Amanah’s sound and fury - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, December 17, 2018
Malaysiakini : What do we do now? - Bill McKay (The Candidate)
| To be honest, I have always been ambivalent about Parti Amanah Negara
(Amanah). As a splinter group of PAS, its creation was mired (rightly
or wrongly) in the kind of DAP politics despised by the hardcore but not
necessarily the Hadi supporting faithful of PAS.
Which is why Mat
Sabu (who would make a better minster of tourism, arts and culture then
his current Defence Ministry portfolio, which seems beyond his ken)
reminding the Amanah faithful that they need Pakatan Harapan because
they cannot stand alone, is music to the ears of many in PAS who still
The Amanah AGM has been getting some attention
because the usually quaint party has been been expressing some sound and
fury. This is to be expected in AGMs of these sorts (coming off a big
win) especially from younger delegates.
It is a venting mechanism,
which allows the older mainstream power brokers to get on with the
business of maintaining power, but presents a veneer of radicalism. This
“radicalism” is a good talking point for mainstream parties stuck in a
rut of conventional politics, which they do not wish to abandon.
know what is funny ? Amanah could be the kind of political party that
could be effective in this country if it just discovers its cojones. However,
this AGM does provide some interesting theatrics. If Amanah was really
serious about reform, indeed if Harapan were really serious about reform
they would pay attention to the issues brought up in this AGM.
would argue that Amanah power brokers should make these issues
“official” party policy so that Malaysians – however they identify
themselves – would have a better understanding of Amanah’s stance
instead of relying on the fact that urban voters consider them a
“moderate” Islamic party. A few issues stand out.
(1) What is the government hiding about Yemen?
is a good question. Is the present government hiding anything that the
former regime did in Yemen? Remember Saudi Arabia essentially uses other
(Muslim) countries as mercenaries. I assume that with all the
shenanigans that the House of Najib Abdul Razak was up to with the House
of Saud, our boys were used as some sort of bargaining chips, for the
present government should make public exactly what we did in this war
which caused the death and misery of thousands of Muslims in Yemen. I
can understand how the government would be hesitant in being
transparent. Muslims in Malaysia are brainwashed into thinking that
Muslims have to fear non-Muslims when it comes to their safety and
security, hence revelations of how our troops were used by the House of
Saud, in a conflict that is turning out to be a humanitarian disaster,
would be shocking.
Remember that the kind of Islam that the House
of Saud exported before the money ran out radicalised youths into
believing that established Islamic hegemons were a detriment to the
“true” power of the faith. Want to know how Muslims youths are
radicalised? Well, one of the ways is that recruiters point to the
horrors of Yemen perpetuated by corrupt Islamic kleptocrats.
(2) Malay privileges
think it is great to hear a Malay/Muslim delegate of the ruling
coalition party expressing the desire of most of the non-Malays in this
country. However, wouldn’t it be great if Amanah actually made this
official party policy? If the remarks of this young delegate sounded
remarkably similar to the provisions of Icerd, why then did mainstream
Malay and non-Malay power brokers remain silent, especially if this
meant reaffirming the kind of Islam that is supposed to be to the kind
preached to the thousands that showed up at the anti-Icerd rally?
Non-Malays need not worry, though. According to Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (photo)
other governments need something like Icerd but here in Malaysia, we
are unique and Islamic power brokers are more than capable of looking
after everyone. So, we get a delegate calling for time limits on
discriminatory practices and an older Harapan politburo member claiming
that the Islam they profess is better than any international treaty. Who
do you think is right ?
Remember, removing Malay privileges is
not so that the non-Malays can compete with the Malays. Instead, it so
that the Malays can compete with the non-Malays. These rights or
privileges, or however you define them, are holding back the Malay
community. Progressive voices in the community, which include
academicians and politicians, have been saying this for years. This
is why we get far right politicians making claims that if there was
“discrimination”, why is it there are rich Chinese? The answer is
obvious, Because those practices have not held back the non-Malays but
instead screwed the average Malay.
(3) Essay writing competition
people do not think that this is a good idea. I think it is a great
idea. I do think that this competition should only be for Muslims.
Firstly, non-Muslims talking about Islam plays into the hands of certain
morons and secondly, I do not want to read a piece by a well meaning or
deluded non-Muslim, which would probably be used as propaganda to show
how peaceful the religion of the state is.
But here is the thing
though. Amanah has not given us its definition of “religious extremism”.
How does Amanah define its stance when it comes to the other Islamic
narratives out there? As far as I can see, what separates their form of
Islam and the extremist ideas is better propaganda that works for urban
audiences, but does very little for the rural heartland.
Amanah offering something different from mainstream Muslim narratives
in this country? If you really want to change mindsets and use the
propaganda organs at your disposal, here is my suggestion. Give someone
like Siti Kassim (photo) a weekly talk show on RTM or whatever it is called now.
it comes to Islam, unless Amanah can demonstrate otherwise, all these
protestations about being different from PAS sound like a distinction
without a difference.
(4) Broken election manifesto promises
let me get this straight. The youth delegate rips up some paper as a
symbolic gesture of how the rakyat feels of the Harapan broken promises
but is confident that Tun would fulfil the promises in the manifesto?
The same Tun that said the promise was made because they – Harapan – did
not expect to win? The same Tun and Co, who have said that these
promises are unrealistic to keep, considering the sensitivities of
The same Tun and Co, who have been waffling on
nearly every single major campaign promise and claiming that further
investigation meant that certain pernicious laws were of benefit to
them? The same Tun who has said that our national debt is a trillion
ringgit but we can afford R&D for a new third national car? But do not worry, apparently even Prophet Muhammad broke a promise, once, so how could we blame mere mortals, right?
(5) Empower the ulamas
would think this is a good idea if the ulamas in Amanah were offering
something different from PAS. But do we really need the ulamas in AMANAH
getting into contentious religious squabbles with PAS and then
retreating with their tails between their legs and agreeing with PAS,
when the dust settles?
(6) Stand up to Mahathir on the third car
not play safe, because we want to retain our position,” a delegate
said. This may be true and it is linked with another important issue,
such as taking care of the East Coast communities. Standing up to Dr
Mahathir Mohamad goes beyond just the proposed third national car. It
means a rejection of the kind of politics practised by Mahathir. Right
now the coalition is dominated by sycophants. What happens when Mahathir
is no longer in play? What is Harapan’s agenda, beyond just jailing
So the big question is: can the sound and fury coming
from Amanah translate to action? Or is this just an opportunity for
some good press aimed at the demography that is keeping them afloat?
Malaysiakini : 'Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to
be paid for. Don’t imagine that for years on end you can make yourself
the boot-licking propagandist of the Soviet régime, or any other régime,
and then suddenly return to mental decency. Once a whore, always a whore.' - George Orwell, ‘As I Please: 1943-1945 Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters’
COMMENT | Even as I write this, there will probably be more news of Umno members jumping ship. A
few well-connected businesspersons of Umno political operatives have
been calling me, “advising” me that their benefactors are going to jump
ship and they are now part of a new dawn of Malaysian politics. And
please, do not get triggered by the term “well-connected
businesspersons”. All political parties have these people.
I have lost track of how many Umno rats are leaving the sinking ship. Readers of Malaysiakini have been sending me this bit (with smiley faces) from a piece I wrote in January of this year, about how Umno is afraid that Mahathir is still reshaping Umno. “What
is Bersatu if not a reception room for possible Umno candidates who
would jump ship if they thought that a weakened Umno would implode or
that the current Umno grand poobah would bring the house of cards down
which would jeopardise their economic security with his fancy new
executive powers if Umno suffered electoral setbacks in the upcoming
This the game we are committed to play. If you voted
for Pakatan Harapan, you must have known this would happen. And if you
did not know this would happen, then you prove what Churchill said that
the best argument against democracy is having a five-minute conversation
with the average voter.
The commentary of this phenomenon has
been fascinating in the sense that some pundits act as if this was not
the inevitable outcome of the moves by mainstream powerbrokers to oust
Najib Abdul Razak. This was never about saving Malaysia but rather about
dethroning a kleptocrat who emerged from the breeding ground of
mainstream Malaysian politics.
When Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng (photo) reminded Terengganu Bersatu chief Razali Idris to remember his “rakan seperjuangan”,
who exactly is he trying to fool? If anything, for most of the people
in Bersatu, their comrades have always been the Umno folk who ruled this
country since independence.
Umno is not merely
about personalities. It is an ecosystem with various organisms which
want to impose hegemony for collective profit. This ecosystem can
operate under any banner. Bersatu was never part of the movement to
reform Malaysia but they were a part of the movement to dethrone Najib.
is right on two counts. The first is that DAP is afraid of a stronger
Malay/Muslim voice in parliament. To be specific, they are afraid of a
stronger far-right Malay/Muslim voice in their coalition. Any rational
person would be. You know who else is worried? PAS is also
worried. At this moment, the Malay/Muslim far-right is dominated by Umno
and PAS. They have managed to not only define the narrative but also
managed to bundle up certain issues (and groups) which have nothing to
do with race or religion – broken Harapan promises, for instance – and
present them as an existential crisis for the Malay community.
us be honest here. There are many Umno people who despise working with
PAS. They see this collaboration with PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang (photo)
as the first step to the Pakistanisation of Malaysia. They view Umno’s
lack of leadership and perceived weakness as only benefitting PAS.
to Bersatu means that they do not have to put up with PAS anymore. They
join a gang which is slowly growing and they do not have to flash their
racial and religious bona fides because when Bersatu becomes the
dominant Malay/Muslim powerbroker in Harapan, their Malay base will be
satisfied that they are not under threat and they do not have to form
allegiances with what is essentially a religious cult.
second is that post-May 9, the political climate and interests have
changed. Just ask former Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein who is
alleged to be the mastermind behind these leaps of faith.
may deny it, but there is enough circumstantial evidence to point to
the fact that the powerbrokers in Umno, the warlords and their various
schemes, understand that Umno is finished. Hishammuddin is merely an
emissary hoping to gain favour and leverage for a post-Mahathir
Some political operatives from Umno tell me
that the recent anti-Icerd rally was a wake-up call for them. Without
strong Malay leadership, the community is open to radicalisation which
is not good for the country in the long run.
Asking these frogs to admit their complicity in 1MDB, as DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang (photo) wants them to do,
is the height of political expediency. Do you think any of these Umno
frogs would have a problem attacking their former comrades or admitting
they were part of the problem?
would have no problem repenting and most probably would make a
religious pilgrimage to wash away their sins. They then would become
instant reformers and all will be copacetic on the good ship Harapan.
Asking for repentance or acknowledging abetting in the 1MDB scandal is
merely a fig leaf for BN redux and the perpetuation of neo-BN policies.
leader Anwar Ibrahim and his moves with Umno’s Nazri Abdul Aziz, for
instance, is also a sign that Umno is going to fold or at least lose its
once powerful position. While some Harapan people have taken offence to
these moves, it is a far healthier stratagem in the short term, though
in the long term, it could prove volatile.
Having a Malay caucus
which supports the government mitigates the effects of power groups
hoping to exploit racial and religious sentiment though it also means compromising on certain issues which, truth be told, is already
happening in Harapan. When it comes to leaping frogs and backroom
deals, I never thought I would say it but Khairy Jamaluddin and Umno
Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki have the right of it. They want some
sort of reformasi in Umno. They are not alone. Many young Umno members
want the same thing. The problem is that the old guard continues to
stymie such calls for reformation.
Read my case for Khairy (photo) here:
“I think what Khairy gets right is that there is a movement within Umno
which understands that the far-right gambit is one of diminishing
returns. As long as Bersatu has DAP and PKR as its wingmen, they control
Does this mean all is lost? Maybe not. DAP
needs to step up its game. It should stop dispensing the Kool-Aid and
act as an equal partner. It should not be in a hurry to abandon its
principles to appease its Malay partners. Even if they are voted down,
they should speak up.
And why do you ask that all this should fall on the DAP? Because they presented themselves as the “New Malaysians”. And when it comes to the frogs, this is the only thing you have to consider - when the Harapan grand poobah says there are "good"
people in Umno, those are the ones who want to reform the party.
may not agree with their ideas of reform or even that Umno could be
reformed, but you are hypocritical when there is Bersatu in Harapan. The
bad ones are taking that leap of faith into Harapan.
Is the government afraid of local council elections? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Malaysiakini : "The ultimate goal is to bring back local government elections.
Within the next 100 days I will try to come out with the legal framework
and mechanism for this." – Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng.
| The Harapan grand poohbah Dr Mahathir Mohamad comments that local
council elections could lead to racial strife because of the urban/rural
divide is the kind of horse manure that some Harapan operatives are
pushing in lieu of policies that would enhance democracy in this
They say all politics is local and with this in mind, the
continued reluctance of some Harapan political operatives to strengthen
and enhance the democratic processes should convince rational thinking
Malaysians that Harapan’s neo-BN polices are the framework for this New
When the prime minister claims that local council
elections may produce the “wrong” results, what exactly does this mean?
While the prime minister does not define what a “wrong” result is, it is
pretty clear that a wrong result would mean that whatever racial
formula that politics in this country is defined with would be chucked
When political operatives clutch their pearls about the
rural/urban divide, what they are worried about is that the rural
demographic, which is continuously screwed over by the federal
bureaucracy, would react in predictable ways to upset the apple cart
when egged on by opportunistic political operatives. The federal
government prefers it when it is the opportunistic political operative.
to the chief minister of Penang who stated his position without the
predicable waffling of some political operatives who go against the
federal line. Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow – by clearly
stating that Penang has been preparing for local council elections for
the last couple of years and is ready to go – is demonstrating the kind
of change that many Malaysians voted for in the last general election.
It is also indicative that the current Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (photo)
was laying the groundwork for local government elections (if I am wrong
please correct me), which is something to commend, unlike his recent
obsequious behaviour when it comes to diktats from the corridors of
power in Putrajaya.
The quote that opens this piece by Lim Lip Eng
should tell you the importance of local council elections when it comes
to the democratic process in this country. It should also tell
you that, at one time not too long ago, Harapan political operatives
were interested in restoring the process that was shelved decades ago. Why?
Because they understand that this system works. They understand that
this process repairs the democratic foundation of this country, which
has long been eroded during Umno/BN’s administration.
For far too
long, the federal government through their proxies have engaged in
corrupt practices and destroyed the environments to satisfy commercial
interests, while people who live in these communities have had very
little say over.
Cynthia Gabriel wrote
this: “It is troubling to see that Dr Mahathir appears cornered to
racialising the issue as was done by various parties and by the BN
previously” about Harapan seemingly taking local council elections off
Remember when Lim Kit Siang said the same about Abdul Hadi Awang (photo)
and the BN regime? In a speech in 2015, Lim Kit Siang neatly demolished
the mendacious racial arguments put forward by certain political
operatives to curtail the democratic process in this country.
like many other political operatives, claimed that local council
elections could lead to another May 13. This was Lim Kit Siang’s response:
“It is, therefore, a great fallacy for anyone to assert that the
restoration of local government elections could result in another May 13
race riots. However, with Hadi opening the way, I will not be surprised
if this will henceforth be used by reactionary Barisan Nasional leaders
as an additional reason for opposing the restoration of local
Funny, right? I wonder if Kit Siang is
surprised that reactionary Harapan leaders are opposing local council
elections using the same argument?
Kit Siang’s formidable argument
the whole speech and you will discover that Kit Siang makes a
formidable argument for restoring local council elections. He rightly
points out that the urban demography is changing. It has been changing
for years. Agreeing with Ong Kian Meng, Kit Siang wrote this: “I don’t
think Kian Ming can be faulted when he concluded: “While the
Malays may be slightly under-represented in the voting population in
some of these urban areas because of their younger demographic profile,
it is clearly wrong to say that the DAP will dominate local elections on
the basis that urban areas are largely Chinese-dominated.”
that the current prime minister may not have the latest statistics as
Kit Siang does now is a disservice to the powerful arguments that he
made in the past - and a disservice also to political operatives, civil
society, academicians and the spirit of the Harapan manifesto that
promised a renewed spirit of strengthening democracy in this country.
Also, see the recent comment of Kua Kia Soong (photo):
“In the 1960s, many towns and cities were run by the Socialist Front.
This was the real reason for not wanting local elections and not because
of the so-called “racial divide”. Anyway, Mahathir now heads the old
“opposition”, so there is no reason to fear such competition.
of course, leads me to think that the real reason why some political
operatives are concerned about local council elections is because it
would demonstrate that the Malay community would desire to have clean
local governments, contrary to the claims of mainstream Malay political
Local council elections could act as some sort of
non-partisan political catalyst because ideas would be transmitted from
the urban Malay demographic to the rural populace. What would
happen if the rural folk suddenly have all these fancy urban ideas about
good governance, local activism and sustainable solutions to local
problems, instead of the big federal government’s racial and religious
solutions? What if they realised that they controlled the levers of
powers instead of the people they elected?
More importantly, this
would empower civil society actors, who may not have allegiance to the
federal government, political parties or corporate interests but who
genuinely want to serve the community. Local elections could also
be a stepping stone for young people and their political activism,
concentrating on local issues instead of attempting to grapple with
larger issues that are mired in “Big Politics” which, truth be told, is
So it is good that Mahathir’s statement is getting blowback. Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin statement that her ministry would continue pushing for local council elections is a welcomed departure from some of the statements by the other champions of democracy.
there is no need for further study. Civil society and politicians have
been talking about this for years. It is not as if we did not have local
council elections before it abruptly ended. We know that it has worked
before and what is needed is fine-tuning. Maybe.
DAP’s Phoong Jin Zhe, pleads that we should discard the racial lens
for policy decisions – when it comes to something like the local
council elections for example – but more importantly, his piece
demonstrates that there are some Harapan political operatives who
publicly disagree with the racial reasoning of the current prime
minister when it comes to policy issues, instead of bending over. What
Harapan needs is the DAP of the Old Malaysia as a vanguard for New
Malaysia, not as a rear guard for Neo-BN policies.
local council elections is going back to our democratic roots. If anyone
is making the argument that it could lead to racial discord, or that we
are not ready or there are bigger issues at play, we have to ask: do
these people really want to “save Malaysia” or do they want to serve
their partisan interests?
A non-Malay at the anti-Icerd rally - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, December 10, 2018
Malaysiakini : "Above all, this is not against other races." – Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak
| Late last Friday night. “So, you’re coming for our rally tomorrow,
right?" asked an old PAS friend who handles “logistics” for PAS. “C’mon,
you go for all these rallies. Bersih, Hindraf, LGBTQ and who knows what
else? You have to come tomorrow”, he rambled on before going on a rant
about how the state security apparatus should stop scaring non-Malays
Truth be told, I was pretty bummed out. The fact that
Suhakam was told to stand down and the little love fest of Abdul Hadi
Awang and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was given the go-ahead, irritated me.
However, I always relent in the end. I always say that this rally will
be the last rally I will attend. My legs, although weak, still have a
few miles in them, so as usual I relented and went to the rally in
defence of bangsa dan agama (race and religion).
I have no
idea of the experiences of other people when they go to rallies, but I
have always been pleasantly surprised at how a sense of community
quickly develops among the rally goers. This was no different. Young
people went out of their way to help this senior citizen navigate his
way through the crowds that enveloped normally quiet places. Everyone
I met was friendly and never once stopped to ask, why a non-Malay would
attend this rally. This was a “Malay/Muslim” rally and they were there
to protect their race and religion but had no ill-will towards the
Everyone I spoke to said that the Icerd issue was the
“bad deeds” of politicians who want to stir up racial and religious
issues among the peace-loving Malaysians. Since I’m normally on
the giving end of this spiel, I just went with the flow and listened to
people, even though some of them knew that I disagreed with them on the
Icerd issue but agreed with them that politicians were doing “bad
Indeed, many of them did not seem to realise that they
were part of a grand scheme of incitement, but rather, they believed
that they were a line in the sand when it came to race and religion. They
assumed that Icerd was an existential threat and, while some of them
could speak very knowledgeably about Icerd, most did not seem to
understand how this treaty affected them as Malaysians, only that it
would affect them as Muslims and Malays.
I spoke to young people
whose only “education” came from tafiz schools and who were making a
living beneath the tall buildings which were monuments to the capitalist
imperatives of those leading them.
seemed happy enough, but I detected an underlying resentment against
those “Malays” who were not interested in their race or religion. Those
“liberal” Malays who were “traitors” working to undermine the legitimacy
of their claim on this land. They drew a distinction between Western
technology and culture and wondered why non-Malays would not just leave
A young woman who teaches
in a secondary school told me that it was her duty as a Muslim to defend
her race and religion and that if I wanted to know about Western
religious extremism, I should watch the Handmaid’s Tale. How do the kids
put it? Facepalm.
I attempted to explain to her that I think she
got the theme and subject matter of the series wrong but somebody
started to speak on the loudspeaker and she shushed me. She actually
shushed me so that we could hear what was being said. Trust me, folks,
it was the same thing repeated over and over again. Some speakers tried
to put a different spin on things but the crowd was there for the good
stuff. The accessible stuff.
Speeches delivered by Umno and PAS
bigwigs were extreme in nature. I am not saying that those speeches were
a form of incitement but I am saying that we – non-Malays – have heard
such speeches before and that bigotry is normalised, so we just move on. Admittedly,
it was sad seeing stores boarded up, a reminder that Malay gatherings
always had a hint of violence. Non-Malays are told to be afraid of these
types of gatherings because who knows what could happen. Politicians,
for their own gain, enforce such narratives because it keeps people
A middle-aged father, who bought me some sort of lime
concoction because he was buying his rather large family the same,
wanted to me to know that he could care less if there was another rally
“If they want to protest, protest-lah." When I told him
that the Suhakam festival was no such protest, he did not seem very
concerned of the motives of the Suhakam event, only that this rally was
meant to show Malaysians that the “Malays” were capable of defending
their race and religion. Defend against, what, I asked him.
its enemies," he said. Nearly everyone I spoke to had this myopic view
of their religion and race. As an old-timer who grew up with
Malay/Muslims with different sensibilities, I marvelled at how the
social engineering has turned a relatively peaceful community into a
community that is afraid of everything and willing to fall prey to
mendacious power brokers to sustain their identity.
I told them that Singapore has openly threatened this country, most
were not even aware of this issue, which should tell you how the
narrative is controlled by the far-right opposition instead of the
I fell in with a group of women from Kelantan
who spent a great deal of time attempting to convince me that this rally
was a mostly Kelantan and Terengganu affair. They told me about meet-up
spots, bus schedules, and the other types of logistical issues that a
well- planned rally organised by a disciplined political party is
For my part, I regaled them about the Old Malaysia,
the one where I grew up in, served in and finally saw it give birth to
what we have now. They all agreed, Old Malaysia sounds much better than
“But Malaysia is a beautiful country,” one of them
said, while the others nodded. My Bahasa Indonesia has always been
better than my Malay, and they had to repeat sentences because sometimes
they slipped into their Kelantanese dialect. “The non-Malays do not
have to fear this rally," one of the younger ones said. Her sister
argued that some Malay politicians were betraying their race and
religion. “Who told you that?” I asked.
I never got an answer
because another group joined us and we were told to go for the next
speech. I left them soon after, lurking around the food trucks, having
conversations with vendors whose businesses were doing gangbusters. They
came from all over the place and many of them had worked during the
Bersih rallies but, this time, they were more confident because they
knew the state security apparatus would not "kacau" them. I
was constantly getting texts from PAS and Umno friends, who were
telling me to “report” accurately about what was happening here and not
give them such a hard time. I did not really listen to the star speakers
of the rally because I was more interested in talking to people and
discovering why they were there. I have done this for all the rallies I
do not want to play the numbers game but if the far right wanted to
send a message, I think they mostly succeeded. After all, the Harapan
regime is good with sarcasm but does not have the scrotal fortitude to
back up its rhetoric. Lim Kit Siang (photo) says that the rally
should not have taken place if the government had handled the issue
better. How exactly does one handle this issue better?
wrote a piece claiming that nobody wants to ratify Icerd if it means
another May 13. There are conspiracy theories floating about claiming
that Dr Mahathir Mohamad set this up for some purpose and that the
“Malay” elements in Harapan are in on it.
The reality is that this
would not have been an issue if Harapan bit the bullet and framed the
discourse using the propaganda tools at its disposal. Instead, a former
prime minister charged with corruption, an opposition leader also under a
cloud of charges and a religious zealot controlled the narrative.
far right won because the Harapan politburo and their supporters played
the narrative that they accused the MCA of playing before they were
kicked out. This is just the beginning. A trickle of Malay faces
soon turned into a sea of Malay youths, families and senior citizens. It
was as if the pendatang had deserted the streets of the capital and
finally, the Malays had returned to a home they never left.
Writer’s note: I attended the anti-Icerd rally in my personal capacity and not as a representative of Malaysiakini.
Why is the security apparatus backing down in the face of threat? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, December 08, 2018
Malaysiakini : "We have many excellent ministers. But they are getting too
easily spooked by rallies! Our police are good and have no problem
dealing with two peaceful rallies held at different times and at
different places." – Ambiga Sreenevasan
COMMENT | The postponement of the
Suhakam festival – I loathe to call it a rally because it is not in
form or substance – has grave implication for rational freedom-loving
Malaysians, who are becoming an endangered species. I do not think most
Malaysians understand the gravity of the situation. This festival has
absolutely nothing to with the anti-Icerd rally, unless you consider
irony a provocation.
What we have is two opposition political parties –Umno and PAS –
dictating what Suhakam (an instrument of the state) can and cannot do.
Taking cold comfort in the fact that the festival is still on albeit on a
different day, is something right-thinking Malaysians will have to
swallow since the government of the day is capitulating to bullies.
Mostly though, the far right has established the fact that it
controls the discourse in this country. The far right answers to nobody,
certainly not the government of the day. This has implications far
beyond the anti-Icerd rally. What do you think would happen if any
“progressive” organisation wishes to hold a rally, post-Dec 8?
Suppose Bersih decides (for whatever reasons) to hold a rally, to
hold the government accountable and the Malay far right decides to hold a
counter rally in the name of race and religion? What do you think would
happen? Bersish which used to have the logistical and political support
of (then) opposition politicians would now have to rely on its own
devices, bereft of not only the political support it used to have but
also a state which now views the threats of the far right as something
it cannot handle.
The former Umno state always warned that rallies were a national
security threat. State- sponsored thugs always made threats against
those rallies. The state security apparatus always warned people not to
attend those rallies. Yet some how, Old Malaysia survived. Why is it
that the state security apparatus cannot handle the threats posed by far
right opposition parties, now?
The quote that opens this piece by Ambiga is important. This new
political terrain demands that the state security apparatus ensure that
our democratic spaces are not open to abuse. While Umno and PAS have
every right to hold its rally, the government has every right to hold
its festival. More importantly, the state security apparatus has to
reassure the Malay and non-Malay communities that they are safe
operating in the democratic spaces of this country.
Multiple events like these are needed because the state security
apparatus can assess how it trade craft – intelligence, response time,
logistical, tactical , crowd control etc – functions in this New
Malaysia. More than that, it dispels the perception that the state
security apparatus is weak and unable to confront the challenges thrown
its way by elements foreign and domestic which threaten the security of
When Suhakam chairperson Razali Ismail claims the police have
informed the prime minister’s office and Suhakam of security risks
bordering on national security risks, do people realise what this means?
It means that the security threat of the anti-Icerd rally borders on
domestic terrorism. If this is the case, why hasn’t the state security
apparatus contained the threat by informing the organisers of the
anti-Icerd rally , to cancel the event? Surely the Suhakam festival does
not pose a threat?
If the anti-Icerd rally poses a threat to Suhakam, this essentially
means that the rally poses a threat to the government. We are not
talking about two opposing NGOs having a rally on the same day as
counter-narratives. We are talking about a political rally coordinated
by two political parties which poses a threat – bordering on national
security – against a festival by an instrument of the government.
If the Suhakam festival really does pose a risk to the safety of
Malaysians, then they should not only cancel the festival but the
government should disband it. But does this make sense? The Suhakam
event is a possible national security risk on Saturday but not on
Sunday? All this demonstrates is that the anti-Icerd rally is the real
threat and the state security apparatus does not want to deal with the
provocations of the anti-Icerd rally. Why?
In other words, what should be sanctioned is not the target of those
who pose a risk but rather the perpetrators who pose a threat to
national security. This should be the goal of the state security
apparatus. Mind you, I am not saying that the anti-Icerd forces do not
have a right to demonstrate but if the state security apparatus thinks
they pose a risk bordering on national security, then why doesn't the
state security apparatus intervene?
From a public relations perspective, this does not look good. What
the state security apparatus is saying is that they cannot handle the
risks posed by the anti-Icerd rally. More than that, if the anti-Icerd
rally poses a risk which borders on national security, the state
security apparatus will not take action against those organising it but
instead, inform the prime minister and an instrument of the state that
they have to back down against a threat that borders on national
What message does this send to the Malay far right? More importantly,
what message does this send to foreign religious extremists who have
made it clear that Southeast Asia is their new theatre of operations?
What message does it send to these people when the prime minster of a
country has to back down from an event organised by an instrument of the
state because the far right - racial and religious – in his country
poses a risk bordering on national security, but the Establishment event
has to be postponed and the rally which poses that threat gets to carry
This should not make sense to rational-thinking Malaysians. Mind you,
it may make sense to partisans but the reality is that situations like
these determine the political landscape of the country. It determines
the way how the state security apparatus operates and it determines how
policy is enacted not by the will of the people who voted in this
government but by the far-right elements who are not in power.
To be fair to PAS, having interviewed security personnel who work
these rallies and having friends in the various schisms of the party, I
do not think that PAS poses a security threat when it comes to Suhakam
festival. I do think that the bellicose statements of Umno and its
proxies, do pose a problem for the state security apparatus.
Having said, that, these days, PAS has demonstrated that it is
willing to sacrifice its principles and work with kleptocratic elements
because its leadership, for whatever reasons, has determined that this
is the best course to federal power. Hence whatever risk the rally poses
also falls on PAS.
This really is a dark turn for civil society and rational Malaysians in this country.
Bersatu’s racism and the danger of anti-Icerd rally - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, December 05, 2018
Malaysiakini : “That is straight up playing the racial card, there's no other way to see it. And I'm against it totally.”
- Shahril Hamdan, Umno Youth leader
COMMENT | I hope people understand that when the Pakatan Harapan grand poobah Dr Mahathir Mohamad acknowledges that Bersatu is a racist party,
he is essentially saying that every member of Bersatu is a racist. The
party and its members are not mutually exclusive. It really is not
important that Bersatu, although racist, is not against the other “not
race-based” parties, but rather that these multiracial parties are
willing to work with racists.
I am neither surprised when Mahathir
flouts his racist credentials nor surprised that there has never been
any pushback from the non-Malay power structures which supported him
when he led BN and now Pakatan Harapan. BN Redux is the realisation that
assuming federal power means ditching the Kool-Aid but still expecting
the non-Malay base to behave as if hooked on it.
As I said six years ago about the realpolitik
of Mahathir – “He never hid behind any politically correct
justifications for his policies, making the social and economic
inequalities faced by the community he claimed to represent as something
beyond their ability to overcome and exacerbated by the presence of
‘foreigners’ who took advantage of their hospitality. This, of course,
is pure rubbish but it is the narrative in which he chose to frame the
I have no idea if it is tragic or
funny, that the majority of the voting Malay demographic did not vote
for Bersatu but instead voted for Umno and PAS. So while Umno political
operatives are busy considering whether to jump ship to Bersatu if Umno
cannot capitalise on the race and religion card, non-Malay power
structures are getting nervous of the possible power Bersatu could
acquire, which is why we hear rumblings about anti-party hopping laws.
in Umno, like the young operative whose quote begins this piece, have
to grapple with the new reality - that a BN Redux means that they have
become the far right. Umno has to hitch their wagon to PAS, who are
embroiled in their own little power plays between the various factions
which the non-Malay urban demographic have no idea exist, but would
determine the nature of the alliance between Umno and PAS.
may be hypercritical of PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, at least he had
the cojones to attempt a multiracial alternative. The drawback –
politically – is he has to make all these pro-Malay statements because
his bumiputera bone fides has always been in question. Not to mention
the internal power struggles in PKR which Malay political operatives in
Umno, PAS and Bersatu are meddling in, which gives the impression -
sometimes unfairly – that PKR is the clear and present danger to Harapan
hegemony. It is not.
I once wrote that if you set yourself as a
champion of your community, sooner or later, your credentials will be
challenged. The problem with Mahathir's babbling on about his racism and
that of his political party, is that he will always have to answer to
Umno and PAS when it comes to those issues that are sacred to the Malay
Mind you, those issues have nothing to do with
development or standards of living, but rather issues that diminish the
“rights” of the non-Malays in this country or hamper the economic
development of a multiracial country in favour of the kind of “Malayism”
that mainstream Malay politics want to impose on all of us, which is a
balance between racial and religious supremacy.
This is reflected
in the propagandising of issues like the injury of firefighter Muhammad
Adib Mohd Kassim in the recent temple riot. Numerous potentates have
made pilgrimages to his hospital bed, while non-Malay elites and the vox
populi have made sympathetic statements and started charity drives.
remember that someone like veteran journalist and now Bersatu member A
Kadir Jasin in 2013 wondered out - “As has always been the case, when we
send our policemen and soldiers into battle and are killed or injured,
the chances are they are Melayus and Bumiputeras. Perhaps there is
wisdom in getting more Chinese and Indians to join the armed forces so
that they too can die for one Malaysia” – in ‘I wish to remain a Malay’. We
are talking about a system of beliefs here no matter how the Bangsa
Malaysia types attempt to stick their heads in the sand, which
ironically is not what the political operatives they voted for are
A big anti-Icerd turnout?
Ibrahim Ali says that there are too many Indians in the cabinet, he is
just attacking a low-hanging fruit. Indian minsters are a target of
opportunity because the Chinese community or at least, the Chinese
minsters have to be handled in a different way. Claiming that Harapan is
giving away power to a minority in betrayal of its defence of race and
religion is the kind of trap, that Harapan always falls for because they
are too scared to lose federal power instead of wielding it.
are the themes of this narrative? They are all ahistorical. The reality
is that Malay power structures have very little interest in raising the
standard of living of the rural Malays because to do so would cost them
votes. Look at what happens in urban centres. All this is important to
remember when considering the real danger of the Icerd rally. Why
is Umno and PAS determined to hold this anti-Icerd rally? They have
already won this battle, so what would be the point of holding this
If you think the Harapan establishment is worried about
this rally, you should talk to some PAS political operatives and
activists, like I have. They are extremely worried that the turnout will
be low. They desperately want a massive turnout. If there is a low
turnout, this would demonstrate that PAS is weak and is unable to carry
out the threats of Malay/Islamic dissatisfaction that they believe will
contain the Harapan regime.
For political operatives in Umno who
do not want to work with PAS, it would be a lesson for the old guard
that PAS is not a potent religious or racial force post-May 9. A low
turnout would be a bummer for the current Umno hardliners because those
operatives who were hedging their bets, would now be free to join the
racist Bersatu without having to worry that Umno would have any power
that could pose a problem.
Mostly though, the powerbrokers behind
this rally want to remind Bersatu, which is weak, PKR, which is
compromised, and DAP, which is subservient, that although Umno and PAS
are not in power, they have considerable influence in the policy
direction of this country. This is about demonstrating how the Malay far
right is more powerful than the federal government.
Malay political operatives talk about ultra-liberals, not spooking the
Malays or any other rejoinders of compromise, all of this demonstrates
to the Malay far racial and religious right is that the government is
weak. That they do not have the support of the majority community.
exposing corruption scandals works in the short term when it comes to
destabilising Umno, the reality is that there are a younger set of
leaders just waiting to assume control of a party which they believe
still has the support of the majority of the Malay community. They do
not even have to have money to do this because the political
infrastructure is there in the civil service, the state security
apparatus and the fact that they do not have to compete with an opposing
If this is dangerous to Malay power structures in
Harapan, it is more devastating for the non-Malay power structures. How
does the Harapan Malay elite demonstrate their Malayness? The answer is
to encroach in the public and private spheres of the urban centres, that
rural Malays are told is the existential threat to their culture and
religion. Malay political operatives will always be on the
defensive when it comes to their racial and religious credentials.
Bersatu’s racism is exacerbated by the enabling of the non-Malay power
structures in Harapan.
This is the clear and present danger that
Harapan supporters should be aware of. The enemy is within, and the
anti-Icerd rally will determine how potent it is.
The gov't wants you to spend more time with your family - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, December 03, 2018
Handiwork of fanatics who think like Khalid Samad
Malaysiakini : Clamping down on activities deemed detrimental to religious sensibilities using legal provisions is exactly the kind of sub rosa (under the nose) move that riles up the religious base.
about all the sin tax collected, or the fact that entertainment outlets
are a convenient mechanism for social interaction among the various
ethnic groups in Malaysia. Enforcing stiffer regulations on how people
choose to spend their time is the time-honoured way in which fascists
slowly encroach into our public and private spaces.
"In Sabah, we have our own unique entertainment and culture, which
may be different from Kuala Lumpur and we have our own plans." – Deputy Sabah chief minister Christina Liew
COMMENT | In enforcing the 1am closing time
for entertainment outlets as contained in their licences, Federal
Territories minister Khalid Samad said it would serve "as a reminder to
those in Kuala Lumpur to spend more time and money with their families
rather than at entertainment outlets."
Really? The Pakatan Harapan
government cannot ratify an international treaty like the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
(Icerd), but it has no problem telling Malaysians how to spend their
money? Whom they should spend their time with? I mean, what do people do
with their families at 1am in the morning anyway? What does Khalid do
with his family at that time?
Apparently, entertainment outlets
have a very lax attitude when it comes to enforcing this clause in their
licence. And who could blame them? Even when the economy is bad, people
are partying like there is no tomorrow. Mind you, some people believe
that the only way to party is to party like there's no tomorrow. But I digress. Sabah meanwhile, has pooh-poohed
the idea. When asked, deputy chief minister Christina Liew said: "I
don't think we have to worry too much about the (proposal) considering
what we have here."
I have no idea what Sabah has there, but I
really like it whatever it is. In the quote that opens this piece, Liew
said that Sabah has a culture different from Kuala Lumpur. I wonder what
this cultural difference is. Not to mention, don’t the people of Sabah
want to spend more time with their families?
What exactly is going on here? Khalid claimed that the Kuala
Lumpur City Hall received complaints about noise and other
disturbances. But does anyone really believe this? I mean, sure, there
would have been complaints from certain areas which would necessitate
certain measures being taken, but a blanket enforcement of all
entertainment outlets? This is not kosher.
DAP Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun is worriedabout
this strict enforcement policy, as he should be. “I hope the government
will not have a one-size-fits-all ruling. I can understand the
rationale of limiting the operating hours of outlets close to
take is that entertainment outlets in residential areas should be
closely monitored. Not only because of the noise pollution and other
disturbances – whatever that means – but because many of these outlets
serve as vehicles for money laundering, prostitution, illegal gambling
and other illicit activities that cater to hypocritical suburban
populations. Note that this is not a blanket condemnation on sex work,
but this is not the article to discuss this subject.
there were special considerations for certain entertainment outlets to
close at 5am to cater to tourists. But these outlets were found to have
catered to locals, and apparently, this is a bad thing. Can you
imagine? The government is distressed that locals are supporting local
businesses by spending their money. It seems that the government would
rather people spend time with their families instead of supporting local
What the hell is the matter with these sanctimonious
guardians of morality? It's okay for foreigners to spend money and
contribute to the local economy, but when it comes to locals, this is
not a good thing? I get that the tourist ringgit is
important, but to dismiss the impact of locals contributing to the
economy is damn well irresponsible. And to justify it on extremely
stupid grounds – like a reminder for more family time – is just
This is about moral policing. The government could, of
course, rely on the fact that these entertainment outlets are going
against clauses in their licences, but the reality is that whenever a
government seeks to enforce certain regulations pertaining to
entertainment, especially in a country dominated by Islamic imperatives,
it is all about moral policing.
Moral mission creep
Clamping down on activities deemed detrimental to religious sensibilities using legal provisions is exactly the kind of sub rosa (under the nose) move that riles up the religious base. Forget
about all the sin tax collected, or the fact that entertainment outlets
are a convenient mechanism for social interaction among the various
ethnic groups in Malaysia. Enforcing stiffer regulations on how people
choose to spend their time is the time-honoured way in which fascists
slowly encroach into our public and private spaces. What we are really talking about is here is that the Harapan government is telling you how to live. Look, the folks of the Kampung Manjoi incident were essentially pushing the same narrative. They did not want the local stores selling alcohol.
This is a variation of the same theme. The government is
telling you how to spend your time and money. You spend time with your
family because the government tells you to. All this is about 'sinning'
at the expense of the 'sacred' family. Or so these religious types would
have us believe.
This is how it starts. These are sub rosa
moves, and nobody wants to say anything about it. I did not even bother
quoting the various tourism bodies because these moves are not about
foreigners, but about control of the locals. Otherwise, why start
enforcing these types of things now?
Does anyone really think that
by enforcing this regulation, that people will spend more time with
their families? But that isn't the point, is it? In my
experience, religious fascism is not interested in the outcome, only
that the dictate is imposed. Would anyone really mind if there was
stricter enforcement of entertainment outlets in residential areas? No,
they would not.
Entertainment outlets looking for a bigger slice
of the pie would move to places where there is more traffic, so
establishments in residential areas that offer illicit pleasures will
just look for more conducive environments. Legitimate
neighbourhood pubs would not really mind closing earlier, because if
they are any good, they would have an established clientele who would
leave at a reasonable hour, only to turn up the next day.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng claims that the Harapan government needs three years
to bring the economy back on track, but when we have policies like
these rooted in the kind of moral policing that Sabah apparently does
not need, who knows what other businesses would be targeted.
For every step forward, some folks want to drag us two steps back.
Riots and racial bias - A reply - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Sunday, December 02, 2018
Malaysiakini : “And how easy it is to recognise the revenant shapes that the old unchanging enemies – racism, leader worship, superstition – assume when they reappear amongst us (often bodyguarded by their new apologists).” – Christopher Hitchens, Arguably
COMMENT | I just do not get it. PKR leader Rafizi Ramli in his opinion piece "Riots
and racial bias" claims whenever racially tinged events happen, we must
embrace objectivity and learn to see from the other’s groups
Unfortunately, being objective and empathetic – which is what, I suppose, Rafizi was aiming for – are mutually exclusive. Rafizi
says that whenever incidents like the Seafield riots crop up, we see
them through a racial lens. But this bias is a convenient distraction
from the institutional racism that is far more damaging to this country,
that also defines mainstream Malaysian politics. It is difficult
to tell people to embrace the other and be empathetic of our
differences when the majority race is defined in the Federal
Constitution and accorded privileges that when questioned is met with
threats of violence. Seriously, this is country where some schools decide that there should be separate canteensfor Muslim and non-Muslim students. And politicians wonder why people view things through a racial lens? Going beyond this recent case, Rafizi is right though when it comes to non-Malay racism. There
are those online who claim that Malays, when it comes to intelligence –
hidden behind whatever euphemism they think smart – are genetically
inferior. This of course is but just one example of the scintillating
discourse when it comes to race and politics in the alternative media.
The Seafield riots were, in reality, a defence against the
invasion of sacred ground. Take away the temple politics, corporate
interests, a compromised security apparatus and partisan political
correctness, what happened was that hired Malay thugs invaded the sacred
place of Hindus, and violence erupted.
newsman A Kadir Jasin, for instance, think that the rioters should be
punished. If Malays are caught, then so should the Hindu rioters. He uses racially charged language – "gelap(dark)"– and wonders why the state security did not have torchlights when questioning why no Hindus were arrested at the time. He then goes on to “school”
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department P Waythaymoorthy for
attempting to shine a light on the false narrative of the state security
apparatus. And to think, his views are praised by some as being the voice of reason in this mess.
Think about this way. There have been many temple
'relocations' before and while there have been protests – and let's face
facts, people can dredge up worse cases than these Seafield riots – the
incidents have been relatively violence-free. Whenever
there are threats of racial violence, are the non-Malays making those
threats? Has a non-Malay politician ever threatened violence in
furtherance of his or her political agenda? Have non-Malay activists
ever threatened violence if the state does not conform to its agenda?
will go further. It is incumbent on non-Malay political operatives to
pacify the threats of violence thrown their way. It is incumbent on them
to temper their political ideologies, and in some cases, subsume their
agendas to appease mainstream Malay politics. This is why we have DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang walking back
his stance on the International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd), saying that it is not worth
ratifying it if it means there will be another May 13. This is why
we get non-Malay political pundits, activists and propagandists for the
Pakatan Harapan regime, claiming that Icerd is not such a big deal and
essentially pushing the “social contract – in spirit if not in substance
– as a means of racial and religious compromise.
non-Malays are a zero threat when it comes to the safety of Malays.
Revise history however you want, but we do not control the state
security apparatus, we do not control the bureaucratic processes in
place in case there are riots, and we certainly do not control the royal
Ever since May 13, 1969, non-Malays have learnt to keep
their mouths shut. Non-Malays political operatives who want political
power have to attach themselves to Malay power structures, which peddle
narratives that the Malay community are under threat. And
when Malays pose a threat to these narratives, they are labelled
deviants, liberals or worse. So when someone like Zan Azlee writes about
throwing away the crutches, he is vilified.
president Anwar Ibrahim writes about our hard-won peace. What peace are
we talking about here? Urban centres power the engine of economic
progress in this country, but urban Malays and non-Malays who are are
somewhat progressive in their views are reminded that the sensitivities
of the rural electorate have to be taken into account. And these are
normally racial and religious sensitivities. This, I suppose, is the hard-won peace that Anwar is talking about. But
is this really hard-won? We compromise, because to do otherwise would
be suicide. The non-Malays have a good life in this country as long as
we play by Malay rules. Partisan allegiance does not translate to
patriotism. What is good for political parties does not mean that it is
good for this country. Wan Muhammad Azri Wan Deris or 'Papagomo' gets arrestedand people are happy. But what has he said that most mainstream Umno politicians have not said before? Meanwhile, Umno are jumpingup
and down because Waythaymoorthy has not been arrested. But what has
Waythaymoorthy said that most Indian activists have not said before, or
even non-Malays online who go on about the 'apartheid' system here in
Malaysia? Every time a situation like the Seafield riot happens,
some folks say do not make the situation worse by writing about it. Or
at least, writing about it in a way that goes against pleasant
narratives about how we earned this blessed peace.
No, I think every time a situation like this happens, it reminds us of who we really are.
Malaysiakini : “Every man who has in his soul a secret feeling of revolt against
any act of the State, of life, or of destiny, is on the verge of riot;
and so soon as it appears, he begins to quiver, and to feel himself
borne away by the whirlwind.” Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
| Saying the temple protests in the last two days were proof that “good
gestures are not always appreciated”, Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul
Abidin called on Malay groups planning to hold a rally
next month to oppose Malaysia’s joining of the global
anti-discrimination treaty, Icerd, to instead hold a rally for “Muslim
survival”. People always ask me, what is the issue the
Malay/Muslim far right have with temples? That is an easy question to
answer. Hindu temples are all over the place. It is a fact that some of
these structures are “illegal”. While some have a history like the
Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, others have less of a pedigree.
temples are in your face. While Christian places of worship are subject
to strict rules when it comes to Islamic sensitivities – the cross for
instance apparently has a debilitating effect on some people – Hindu
temples are gaudy architectural provocations for people who believe in
the supremacy of their faith
But forget about this for a moment.
If this was a mosque of more than 100 years old, and a court ruled in
favour of corporate interest, what do you think the consequences would
have been for the corporate entity when it came to this piece of land? I
love the way how some people talk about legal judgments as if they are
made in a vacuum when it comes to vested political and corporate
interest. As usual, when it comes to an Indian issue, people have faith
in the system.
The Perlis mufti, for instance, thinks that the BN
government was too soft with these illegal Hindu temples. He wants the
Harapan government to uphold the rule of law when it comes to a
historical site which is essentially what the Seafield temple is. He
believes this so strongly that he uses this incident to call for the Dec
8 anti-Icerd “celebration” to be one for Muslim survival.
very little interest in temple committees. I think that they are a bunch
of parasites who use their office to further their own economic agendas
that have very little to do with religion. In the Seafield temple case,
for instance, I have no doubt that temple committee intrigue is part of
the problem. There are more informed people who should have the courage
to speak up on this issue than me.
Having said that, when it comes to religion in Malaysia, everything is racial. Asri (photo),
for instance, prefers to use the law against what he believes is an
existential threat to the Muslim community. Meanwhile, the “gangsters”
who trespassed into this Hindu place of worship were relying on the
weakness of the institutions to facilitate whatever they were allegedly
hired to do.
Eyewitness reports claim that the state security
apparatus was lackadaisical in containing the situation, while the state
security apparatus claims that it had to be restrained because this was
a place of worship and to do otherwise would add fuel to the fire. Who
do you believe? How does your experience inform you about your faith in
the system? Not an easy question to answer.
Fracases like these
test your faith in the system. Is this a system for the "core" or is
this a system for all of us? Some people got upset with those ministers
who disputed the original “Indian vs Indian” police claim. This claim
plays to the Indian stereotype that would make it easy to forget this
issue and carry on playing the game of not spooking the Malays.
when Ahmad Zahid Hamidi calls for the resignation of a minister for
communal provocation, for merely speaking the truth, what does this tell
you about the system? Think of it this way, Zahid, the former deputy
prime minister, claimed that the Malays would run amock if Icerd was
ratified and he gets away with it. What would happen if a non-Malay
minister said the same thing to his or her community when it came to
something they consider sacred?
When it was later confirmed
by deputy inspector-general of police Noor Rashid Ibrahim that it was
possible that the party that wanted to take over the land “...hired a
group of Malay men to facilitate the process of taking the land. There
is a possibility those (hired) were gangsters and for sure, the group of
Indians tried to defend (the temple against the incursion)”, there was a
caveat added that this was not a racial issue.
Even the temple
people claimed that this was not a racial issue. The prime minister
claimed that this was not a racial issue. Various ministers come out to
claim that this was not a racial issue but the reality is that this
issue will always be racial or religious because the system is set up
this way. Whoever hired those “Malay” gangsters to invade a sacred Hindu
ground did so with the knowledge that this was racially and religiously
The Perlis mufti, for instance, uses this incident
to further his Islamic agenda. Politicians, meanwhile, attempt to use it
to deflect from the situation by propagandising an injured fireman. I
can see why. Far right Malay bloggers and propagandists have already
started forwarding me literature that claims that it is the Malays who
have to put their lives on the line and that these “Indians” are only
good for drinking and rioting. All this is part of the “ketuanan” narrative that makes it impossible to have a reasoned discussion when it comes to issues like this.
at the difference between the Low Yat rioters and this incident. The
rioters in this incident do not have the protection of the state. They
are lucky that there are some politicians who would push back on
official narratives that would seek to demonise the community at the
expense of the truth – but ultimately, they have to have faith in a
system which very often lets them down.
Who knows how this will
play out? Hopefully, those people who allegedly hired these thugs would
be dragged out into the light. The question is, do people have enough
faith in the system to believe that the real culprits would be brought
to justice – or would this just be another opportunity where the system
finds a scapegoat?
Why doesn’t the gov't want to find Indira's daughter? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Malaysiakini : “I will be more confident of my identity, and I think I wouldn't
have to be afraid of people asking me whether I'm a Muslim or an
Indian.” – Karan Dinish, son of M Indira Gandhi
COMMENT | Tevi Darsiny, the eldest daughter of M Indira Ghandi, said this to the Malay Mail:
“For the past nine years, people ask us what are we, as in what
religion are we? And my answer would be 'I'm a Hindu', with confidence.
After today, I can say with assurance that 'I am a Hindu'." Tevi
said this after the Federal Court nullified her and her siblings'
conversion in January because it was carried out without Indira's
Who is missing from this picture? That's right, her youngest child Prasana Diksa,
who was kidnapped by their religious extremist father Muhammad Riduan
Abdullah, and who still hasn't been located by the state security
apparatus. What was Syariah Lawyers Association president Musa Awang's response
to this after the landmark ruling? "There might be people who will take
advantage (of the ruling) and abscond with the child and hide the child
until the child decides (what religion they want to embrace)."
to anyone who cares why Islamic laws affect non-Muslims in Malaysia to
contradict the lies and victimhood of religious extremists who claim
otherwise: “A good example of this is the way how unilateral
conversion robs a child of his or her right to decide if he or she wants
to belong to a religion which has profound implications on the way how
its believers live in a country where Islamic laws define Muslims and
there are legal ramifications of being Muslim.”
The question now is not so much where Indira's youngest
daughter is, but why the state security apparatus doesn't want to find
her. If you really believe that it is doing everything it can to find
Prasana, you are living with some serious delusions.
Keep in mind that in the cases of Indira and S Deepa,
the state security apparatus assumed the role of antagonist and was an
impediment to justice. This is a matter of public record and something
most Pakatan Harapan political operatives can attest to. When de facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong rambles on about why the government cannot interfere,
or that he needs to consult the attorney-general, this horse manure
just enables the state security apparatus to continue with their excuses
as to why this kidnapped child has not been found.
Make no mistake. This is a kidnapping. Even more insidious is that this is a religious kidnapping. Strip
away all the legalese and this is what Indira's ex-husband has done.
Riduan has kidnapped his child, and has demonstrated that he does not
give a damn about the courts, the state security apparatus or the
hypocritical new Malaysia politicians. He has done this in the name of
I get that things may have changed from when I served
with the state security apparatus, but the people I speak to now
maintain that it has the capabilities to be one of the best in this
region. An issue like this would not be much of a problem for them. What
they don't have is the political will which enables them to carry out
As a member of the police force recently told me, "Siapa nak believe that our boys cannot find this orang bodoh, tuan? (Who
is going to believe that our boys cannot find this idiot, sir?)" The
police officer who said this may be young, but he has field experience
in the anti-narcotics division.
Why does the state security apparatus waste time in questioning
someone like Minister in the Prime Minister's Department P Waythmoorthy
for comments he made ten years ago, but can't seem to find this
kidnapper, who isn't exactly the brightest bulb in the box?
Back to religion
It makes you wonder. Has this got something to do with religion? If
a Hindu parent had unilaterally converted his children without his
Muslim's wife consent – yeah, I know how it works in Malaysia, but work
with me here – what do you think the response of the courts, the state
security apparatus, but most importantly the non-Muslim politicians
If this man had kidnapped his Muslim child and was making her live as a Hindu, what do you think the outrage would be like? I
am sure the best of friends, Umno and PAS, fueled by the blossoming
bromance of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Abdul Hadi Awang, would hold a rally,
and maybe even change laws, because nobody wants a riot, right?
issue really pisses me off. This is a win that Harapan needs. This is
something which would legitimise the already compromised state security
apparatus. And yet we have tone deaf politicians making the situation
What do we get? We get a law minister who more or less
washes his hands of this case. We get someone like Human Resources
Minister M Kulasegaran, who did a lot for this case, but who now says
dumb things like he not being able to be "directly involved in the
case," and that it would be "improper to interfere in another minister's
portfolio." Really? As an elected representative who has
firsthand knowledge of this case, who understands the duplicity of the
then-Umno state and the utter indifference of the state security apparatus, you cannot counsel the relevant ministry of what needs to be
done? This is how Harapan politicians are going to play the game?
know what the religious extremists in this country want? They want this
young child to grow up to be a Muslim woman and bring forth more Muslim
children. They want her to have no choice, like how Indira's other
children had no choice when it came to religion.
Tell me if I am wrong? Tell me if I am being racially or religiously insensitive? If
this case is forgotten, if Indira's kidnapped daughter isn't found,
this will be on the heads of the Harapan politicians who had no guts to
facilitate her recovery. This will also be on the state security
apparatus who continue to provide evidence that their agenda is not to
serve the people but other sub rosa imperatives.
People should stop asking where Indira's kidnapped child is, but why the Harapan state does not want her to be found.