Articles, Opinions & Views: Should Mahathir serve a full term? - 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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Should Mahathir serve a full term? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, May 13, 2019
Malaysiakini : “I played by the rules of politics as I found them.”― Richard M. Nixon
COMMENT | Despite whatever misgivings I have about the man, I am on record as saying that Anwar Ibrahim has a legitimate claim to the crown of Putrajaya. Malaysians owe a debt to Anwar Ibrahim: “While the various alliances were flawed, what Anwar managed to do was demonstrate that people working together, even if in a compromised fashion, could wreak havoc on the Umno hegemon. This should not only count for something, it means that the "hope" people have sprung from the post-Umno moves he made.”
The statement by a PAS bigwig of people rejecting a “convict” as prime minister really sticks in my craw. Anwar was a political prisoner because the current prime minister and Umno (when he was leading it) put Anwar behind bars and did it in the most sordid way, thereby sealing his fate with a certain section of the majority Malay electorate. Mahathir’s bogus trial of Anwar was a slow acting poison that has forever crippled Anwar’s political career.
Post-May 9, Anwar and his faction have had to deal with not only the internal schisms in PKR, but also the machinations of various factions within Bersatu and Umno, who are loyal to Mahathir. While Anwar and Mahathir have made many public appearances suggesting that all is kosher, the reality of Malay politics demands that we be sceptical of the proposed handover of power.
Complicating matters is the different styles of leadership of the two men. Mahathir, the strongman who has publicly claimed that it is not important if Harapan is not popular, reminding the civil service to remain neutral, and picking fights with the Royalty, as opposed to the PM-designate who, by circumstances of his incarceration and propaganda, has always had to be on the defensive when it comes to his Malay/Muslim bona fides.
While Anwar has backed Mahathir, the reality is for most Harapan supporters, Mahathir seems to be the man willing to take on the opposition and slay Malay sacred cows, even though he has been backpedalling on a whole range of issues.

When people see the spectre of ketuanism and when they see Mahathir as the only politician not mincing his words against his opponents, there is an emotional reaction. People want to believe he is capable of ending the systemic injustices in this country, even though he was the main architect of the kleptocracy Najib took control of. Anwar, meanwhile, seems incapable of asserting any kind of agenda, beyond reminding everyone that his reformasi days are not over. His faction seems to be on the losing end of PKR politics, and his once charismatic personality seems ineffectual in the post-May 9 world of Mahathir-dominated polemics.
Harapan political operatives – publicly – talk about handing over power to Anwar, but is it tactically sound to make way for Anwar in Harapan? Should Mahathir serve a full term and then let Anwar have a go at leading Harapan in the next general election? PAS people, who still talk to me, tell me Anwar presents a unique opportunity for them. If Mahathir reneges on his deal and Anwar accepts it, then this will further diminish the Malay leadership of Harapan and deepen divisions. If Anwar becomes prime minister, then they will have a field day, mocking the "convict" as someone incapable of leading a Muslim nation, who is only there because of Chinese (DAP) machinations.

Lim Kit Siang (photo) making a bet that Mahathir will hand over power to Anwar, may seem like good public relations, but if Mahathir does not hand over power, or some sort of deal is reached to extend Mahathir's reign, this would further complicate the political terrain on which Harapan has been losing ground. I was never in favour of this “interim” PM nonsense.
As I wrote here: “The opposition is not offering any visionary ideas; merely apocalyptic ones. Maybe this has something to do with the religious overtones of the opposition, but at this point, it really does not matter. Choices have been made. Compromises struck and the most important thing the opposition should do is commit to the game they have chosen to play.”
All this "interim" nonsense does is create more tension for the Establishment. It allows the Malay opposition a talking point and deepens divisions within the Malay power structures in Harapan. This guessing game of whether the old maverick will relinquish power also adds another level of intrigue for Harapan supporters, which blinds them to the obvious failings of their chosen government.
Mahathir’s Bersatu is evidence of how a power group which cannot legitimately claim to represent its base – Malay – operates by establishing itself as the prime mover in Harapan, where its allies (DAP and PKR), both with larger representation, have to acquiescence to Bersatu. Will anyone trust Bersatu if there was no Mahathir? Besides, Anwar will not gain any legitimacy if he merely accepts the reins of power from Mahathir. While many argue that PKR is the weakest link in Harapan, it does command a majority of seats, while Bersatu is probably worried about how it will fare in an Anwar stewardship. The perception fanned by the far right is that Anwar did not fight for his position, but it was handed to him, with Chinese connivance, courtesy of the DAP. Kit Siang's wager merely adds to this perception.
Mahathir needs to serve his full term and then step down, and allow Anwar to lead the charge in the next general election. If Harapan manages to stabilise the economy and carry out reforms, which Anwar used as the basis for his reformasi movement, then no matter what percentage of the Malay vote keeps Harapan in power, Anwar can make the claim that he is the legitimate democratic heir to the throne in Putrajaya
At the moment, as Terrence Gomez rightly pointed out, the culture of patronage is still pervasive in New Malaysia. This has deeper implications than merely cronyism and corruption. The politics of patronage and Malay political factionalism are not mutually exclusive. There is a reason why moves are made to consolidate corporate and political power in various Malay power structures. This was one of the major points of reform that, in the early days, Anwar was pushing for.
Ultimately what is more important is if Anwar demonstrates that he can make his move to the big seat on his own, instead of relying on a handover. If Anwar is given power by Mahathir, the Malay far right will claim he needs the Chinese DAP to get power and hence he is their puppet. This would mean that Anwar will always have to prove his Malay/Muslim credentials and we all know how this works, in New Malaysia, right? Anwar has to lead and win a general election on his own if ever he is to be a threat to the extremist forces in this country. If there is a handover, Harapan will spend all its time justifying this move, instead of embarking on reforms.
Anwar could be more influential when not in the PM's seat if only he rediscovers the reasons why people believed in him, all those years ago.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 11:43 AM  
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