How 'soft' does Rais Yatim want DAP to be? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Malaysiakini : “I would be guilty only if I were innocent of working to destroy racism in my country.” - Nadine Gordimer
| Pakatan Harapan has been scrambling to pin the blame on someone,
anyone, for the recent defeat in Semenyih. The issue of identity
politics has dominated the discourse, but nobody wants to admit that
Harapan and BN ran more or less the same game. Umno/PAS, unshackled by
coalition partners, played the race card more effectively.
DAP, of course, has become the whipping boy, for Harapan’s failure in
Semenyih. If the Malays are spooked, it is because of the DAP. Umno and
PAS went out of their way to play the same kind of game current Prime
Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad played all those years ago, when he was
prime minister the first time around.
As someone who has had no
problem chronicling the failures of the DAP, I am disgusted by the way
Bersatu is attempting to paint the failure in Semenyih as partly that of
the DAP. Think about what Bersatu leader Rais Yatim said – Rais said
Malays in Semenyih could not accept "careless actions" or DAP's presence
in Malay villages.
The DAP has bent over backwards to court the
Malay vote. The DAP has bent over backwards most times sacrificing their
secular principles to appease Malay sentiment. The only time they
discover their cojones is when they receive pushback from their
supporters. If anything, a case can be made that the DAP has done
everything in their power to ingratiate themselves with the Malay
community at the expense of their non-Malay base.
It is funny; in
my last article I discussed how the DAP was slowly morphing into the MCA
and were enabling the bumiputera agenda of the current prime minister.
Evidently it is not enough for the DAP to be like the MCA, they need to
sublimate their behaviour even further to calm the sensitivities of the
DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang talks about a post-Semenyih formula,
but what does this mean? As far as I can see, the DAP was doing its
utmost best not to step on anyone’s toes in Semenyih. The fact is Umno
and PAS were using national issues, which had little relevance in a
place like Semenyih, to rattle the race and religion crowd.
Harapan have played a better game? No doubt about it. The fact that the
Harapan regime was caught squabbling over an issue like a hospital for
Semenyih demonstrates the kind of ineptness that permeates the corridors
of power in the Harapan-led Putrajaya.
all the DAP has done for the Malays, Rais has the audacity to claim
that the Malays in Semenyih cannot accept the “careless” actions or
DAP's presence in the villages. Has Bersatu and any other
Malay power structures in Harapan come out and laid waste to the
propaganda of Umno and PAS using every weapon in their arsenal? Have
they brought legal challenges against Umno and PAS for lying about the
government? Have they used the state security apparatus – like they have
in other cases – to prosecute the lies and propaganda-makers of the
No, they have not. What they have done is bend
over backwards and claiming to want to carry out the bumiputera agenda
without apology. If anything, the DAP has been getting blowback
from some supporters because they have had to sublimate their secular
principles and egalitarian agenda so as not to spook the Malays. Every
time a Malay power broker says something which is against the spirit of
reform that Harapan promised, the DAP has to cautiously reply in case
they are told their stance is "careless".
Look at the whole
debacle over the International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd). The DAP was getting battered by
non-Malays for not doing anything, and by the Malay far right for just
being the DAP. So to non-Malays the DAP is castrating itself,
while bending over backwards to prop up the current prime minister, but
to the far right and the Umno/PAS base, the DAP is attempting to subvert
Harapan supporters always make this mistake. They
say that if Umno and PAS are raising issues about race and religion,
Harapan has to move away from this kind of politics. The problem - it is
not that Harapan should move away from this kind of politics, but
rather that Harapan is more or less sending the same message as that of
Umno and PAS.
Apparently we have to be 'pragmatic' if we want this
new regime to survive. You want to know what 'pragmatic' really means?
It means the DAP having to soften its image amongst the Malays. Rais
thinks the Malays are so easily distracted, that instead of focusing on
corruption, they are focusing on how the DAP, a supposed Chinese-based
political party, is attempting to subvert Malay power.
reality is that the Malay power structures are using the DAP as a
scapegoat for their ineffective strategies to court the Malay vote. What
is worrying is that by claiming the DAP has to soften its image, what
Rais is doing is legitimising the propaganda of the Malay far right.
What he is doing is essentially reinforcing the narrative that non-Malay
power brokers have to always appear subservient to Malay power brokers.
In 2017, I wrote an article about how Umno should ban all non-Malay political parties. Here
is the relevant bit – “When you consider the racist rhetoric coming out
of Umno power brokers, government ministers and government
institutions, the religious bigotry from the same, Umno should just drop
this charade of democracy and ban all non-Malay/Muslim political
parties. This way, the Malay community, or least that section of the
Umno voting base, will not have to be encumbered by the existential
threat the non-Malays supposedly pose to their bangsa and agama.”
if Bersatu, or any other Malay power structure, does not want equal
partners, because it supposedly scares the base, why not just dump this
whole charade of democracy.