The Harapan manifesto is worthless - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Every page should explode, either because of its staggering absurdity, the enthusiasm of its principles, or its typography.” ― Tristan Tzara, ‘Manifesti del dadaismo’
COMMENT | Is the Pakatan Harapan
manifesto worthless? Yes, it is. Most manifestos or campaign promises
are suspect but now we know that the Harapan manifesto was void ab initio (void from the beginning).
Politicians who make campaign promises make an attempt to fulfil them
and would make excuses if they could not. What they never do is say:
“We made a bunch of stuff up to get your votes which we knew we could
never fulfil.” This is exactly what the old maverick has said.
Claiming that you made promises while actually believing that you
could not win is really dumb. I mean, the people who voted for you had
faith in the movement and obviously thought you could take Putrajaya.
It’s funny, isn’t it? That we now have the prime minister saying that
those promises were made when Harapan operatives did not really believe
that they could take Putrajaya. I wonder what prime minister-in-waiting
Anwar Ibrahim’s promises to the folks at Port Dickson are worth.
Mahathir is not some neophyte political operative. He is a seasoned
political operative who managed to get people to vote for his coalition
even with the systemic corruption, systemic discrimination and
race-based ideology for decades. Granted he was operating in unfamiliar
terrain with the then opposition but even in this marriage of political
convenience, surely he must have believed in some parts of the
Surely there must have been Harapan political operatives who did
believe in the manifesto and did not just say things because they
believed they could not win. Was that really the strategy? Make a bunch
of stuff up and then if victory was miraculously achieved, claim that
they could not fulfil those promises? Moving forward, how can people
ever trust anything Harapan officials say when it comes to policy?
Bersatu’s Rais Hussin claimedthat
a lot of thought went into the manifesto but apparently the prime
minister does not think it means all that much. All these people that
Rais (photo) talks about, who put in the hard work of drafting
the manifesto, did they not have access to the facts when they promised
they could abolish tolls, for instance?
We always get this horse manure that the manifesto promises cannot be
kept because new information has been “discovered” but really, the
Harapan political elite had been claiming that we were reaching
failed-nation status, hence whatever “new information” that has been
discovered could not be possibly worse than the apocalypse they believed
would happen if they did not win.
Remember that they claimed that the government was bankrupt at one
point. Surely all this must have gone into the number-crunching done by
Rais' so-called experts when they were formulating the well-thought-out
Flip-flopping on Sedition Act
If you buy this “new information” excuse, you do understand what this
really means, right? That Harapan operatives were talking without
having full access to the facts. They were making promises while
ignorant of the facts and either they knew it or did not care. Claiming
the discovery of new facts that make certain promises unworkable is the
height of political mendacity.
And please, while this “new information” may fly with die-hard
supporters, do you know what is the most important feature of a corrupt
regime like Najib’s administration? Information leaks. You really
believe that Harapan operatives were not getting information from
whistleblowers and sympathisers from the BN regime? You really believe
that BN plutocrats were not leaking information to the political
operatives from Harapan to hedge their bets?
Sure, some information especially dealing with massive corruption
deals were “classified” but business dealings of the Umno hegemony were
not exactly sacrosanct especially when Mahathir, an arch-establishment
figure, took over Harapan.
I argue here
that this idea of not fulfilling election promises was because the base
was quiet on this issue. Harapan is waffling on its promises because
its base does not demand that these promises be kept. Often, this base
and various political pundits make excuses for why Harapan needs time to
fulfil certain promises instead.
This may be true in specific issues – like education reform, for
instance – but when it comes to repealing certain laws, abandoning
certain propaganda organs, or just fulfilling certain promises such as
recognising the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), this excuse of
needing more time is complete horse manure.
You may have come across some cretins who claim that they believed
that Harapan is right to have said anything to win. In other words,
voters are so dumb that they will believe anything political operatives
tell them because they despise the Umno regime. But this is dangerous. How can we trust anything political operatives
say if they cry wolf all the time or believe that they can say
anything, break any promise and the base will not hold them to it? It
gets even more perilous when the base is not bound by any ideological
beliefs but rather a hatred for a regime for different reasons.
Now, maybe this may not mean anything to the urban, “educated”
electorate, who are always telling the rural heartlands that they need
to educate themselves about how the former Umno policies were destroying
the country, but how exactly does this play when these so-called
ignorant people realise that Harapan does not intend to honour its
promises because these were made while thinking the coalition would not
The removal of certain pernicious laws and organisations could be
done with the necessary legislative and bureaucratic processes. But even
with these, there has been flip-flopping by the Harapan administration.
Having a moratorium on the sedition law as put forward by
Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo until the
necessary legislative processes were carried out was a simple and honest
move by Harapan. But before that, we had numerous political operatives
including the prime minister flip-flopping on this issue. Anyway, all this does not mean a thing. We do not have a credible
opposition and the base will no doubt have more red meat thrown at it
when the next financial scandal comes into view.
It all boils down to how Harapan handles the economy. If it succeeds
in a way that the average rakyat does not feel “burdened”, then the
burden of this manifesto would not mean anything.