Articles, Opinions & Views: Is it really over for Zaid Ibrahim? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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No Atheists
In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

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

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

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

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

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

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

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

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

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

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

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Is it really over for Zaid Ibrahim? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, November 12, 2018
Malaysiakini : “Here is a man who has done everything to alienate the political establishment by espousing views that are anathema to mainstream Malaysian politics.” – “Can Zaid make DAP more convivial to Malays?”
(Full disclosure: Zaid Ibrahim is a friend and I edited a collection of his articles.)
COMMENT | The best way to describe Zaid Ibrahim’s political career is that it is a self-inflicted wound. People tell me that when they read my articles about what the former de facto law minister said or did, their takeaway is always “Can Zaid ever play well with others?” Whether he was slaying Malay sacred cows or giving the middle finger to whoever is supporting him at the time, he has always been an interesting political operative to write about.
After May 9, I saw it coming. I was wondering when Zaid would upset the apple cart, and say something that would bother the power brokers in Pakatan Harapan. Truth be told, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. What most people – sometimes even this writer – do not understand is why Zaid is so eager to burn bridges. As he once told me, sometimes there is no diplomatic way to put things. I, of course, disagreed with him on this.
A higher standard
Mostly though, I think he wrongly assumed that when he wrote the way he did, especially if it was shining a light on the underbelly of politics, it would be embraced by an audience who were sceptical of power. He never understood the partisan fervour that tore him to pieces when he wrote on subjects which he believed would truly save Malaysia. Politicians play fast and loose with the facts, but someone like Zaid is held to a higher standard. And rightly so.
The irony of course is that what Zaid said about former finance minister Daim Zainuddin and the business interests that linger around the Harapan political elite had been spoken about since the Council of Eminent persons came to be. Political operatives from both sides of the political divide have painted Daim as some sort of Rasputin skulking around the motley collection of political operatives who surround the old maverick Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Even prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim had made comments about Daim in the past.
Zaid just said what some people have been saying ever since Daim started making statements which sounded like official Harapan policy positions. The problem is not the political baggage of people like Daim and Mahathir, but rather the enabling that the other parties have to do to maintain the new normal in Malaysian politics. Zaid said that in his last testament that finance minister Lim Guan Eng called him to say that his remark was not based on fact, and suggested that he make a retraction. What horse manure is this?
If Zaid’s statement was not based on fact, then the Harapan apparatus should refute it with facts, instead of asking him to fall on his sword. Has anyone even read Zaid's blog post about his advice to Umno, which has left some in the Harapan political elite butthurt?
Selective memory
Do I care that Daim and the corporate elite have influence in Harapan economic policy? This is a capitalist democracy, no matter what some people say of this being an Islamic state. Check that; even if this were some sort of moderate Islamic paradise, plutocrats would still have influence on the economic policy of this country.
Besides, in numerous forums before May 9, then-opposition supporters were talking about the wealth of talent that Mahathir could draw from to save Malaysia. And yes, Daim, for better or worse, is the perceived stable hands that the country was in for decades, where the majority of people voted for BN and the opposition was mocked and vilified as idealistic dreamers who were all talk and no action.
That is Malaysian politics for you. View everything ahistorically, and then selectively when it suits your agenda. I think the real issue here was not that Zaid attacked Mahahtir (photo) or Daim, but rather the economic policies that were being propagated.
As economist Thomas Sowell says, there are no solutions, only trade-offs. Which is why – and some will not like me saying this – the economic policies of the Harapan government will ultimately rest on its utilitarian value to the Malay community, which will determine the future of the Malay power structures in the coalition. It is these structures within Harapan which will determine if there is a Harapan at all.
The outlier
Read Zaid's advice to Umno and tell me it does not apply to Malay power structures in general, but specifically those that will exist as we enter a post-Mahathir political landscape: “The next leader must be able to talk to taxi drivers about his plans without banning Grab. He must be able to tell the Malays how he plans to cut out greed and curb crookedness in the way power is exercised.
“Any Malay party that can instil values such as honesty and integrity in our political culture, and help nurture the Malays to be successful, will get support.” The value of Zaid is his outlier status, which of course means that his political career took a back seat to the “real stuff” he often lamented people were not interested in.
His partisan pieces were well received, but his indictments of the system and the personalities that found succour in the system were met with much consternation by the political elites of this country and their base. I have no idea why Zaid wants to give up writing. There is a difference between speaking truth to power – even when flawed – and a political career. I know this having talked to him before May 9 about his political career being over.
Giving up writing is just another self-inflicted wound, but then again, with the players involved in this tragicomedy which is the new Malaysia, maybe it is self-preservation.
I will end this piece with Zaid’s own words. It is his response to a question I asked him about the trust issues some in the then-opposition had with him:
“I am surprised to know that I have ‘trust' issues amongst the people who will vote Pakatan. I always thought if there is a scale that we can measure integrity, honesty and commitment to worthy principles, I would rate highly. “What sort of leader can we trust? Surely someone who has proven by his actions to defend the rule of law and the rights of the people. I have done that. I have given up my job for that principle.
“I have had no scandals, no impropriety of any kind. I have been consistent in my speeches and in my writings about what I believe in. I believe in a secular democracy, in equality and freedom of all Malaysians. I never fudge on these issues. So on what score was I untrustworthy?”
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 9:54 AM  
  • At 3:50 PM, Blogger Scorpian64 said…

    Zaid Ibrahim is the man with principle and he has the most respect from me.

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