Articles, Opinions & Views: Malay Harapan MPs should not limit discourse in Malay polity - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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the women come out to cut up what remains,

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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

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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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Malay Harapan MPs should not limit discourse in Malay polity - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, November 03, 2018
Malaysiakini : “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” ― George Orwell
COMMENT | The last time I broached the topic of veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin and his “personal opinion” about the expenses the royalty incurred, I wrote this – “So when Kadir makes a statement about royal expenses, his claim does not have to be challenged by the royalty but should either be verified and challenged by the Finance Ministry. End of controversy. However, Kadir’s piece is more than just about royal expenses.”
The last part of that paragraph about Kadir’s piece being about more than just royal expenses is the important bit. This, of course, goes beyond the simple platitudes the political elite in this country - Malay and non-Malay – spew about those institutions they believe sacred to mainstream Malay politics that they use to acquire and retain power. Kadir’s latest dust-up on the Kedah royalty got him the usual fascist attacks - that his comments were “seditious” and needed to be investigated by the authorities - from a PKR political operative, Johari Abdul (photo). I wish political operatives would advocate on behalf of rape survivors as they do for the royalty in this country.
By the way, I thought it was smart of Kadir in his response to criticism that he had overstepped when it came to this issue - that he quoted the lyrics of the Kedah state anthem and the national anthem to demonstrate that royalty were not beyond criticism, especially if their position (literally) departed from their traditional seats of power. If a non-Malay had said this, they would have been hell to pay. So the politically correct thing to do for non-Malay political operatives, journalists and other public commentators, is to remain silent when it comes to issues like these.
For non-Malay political operatives, it is merely playing the game of acquiring power in the Malay political landscape and any form of corruption, moral or fiscal, is ignored because we are told that this is Malay territory, so do not trespass. Before the election, a young Malay political operative now with Bersatu but formerly with one of the more intelligent think tanks in this country, wrote that he joined the political fray because there were some things that needed to be said but was better coming from a Malay. The irony, of course, is that his posts about affirmative action being morally wrong, for instance, has since been removed and any kind of “progressive” think pieces has been sanitised. This is what happens in mainstream politics in this country.
What right-wing Malay types fear more than non-Malays trespassing into their sacred domains is the idea that other Malays deviate from the group-think. This is why the public comments of a young Malay woman like Fadiah Nadwa Fikri (photo) about the royalty is feared by the Malay political elite in this country. This, of course, is hypocritical.
The Malay political elite in this country have redefined the monarchy to make them compliant to the political processes that the political elite in this country rely on to sustain power - “Let us not be precious. The ruling elite over the decades has curtailed the power of the monarchy. The last attempt was a brazen power grab by the former Umno regime through the National Security Council (NSC) gambit.
“The current Pakatan Harapan grand poohbah (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) has done his fair share of rabble-rousing when it comes to the power and the role of the monarchy. When it is convenient to defend the institution of the monarchy as a sacred cow of Malay/Muslim politics, political operatives jump up and down attempting to outdo one another in burnishing their ethnic and religious credentials.”
Fascist sedition law
So this PKR representative attacking the liberty of Kadir – which the fascist sedition law is – could be just another episode in the rather tedious ‘nicht deklarierter Krieg’ (undeclared war) between factions of Malay political operatives in Bersatu and PKR, or maybe just another way in which a Malay political operative scores points with the Umno base.
More importantly though it is an example of how the Malay community cannibalises itself – sorry, Umno leader Nazri Abdul Aziz (photo) – in an attempt to retain hegemony of thought in the Malay polity. When this PKR leader does something like this, it is a reminder to all the other Malay dissenters who believe that there is something wrong with their community.
It is easy to paint Malays who think that there is something wrong with mainstream Malay politics as “liberals”. I can’t speak for anyone else but the political operatives I talk to and the young Malay journalists and activists I speak to, who think that the royal institution should be open to public scrutiny especially when it comes to public funds, are not the average liberal that right-wing Malay types love to demonise.
Whenever a Malay political operative like say, PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim, talks about protecting Malay rights, or when someone like Bersatu leader Rais Hussin writes about recalibrating ‘ketuanan Melayu’, what they are really doing is attempting to perpetuate a system that not only disenfranchises the Malay community but more importantly relegates egalitarian democratic process – flawed as they are – to the back burner, which is the last thing that would save Malaysia.
Malay Harapan MPs should not attempt to stifle free speech in the Malay community. They can and should state their position clearly even if those positions follow the conventional narratives of mainstream Malay politics. What they should not do is attempt to use fascists elements of the state against those who do depart from the group-think when it comes to specific issues.
This is important because as long as there is a healthy discourse in the Malay community, issues such as corruption will not be hidden behind the veil of racial and religious supremacy and the institutions that service such imperatives. The reality is that the discourse within the Malay community has been going on for some time. What the Umno state and its thugs – institutional and outsourced – did was attempt to stifle such discourses.
It is incumbent on Malay Harapan political operatives to encourage this discourse if they really want to save Malaysia and this includes "recalibrating" institutions that limit such freedoms. Otherwise, carry on usual and reap the extremists wind when it finally blows into Malaysia in full force.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 3:04 PM  
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