Lo and behold, PM Najib’s Emergency rule By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, June 24, 2017
Malaysiakini : “Quintus: People should know when they are conquered.
Maximus: Would you, Quintus? Would I?”- ‘Gladiator’
COMMENT | De facto opposition leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed that if BN loses by a small margin, “The bullies in BN would be ready to create instability.”
Let us get something out of the way first. The only political party
in BN that has the means and ways of creating instability is Umno and
Umno has never been shy of playing the bully in Malaysian politics.
Therefore, if any political party is going to declare emergency rule it
is not going to be the BN alliance but rather Umno.
The former Umno strongman does not make flippant comments. He does
not just throw things out there to get a rise. Everything he says or
does is carefully considered and made with the intention of fulfilling
I have made it clear that I do not consider the recent corruption
allegations the existential threat facing Malaysia. I wager that if
“bangsa” and “agama” did not corrupt the Malaysian system, most
Malaysians would give someone like Prime Minister Najib Razak a free
pass. He would be given this pass because in the words of Malaysiakini columnist Josh Hong reminding us that naysaying is not enough, “for all its flaws, Malaysia remains a prosperous, relatively efficient and economically vibrant country.”
Mahathir makes the case with his examples of voter fraud, compromised
electoral system and vote buying, that even if the opposition wins by a
small margin, they would eventually lose, because the Umno hegemon has
no intention of ceding the political battlefield to the victors.
In any other civilised country, when a former prime minister makes
such an extraordinary claim, the current prime minister, his cabinet and
political allies would rebut the claim. They would assure the citizens
of their country, that they would abide by the democratic process and
that the rule of law and principles of democracy would ensure a smooth
transition of power.
This is not the case in Malaysia. The Najib regime has made no
comment and indeed the racial and religious rhetoric has escalated to
the point that the Umno establishment has enacted laws that would give
them legal authority to rule in emergency until such time that they feel
confident enough to resume the facade of democracy in this country.
There is no point talking about the 1MDB scandal as if the current
regime has any intention of conforming to democratic norms because
scandals such as these depend on institutional integrity and voting
demographics that, regardless of partisanship, hold politicians
accountable for their deeds in office.
In my piece ‘Malaysian Official 1 should resign but won’t’,
I wrote - “Najib loyalists are wallowing in the fact that Najib’s
authoritarian measures ensure his political stability because there are
no democratic or legitimate means to oust him from office. What is left
is the internal mechanism of Umno which has been greased by the ‘cash is
While I have argued that we are a state in failing, what the former
prime minister makes clear is that ultimately our votes really do not
matter. I suppose we are a fascist state in making. In fact, I made this
argument last year - ‘Umno and the fascist state’
- inspired by a piece by Peter Bergen who in looks to Robert Paxton’s
‘The anatomy of fascism’ to find out if the newly-minted US president
had fascist tendencies.
To recap, here are the five points from the Paxton model that I used to describe the fascist Najib/Umno regime -
1) “A sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of traditional solutions.” 2) “The superiority of the leader's instincts over abstract and universal reason.” 3) “The belief of one group that it is the victim, justifying any action.” 4) “The need for authority by natural leaders (always male)
culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the
group's destiny.” 5) “The beauty of violence and the efficacy of will when they are devoted to the group's success.”
‘The end is near’
So yes, in all probability if by some miracle - and I say “miracle”
because I do think the Najib regime will “win” in this upcoming general
election - if the opposition does manage to take Putrajaya, Umno will
not concede and most probably fulfil the former prime minister’s
prophecy. It is not as if this regime has not been laying the groundwork
for such an eventuality.
The reality is that late last year, the current Umno grand poohbah
introduced himself as Chairman Najib with the National Security Council
(NSC) Act and nobody seemed too concerned. While I argued
that the NSC Act would have far deeper implications for the future of
this country than the 1MDB scandal, the opposition in this country were
extremely indifferent towards this new law. Beyond the usual outrage
pieces by a few opposition politicians and the usual pieces by
“activists” like myself, those people who marched on the streets for
Bersih elections, did not seem too concerned with it.
I had expected that people would be organised, political and activist
groups mobilised to march on the streets protesting this bill, like we
see in many South American countries, but instead it was business as
usual in oppositional political discourse. Indeed, something of this
magnitude, where the current Umno president “shrugged “off a request by
the Conference of Rulers for it to be refined”, was not even a major
I remember urging people to read the Act and consider what the state
was imposing on us. I remember talking to oppositional political
operatives and questioning them as to why this was not a major issue for
them. Most of the time, they answered that the average citizen was not
interested in this issue.
Whenever I write articles like these, I feel like those old deranged
coots you see in American movies with signboards claiming, “The end is
near”. Waving a bell around, as people look aghast at such displays of
PKR’s Tian Chua rightly claimed that the bill would not be passed if
there was no intention to use it and this is exactly why a law such as
this is a safety net for the Najib regime and why the outcome of this
election may finally seal our fate as a failed state.
So, either the opposition loses but hopefully maintains the status
quo in terms of their composition in Parliament and the running of
certain states or the opposition wins and loses everything when the
hegemon decides to play by the rules that it created with laws such as