Articles, Opinions & Views: Why is the security apparatus backing down in the face of threat? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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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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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 the homeland.
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.
Religious extremists
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 security.
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 on?
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.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 9:23 AM  
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