Articles, Opinions & Views: Semenyih – Harapan could win even if it loses - 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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Semenyih – Harapan could win even if it loses - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, March 02, 2019
Malaysiakini : "Representative government is artifice, a political myth, designed to conceal from the masses the dominance of a self-selected, self-perpetuating, and self-serving traditional ruling class." - Giuseppe Prezzolini
COMMENT | Who knows how it will turn out in Semenyih today but what we have seen leading up to this big day is that the Pakatan Harapan regime is committed to becoming the new BN. Forget all that big talk of reform and the self-righteous polemics coming out of Harapan before the historic May 9 election last year.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s rejoinder to the folks at Semenyih not to vote BN (or anyone else besides Harapan) because to do so would mean "development" deprivation is the kind of politics that the then opposition was fighting against all those years under BN. And let us be honest, under Mahathir's rule too.
What happens if Harapan loses Semenyih? Will there be no development in this area? Will Harapan just pack up and go? And here's the thing, if you were really a friend of "capitalism" (to use the context of the prime minister), you would be encouraging business in areas like Semenyih. Because regardless of who the residents of Semenyih vote for, the federal government would be collecting taxes.
The reason why this kind of punitive politics is used is that the federal government, like the government before it, has not been able to fulfil its promises. The then Harapan opposition used to claim that the BN federal government used to keep people dumbed down in the rural and semi-rural areas because they were a reliable vote bank. How is punishing the people of Semenyih for not voting for the federal government any different?
When the prime minister says – and gets no blowback for his coalition partners – that Umno is finished and its members want to join Harapan, what he is really saying is that the era of big government is still the only game in town. And who knows, even if Harapan loses Semenyih to Umno, the Umno candidate may at a later date jump ship to Bersatu.
Picture this: the winning Umno candidate realises that he cannot get things done for the good people of Semenyih without federal help. And because there are no democratic mechanisms which would ensure federal/state aid regardless of party affiliation, he has no choice but to “serve” the people of Semenyih by joining Bersatu. And do not blame Mahathir for this. This is the rationale of Harapan partisans for anyone not towing the party line.

Will BN's Zakaria Hanafi (above) sign a pledge that he will not join Bersatu if he wins Semenyih? I do not think so. However, this is not the cherry on top of the manure cake that Harapan has been pushing since gaining federal power. The prime minister’s rejoinder to the Harapan political elite to shed its opposition skin is a really a clarion call to revert to BN style “crony capitalism” that we were told was destroying this country. His rejoinder is loaded with the kind of dog-whistle politics that - not surprisingly - the non-Malay coalition partners have chosen to ignore for various reasons.
More importantly, his message was not really for the Harapan political elite but for the plutocrat class which is still giving succour to Umno and to the bureaucratic class which is still hedging its bets. His message was simple - Harapan is open for business. The kind of business that the former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak took to its logical extreme. This baloney that the opposition should stop behaving like “socialists” and stop characterising the “capitalists” as oppressors is straight out of the racial playbook that we were told was not going to be used in this “New Malaysia”.
Familiar terrain 
Look how many times the current prime minister has condemned the “Chinese” community as economic pirates holding the Malay community to ransom but – and this is the important part – he has relied on Chinese plutocrats to fuel his economic and social agenda. Is there any evidence that his trickle-down economic theory of artificially creating a wealthy Malay plutocrat class to mitigate the influence of the Chinese community has been rejected by the Harapan elite? I do not think so.
Before hooking up with Mahathir, what the opposition - by opposition I mean the DAP (and sometimes even PAS) - did really well was to tease out the nexus between the plutocrats and politicians (Umno/MCA) who were creating a system of privilege and corruption that lubricated mainstream Malaysian politics. There are many examples but the most relevant would be the alleged footing of Hadi Abdul Awang's bill by a person that heads a GLC (government-linked company).
Make no mistake, when the prime minister talks about being business-friendly, he means collusion between the business class and politicians. He certainly does not mean free-market ideas that encourage unbridled capitalism – which is a beast of its own – but rather a relationship of mutual benefit between the business class and the political elite. “Socialism” is just a red herring meant to distract from the real message to the powerbrokers and their minions in this country.
For a country with as much entitlements programmes like this one, not to mention subsidised programmes in the guise of “development” programmes, it should not have a beef with “socialism”. And with all the development going on in Penang at the expense of social and environmental issues, there is no way anyone could make a rational argument that the DAP’s supposed socialist imperatives trump their capitalist impulses.

Remember what Mahathir said about demonising the opposition when he campaigned for Lim Kit Siang in the election? Excerpt: "'The government (under me), in the past, labelled the DAP as Chinese chauvinists. That was the nature of politics - to win, we label the opponents. In the case of DAP, it was considered a Chinese chauvinist party. In return, I was also labelled an extremist (by the opposition). However, Mahathir said, in reality, this was not true and that was why he was willing to cooperate with DAP.'”
Want to know the kind of politics we have bought into?
In my review of Mohamed Tawfik Ismail and Ooi Kee Beng’s book on Malaya’s First Year in the UN, I ended with this snippet from the book – “(Then deputy prime minister) Abdul Razak (Hussein) had just secured a low-interest loan from the Sultan of Brunei in order to implement some of the short-term projects for the rural areas before the elections. The letter, among others, discusses the nearing election, which was 'getting warmer'. And with that, we are back on familiar terrain.”
Familiar terrain indeed. A terrain where big government could win if it loses in the short term.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 3:08 PM  
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