A Malay Malaysia - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, February 04, 2019
Malaysiakini : The ends justifies the means, that's the system I learned that in school then I dropped out Hit the streets, checked a grip, and now I got clout I had nothing, and I wanted it You had everything, and you flaunted it Turned the needy into the greedy – Ice T (New Jack Hustler)
| One of the things I find interesting is former prime minister Najib
Abdul Razak’s public transformation of his image as a privileged Malay
politician to that of an everyman attempting to fight the system
hell-bent on destroying him. The Pakatan Harapan regime, for various
reasons, comes off as malicious or tone-deaf to the message Najib is
disseminating to the Malay base.
What Najib is doing is tapping
into the class resentments in the Malay community, while demonising the
Chinese community through a stand-in – the DAP. Harapan plays the same
narrative – like demonsing the PRC – not realising (or not caring) that
this narrative ultimately arrives at the same destination, the Malaysian
Chinese community as a scapegoat for the mendacity of mainstream Malay
international business deals, or toxic communal relationship or
dissatisfaction of economic standards brought upon by unbalanced
economic polices that favour a specific capitalist class in the Malay
When Harapan came into power, I warned
that what we had was a “Malay” opposition, which would use race and
religion in lieu of policy. What Harapan had to do was change the
narrative because what they are up against was decades of indoctrination
and entitlements programmes that had failed the Malay community.
is the relevant bit – “The Malay opposition will define itself by
offering a virulent counter-narrative when it comes to issues of race
and religion. They will attempt to force the Harapan regime to
demonstrate how committed they are in their secular principles and, of
course, their egalitarian principles – if they are committed to these at
Far-right Malay friends have this fantasy. When the Malays
finally win the demographics game, and minorities are insignificant when
it comes to political power, they believe they would have this racial
and religious paradise without all the problems multi-culturalism
brings. Never mind the economic and social repercussions of having a
mono-ethnic Malaysia, what I find hilarious is how blind some of the
mainstream Malay intelligentsia are to the class divisions in Malay
Free Malaysia Today (FMT) ran a piece recently, where Syed Husin Ali discussed the type of conflict “yang akan dihadapi oleh masyarakat Melayu sekiranya negara ini hanya didiami oleh satu bangsa sahaja
(that will be faced by Malay society when this country is inhabited by
only one race).” Syed Husin rightly pointed out that the type of
conflict would be a class conflict. For the record, I am a Syed Husin
Ali fanboy, and have followed his career and writings for years.
Two points are worth considering . Syed Husin (photo) discussed the two competing interests that would come into conflict - “Pertama
kata beliau, adalah kepentingan nilai seperti agama dan moral, manakala
kedua adalah kepentingan berkaitan politik seperti perkembagan ekonomi
dan pendidikan. Apabila kepentingan-kepentingan ini bertentangan, maka
wujudlah konflik. (Firstly, is the importance of religious and moral
values. When mixed with politics in economic development and education,
conflict will arise.) ”
And then he dived into the nature of the eventual class conflict that would arise - “Misalannya,
kurang kekayaan dalam kalangan Melayu. Orang Melayu yang di bawah akan
menganggap mereka miskin kerana kekayaan dikumpul oleh kelompok
(orang Melayu kaya) yang sedikit. Justeru, timbullah konflik. (For
example, Malay poverty. These Malays may think they are poor because
wealth is in the hands of a small elite (rich Malays). This will give
rise to conflict.)”
Syed Husin, who, no doubt, has studied other
mono-ethnic societal breakdowns, points out the various degrees of
manifestation that such class resentment brings.
When people understand that something is wrong...
first manifestation is where people understand that something is wrong
and that they are at the bottom of the totem pole, but are afraid to
express this resentment. However, this does not last long. Sooner or later they express their anger and eventually - “Ataupun orang boleh sampai angkat senjata kerana marah. Keadaan ini boleh menimbulkan revolusi. (Or people reach the point where they take up arms in their anger. This will give rise to a revolution.”
wrote about this decades ago, in a position paper that was mocked by
the military establishment because I was told that this would never
happen in Malaysia. Never mind that May 13 happened and the policies
that were created post-May 13, planted the seeds – in my opinion – of an
eventual class conflict in the Malay community.
One of the
reasons why I think Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) is ahead of the curve
is because they understand that there is a class conflict within the
majority community. While PSM is portrayed as some sort of “Indian”
party – honestly the dumb casual racism they face online is indicative
of the failure of progressive politics in this country - the reality is
that for years they have been trying to tap into the class resentment of
all communities in Malaysia.
Someone like the potential Semenyih
by-election candidate, PSM Youth member Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul, has a
better understanding of the frustrations of the Malay disenfranchised
than anyone from the other mainstream Malay political parties. PSM’s
class dialectic is what mainstream Malay power brokers fear.
While PSM central committee member S Arutchelvan (photo)
may be the public face of the party, the Malay and Chinese political
operatives and grassroots activists bear a message that is drowned out
by partisan politics and religious fervour. The sooner they get a
foothold in mainstream politics and the majority Malay community, the
sooner we should see progressive politics seep into the political
landscape based on class divisions instead of racial or religious ones.
What I found interesting about Mariam Mokhtar’s latest piece
is that it is a scattershot of the class divisions within the Malay
community. What we are talking about are Malays whose privilege has some
value at the moment as opposed to Malays who think they have privilege,
but in reality are low down economically than non-Malays who have no
Then there is the issue of religion. What do the
privileged political and plutocrat class of the Malay community do? They
use religion to narcotise the working class and disenfranchise the
Malay community. It is effective up to a point. What happens when they
cannot use the non-Malays as a convenient punching bag? Well, what
happens to rich Muslim potentates in many Islamic states?
masses fall prey to a more virulent strain of Islamism, which tell them
how corrupt their rulers are and how a truly Islamic state is where they
would achieve parity. This is the experience of nearly every Islamic
state – moderate or otherwise – in the world. Why do you think the
disenfranchised and the working class are prey to Islamic extremists?
Why do you think Islamic extremists find ample opportunity to recruit in
academic institutions? The answer is because young, disenfranchised
people slowly awaken to the fact that the system screws them over, while
rich people are not subject to the same laws as them.
Does anyone really think that jailing corrupt potentates is going to solve the class divisions in the majority community?