Malaysiakini : "Look man, I do what I can do to help y'all. But the game is out there, and it's either play or get played." - Omar (The Wire)
COMMENT | A reader wrote to me
and she proclaimed that every Umno politician should be investigated for
corruption. To be accurate, she said that every single Umno, MCA and
MIC politician in the Najib regime. Apparently, former premier Najib
Razak is the starting point. The source from which all of malfeasance
flows. What brought this on? The headline that Umno president Ahmad
Zahid Hamidi may be arrested, of course. I am not surprised.
People wait and see which Umno political
operative is summoned by the MACC but I think for most people, like this
Malaysiakini subscriber who regularly emails me, there is this
desire to see these band of brigands brought to justice. For years, the
corrupt system which sustained Umno political operatives were untouched
by the laws of the land, and what was worse is that they revelled in
this "untouchable" status.
When still serving Umno political operatives whine to me about the
witch hunts they claim to be subjected to, all I hear is the world’s
smallest violin playing in the background. The reality is that even as I
want to ensure that Pakatan Harapan keeps its election promises and
remind Malaysians that we cannot afford a BN Redux, I am simpatico with
people who want every Umno politician investigated by the state security
apparatus. I am talking about a specific class of people and not the
Harapan base, who are baying for blood.
The people who complain the most that things are not moving fast
enough or worry that there are some political backroom deals carried out
by Malay power structures, are still serving or retired civil servants.
Unlike the average citizen who has not been in service to this country,
these people have a profound hate for the system they had to endure,
sometimes for decades, and for the younger set, a few years that seemed
like decades. And for them, the system is Umno. I do not subscribe to this
definition of the "system" but nearly everyone I talk to seems to think
that the whole of Umno is corrupt and the only way this country can move
forward is for the crimes of Umno to be exposed for all to see.
I ask them why doesn’t it matter to them that even in the Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi regime there was corruption and governmental malfeasance
and previous administrations which often times were worst? The usual
answer is that we can only go so far. This meme that Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants to save Malaysia to repent
for his sins is strong in the Harapan base and for most people I speak
to. Mind you, while he has talked about saving Malaysia and the systemic
corruption that plagues this country, the old maverick has never truly
acknowledged that he is one of the main architects of this system.
And why should he? These days he has more than enough apologists, who
would justify anything he says or does on the grounds of not spooking
the Malays. However, this should not detract from the fact that I cannot
find any reasons why there should not be these "witch hunts"? Sure, I
could make a rational argument why there should not be these witch hunts
but something just stops me for doing this.
What Umno fears most
In another piece
I wrote this – “In the current climate, there will be more big-name
casualties when it comes to the malfeasance of the Najib regime, and
there will definitely be more defections – after a suitable period of
contriteness, of course – of Umno members to Bersatu and PKR.”
This got a response from an old friend who was with PKR and was
formerly with Umno. (His comments reproduced here in full with his
permission) - “Thaya, there will be more ‘big name’ causalities and they
know it! The strategy is to destroy Umno revenue streams – ill-gotten
gains – and to cripple the main Malay opposition block. This is not the
strategy of the non-Malays in Harapan but rather the Malays in Harapan.
This is what everyone in Umno fears.”
When this message was passed around among a few close associates,
many of them took umbrage, claiming that these types of strategies was
not something that should be done in this new Malaysia. There was much
discussion on the rule of law and about how the state should not go on
fishing expeditions against political opponents of the state. That we
needed an independent security apparatus and judiciary, and by condoning
such strategies - if true - we are merely doing what Umno did.
I, however, cannot bring myself to offer up the same indignation.
Why? Because I think of a kid like Teoh Beng Hock who is murdered while
political operatives from Umno went on with their plunder and have the
audacity to scream that they are the defenders of race and religion. I
think about the numerous deaths in custody and keep seeing the parents
of these murdered young people holding up their pictures asking for
There was always no evidence, as I wrote in another piece
– “Pardon my language but with the former Umno regime, there was always
that excuse of ‘insufficient evidence’. When it came to the 1MDB
scandal, insufficient evidence or worse, no crime. When it came to
deaths in custody, no evidence. When it came to police corruption, no
evidence. Sure, the MACC put on a good show arresting people but the
real terror, that evil of people working the system with the collusion
of the Umno state, there was always no evidence.”
The reality is that there was always evidence. Evidence that this
country was being raped and the perpetrators knew that they could get
away with it. They could pretend to be religious, cloaking themselves
from scrutiny by using race and religion. This probably explains why I
despise the snake-oil peddlers of any religion and their sycophants who
in their pious support of any political coalition, allow political
operatives to sometimes literally get away with murder.
Of course, there is that rational part of me that understands that
feelings such as these is not about justice but vengeance which is a
predictable response to the inequalities of the system, which goes far
Just recently I met this Malay couple who had lost their son,
murdered in custody, they claimed. This was not one of those cases that
were highlighted in the press maybe because their son was a criminal.
Just a petty thief who never hurt anyone. But he died in custody a
couple of years ago. They wanted to know why their son had to die for
his crimes but people who steal millions meant for the citizens of this
country go free or are never even investigated?
I have no idea how to answer questions like these. It doesn’t feel
right, telling people who have lost children or partners, that this is
not just about corrupt politicians who most probably are making deals to
ensure their political survival. That this is not just about Umno.
I do know this though. While I know that there will be more Umno big
fish that will face the music, there will be many more who will be let
off the hook.
COMMENT | For some time now, I
have been a strong advocate of a counter-narrative to the mainstream
dogma of Islam in this country. This while the Pakatan Harapan regime
has been cowardly in their response to issues ranging from the public
canning of lesbians to coddling extremists like Zakir Naik and the
Kampung Majoi incident.
The latest is from Mujahid Yusof Rawa, minister in the prime minister’s department, regarding all matters Islamic and his dust-up with The Star over its headline and is worth paying attention to.
If people have been paying attention, there really is not much good
news when it comes to Islam in this country. If anything, the Harapan
regime has been derelict in their duty in confronting the extremists in
So why would Mujahid make statements such as the ones he made in an interview in The Star. Let us examine these statements.
1. “Let’s say you commit something within your personal, individual sphere – I will not interfere.”
What does this mean? That Mujahid personally won’t knock down doors
and drag Muslims out of their private spheres? Is he speaking as a
minister in charge of Islamic affairs or is he just shooting the breeze,
his words having no meaning in a policy sense and are not worth
2. “For example, consumption of alcohol is wrong for a Muslim, but if
you consume it within your sphere, then as part of the government, I
will not interfere.”
Now, he is talking as someone who is part of the government. Well, if
he talking as a representative of the government, what does this mean?
That there will be no more raids or whatever else kind of moral
policing? Because if his words do have meaning as a representative of
the government, what else could they mean in terms of policy?
3. “My concern is what goes on in public that encroaches on
sensitivity, legality or criminality. Only then does the government come
in, not because we want to be moral police but because we want to
secure the public sphere.”
So now we know for sure that Mujahid is speaking as a government
official. The use of the term “we” signifies that this is government
policy and not some sort of personal preference. So, could we assume
that there would be no more moral policing in private spheres as opposed
to public ones? Apparently not.
4. “The government’s narrative of Islam will translate into our
policies, all the Islamic judiciary activities, all our relations with
Here we go again. Mujahid says that this opinion of his would
translate to government policy. So if a rational person reads this, what
would they conclude? That the government will not carry out moral
policing in the private sphere but would do so in the public sphere so
as to not hurt the sensitivities of the majority, right? Apparently not.
5. “This issue of enforcement on khalwat has been misused and
exploited in some cases. It is important that they (enforcement
officers) do not interfere with the individual sphere.”
Here we go again. Mujahid claims that enforcement has been misused
but more importantly officials should not interfere in the private
sphere of Muslims. So this would mean that it is government policy not
to raid private spheres of Muslims, right? Apparently not.
6. And this bit of reportage – “Although such raids fall under the
state jurisdictions, he is engaging the religious agencies at state
levels to convince them to adopt the stance of the federal authority.”
So why exactly is he engaging the state religious authorities? If by
his own admission it is the government policy not to interfere in the
private sphere of Muslims, what is Mujahid attempting to convince
state-level actors to do?
Now apparently to the current Harapan Grand Poobah, all this sounds
great. So much so that Dr Mahathir Mohamad goes on about how Islam has
been given a bad rep by the hardliners. Mind you in his first
incarnation as prime minister in the old Malaysia, the prime minister
admitted in an interview with Time magazine that he kept hudud at bay but when he stepped down Islamic mischief soon began.
“They were not able to make any progress with their hudud laws during
my time. I didn’t tell them that this Islam is out-of-date or anything
like that. I said Islam stresses justice and what you are doing is to
create injustice, therefore it is wrong.
“But when I stepped down, they brought it up again. Hudud is
man-made; it’s political, it is just meant to show that you are very
Islamic [...] Today, Muslims are in a lot of turmoil, and it’s not
because of Islam. It is because they reject Islam,” said Mahathir. Speaking of not allowing "them" to make progress with their hudud
laws, perhaps, the current Harapan regime should demonstrate such
resolve by not throwing more obstacles in front of former Simpang Benut MP Tawfik Ismail's challenge against Hadi tabling of Act 355.
The Attorney-General's Chambers may think this matter is now academic
but as Tawfik’s lawyer Rosli Dahlan – a lawyer who defended the late
Kassim Ahmad and a recipient of the transgressions of the Umno state –
claims, how could it be academic when Hadi will no doubt attempt to
table the act again?
A far more honest approach would be for Harapan political operatives
make their stand clear - now - on Hadi’s bill, stating they will not
support such a bill – in keeping with the prime minister’s history of
keeping hudud at bay in the old Malaysia – or agree with Tawfik’s
contention that Hadi’s proposed act is unconstitutional. But, as usual, I
digress. However, the prime minister backing up Mujahid's stance that the
federal government will not intrude into the private sphere of Muslims
in this country is a good first step. Reading the old maverick's rather
forceful defence of Mujahid policy intent and the kind of Islam Harapan
wants to promote is a positive indication that (perhaps) this was really
a new-ish Malaysia.
No doubt the media in question is going to fold. This is why some
people in this country despise the political operatives from Amanah.
They do not have the guts to be a moderate Islamic party but have no
problem attacking PAS's conservative stand. What I do not understand is why Harapan doesn't make the argument
that moral policing is expensive? We are supposed to be in a time when
the government is on an austerity drive. Lim Guan Eng is worried that he
would be the most disliked minister of finance because of the
cost-cutting measures that are going to be in the next budget.
Shouldn't this be the time when the federal religious bureaucracy
chips in and help save Malaysia too? Shouldn't this be the time when
state religious departments in Harapan-controlled states do their bit
when it comes to cost-cutting? As I said policing morality takes time
and money. Both of which are in short supply.
The fact is that Mujahid is not confident enough to promote the kind
of "moderate" Islam that he goes on about. The prime minister, who
apparently does not have a problem with what Mujahid said, is now left
hanging while Mujahid’s minions promise stern action against The Star for what some would (mendaciously) argue is a faulty headline.
Before the election, grand words flowed from Mujahid's mouth but now,
he is just another Islamic bureaucrat playing to specific bases knowing
that the Harapan base will not hold him accountable for failing to
further a so-called moderate Islamic agenda.
So I guess the more important question is not why Mujahid said the
things he said but can anyone trust whatever comes out from his mouth?
MCA should leave BN - but never join Harapan - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, October 06, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take
this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the
problem which it was intended to solve.” – Karl Popper
COMMENT | Should MCA leave BN? The short answer would be yes. Remember in the Balakongby-election, DAP national chairperson Tan Kok Wai challengedMCA
to leave BN if it lost the seat. Not only that, he also said that MCA
should join Pakatan Harapan in the future, if they agree with the
coalition's principles.I have no idea what Harapan’s principles are, but if Tan’s muddled
thinking about race-based parties is anything to go by, these principles
must be really screwed up. This is what Tan said about race-based politics: “Malaysia is a
multiracial country. If race-based parties continue to exist, they could
affect the harmony and unity among the people, as they are only looking
out for themselves,”
How anyone can say this with Bersatu as the anchor for Harapan, when
political operatives claimed that Mahathir and Bersatu were needed to
secure the Malay vote, and a bumiputera congress was held to assuage the
anxiety of Harapan-supporting Malays is beyond me. But then again, this
idea of multiculturalism was always a non-Malay meme. Mainstream Malay
politics is not about inclusivity.
So is this idea of leaving BN something MCA should consider? After
May 9, MCA operatives have been more amenable to having conversations
with me. Before, there was understandably a reticence in our
conversations; these days, MCA operatives are more open to a kind of
no-holds-barred discussion about the state of the federation. When I look over some of the social media data, graphs and
what-have-yous that MCA operatives have me study, along with other open
source material, I always tell MCA that they are misreading the “running
dog” narrative that fuels mainstream non-Malay politics.
Look, the Chinese community, no matter what the Kool-Aid says, did
not abandon MCA because they were a race-based party, but because they
believed that MCA were subservient when it came to the racial and
religious based provocations of the Umno state.
The 1MDB issue was a powerful narrative, but the truth is that MCA
was bleeding support long before the excess of the Najib regime sealed
Umno' fate of May 9. This idea that we are living in a postracial
Malaysia is complete nonsense.
Even hardcore Harapan supporters make excuses for its racial politics
because they know that ultimately what determines how 'new' the 'new
Malaysia' really is how far the mainstream Malay polity will go.
Non-Malays are shamed into agreeing with politically correct narratives
of a postracial Malaysia.
The reason why the MCA should leave BN is not as some sort of display
that the MCA disavows Umno, but because Umno may not last much longer.
Better leave when Umno is at least still maintaining some hold over BN,
then leaving as a fait accompli. Right now, Umno is losing the political
war of attrition, waged by Bersatu and factions within PKR.
When incumbent PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali says that Umno
representation may soon whittle down to nothing, people should pay
attention. I have often said that Azmin is one of the most cunning
political operatives in this country, and certainly one whose ascension
will eventually determine the direction of mainstream Malay politics in
Umno operatives tell me that if MCA leaves BN, this would sound the
death knell of the party. They are wrong. The MCA is already dead in the
water. I remember the days when the DAP had no support from the Chinese
community and were alone in their fight against the Umno regime. This
time it would be easier.
The MCA as an oppositional voice does not have to start from scratch.
While people are comfortable with Harapan now, if the excesses pile up,
there would be a shorter period for a popular revolt most probably
within the non-Malay community.
This idea that people would not vote for MCA because they are a
race-based party is naive. If DAP, which is supposed to be the non-Malay
safeguard against bumiputera excess, lets non-Malays down, then MCA
regardless of its 'race-based' status is the sole secular alternative in
Just to recap of what I wrote in my open letter
to the MCA -“While I am ambivalent about you opening up, what I do know
is that you do not have to be a multiracial party to advocate secular,
egalitarian principles – contradictory as that may seem – and act as a
watchdog for corruption in the new government.
At this moment, anything you say will be mocked, and your political
operatives vilified. But here’s the thing. The same happened to the
opposition during the long Umno watch, before the charismatic Anwar
Ibrahim cobbled together an alliance which eventually brought down the
Remember mainstream Malay politics always demonise Chinese-based
political, economic and social structures. During the election season,
it was the yellow peril narrative (China) from Harapan and the
Chinese-dominated federal government narrative of Umno. Both demonised a
certain community with the aim of galvanising Malay support. This is
the bedrock of mainstream Malay politics.
Stand and deliver
This is why the MCA needs to stand and suffer alone if need be,
building back its base without Umno and certainly not with Harapan. If the MCA folds for whatever reason, non-Malay Malaysians will have
no secular alternative which has been in the federal and state
bureaucracy. There will be no other non-Malay power structure to rally
around with the experience of dealing with Malay hegemons.
And while some people will laugh now that Harapan will never accept
the MCA into their fold, who knows how things will turn out. There may
very well be a split in the Chinese vote too. When this day happens,
there will certainly be overtures to the idea of Chinese solidarity.
Right the now the gameplan is to destroy BN, but specifically for
Malay power structures to consolidate power to ensure some sort of
stability. The reality is that the personality politics as exemplified
by the current prime minister will not last forever. Maybe not even a
full term. Add to this the internal power struggles within Harapan and PAS,
which is a far more dangerous adversary than Umno, and what we have is a
possible spring of theocratic discontent.
The MCA needs to leave Umno and remain independent not as some sort
of penance – May 9 is penance enough – but because soon Malaysians will
understand that we will always need a secular racial alternative to
mainstream Malay politics.
Malaysia does not need hate speech laws - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, October 03, 2018
Is pointing out HATE against the Jews and Non Muslims which is divinely sanctioned by their scriptures covered by the hate speech laws???? Becareful what you wish for. Jews ruling the World by Proxy, is hate speech. That was Mamakthir.
Malaysiakini : “The concept of ‘micro-aggression’ is just one of many tactics
used to stifle differences of opinion by declaring some opinions to be
‘hate speech’, instead of debating those differences in a marketplace of
ideas. To accuse people of aggression for not marching in lockstep with
political correctness is to set the stage for justifying real
aggression against them.” - Thomas Sowell
COMMENT | As someone who is routinely accused of hate speech, this
article may come off as self-serving. Just before May 9, a group of
“young Malay professionals” claimed that I should be investigated for
stoking religious and racial sentiments. Add to this the reception of my article on “civilising Islam” from the Malay far right, this means that for some people I am/was the poster child for hate speech laws.
Never mind, for in all those articles I was merely offering an
opinion on public comments of what political and religious operatives of
the state said in the name of religion or on racial privilege. Facts
were not important - only the emotions the articles were brought forth. In most of the comments section of those articles, racial and
religious invectives were used against me and the majority of comments
were ad hominem, instead of addressing the points I raised.
When we talk of hate speech, Pakatan Harapan supporters are quick to
point to Umno or PAS or any of the numerous political operators or
provocateurs that ply their trade in the public spaces of this country. They never really address the hate speech emanating from the base
against anyone who goes against the groupthink that is pervasive in the
then opposition, now establishment media. Political correctness (which
is bad enough) only applies to partisan correctness. Here’s the thing though. Who defines hate speech? More importantly,
who has the power to sanction speech they deem hateful? I’ll give you an
Gobind Singh Deo (photo) talks of the need for hate speech
laws because of what Raja Petra Kamarudin said about Bukit Aman
Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Amar Singh’s turban,
for the Sikh community this was an attack on their religion.
From a news report:
“He also pointed out that Malaysians were a multiracial and
multi-religious society, and therefore, such attacks against anyone to
go unnoticed should not be allowed.” Except, of course, that hate speech occurs every day in this country
and because of who it is directed at, the state turns a blind eye. When a
woman writes something that people do not agree with, they resort to
misogynistic hate speech to vilify her.
When a person talks about specific laws on racial and religious
equality, the person's race is used as a starting point of the
criticism, often in racist ways, especially if his or her comments go
against the conventional narratives of the state or the people who
support the state.
Of late, there is a mendacity when it comes to freedom of speech in
this country in the way how the Harapan regime is restricting it and how
the base seems to be embracing it. While journalists are getting used to the freedom to operate without
the boot of the state on their necks, they now have to contend with the
reality that the government can now sue
for defamation. Journalists are not the only people affected because
there is a range of public dissent from various quarters that would be
subject to such law(s).
The grey areas
Meanwhile, the racial and religious discourse in this country has
taken a new turn with the proposed Racial and Religious Hatred Act,
which I suppose is some sort of hate speech law. I wrote about the
landmines of such a law here, but what I find fascinating is the kind of unintentional consequences that such a law can produce:
“I have to call out this horse manure on this particular sound bite.
It sounds good when Mujahid claims that this Act would be used not only
on those who insult Islam but also against those who insult the other
religions. But here’s the thing: In order to do that, all religions must
be treated the same. Is Mujahid actually claiming that all religions
are treated the same in Malaysia or is this just another convenient
sound bite to lull people into a false sense of security?”
I’ll give you another example. People like Anwar Ibrahim talk of the
“super liberals”. In this country the Islamists, Malay far right and
even mainstream Malay political operatives demonise these groups which
they consider anathema to their race and religion. Isn’t this a form of
Haven't these groups of people, comprising religious people, women
and Malaysians in general who want certain democratic rights, been
subject to the kind of abuse - physical or otherwise - that hate speech
laws are supposed to contain?
If we are really honest, let us talk about the LGBT issue. We have
had Umno politicians claiming to want to “destroy” these people. We have
been told by no less than the prime minister that the LGBT culture is
not accepted in Malaysia – many people talk about gay marriage but this
is a red herring.
When violence is committed against people from this community, it is
not because they are advocating equal rights for marriage. They are
going about their lives but the state insists on intruding into their
private spaces or hoping to catch them to prove a point to believers and
Isn’t this a form of hate speech? But because it said by religious
proponents or politicians, it means that it is not sanctioned by the
state. And this is really the problem here. There are laws in this
country for incitement, harassment and a host of other identifiable
actions that make racial and religious provocations easier to handle if
the laws were applied equally to all. However, the ambiguities when it comes to certain speech and topics
are the grey areas that are only controlled by fascist mechanisms.
Suzanne Nossel (photo), the executive director of the PEN Centre, writing in Foreign Policy
magazine after the events of Chancellorsville, clearly defines the
problem with hate speech laws and some of the points I raised:
"But if hate speech became the basis of convictions and jail
sentences, such ambiguities and subjectivities would be untenable. If
individuals cannot be sure what might be judged hate speech, they will
have no choice but to avoid all manner of legitimate speech for fear of
legal jeopardy. “News organisations, radio shows and websites would have to employ
armies of lawyers to help scrub speech that anyone, anywhere might
consider offensive enough to cross a vague legal line."
Indeed hate speech laws that are being considered here and practised
elsewhere are often reactionary. Specific incidents often act as a
catalyst, without consideration of the wider implications of such laws. Add to this political will, which seems silent when it comes to
pervasive transgressions but narrowly hones in on issues that enjoy
partisan support, then the issue is further complicated.
Malaysian should be wary of such laws - especially when proposed by honest brokers.
Malaysiakini : “I'm sorry, did I break your concentration? I didn't mean to do
that. Please, continue, you were saying something about best
intentions.” – Jules Winnfield, Pulp Fiction
COMMENT | Dear Khairy Jamaluddin, I do not normally write open letters. The last one
I wrote was to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, and he didn’t reply.
This made me, as Donald Trump would put it, sad. Now, I know I have
publicly declared you as my bête noire. But really, this was when Umno
was winning, and as you can tell I was pretty pissed. So don’t take it
Anyway, since you are the only one from Umno who speaks “sense,”
as Hannah Yeoh claims, I thought I would address these question to you.
I had attempted to address these question to some of my other Umno
friends, but they demurred. Truth is, I also asked some of these question to Pakatan Harapan
Same reaction. So, I thought, why not Khairy, who really has
nothing to lose. Sorry, didn’t mean to bring up losing. Anyway, the last article
I wrote was about the eventual sublimation of Umno into Harapan. I
received a lot of hate mail from my Umno friends, who said that I should
give the opposition a chance, like I did when Harapan was not the
Now, I don’t know if all these people are your friends, but most of
them said that you are the future of Malay politics, even though most of
them could not stand your guts. I really couldn’t tell if this was
because of what you say, or because they had nothing new to say. But don’t worry. I won’t hold your political baggage against you
because, well, I voted Harapan in and those guys have baggage up the
wazoo. I’ll ask the question and give a little context in italics.
1. What is Malay wisdom? I addressed this question to a few political operatives from Harapan
and they said, whatever Dr Mahathir Mohamad says. Ok, I’m kidding. They
told me that by asking this question, I was spooking the Malays.
All jokes aside, one of them said, it was Khalid Samad’s explanation of the move to compel tahfiz centres to register with Jawi. I thought that this was a pretty good answer. And of course, this same political operative said, “What the hell is
Malay wisdom?” This political operative is Malay, and even she has not
heard of Malay wisdom. I tried asking some of my friends from Umno, and they said Malay
wisdom, is listening to Mahathir when he told them to dump Najib Abdul
Razak. So I guess there is something to listening to the old maverick,
but I digress.
2. Since the majority of Malays voted for Umno and PAS, do you really think that they want a progressive Umno?
See, when you talk about progressive values or ideas, this appeals to
a specific base. I wonder if the Malays who voted for Umno and PAS –
even if they knew Najib was a kleptocrat – really want the kind of ‘new
Malaysia’ that some folks keep babbling on about?
I spoke to a few Malay Harapan operatives, and they attempted to
avoid the question. But you made some pretty interesting choices in your
manifesto, like appealing to the woman vote by creating a woman's seat
for the Umno vice-president post. That’s pretty progressive, but since you lost, do you think that
progressive is the way to go, especially since Harapan also struggles
with this issue?
3. The talk among Umno potentates is how they will pay for
things now they aren’t in government. How exactly do you think that Umno
is going to keep the base intact when the usual modes of enticements
have been cut off?
I mean Harapan talks about an austerity budget, but I am thinking
that Umno must be really scrambling for funds to keep the base happy.
Some folks have told me that they’re wondering if they’ll be targeted by
the Harapan state next. I mean all that looting was not solely done by
4. You mooted the idea that Umno should or could be
multiracial. How exactly would this work, when someone like Mahathir
says the reality of Malaysia is that the majority needs a race-based
Is conventional Malay thinking wrong? If so, then why stick with Umno
or even attempt to reform it? If conventional Malay politics is wrong,
does this mean without an infusion of talent from Umno, Bersatu is
doomed to fail?
5. Do you think lesbians should be caned?
Corollary to that, do you think that watching lesbian S&M porn is
worse than watching a livestream of two lesbians caned by a woman
officer? I only ask because some people are worried that the
Communications and Multimedia Commission are monitoring them when they
watch porn, which is not really true – I think – but who knows with this
6. Do you think that Umno should cut ties with Najib?
Some Harapan supporters have said that Umno is complicit in what Najib did. Just recently, Lim Kit Siang said that Umno should cut tieswith its former president. What is your stand on this issue? From interviews, I know you say that Umno drank the Kool-Aid, but do you think that having Najib around does anything for Umno?
7. If Umno somehow manages to make a deal with Harapan, what would be your response?
Do you think that Umno should make deals with Harapan to form the
government? If not, why not? Many of the Umno folk I have spoken to seem
to think this is a good idea. Some of your public comments seem to
imply you do not.
8. Which is worse, a kleptocracy or a theocracy?
I have said the latter. Some folks think the former. As someone who
has been part of the former, what do you think? This also goes for
working under – sorry, with – PAS. Do you think this political copulation unnatural?
9. Do you think that Umno should punish defectors, or do you think that maybe you should seriously consider abandoning Umno?
I only ask because I find the current crop of young Harapan political
operatives pretty boring. It’s all about kowtowing to the old maverick,
or fretting if Anwar will become the next prime minister. I think that
you want to be the next prime minister.
10. What recent event do you think that Harapan handled
badly, and what would be your response if you were a Harapan political
Well, these are the ten questions. Hope you reply, unlike Hadi, which again, I was extremely sad about.
Malaysiakini : “Our fight is a fundamental fight against both of the old corrupt
party machines, for both are under the dominion of the plunder league
of the professional politicians who are controlled and sustained by the
great beneficiaries of privilege and reaction.” – Theodore Roosevelt
COMMENT | I just do not get it.
There seem to be two narratives when it comes to this idea of a unity
government. The first is about how Pakatan Harapan de facto
leader Anwar Ibrahim and his coterie are working in a sub rosa fashion
with Umno to form a unity government, while the second is about how Umno
is going, hat in hand, to Malay power structures in Harapan to cease
being a “government in waiting.”
Both narratives are false because the reality is that a unity
government is already forming. What I don’t understand is why people
really think that the big bad wolf is still Umno, as if it will be the
catalyst that would down the Harapan regime. The existential threat to
Harapan is not Umno, but an ideology that paralyses any progressive
destiny of Malaysia.
Umno does not have to form a unity government with Harapan before the
next election – because by the next election, there will be no Umno. When the old maverick and now Harapan grand poohbah Dr Mahathir Mohamad claims that Umno is finished, it is not because the people voted Umno out. The party still has support of the majority of the Malay community.
War of attrition
What is going on now is a war of attrition within Malay power
structures, which means that Umno rats are abandoning ship and heading
to other ‘Malay’ lifeboats. Malay power structures in PKR and Bersatu have openly said they would
accept Umno into the fold.
While they make weak qualifications of
membership, the reality is that Harapan needs a strong Malay mandate if
they are to throw their weight around in a multiracial, multi-religious
coalition, which they have never been comfortable with. The old maverick
knows this, and so do the political operatives – Malay and non-Malay –
PKR lawmaker Wong Chen (photo), in dismissing the idea of a unity government, rightly pointed out that - “That question is best addressed to Bersatu because Umno members are leaving to join Bersatu.” People pay attention to the powerbrokers of Umno jumping ship, but
the reality is that Umno has been haemorrhaging grassroots members to
Bersatu, and to a lesser extent, PKR.
While PAS may have picked up some support because of the new
anti-Mahathir feeling of some Umno members, the biggest draw by far has
been Bersatu, which is seen as the new face of Malay politics.
Bersatu they stand
While some folks have no problem demonising Anwar for his apparent
racial and religious politics, the fact is that Bersatu as the so-called
champion of Malay rights and Islamic superiority is the main draw for
people who want to abandon Umno. My reading of why Anwar is blathering on about race and religion is
that because he understands that the Malay vote base is more comfortable
with a race-based party like Bersatu, and not a nominally multiracial
outfit like PKR.
Indeed, Bersatu benefits from Anwar’s and Deputy Prime Minister Dr
Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s rather silly pronouncements, because eyes are
diverted away from Bersatu and the old maverick’s shenanigans when it
comes to policy decisions, the Harapan manifesto, and the ambivalence
towards the rising tide of Islamic provocations in this country.
Not to mention, the old guard of Umno who really did not like former
president Najib Abdul Razak is working the levers ensuring that Bersatu
is the main beneficiary of those exiting the former ruling party. While Anwar may say that he has no fear of Mahathir and his personal
relationship is good, his actions and those of his supporters betray the
deep anxiety they have of the way the political terrain is shaping in
this post-Umno reality.
So the old maverick does the needful and reiterates his pledge that Anwar would be the next prime minister. But you have to wonder if Mahathir is saying this amid talks of a
unity government, doesn’t it just further the narrative that Anwar is
impatient, which inflames the Harapan (non-Malay) base against his
former protégé, because the majority of the Malay base is already
People who think that the destruction of Umno is some sort of closure
to the racial and religious politics in this country are fooling
themselves. Beyond the urban centres where Bersatu and PAS are
eventually going to have their showdown, the politics of race and
religion will be the battleground. This will seep into the urban
enclaves. It always does. Back in the day, the current prime minister had no problem with the
help of his non Malay counterparts launching offensives against PAS, but
at the same time, working the Islamic angle to his advantage.
Many Umno supporters who are thinking of jumping ship tell me that
what they see forming is a return to the old days, when the Chinese and
Malays were “working together” under the great Mahathir. They see this
as a return to the glory days. This is swell for them, but it was then
that the roots of destruction of this country were planted. Rational Malaysians should not buy into this propaganda of a unity
government pushed by the political elites. The narratives that Harapan
rejects any form of unity government, or that some in Harapan are
working towards this aim, should be rejected.
Remember, the ‘ketuanan’ system that many in Umno find appealing has
been replaced with the slowly forming pillars of BN Redux - “don’t spook the Malays” and “coming as close as we can to get the government to say those laws are wrong.”
The first is the foundation of the ‘ketuanan’ system, which is what
Umno political operatives - and really, every mainstream Malay political
operative - need to sustain political power, because they do not want
to discover new ways.
The second is the compromise with non-Malay power structures, which
is the easy power-sharing formula that worked so well at the height of
Mahathir’s reign. In the current climate, there will be more big-name casualties when
it comes to the malfeasance of the Najib regime, and there will
definitely be more defections – after a suitable period of contriteness
of course – of Umno members to Bersatu and PKR. Anwar’s Port Dickson gambit will determine if he remains a player when it comes to this high-stakes Malay political game.
But make no mistake, the unity government is already forming, and
while the body of Umno will be destroyed, its soul will find a new
He was a gem of a person. The soldiers in Batu 5 Camp, Mentakab, Pahang, Seventh Rangers (Mechanized Infantry) loved him. He blessed us all before our departure to Somalia, a very challenging task. We came back safely. With the exception of two soldiers who joined us later from KL. May he rest in peace with our Lord - Major D Swami (Retired)
Born : 09.10.58 Ordained : 08.09.92 Departed : 15.09.18 The life story of Fr Mari Arokiam. May his soul rest in peace and May the Lord welcome him home in his kingdom.🙏🙏 The ONE priest who was very different from others. We that have been touched by him, in our hearts he will remain with love and fondest memories.
Watch and listen to the challenges he faced taking this step to shepherd souls.
Two pillars of BN redux courtesy of current political operatives - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Malaysiakini : “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness
only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper
price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an
article as freedom should not be highly rated.” ― Thomas Paine, The American Crisis
COMMENT | Law lecturer Azmi Sharom's characterisation of the Official Secrets Act in a recent forum as “the giant mad elephant in the room” is noteworthy for a couple of reasons.
The first is that the state always wants to keep secrets from the
public; and the second, it points to the mendacity of this new regime,
that yet again they are waffling on something they could easily
accomplish, except that they too, now understand the advantage of
keeping things from the public.
Let me be very clear. In my other life when I was part of the state
security apparatus, I was involved in operations that were deemed by the
then Umno/BN establishment as “secret”.In my writing against the Umno regime, I made it clear that I was of
the opinion that there were operations carried out by the state security
apparatus, sometimes working in concert with other ministries, that
justified it being classified as secret.
Unlike some writers, I had no problem acknowledging that certain
actions deemed illegal or immoral were necessary for the sake of the
nation’s security. Many have disagreed with me but I have not retreated
from this position.
At the same forum Azmi (photo) was speaking at, DAP’s Steven
Sim, who is also the deputy youth and sports minister, laid out the
government’s intention to either arm or repeal the OSA and along with
the latter, make specific exceptions in this new Freedom of Information bill.
I of course am for the latter and in my opinion, the former is just
another way for this new administration to fall back into old BN habits. Within that narrow range of exception, especially when dealing with
national security, there are several issues that should be kept from the
These include certain sensitive operations, trade craft,
confidential informants, illicit payments for information and a host of
other issues that do not neatly fall into the ambit of legality but are
necessary to safeguard our nation.
As discussed, these are extremely limited exceptions. In the past,
the reputation and security of the country were compromised when the
former regime demonstrated that issues classified as “national secrets”
were in fact secrets that were damaging to Umno. Not to mention back in
the day, we were supportive of all sorts of groups, which blowback we
feel now. So there is that.
So when politicians talk about freedom of information and how
sometimes it needs to be protected, we should be mindful of what needs
to be protected.Sim is absolutely correct when he argues that when one cites
“national security”, they should be questioned as to what exactly they
want to keep from the public and how it relates to national security
instead of political interests.
However, what was disappointing were Sim’s comments when it came to
the question of “Asian values”. God, I really hate it when politicians
talk about values. It gets even worse when they talk about “Asian”
values. I have noticed this trend when it comes to the non-Malay
component of Harapan - Sim has not been the only political operative to
voice out such sentiments. Rational Malaysians who care about this
country should pay attention to this kind of justifications from
Sim (photo) made two points worth considering. The first is: “It is also not fair for us to not take into consideration certain
sensitivities – religious values, cultural or traditional world views –
when it comes to governance, legislation and the rule of law.”
Really? Could you imagine if an Umno politician said this? Actually,
you do not have to imagine. Remember when Bersatu member Rais Yatim
babbled on about “our” civilisational, education and country's values,
when rejecting the
Harapan pledge to recognise the UEC? This is exactly the kind of
considerations that only a certain segment of the population wants their
leadership to take into account when it comes to governance and
The difference here is that it is a DAP political operative promoting
this line of reasoning when it comes to a particular issue – freedom of
information – and the reality is that his comment could apply to any
policy issues that the Harapan regime is considering.
And here’s the real problem. When it comes to religious values or cultural values, whose values are we talking about? In my piece rejecting
this horse manure that Rais said, I wrote this – It all boils down to
whose values we are talking about, right? Whose civilisation are we
talking about? Whose dominance determines the qualities of being
‘Malaysian’, whatever the hell that means? Non-Malay culture has its
foundation in thousands of years of building up to something. So do not
tell me about the “core of civilisation”.
And really what does “traditional world views” mean? I guess it means
anything we can shoehorn into our values system because local
politicians are always going on about the evil “Western” values that
threaten to destroy the fabric of this country… or is it the fabric of
And the second point Sim makes is as follows: “It is very easy and popular to say that everyone is universal and
everyone has the same idea of freedom, human rights and freedom of
information”. Why do I think, that before May 9, many political operatives
especially from the DAP would have had no problem proclaiming the
universality of values when it came to freedom, human rights and freedom
Not only that, the true Muslim meme, which is predicated on the idea
that universal values cut across religious lines, as well as
opposition-supporting Muslims would have had no problem with the
supposedly secular values of the opposition. So, what changed? Since coming into power, non-Malay political operatives have suddenly
become sensitive to what MCA and MIC went though all those years
kowtowing to a certain racial group and justifying such actions with
dodgy ideological claptrap, like social contract and power sharing.
In the meantime, some political operatives from MCA and MIC
discovered that being part of the opposition meant that they had the
freedom to espouse universal values as a panacea to the racial and
religious toxins of Umno. Indeed, the whole Bangsa Malaysia kool aid is
predicated on the acceptance of universal definitions of those values.
However, being the establishment now and having to take into account
the sensitivities of Malay power structures and their voting base,
non-Malay political operatives suddenly find themselves constructing two
pillars for this new Malaysia. These pillars seem to be, “Don’t spook
the Malays” and the second is when justifying inaction - “Coming as
close as we can to get the government to say those laws are wrong”.
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?"