Isn't there
enough infighting between the various political fiefdoms in the Harapan
establishment without having the Indian issue become a flashpoint for
While the current Harapan grand poohbah claims that it is time for the Malays to face some hard truths, the same could be said for anyone attempting to profit from MIC's political demise.
But you know what really bugs me? Whenever these Indian political
operatives claim to want to set up parties and organisations to look
after the interests of the Indian Malaysians, it is the community which
is vilified online.
You really think that after decades of MIC and various groups
claiming to represent them, the disenfranchised among the Indian
community have not learned that mainstream establishment politics have
no interest in their welfare?
They understand that racial and religious politics, either from the
then-opposition or the former Umno establishment, are part of the
systemic discrimination they face. So when political operatives talk about the ‘Indian community’, what
they’re really talking about – or what they should be talking about – is
a specific subgroup (maybe even a specific sub-ethnic group) who are
Human Rights Party’s P Uthayakumar (photo) has made this
point many times before, and this whole idea of ‘Indian representation’
is a political red herring designed to further the interests of specific
groups along racial lines.
I have written about this here – “Besides
in the realpolitik sense when people talk about Indians, who they are
really talking about is the disenfranchised in the Indian community. The
urban educated class, most probably opposition-leaning, have very
little interest in the community beyond the usual confluence of religion
and other festivities. Furthermore, as a community, there are divisions
along religious lines – Christian and Hindu – and of course, sub-ethnic
groups, which sometimes translate into political affiliations.”
How can you help the disenfranchised of the Indian community? Anyone
who makes the claim that we should “help everybody” and not look at the
race, are the biggest buffoons in this racialised political setting and
should be ignored.
As long as Bersatu and its enablers are around, the ‘Bangsa Malaysia’
Kool-Aid should not be used as an excuse not to have specific racial
programmes targeted at disenfranchised minority groups.
I once wrote about how MIC could have helped the disenfranchised of the Indian community: “As
the smallest faction in the power-sharing community, MIC could have
done so much for the disenfranchised in the Indian community who were
their base. The fact that the Indian community is scattered all over the
country was an advantage. “The MIC could have strategically tailored their welfare
programmes to individual states, and come up with a coherent strategy to
solves issues facing the Indian community in a holistic manner, because the base is small.”
If establishment political operatives really want to help the
disenfranchised among the Indian community, this is not such an immense
hurdle to overcome. There are many committed grassroots-level groups
operating on the premise that the disenfranchised are emancipated
through education and technical skills. This is the key.
All this talk of creating another political party is just another way to create BN redux. It reinforces the idea that the only comfortable narrative is that of each race being represented in the political process.
Disenfranchised minorities know this for the lie that it is.
Fear and loathing in Putrajaya redux - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Malaysiakini : “Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.” ― Laurence J Peter, educator and author
COMMENT | While the White House is in a state of fear regarding the anonymous op-ed piece in the New York Times
about the dysfunction in the Trump administration and the so-called
“resistance” attempting to stymie the US president’s more egregious
agendas, the opposite thing is happening in this country.
While I am not someone who makes excuses for the Harapan
administration when it comes to their reform agenda, Prime Minister Dr
Mahathir Mohamad is correct when he says that there are officials in
Putrajaya who are purposely stalling the administrative policies of the
new regime. There are a couple of points worth considering.
The first is the lack of experience
of some of the ministers appointed. Much has been said about the “Call
me bro” youth and sports minister, the education minister who wants more
responsibility - or is that prestige? - but has no real reform agenda
when it comes to one of the more important portfolios of this country,
the defence minister who likes to cook, and of course, the finance
minister who can’t seem to get enough of exposing the scandals of the
past administration and nodding to whatever the prime minister says.
Fulfilling campaign promises is one thing but more damaging is a lack
of vision of many of these ministers. Besides Gobind Singh Deo (photo)
who seems to actually have a vision of what his Communications and
Multimedia Ministry can accomplish and Transport Minister Anthony Loke,
who you may disagree with some of the things he has done - at least,
they are doing things when it comes to their ministries and not
attempting to define their ministries by their polemics against the
While this is an important point, it should not detract from what I
consider the bigger point - and what the prime minister rightly points
out - the sub rosa moves by bureaucrats to hamper the progress of
Harapan regime. I have been doing my own snooping around, calling
contacts serving and retired, and there is a definitely a conspiracy of
sorts to destabilise the Harapan government from within.
One example I put much stock in is when serving and retired state
security personnel tell me that there is a movement within the Defence
Ministry to “contain” the popular Mohamad Sabu (photo). This
means different things to people but the general idea is that reform
within the security services comes with the price of exposing the
corruption, collusion and god knows what else, which ironically could
prove to be a threat to national security.
Can you imagine what would happen if forces domestic and foreign,
ever discover how compromised our state security apparatus is? So we get
all these “investigations” which go nowhere and an inexperienced
minister who is grappling not only with his administrative duties but
also his political ones, believing that things are running smoothly.
In reality, the petty fiefdoms in the state security apparatus are
making moves to conceal buried secrets that could not only bring them
ruination but everyone in the food chain.
Furthermore, some minions actually resent that there is a new
government. This resentment, depending on the cabal, is based on racism
or religious bigotry. Years of the Biro Tatanegara (BTN) horse manure
has created a culture that views any “interloping” by non-Malay
political operatives other than from BN as trespassing on the provinces
of the ‘ketuanan’ types.
No doubt, the propaganda of a New Malaysia rattles their precious
sensibilities and these people are ever ready to demonstrate that the
bureaucracy can strike back. One recently retired government official
told me that these people not only resort to stalling but also hiding
relevant documents, misdirecting new and inexperienced aides and
attempting to portray everything done by the new Harapan regime as a
This, of course, does not take into account what I call the deep
Islamic state and their operatives, who are considering working with the
committed Islamists within Pakatan Harapan and carrying out their
obligations for their handlers within Umno. Whispering into the ears of
easily-rattled Harapan political operatives of the precarious nature of
the Harapan alliance when it comes to the Malay vote, they advance an
Islamic agenda which is at odds with the supposed “secular” agenda of
the new Harapan regime.
However, if you think that this is all Umno’s fault, you are naive.
The infighting within Harapan contributes immensely to the hampering of
the reform agenda. My comrade, Malaysiakini columnist Hishamuddin Rais (photo) may have ruffled some feathers when it comes to his writings, but he is more often correct than wrong when it comes to the machinations of the political elites.
There are elements within the bureaucracy who have decided to take
sides and the infighting within Harapan plays out in how policy is
carried out in Putrajaya. Various fiefdoms have erupted like boils
within various ministries where busy factotums carry out the agendas of
the Harapan political elite and this sometimes includes frustrating
As one frustrated political operative lamented that she has to watch
her back when it comes to the bureaucracy because not only has she to
worry about the flotsam and jetsam of the former Umno regime, which
includes agents of MCA and MIC, but she has to be wary of not stepping
on the toes of her political higher-ups who are wrestling for dominance
in various ministries.
A still serving low-level bureaucrat in Putrajaya candidly told me
that he is impressed that Harapan has been able to accomplish some of
the reforms they promised because with all the crap thrown their way by
their infighting and elements from the previous regime, it is remarkable
that they are able to function.
Another source said, if only Mahathir was younger and had the support
of a committed base, he would whip the government into shape. He has
preoccupations which are political in nature which are hampering what he
needs to do with the government, this near-retiring source claims.
This, of course, is all part of the political culture in Malaysia
which is Umno-based and something that people in Harapan, who are
actually interested in reform, have to contend with. Coupled with their
inexperience, they find it difficult to navigate the bureaucracy which
is at war for itself and with itself.
Some of my Malay friends think public caning is a great idea - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Malaysiakini : “There is not eternal damnation, the only rewards and punishments are right here in this world.” - Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, ‘The Madman and the Nun: and Other Plays’ COMMENT| As quoted in the press upon his acquittal of graft charges, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said something rather queer. Of the people who throw “malicious lies” - is there any other kind of
lies? - he claimed that their fate would be decided by God Almighty.
Really? Then I suppose there is no need for libel and slander laws, not
to mention the fact that he has taken up cases against those who have
spread lies about him before.
However, those who invoke their god, either for reward or punishment are a dime a dozen here in Malaysia. Speaking of those who speak on behalf of higher powers, this brings
us to the public caning of the two women in Terengganu for same-sex
relations or illicit sex, or both. Malaysiakini columnist Mariam Mokhtar in her latest piece about unshackling the enslaved Malay mind claimed anyone who does not have a Malay friend is part of the problem.
Having a Malay friend to drag to a forum or starting simple
discussions is apparently how the non-Malays can help unshackle Malay
minds after years of indoctrination by the Umno state, the continuing
efforts of the Pakatan Harapan state and, of course, the manipulations
of preachers of the state-sanctioned religion. I cannot speak for the rest of non-Malays, but I have many Malay
friends. Some of my Malay friends, depending on their economic and
social level, believe that their privileges either hamper or have been a
benefit to them and their families. Some of them claim with so many
children, they need all the help they can get.
While the old maverick talks
about the wonders of birth control and our rubber industry, the same
does apply to population control when it comes to the vote base, I
guess. Of course, my friends - Malay, Chinese, Orang Asal and Indians -
do not necessarily have to share the same beliefs as me to be considered
friends. Do people only mix with other people who share their beliefs?
And do you really think that only Malays think that their minds are
shackled or that their religion shackles their minds? Would you say the
same to a religious Christian, Hindu or Buddhist who does not share the
same religious dogma as Muslims but in reality, when it comes to
cultural and social norms, they have exactly the same religious/cultural
prejudices? So really, some people do share the same religious dogma;
it is only they do not have the power of the state to back up their
And does anyone really think that all Malays have not used the quota
system, or whatever benefits they get from the state, to break free from
their economic brackets? This is why this whole issue of rights and
privileges is just a red herring, especially for politicians - both
Malay and non-Malay - who use it for political gain.
So the Malay mind gets unshackled, but unshackled to what? Voting for
political parties who do not use race and religion to further their
political goals? Can anyone name such a political party. I can but
nobody is interested in them.
When it comes to religion, it gets even worse. I have lost friends
who disagree with my take on religion, specifically Islam. While others
share my views when we talk in private, when it comes to public
discussions they disassociate from me and my views. Some friends just
wait for the day when the demographic overwhelms the non-Malays and then
my views would not matter at all.
Take this public caning for example. Some of my Malay friends who are
religious claim that this strengthens the position of Islam in this
country. It is a useful political tool and reminds the non-Malays who
voted for Harapan that the Malay political actors in the coalition will
defend Islam. These are folks who voted for Harapan and not the dreaded
Umno and PAS people.
They are also supportive when they read how the Harapan government
wants to uplift the shariah court system - "In relation to the Syariah
Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act and other relevant laws, we are
looking at them in more detail and … we are committed, ready to amend
the act in empowering the syariah courts as a whole," Deputy Minister in
the Prime Minister's Department Fuziah Salleh said during the oral question-and-answer session at the Dewan Negara sitting yesterday.
Honestly, when Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa (photo),
the so-called moderate face of Islam in this country, says that all was
in accordance with the caning - procedural and spiritual - and the only
issue he had was the public spectacle, this should clue you in on how
the political process in this country is weighted in favour of the
religious imperatives of the Malay/Muslim political elite and the fear
of not spooking the Malays of the non-Malay/Muslim Harapan base.
A good Malay friend of mine, who opposes the caning, says that it was
a good thing that the female officer was masked – (my friend, who is a
woman, used a word that rhythms with itch to describe the masked
punisher) because there would be repercussions if anyone from her family
(which includes people which the state and the state-sanctioned
religion disenfranchises) was canned in public.
My friend is someone the religious types would say has lost her way
because of her childhood on the streets, a criminal record, promiscuity
and a long hard road to redemption in the form of a law degree she uses
to help other people who have been screwed over by the system.
Honestly, this public spectacle is a tool to confront the Islamic
elements in Harapan, to force them to take a stand, and you know what,
the religious and secular elements in Harapan failed miserably. Where is
the outrage from those who before May 9 would somehow find a way to
blame the Umno state working with PAS as purveyors of fake Islamic
As usual, Klang parliamentarian Charles Santiago (photo)
seems to be the only political operative speaking plainly and making his
stand clear. Of course, this is not the official stand of the political
alliance of this new Malaysia. It sure as hell is not the stand of the
people who support them, who think that they should not fall into the
trap set by these Islamic extremists, and never for one moment, stopping
to think that there are Islamists within Harapan who want exactly the
same thing and are enabled by the power-hungry non-Malay components of
It does not get any clearer than this - “The new Pakatan Harapan
government, which was voted in on the premise of inclusion, must,
therefore, repeal all laws that criminalise homosexuality without any
delay,” said Santiago.
All we get is silence because Amanah is supposed to be the
progressive face of Islam and so far, all they have managed to do is get
their knickers in twist about the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and queer) community, while PAS has managed to talk about
everything from corruption charges against the Harapan political elite,
the GST and the numerous other issues which should be how Harapan is
changing the course of the Islamic narrative in this country.
Terengganu Bar Committee chairperson Sallehudin Harun said that the
public would get a clearer picture. Notice he did not say Muslims but
rather the (general) public. Why is this? Because this was a spectacle
for the non-Muslims. This was to show that their political leaders are
political hacks who would not do a damn thing when it comes to extremism
in this country.
The subtext is this. First, these political operatives cannot help
the Malays progress from their so-called mental shackles. Second, after
the laws get through with the disenfranchised of this country, it will
come after the smug secure urban electorates.
That is the message, folks. Besides a few outlier voices, the
mainstream politics of Harapan when it comes to this issue is hear no
evil, see no evil and enable such evil when it is politically expedient.