Affirmative action a cheque with no stated amount, no deadline Part 3 - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Friday, July 12, 2019
Malaysiakini : “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." ―Karl Marx, Eleven Theses on Feuerbach [These words are also inscribed upon his grave]
INTERVIEW | In the final part of this interview, PSM's Mohd Nasir Hashim assesses
the performance of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Pakatan
Harapan government in the year since GE14.
These days with Islamic parties demonising socialism, how does one
reconcile being a good Muslim with being an active socialist?
Mohd Nasir Hashim: Religions
tend toward justice, truth, compassion and love. The Quranic verse
(Al-Qasas 28:5) states: “And We wanted to confer favour upon those who
were oppressed/exploited in the land and make them leaders and make them
inheritors.” This verse refers to exploited/oppressed
workers. God not only blesses/favours the downtrodden exploited masses,
but also emphasised that they will be the future leaders and be the
guardian or trustees of the wealth of nations/world. This verse is
socialistic and revolutionary.
The Quran mentioned that everything
is created in pairs (Quran 36:36) that are naturally contradictory, but
at the same time complementary to each other (the entire Quranic Surah
Ar-Rahman 55), and our job is to balance them so that truth, compassion
and justice prevail.
The strength of socialism is to
critically analyse the dialectical inter-relationships existing between
spiritual and material worlds, and also the intra-relationships within
this material world (from slavery to socialism), and within this
spiritual world (spirit, soul and lust).
Quran also stated: “We will show them Our signs in the horizons and
within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth”
(Quran 41:53). If we want to know truth and justice, we must be fully
involved in the communities facing hardships. Then we truly know the
meaning of truth, justice and love for humanity. We must then
reflect on such happenings with our innate consciousness and personal
experiences, before arriving at the truth and acting upon it for the
betterment of society
What kind of Islamic narrative would PSM be advancing if it had influence in Parliament?
As for all religions, justice, compassion, truth, universalism, equality and respecting other races and religions are the sine qua non in Islam. The constitutional rights of those born in this country must be respected. The Quran is regarded as a living miracle, and Muslims should spend more time finding out its evergreen richness.
Post-May 9, what has been the most troubling development in your opinion?
promises not fulfilled. Playing the racial and religious game for
political mileage. Dragging or shuffling of feet. Contradictory
statements from ministries. The senior members, especially
Mahathir, seem not interested to help during the teething administrative
period. He is more interested in consolidating the power of his party
by recruiting Umno MPs, or he is consolidating his position as the PM,
or wants to have a strong say as to who should be the next PM.
shaky internal conflict within PKR casts a dark heavy shadow on (the
prime minister-in-waiting) Anwar (Ibrahim)’s premiership. The gradual
loss of confidence of the civil society in the Pakatan Harapan
government is disconcerting, and they become more apologetic by
reversing their original statement when under pressure.
do you think of Harapan’s progress in reforming the system so far? Where
have they made progress and where have they regressed?
disappointing, to say the least. It irks me to listen to those who say
that since they did not expect to win, they came up with a fantastic
election manifesto. In short, they hoodwinked the people who thirst for
change. They have two alternatives, either finetune the system or
overhaul the system. If they decide to finetune, then there is a great
chance of falling back into the old ways, creating havoc with
neo-liberal policies or Mahathirism to cater to the whims of their
nepotistic and cronyistic clientele.
If they wish to overhaul the
system, they cannot do so because they don’t have the philosophical or
ideological acumen to make such a move. So they procrastinate, lament
and seek scapegoats. Therefore, the best way is to make cosmetic
adjustments to the social, political and economic system and declare
that they are different from the previous administration.
ministers and deputy ministers are my friends and are former activists,
but they lost their way (marbles) when they took important positions,
as if thoroughly indebted to the one who offered them such prominent
jobs, to a point of being feudalistic and subservient to the master.
concern should be with the rakyat and if they wish to seek a balance,
let it be in favour of the rakyat. Usually, the big corporate bodies and
powerful individuals win because they are able to easily convince the
leadership, thus the needs of the rakyat are conveniently sacrificed.
for PSM, the struggle goes on. We were disappointed, but not enough to
cause disarray. We continue to overcome our weaknesses and consolidate
our strengths. Seeking alternative ways to reach people.
Do you think Mahathir has changed?
don’t think so. Before the election, I commented that he was too
arrogant to apologise. If he did so, it was due to political expediency.
When asked why he apologised, his response was that it was a cultural
thing to do. He did not specify what he was apologising for. At his age, it is difficult to change his mindset. If he wants to do so, he has to overhaul his entire philosophy of life.
has gone back to his old ways by reintroducing his neo-liberal policy,
whereby his cronies will be millionaires and billionaires. Yet my
activist friends who are ministers and deputy ministers do not seem to
care or are merely whimpering. So Mahathir continues to rule,
recruiting Umno MPs to increase the numbers in his party and subtly
become a threat to the other component parties of Harapan. Some believe
that he is creating a new Umno 2.0 in Harapan.
multiracial component of his thinking is not there. The country and
people will be better off if affirmative action was meant for all races,
and periodically evaluated to detect and steer the rakyat left behind
by providing ample skills to be self-sufficient.But this
affirmative action for a specific race continues with a change of label.
Now it becomes a cheque with no stated amount and with no deadline.
What challenges is the new PSM chairperson going to face?
far, there is no rivalry among the members. Problems are resolved
through discussion. Differing opinions on how to approach the next
election exist, and there is consensus on establishing PSM branches in
areas earmarked for the coming elections. PSM will not use race and religion to garner support, but demystify and expose those who abuse them.
issue of a socialist being anti-religion will be used constantly to
downplay PSM's fight for truth and justice.
The statement - "Religion is
the opium of the masses" - is often quoted out of context. The full
quote is: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of
the heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium
of the people." People find relief through religion when
they are exploited and have no place or alternative to turn to.
Furthermore, socialist ideology is not a religion, not deterministic and
What do you plan to do, now that the mantle has been passed?
I will continue to be with PSM and see it grow stronger under the new leadership to greater heights. I will continue to write, acquire new skills, marvel at the resilience of our people and the beauty around us. I
will continue to learn about time-bound consciousness and
innate/timeless consciousness, and the dialectical relationship between
the spiritual and material world. Quantum physics provide a new
dimension of consciousness, reality and against materialism.
epilogue: It does not matter if you agree with the political stance of
PSM. The reality is that eventually the political class, bankrupt of
ideas, will reshape the political terrain, where religious extremism
will be the currency with which the majority of Malaysians will do
political business. But PSM appears to never give up fighting for the
rakyat disenfranchised by the system.