Articles, Opinions & Views: Does Harapan really want to control Mahathir? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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“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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Does Harapan really want to control Mahathir? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, February 16, 2019
Our Great Leader
Malaysiakini : Power is the ability to direct or prevent the current or future actions of other groups and individuals.- Moisés Naím
COMMENT | One question that kept cropping up before May 9, was, could Pakatan Harapan control Dr Mahathir Mohamad if the coalition won the election? Harapan political operatives assured their base and fence- sitters that there were mechanisms in place that would constrain the former prime minister who many claimed was the architect of the kleptocracy that then prime minister Najib Abdul Razak was leading. Very quickly after the election, it becomes obvious that Mahathir was still playing by his own rules and all those voices pre-election were muted, embroiled in their own battles of grappling with a bureaucracy that was attempting to find its new master.
Most people view Mahathir’s backtracking on accepting Umno members as some sort of betrayal of Harapan and the people who voted for them. But is it really a betrayal? I was not the only one writing of how the fall of Umno would see an infusion of Umno talent into Bersatu. I remember writing of how that this was the game plan, that Bersatu was the lifeboat for Umno members who wanted to jump ship.
James Chin’s 2017 article on why Mahathir is at the centre of Malaysia’s opposition power play is required reading for anyone who thinks that Mahathir’s moves are out of the ordinary. In it, he not only describes the political machinations of someone I consider the shrewdest political operator in modern Malaysian history but also clearly articulates the reasons why Mahathir joined the then opposition.

In numerous articles, I reminded readers that we should not be naive when it comes to backing Mahathir. As Chin rightly pointed out, the reason Mahathir joined the opposition was not for reform but to oust Najib. The central reason why this was feasible because it involved the Malay political establishment which is the only power structure which matters.
Two points, Chin made (and in all modesty which I have made numerous times also) are worth revising.
1. “The other two pillars of the Malay establishment, the civil service and the security forces, would also be much more likely to accept a non-BN government with Mahathir than they would one without. The Malay establishment has a deep fear of the DAP who many view as Chinese chauvinists who would destroy Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) and Ketuanan Islam (Islam supremacy) should they win government. With Mahathir at the helm of Harapan, these fears are minimised.”
2. “In summary, if the defenders of the Malay establishment are forced to hand over power to someone from outside the Umno, should it lose the upcoming election, there is no better person than Mahathir. For them, Mahathir simply represents an alternative Ketuanan Melayu leadership, rather than real political reforms.”
While PAS and Umno may attempt to continue the narrative that the “Chinese DAP" is controlling Mahathir, what they are really worried about is that the old maverick is slowly consolidating Bersatu’s power in the civil service and the security apparatus.

Some people see these Umno defectors as merely corrupt politicians jumping ship but it is deeper than that. What is really happening is people with influence in the Malay establishment and people who actually have an understanding of how the bureaucracy works – corruption and all – pledging allegiance to Bersatu to carry on "business as usual" to sustain a dominant Malay power structure, which Bersatu aims to be.
Post-Mahathir milieu
Bersatu, which is slowly replacing Umno as the right-wing Malay party capable of maintaining the system of patronage and privilege of the Malay community, is not something that happened overnight. It was the game plan from the start and if you believe that Harapan political operatives did not know this, then they are incompetent or are just plain lying to their base. Or maybe the base was drunk on the Kool-Aid.
Nowhere is this game plan more evident than in the recent allegations by Court of Appeal judge Hamid Sultan Abu Backer that the Harapan win rattled senior members of the judiciary (for a whole minute) but then they “extremely happy” when members of the old regime were elevated. "The talk among the judicial members was that they were appointed because of the influence of an ex-minister who they served earlier.”
So the question changes from “Can Harapan control Mahathir” to “Does Harapan want to control Mahathir?” This is really the question, right? Voters may have been fooled by the promises of reform but does anyone really think that the power-brokers in Harapan were fooled into thinking that joining up with Mahathir, the creation of Bersatu and the ousting of Najib would really bring the reform that this country needed?
Forget about the broken promises. Look at what is happening in Harapan. Besides a few nanny state policies, what they have been doing is reworking the policies of the former Umno/BN regime. This goes far beyond renaming BRIM or retaining propaganda organisations or re-tweaking economic and social policies to give them a new spin which is the least of our problems.
These days, the DAP seems more interested in deflecting than in reforming, going after the MCA which has nothing to lose by reminding DAP of its failed reform policies. Meanwhile, PKR and Amanah are having to grapple with the fact that the Malay establishment has very little use for them and the smarter political operatives are already forming alliances which would be of use in a post-Mahathir milieu.
Sure, you can point to some political operatives who are making noises about the moves of the Harapan Grand Poohbah but the reality is that the real power-brokers in Harapan and their influential minions are remaining silent because they understand that this was the nature of the bargain they made to get federal power.
The upcoming Semenyih by-election is a good example of the inevitability of the ascension of Bersatu. Even if Bersatu loses Semenyih, it more than makes up for it with further defections from Umno. While a loss in Semenyih may look bad perception-wise, the reality is that the Malay establishment never relied on elections to maintain power.
Umno may claim bragging rights if they win Semenyih but it would be worse for them in the long run if more members jump ship and they are straddled with an “official” alliance with PAS. People will forget the Semeyih loss in wake of more defections and consolidating power through defections is a game not anything as unpredictable as elections.
So to retain federal power, does anyone really think that Harapan wants to control Mahathir?
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 3:33 PM  
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