Harapan is mainlining apathy into its base - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Malaysiakini : “So, in the interests of survival, they trained themselves to be
agreeing machines instead of thinking machines. All their minds had to
do was to discover what other people were thinking, and then they
thought that, too.” - Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions
| Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s plea for more time and patience when
it comes to implementing policies meant for everyone is a pusillanimous
tactic considering we were told that removing the Najib Abdul Razak
regime was an all or nothing gambit and time was of the essence.
minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim echoed the same sentiment when
pleading for there to be no protest votes against the government he
hopes to inherit. At this moment both are dealing with anger from a
section of the Harapan base aimed at a particular component of Harapan.
politics, anger is something that can be dealt with, with the
appropriate realignment of policy and agenda. What is worse, and which
could eventually destroy Harapan, is apathy. This is the real danger
The DAP, in particular, is a victim of its own
propaganda success. The party’s scorched earth policy when it came to
race relations with regard to what the MCA was doing with Umno and the
rhetoric surrounding the failed Umno policies – which Harapan has no
problem emulating – was effective propaganda for non-Malays. But, like
all propaganda, it comes back to bite the collective behinds of Harapan.
most profound example of wrongheadedness in terms of policy is Lim’s
rationale for withholding funding from Tunku Abdul Rahman University
College (TAR UC) and using Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s name as a fig leaf.
Public accountability, as defined by Harapan, is a joke and penalising the MCA in the run-up to the Tanjung Piai by-election demonstrates the vindictiveness of the DAP. Malay
power structures are laughing at the way how their non-Malay proxies
destroy institutions beneficial to non-Malays in their quest to
Meanwhile, banging the drum on the 1MDB
scandal is slowly proving to be the albatross around Harapan’s neck.
Nobody, certainly not people who are struggling economically, care about
this issue, especially when the legal process is ongoing and there are
more immediate problems.
When you have citizens who think that Mahathir still leads Umno,
does anyone really think that this same section of the electorate is
keeping up-to-date on the minutia of Najib’s legal travails?
when accusing the MCA of remaining silent when it comes to the alleged
crimes of the Najib regime, while the DAP and PKR – both multi-racial
parties – remain silent while the country slides into some kind of
Islamic dystopia when the education minister, religious czar and
numerous factotums talk about a newfangled Islamisation process, is
The “running dog” narrative which was
gleefully applied to the MCA seems tragic now, with the DAP being busy
sanctioning its own after threats made by the young boy minister.
While the Perak Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu’s (above) comments are dismissed as inconsequential by factotums from Bersatu, and the menteri besar has no idea why he should apologise, the DAP has to carry water for the old maverick and his proxies. You do not get more “running dog” than that.
the backtracking and failure to implement campaign promises are
important factors in this diminishing returns government - but the DAP
seems to be the weakest link in this government, even though it has the
strongest mandate. However, people could forgive a lot if only they did
not feel that they were being played for chumps.
A young non-Malay
voter, who has decided to leave the country, told me that what she is
worried about is that in five years the situation could be worse. I get
this a lot from young Malaysians. What they had hoped for was not
radical change but rather a steady pace of change that would not target
them as “pendatang”, like how their parents were targeted.
young non-Malays tell me that this is a great country to live in but
they would rather work hard for a better life in a country that views
them as immigrants than be subjected to policies that treat them as
second-class citizens in their homeland. In my last article, I
argued that nobody really cares if the pace of reforms is slow. Indeed,
by nature, Malaysians generally have a carefree attitude when it comes
to policy failure and inaction.
in mind that it took the citizens of this country decades to remove the
BN regime. Also, keep in mind that the opposition (Harapan) once
controlled a couple of states and partisans were extremely forgiving
when it came to the failure of policy implementation or execution.
what some folks are pissed off at is the way how the Harapan government
is not only sliding back into BN era practices but the folks who want
reform are made to look as if they are the problem. Harapan is always
blaming the past government for every single thing going wrong in this
country when this is blatantly false. Harapan’s problems are
The fact is that people voted for Harapan to
provide solutions. Granted, Harapan was vague on this but they had an
election manifesto, which could have been the basis for a new Malaysia,
if it was used as a guide, not as something the current prime minister
uses to mock Harapan supporters with.
The tragedy is that if
Mahathir and the other political operatives in Harapan were attempting
to realise the manifesto instead of denouncing it at every turn, the
base would be galvanised instead of the apathy that is slowly setting
This is an important point. What Lim should understand is that if Harapan is given the five years
he wants, in the end, the country will be either in worse shape or
people would just lose faith in the political process and just not
What Lim should really worry about is that for the
decades BN ruled, there was peace and stability, even though racial and
religious policies were running this country. Once the base
starts realising that a change in a government really does not mean a
change in policy, people will stop participating in the process.
What Harapan is doing now, is mainlining apathy into the base.