What does M stand for? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, September 14, 2019
'M' choice words NOT for civil ears
Commander, I have some choice words for 'M' which are not fit to be printed.
Have been saying that for the past 22 years. After a short break and two Prime Ministers later, those words are back!!
Malaysiakini : “There is hardly a better way to avoid discussion than by
releasing an argument from the control of the present and by saying that
only the future will reveal its merits.” - Hannah Arendt, 'The Origins of Totalitarianism'
COMMENT | Some folks asked me, what I thought “M” stood for. When I first heard of this film, I thought a group of Malaysians were organising a screening of that great Fritz Lang classic “M”. Sign me up.
I realised I was mistaken, I assumed that a group of young Malaysian
filmmakers were cheekily attempting to start a discourse with a series
of vignettes about what M stands for in "New Malaysia". I was wrong
again. Apparently, M stands for Malaysia or Malaysians.
it? I think M stands for something else. It has too, right? "M" needs to
reflect what is happening in Malaysia now, not what we hoped would
happen. With this in mind, here is what I think M stands for.
M stands for manifesto – more specifically, the Pakatan Harapan manifesto. The tagline for the manifesto was “Membina negara memenuhi harapan”.
I kid you not. Someone actually came up with this tagline. According
to the prime minister, the Harapan manifesto was cooked up thinking they
were going to lose, hence they made promises that they really did not
think they could deliver.
Now some people will tell you that they
did not even read the manifesto and they just voted to kick Najib Abdul
Razak out. Which is fine, I suppose but it would mean that they believed
that saving Malaysia meant kicking out Najib. Really? Memories of some
are short, I guess, because the same rhetoric that was used against
Najib was also used against the current prime minister and you know
what? Malaysia happily carried on with BN getting the majority of votes
until the current prime minister decided that Umno needed to fall.
does this tell you? It tells you that the country was not on the brink
of collapse then and you should not buy into the propaganda that more
time is needed now to reform the system.
M stands for mendacity
– okay, so the manifesto was unrealistic but this does not mean that
Harapan can’t carry out reforms that many Harapan political operatives
know would actually save Malaysia. Instead what Harapan does is stall
reforms and pander to the far-right and religious extremists in this
Klang parliamentarian Charles Santiago says that Harapan needs to “reconnect
with the people with a narrative that reflects their aspirations,” but
so far the narrative coming out of Putrajaya is the same old narrative
of the “social contract” of racial and religious privilege.
Policy is not determined by progressive ideas but rather what would not spook
the Malays. Meanwhile, progressive Malaysians who were hoping for a
"new Malaysia" are told that things take time and the delivery of
reforms is predicated on how long it would take to convince the base of
the opposition coalition. Does this make sense to anyone?
M stands for manipulation
– let's face facts. "New Malaysia" is a con. Harapan political
operatives like to wax lyrical about this "New Malaysia" when it really
does not mean anything. What about the people who did not vote for
Harapan? Those people who support PAS and Umno? Are they living in "Old
Umno and PAS partisans send me social media snapshots
of Harapan partisans, these so-called “progressive” voices of "New
Malaysia", claiming that the Malays will crawl back to Bersatu for dedak.
Do people understand how dumb this statement is? This would mean that
Bersatu has replaced Umno and that the system of racial and religious
privilege would continue, which would mean that there really is no "New
happen to think that Umno/PAS supporters will carry on supporting
Umno/PAS because the Harapan regime will continue pandering to the
far-right and religious extremists so supporting Umno/PAS is like having
your cake and eating it. There are people who believe that
Harapan needs decades to fix what BN did. Harapan will not have decades.
If people think that they can comfortably slip back into the old ways
that sustained the democratically-elected BN regime for decades, they
are mistaken. The political terrain is different now. The means of
communicating propaganda are different.
M stands for malfeasance
– the racial and religious kind. Whenever Harapan panders to the racial
and religious extremists in this country, they are not hurting the
non-Malays. The non-Malays have seen their public and private spaces
eroded by decades of racial and religious intrusions. This is nothing
new. In fact, what was hoped for was a cessation of state intervention
into our private and public spheres.
The community that really
gets hurt are the Malays. What’s more, they are really hurting young
Malays. Unemployment, religious control, lack of avenues to express
dissent and the continued efforts to label individuals or groups as
“deviant” have resulted in a community which not only fears the “other”
but is also suspicious of their own kind.
M stands for malaise
- I get so many e-mails and texts from people who have this sinking
feeling that this is – was – our last chance to do something. So why
aren’t the people we elected doing something? I get calls from
educationists hoping that they would be called in to help craft a new
education policy which would help the younger generation in the new
world they are going to face. Nobody called.
wonks who assumed that their ideas would be welcomed in the new
administration, and who were willing to discuss new ideas instead of the
same old formula for racial and religious equilibrium. Former
bureaucrats who were put in cold storage or shafted, who hoped the new
administration would call them because these people know how to work
within the system to get things done. Never happened. That sinking
feeling you are getting is the feeling many of us have. The more
political operatives ask for time, the more you know they are just
stalling for time.
The question is, what new form of devilry will emerge from voting for the devil you know?