They have become rent seekers. Others have to work, you are like parasites and it's a form of protection racketeering (jizya). Stop spinning and get your head out off your butt, apparently buried too deep. - Extracted from Malaysiakini
Malaysiakini : “These policies have been abused and misused by certain strata of
the administration to benefit just a very few selected Umnoputras up
the food chain, while many Malays have been ignored.” - Rais Hussin, Bersatu supreme council leader
COMMENT | I have no idea why Bersatu leader Rais Hussin would take issue with the comments of Amercian professor Meredith Weiss in the lefty magazine Jacobian since it is a rather benign piece on the Pakatan Harapan victory on May 9.
And, of course, Rais ends the way how some Malaysians end their
critique of any argument, resorting to the ad hominem of the “armchair
critic” and "… the safe confines of her ivory towers in the US” as if
Malaysia is some sort of hotspot instead of a stable democracy that
rejected a kleptocrat.
When Western academics and whistleblowers dissed former prime
minister Najib Abdul Razak, they were embraced - but any hint of a
criticism or insight on the current Harapan new deal is scorned.
Rais objects to the “why” this rejection of Umno came about and the
obstacles (ideology in this case) for truly reforming the system which
Weiss claims are the “ketuanan” ideology (bumiputeraism) and personality
politics that dominate the Harapan regime. Anyone reading the article will find nothing offensive and certainly not anything resembling the literary ramblings of the New Yorker.
More importantly, what Weiss claims is something the outlier
political pundits have been saying since the Harapan win, which
predictably has been drowned out by the schizophrenic Harapan political
operatives and the faithful. It must be swell (so far) for this new administration that people are
not shouting “apartheid” whenever a Harapan political operative talks
about “Malay” rights in some form or another.
Rais himself acknowledged that the previous government’s Malay
rights-based initiatives would not be ditched but reformed so they help
the average Malay and not the Umnoputra. The current Bersatu grand
poobah latest comments on Khazanah echo the samesentiment. Has the average Malay been damned by the system set up to “lift them
up”? The answer is, maybe it is the system that is the problem.
The same fable that the “Malays” need that little something extra to
compete is what drives the various Malay hegemons squabbling for power
amongst themselves. Malay political power structures use the same
methods to ensure compliance in the Malay community but with varying
degrees of compromises to their non-Malay allies.
Meanwhile, nobody from the establishment then and now pays attention
to academic studies which point to a different narrative of bumiputera
equity and the other sacred cows of Malay/Muslim political power
structures. Try asking academic Dr Lim Teck Ghee about the reception his
study received from the previous Umno administration. What do you think
the current Harapan administration thinks of it?
The bumiputera agenda is always defined by its proponents as a means
to elevate the Malay community. There is nothing inherently racist about
this system, they argue, but it has always been "abused" by various
Malay power structures. This is the foundation of the bumiputera system.
In essence, a noble endeavour corrupted by political operatives.
Never that, a priori, this system has no place in any functional
democracy. There’s always this element of pragmatism non-Malays have to have
when we talk about this issue and acknowledging that the cost of sharing
power with Malay power structures (especially those in conflict) means
that we share power not as equals but as serfs to an ideology that has
duped this country royally for years.
I acknowledged this spirit of “voluntarism” in another piece:
“Is there some clarity in thinking this way? Is there merit in
believing this pragmatism trumps the kleptocracy of the state?
Pragmatism in knowing, but not saying, that it is in nobody's interest
to change the system but instead replacing the power-brokers in the
hopes of maintaining some kind of social and political equilibrium?”
Been there, done that
The new Malaysia discourse by non-Malays is defined by those
participating actively seeking to impose dogma, causal cynicism and, of
course, those optimistic that there is indeed a place for all of us
under the Malaysian sun. All of which are used by the various Malay
power structures (and their enablers) to sustain the Malay agenda. It’s
the social contract in one form or another.
Some folks have asked me why I have not weighed in on the DAP
kerfuffle about the ministerial posts and honestly, while I think the
specific candidates are not the best and brightest that DAP has to
offer, I think these types of power struggles and displays are part and
parcel of the political process.
However, what irks me is that yet again, this is not so much an issue
of craven political opportunism but rather that the racial undertones
are obvious. And frankly, when people tell me to trust the current
leadership when it comes to their choices of political appointees in the
various ministries, I would say, “Thank you but been there, done that.” Rais puts forward the idea that change takes time but I would argue
it is hampered by an ideology that stalls any kind of racial and social
reform. The Fitch Group recently cautioned that the lopsided composition
of power that favours Malay political structures in the new Harapan
government is a time bomb that lies nestled in the Harapan regime. I
would argue that it is, but one of many.
“While the number of cabinet positions that was allocated to each
party was in rough accordance to their seat count, the two largest
parties, centrist PKR and secular DAP are under-represented
whereas the Malay-dominated parties Bersatu and Amanah enjoy
over-representation. This has likely resulted in some dissatisfaction
among PKR and DAP and in our view, will potentially emerge as a
flashpoint in inter-party relations within the Harapan coalition.”
Sooner or later, non-Malays are going to demand more from their
political leaders believing that this is a new Malaysia and this is
where things will get messy. While there are many enablers in the
non-Malay power structures, there are also many who want to change this
country and believe the old ways of doing things are not what they
signed up for. This, I believe, will be the major flashpoint in
non-Malay power structures.
Removing political appointees does not demonstrate a commitment to
political reform. Who replaces them and how subservient or not they are
to their political masters is what demonstrates a commitment to reform. I
can’t speak for anyone else, but Malaysians are used to window
If politicians say the right things, some people are impressed. But
it is rarely followed by action. These issues get lost in the news cycle
and before long, another BN has replaced the old one. The excesses of the previous government are easy to slash. What is
harder is to slash the system that enabled such excess. “Ketuanan
Melayu”, “bumiputeraism” or whatever else Malay power structures and
their non-Malay enablers choose to term their systemic racism, it is
what had led this country to its kleptocratic status.
Weiss rightly pointed out that rancid ideology and personality
politics will hamper whatever genuine reforms the Harapan government is
capable of carrying out. And this is the key. We are still in the early
stages. Harapan is capable of carrying out such reforms if it so
Rais is only half-right when he argued that the Malays do not need
Umno. What he forgets to mention is that the Malays need something like
Umno, which means Bersatu. Or at least that is conventional Malay
politics. Non-Malay political structures need that too. As long as this
is the case, there is no new Malaysia.