Harapan's feebleness enabling Umno's relevance - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Malaysiakini : “We must see fascist rule as a never-ending struggle for
pre-eminence within a coalition, exacerbated by the collapse of
constitutional restraints and the rule of law, and by a prevailing
climate of social Darwinism.”- Robert O Paxton, 'The Anatomy of Fascism'
| Umno’s relevance is based solely on its currency of demonising the
Chinese community in its continuing quest to maintain racial and
religious hegemony. The recent Umno AGM was an orderly congress of
racist polemics and religious baiting that finds support in the majority
community burdened by the failure of Harapan's neo-Barisan Nasional
If you are someone who believes in the “social
contract” or the “shared prosperity” propaganda, then you would probably
be comfortable with the possibility of Umno and PAS returning this
country to Old Malaysia status.
be clear, the old maverick has claimed that he wants Malaysia to
return to what it was before. The racial and religious politics of
this country have always roughly translated to “do not spook the
Malays”, hence going back to the “good old days” of everyone knowing
their place may be appealing to an electorate fatigued by the
continuing saga of Harapan’s shenanigans.
When people criticise
Harapan, they want Harapan to do better. To seize the initiative and
carry out reform. Instead, what Harapan does is revert to the old
playbook, the tired and tested formula that Harapan claimed was
destroying Malaysia, while Harapan non-Malay power structures engage in
vendettas against their non-Malay BN counterparts. The ongoing TAR UC
fiasco is a case in point. This only helps Umno, but nobody in Harapan
seems to understand this.
Even when it comes to ideology, there is no difference between the
policy agenda of Umno and Bersatu. Can someone point out the difference
between the Umno assembly and the Malay dignity congress? Both attempted
to define the “Malay” struggle, playing platitudes to self-improvement
while demonising non-Malay communities.
The Umno assembly carried
on the tradition of bashing the Chinese community, while attempting to
downplay its fascist agenda. The rejoinder that politicians should not
be “race heroes” is mendacious, considering delegates to the assembly
brought up the “yellow peril” propaganda of communism taking root in
Malaysia, claimed that the DAP was bringing in phantom voters, claimed
that the DAP was the power behind the throne, claimed that funds for
Chinese education were being funnelled to nefarious Chinese NGOs, and
continued the false narrative that Islam was under threat in this
How is any of this different from the Malay dignity
congress, where the prime minister played the racial and religious hand
as what these Umno delegates did? The prime minister's ahistorical
comments about “foreigners” – “The foreigners felt comfortable in this
country and wanted to stay. Like it or not, we were forced to accept or
we would not have achieved independence” - is just further evidence that
non-Malays will never be accepted as equal citizens of this country and
will always be used as pawns in a narrative of racial and religious
All the prime minister's men contributed to the
toxic discourse, using their ministries as platforms to subvert the
agenda of the Harapan government to that of Malay racial and religious
If anything, the attacks against the DAP have become
cruder, wallowing in the kind of easy racism and bigotry that should
invite some sort of institutional response, but so far has been met by
shrugs from the mainstream power brokers in this country. Just
because Harapan is a disappointment, there is no need to make the case
that Umno/PAS is slowly shaping up to be an effective opposition, or
should be given a second chance to run this country.
stint so far in the opposition has revealed that leaders under
investigation or undergoing criminal charges in court are part of the
mainstream of Umno. The strategy of teaming up with PAS is a
strategy of divisiveness aimed at consolidating political power and not
in furtherance of any multi-racial agenda that any rational person could
Now some people say how could MCA and MIC sanction the
unholy union of Umno and PAS. Well, they can make the argument because
of Harapan’s strategy of using religion the same way Umno and PAS do it.
If you want to see the fruits of the labour of the agents of
the fascist state, all you have to do is critically examine what
Harapan has done with the religious apparatus in this country.
argue otherwise, to imply that only Umno/BN politicians only do this, is
merely another red herring that Harapan seems to have an endless supply
of. When you have a race-based party like Bersatu in the coalition and
the pre-election rhetoric of the then Harapan opposition of Mahathir
being needed to secure the rural Malay vote, what did people think it
meant in terms of Harapan’s policy when it came to racial and religious
However, the grander narrative - the “Chinese narrative”
of usurpation of power - is complicated by the internal machinations of
Malay power structures. Do not expect this to hamper efforts to stymie
whatever reforms are on the table while someone like Zakir Naik keeps
telling the majority that it is better to vote for corrupt Muslim
leaders than non-Muslims who could help reform the system.
what is extremely frustrating about the political process in Malaysia.
Umno has moments of lucidity, and some people think that maybe Umno has
changed. Meanwhile, Harapan, which is in a position to do something,
lacks a backbone.
Umno does not need to maintain its relevance. Harapan is doing all the heavy work of making Umno relevant.