Harapan may win GE15, but what are we winning? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Malaysiakini : COMMENT | "Where’s your messiah now?" – Billy Crystal
Rajaratnam in his piece "Cutting off our nose to spite our face?" on
the face of it seems to articulate the despondency some Harapan
supporters feel at the moment and his rejoinder of the calamities that
will befall us if the old devils are voted back in seems like a
reasonable call for political pragmatism.
Like most Harapan
supporters, he likes to use analogies when it comes to the slow pace of
change. A sixty–one year clogged drain, a sixteen-month-old baby
clumsily walking and spouting gibberish is useful, I suppose, when it
comes to appealing to emotion instead of intellect when justifying
policies, positions and backtracking.
But it really does not make
sense. Harapan is not some neophyte political entity which suddenly came
into power because of broad populist support. They are not some upstart
who shook the political Establishment and grabbed the reins of power.
are seasoned politicians who have run states, had to deal with
splintering political coalitions, handled race and religious issues,
battling the machinations of a hostile federal government and had to
contend with a political hegemon which controlled everything from the
state security apparatus to the propaganda organs which are now failing.
what you want about Mahathir Mohamad, but he has decades of experience.
Indeed, many of the politicians in Harapan have had decades of
experience. They have access to professionals who, for years, have been
sidelined and they have within their ranks, activists and bureaucrats –
retired and still serving – who are eager to reform the system. Not
only does Mahathir know the game, he practically invented it. Indeed,
in the run up to the election, many activists – who at one time were
against him – were telling large crowds that the benefit of having
Mahathir to lead the coalition, was that he could pick up the phone and
get things done.
The then opposition pointed to Selangor and
Penang as examples of how a New Malaysia could be. Politicians were
crowing the fact that the Harapan regime would attract talent that would
form the basis of a new kind of governance, and that reforms would
level the playing field so everyone, regardless of race or creed, could
participate in our democracy.
So this idea that the Harapan regime
needs more time or that they are “inexperienced” is horse manure.
People in the current regime are placed in positions for certain
reasons, and the reality is that the chaos serves a purpose. This is the
Malaysian system, the malaise of the system, if you will.
many years do you think it would take to replace a system which is based
on the misinterpretation, mischaracterization and flawed rationale of
an article in the constitution like 153? You should ask Entrepreneur
Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof (below) because he has read the Constitution.
the CEP report which is deemed an official secret, although to be
fair, at one time Economic Minister Azmin Ali had no issue with it being
released for public consumption. The church mouse response from
coalition partners is to be expected, but what I found interesting was
the lack of response from the “Malay” opposition.
I elaborated on it here:
“Another important question is why isn’t the opposition interested in
finding out the recommendations of the report? Of course, what we are
dealing with here are systemic problems that did not happen overnight.
Najib Abdul Razak was the logical conclusion of decades of governmental
malfeasance and some of the very people who lead the government now are
in charge of reforming it.”
Which brings me to the old devils.
Those ten points that the writer raised probably means something to
non-Muslims, but looking at the political terrain at the moment, it
means very little to the majority who support Umno and PAS. This may
scare the non-Malays, but it does not scare the majority.
most Malays who vote – the political mainstream in this country has
defined the Malays as people who are interested only in privilege and
entitlements, and based policies on this belief – will look at that list
and probably see some benefit to their community and the political
parties they vote for.
They see no real danger from making a
choice and accepting the consequences that the author seems to think
applies to everyone, regardless of race or religion. So when Ambiga
Sreenevasan (below) tweets that “We thought they were different,”
it is kind of sad – in the Trumpian way – because it points to how the
non-Malays thought things would change, but for the majority of Malays,
it was about knowing that the status quo would remain, which was what
was told to them by the then opposition.
subtext of the Harapan campaigning by Malay politicians (and some
non-Malay politicians) that the status quo would remain, only that the
klepto–in-chief would be kicked out, has become the focus of a regime
which understands that it does not command the majority in the Malay
Ambiga isn’t the only one who advocated for regime
change and is now wondering aloud if things will ever change. Before the
election I told Harapan to stop meandering and make Mahathir the grand
poohbah, wrote pieces on choosing between the lesser of two evils,
lectured the “undi rosak” kids, never missed an opportunity to
shoot fish in a barrel when it came to BN policy decisions without
commenting about the complete lack of vision by the then Harapan
DAP politicians tell me that speaking up on issues
makes them a target for Umno/PAS, and now their own coalition. I tell
them they are going to be targets of Umno/PAS no matter what they say.
And not speaking up against policies which affect non-Malays, but which
play well to the race and religion base, makes them the running dogs
that they accused the MCA and MIC of being.
Also by not speaking
up now, they will do more damage to the cause - if there even is one -
later, because how could their non-Malay base take them seriously after
the performance they put on when they have federal power? This is a
test, perhaps the final one, for non-Malay politicians of Harapan to
demonstrate a political will for reform when they have federal power.
Lim Kit Siang writes of the possibility of Harapan winning the next
general elections, that we should prove wrong the wet blankets who want
racial and religious disruption, who he is talking about? Elements
within Harapan? People should stop blaming Mahathir and Bersatu for all
these problems. The problem is that he is not getting any blowback from
the DAP or PKR or Amanah.
If all you’re going to do, is the base
policy on what the far right and what you believe “moderate” Malays want
in terms of privileges and entitlements, what kind of new Malaysia are
you trying to create? Some people use the excuse for not speaking up as a
tactical move to win the election.
It is a scary realization,
being politically powerless. I would rather the Harapan regime fail,
even though they made radical changes, then fail and do the same thing
BN/Umno did. The problem is they think they can win, by doing the same
thing Umno/BN did and wanting people to acknowledge there is a new
The taxman cometh for Najib’s daughter? There’s a list
of the progeny of politicians (and their benefactors) in every party who
should be considered.
If that’s the way you want to define
“winning”, that’s fine, but what you should do is make it clear that new
Malaysia is exactly the same as the old Malaysia, only without Najib