Articles, Opinions & Views: For now, Malaysia has no opposition - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

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He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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For now, Malaysia has no opposition - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | So, do we finally have a two-party system? No, we don’t. “We were too drunk on our own Kool-Aid, and this is a sobering lesson for us which we'll remember for the rest of our lives." - Khairy Jamaluddin, member of the opposition
COMMENT | As someone who took a big gulp of Kool-Aid and wrote this, I’m thankful to de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim who reminded us that one election does not a democracy make. One wonders though when the circus of 1MDB issue peters out, what kind of bread would be offered? So, do we finally have a two-party system? No, we do not. Not in the kind of way that an egalitarian Malaysia needs. As someone who has spent a great deal of time and effort promoting that line of propaganda – the many emails from Malaysiakini readers reminding me that it was propaganda is testament to my doggedness in pursuing an objective, I suppose - I have to concede when I am wrong. Malaysia has no real opposition, hence there is no two-party system. Not yet.
Malaysiakini columnist Nathaniel Tan may call the current opposition ineffectual, but it amounts to the same thing. We have currently no opposition to the Pakatan Harapan regime. Tan seems to think that the BN model is over but it is not. The BN model was a corruption – what isn’t for this regime? – of the old Alliance model, where Malay power structures ostensibly shared power with non-Malay power groups.
To argue that Harapan is not a marriage of convenience is disingenuous. However, it is also disingenuous to claim that all marriages of convenience do not work. It all depends on how much time and effort is put into making the union work and finding common ground, or in this case, mutually beneficial political outcomes. Remember, mutually beneficial political outcomes does not mean that the rakyat profits, it merely means that political parties secure their position.
The main justification by the opposition on why they needed Dr Mahathir Mohamad was because of the Malay vote. Bersatu is a Malay-only organisation, an organisation which Mahathir argued was needed to win over the Malay vote. If you think that this is politically incorrect to say now, remember it is Anwar who claimed that Mahathir was indispensable to regime change. The numbers will tell if there was indeed a Malay tsunami or if the non-Malays votes (in greater numbers) propped up Mahathir, which is a case of history repeating itself.
Detractors of this new game plan were mocked and cursed in the alternative media and on social media. Implying that we are in a post-racial political Malaysia is as dangerous as the reality distortion field that surrounded Najib Razak. That was some Grade A Kool-Aid right there. When DAP leader and newly-appointed finance minister Lim Guan Eng says he considers himself Malaysian first, it is mendacious and subservient since he sitting at a table with someone who heads a Malay-only organisation, feebly makes noises (with his non-Malay partners) about following the constitution (as if the Malaysian Constitution is not a compromised document) when confronted about "Malay rights" but most importantly, it is a negation of non-Malay cultural identity at the expense of Malay realpolitik, which is the foundation of "ketuananism".
No, if you say it will take time to change the system, fine, but do not in a fascist way negate the subject of race from the conversation, especially when it comes to the non-Malays, to sustain and buttress weakened Malay power structures of this new regime. This does not dismantle the ‘ketuanan’ system, it reinforces.
Similarly, Lim Kit Siang cannot make the argument that Harapan component parties are not anti- (insert race/religion) because Harapan rode on the coattails of the current Harapan grand poobah and being anti something does not naturally mean you are pro something. Hence, you may not be "anti-Malay" but it does not mean you are pro any kind of egalitarian system. It merely means that you are not anti-Malay as defined by your political opponents.
Harapan made many claims that were not tested merely because the Najib regime was corrupt and incompetent and they (Umno) were up against one of the main architects of that system. Does this mean that Malay power structures are gone? No, Umno still is the biggest Malay party standing but more importantly, the ideology that sustains such power-sharing formula – ketuanism – remains. What it means is that with the right Malay political operative, Malay hegemons can be attacked and weakened but the real work of dismantling the ‘ketuanan’ system has to begin by acknowledging the problem, not merely dispensing more Kool-Aid.
When the opposition first started, it was a movement to change the country. The opposition wanted Malaysia to be a truly egalitarian place and the DAP was the vanguard when it came to the various initiatives to save Malaysia over the years. A real opposition is forged over years of rejection by the very public they choose to serve and of the ideals that sustain them. And PAS and DAP, although diametrically opposed, were the opposition that mattered in Malaysia.
Speak truth to Harapan power
Keep in mind when the alternative media first emerged, they were a boon to the opposition. BN had the mainstream media and the opposition had the alternative media and were extremely influential in social media. With this Harapan regime, not only does Harapan have the alternative media (for the time being), they now also control/influence the mainstream media. When Selangor menteri besar says "tonight we can start watching the mainstream media" on a platform of the alternative media, can anyone really make the argument that the media, alternative and mainstream, is not the domain of Harapan? Even Anwar waxes lyrical about Malaysiakini.
The DAP made no secret of wanting to destroy MCA and they got their wish. Their wish made true by the huge wins of DAP candidates against their MCA brethren. MCA, meanwhile, had to actually beg not to be destroyed, which should tell you not only the mood of this country but also the reality that if the Chinese community could not give a damn about the MCA because they were running dogs, why should they care now when the DAP has made true the promise of being part of a federal government where they hold significant influence?
Forget about the MIC or any of the other parties that made up BN. They are all tainted or at least that is the perception. Remember the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi regime enjoyed a popular mandate because the perception was that the old maverick was out of the picture. Because Najib and those who surrounded him were corrupt – how much more corrupt is open to debate than previous regimes – they were wilfully ignorant of the danger the old maverick posed so much so they could not see that their base despised Najib and getting rid of him could have given them a new mandate.
Who is going to listen BN anyway? What have they got to offer which is radically different from what Harapan is offering? Former Umno minister Salleh Said Keruak is someone who conflates the system with the political party. This leads him to say stupid things like all great empires fall. Umno was never an “empire”. Umno potentates may have thought themselves royalty, but it was the “malaise system" that kept them in power and which threw them out for another alliance which does not have the baggage that Najib does.
This, of course, leaves PAS. PAS deserves a whole article for itself. They are not any kind of opposition that a diverse Malaysia needs, and by diverse, I am not taking about the racial politics of Harapan which I discussed above. The removal of this kleptocrat should not be an opportunity to further perpetuate a system which started out as one of power-sharing but evolved into a hegemony.
So if we do not have an opposition, what do we have? What we have are Malaysians who should speak truth to Harapan power even if it means going against the group think. While it is too early to dismiss Harapan as not walking the talk, it is never too early to remind Harapan that there are those who will not remain silent if Harapan turns into BN Redux. That's my hope.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 12:28 PM  
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