New Malaysia: If you build it, people will come - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, December 02, 2019
Malaysiakini : “We need an assembly, not for cleverness, but for setting things straight.” - William Golding, 'Lord of the Flies'
| Liew Chin Tong’s article about the long road to coalition building,
while well-intentioned, distracts from the problems facing Pakatan
Harapan today. Liew (above), as a young Malaysian leader, should instead focus on the main issue facing Harapan, which is a trust deficit.
instance, Liew says this: "Despite such a reality, many of us are still
susceptible to ethnic firestorms manufactured by racial champions of
the social media, as well as some media that are still friendly to the
Harapan partisans are not pissed off by the manufactured outrages of
fascist political operatives, but rather by the backtracking and supine
nature of the DAP, specifically, and PKR. Can Chin Tong really defend
anything the prime minister has said or done when it comes to consensus
building in Harapan?
That’s the problem right there. Coalition
building is one thing. Political parties always make deals with one
another, and ideology be damned. Consensus building is the more
important facet of any diverse coalition. Without consensus – and I do
not mean the mutual desire of holding on to power – there is nothing
which sustains the coalition or its diverse base.
Why talk about
the middle path? What does this mean anyway? What exactly does
“moderation” mean? Most Malaysians, especially non-Malays and
non-Muslims, define it as the middle ground between the religious and
racial politics of the majority and the “rights” of minority
communities. Moderation has nothing to do with secular governance, nor
does it have anything to do with egalitarian policy. Most of the time,
it is political rhetoric.
The problem Chin Tong makes is saying
that Harapan/DAP are pursuing the middle path because “the alternative
is chaos and even bloodshed via extremist/exclusive politics”. This
is bollocks. The middle path is Mujahid Rawa’s idea of “give and take”
when it comes to national unity. The middle path is the morally and
intellectually bankrupt “social contract”. The reality is that the
alternative is not chaos, but rather secular and egalitarian values
which would benefit all Malaysians.
problem is that the fascist state does not want these ideas. The
tragedy is that Harapan also includes elements which have no interest in
these ideas. You know why Umno and BN Youth chief, Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki
(above) are worried about the DAP? Does anyone understand why
Asyraf constantly attacks the DAP, claiming they “fooled” the Chinese
community? That the DAP despises Islam? That the DAP attacks the
It is all a deflection. He is worried that the
egalitarian ideas of the DAP, the secular imperatives of the DAP would
find a home in mainstream Malay politics. He is worried that young
Malays would find these ideas attractive, especially when they realise
that they have been handicapped by a system that claims to grant them
privileges based on race and religion and they observe how an unshackled
non-Malay polity thrives.
Why do you think that Malay political
hegemons fund all these religious schools? They fund all these
establishments because of their indoctrination value. When the Penang
state government raised the funding for religious establishments, I was
pissed off. The DAP could have nurtured an eco-system where young
Malays are given free extra education in English and other skills,
instead of disbursing extra funds to religious establishments. They
could have presented this as a "Malay" only policy and it would benefit
all Malaysians in the long term.
The problem is that the DAP, by
virtue of being the most vocal about egalitarian ideas, is discovering
that being part of the federal government and sharing power with Malay
potentates, especially former Umno rebels, is extremely difficult. If we
are to judge the DAP by the standards the DAP judged the MCA, the DAP
would fail miserably.
The propaganda that Mahathir is solely the
problem is wrecking havoc on the base. While the prime minister is doing
things his way, the fact is that the DAP is standing by and making all
sorts of justifications for playing along with the emperor. People say
that Bersatu is a problem, and once the old maverick leaves, everything
will be copacetic. This is naive. While I think that Anwar Ibrahim
should have his shot at the top job, we have no idea if he will play
well with others.
Nobody, certainly not in the DAP, wants to be
seen as going against the old maverick, even though his policies and
rhetoric are getting out of hand. While the Indian component of the DAP
leadership occasionally takes shots against the prime minister, everyone
else is looking the other way.
the election, whenever I spoke to DAP politicos about how they would
handle the old maverick, I got these standard answers. The first that
Mahathir (above) had changed and wanted to reform the country, and the second that there was a mechanism in place to limit the power of the PM.
have proven to be non-existent when it comes to curtailing the excesses
of the prime minister. Instead what we witnessed is the whittling away
of whatever chutzpah the DAP displayed, and the sub-narrative that all
will be fine when the PM transitions power.
While I am impressed
with the DAP’s party discipline, some would consider such discipline
fascist in nature, but at least the DAP has got that going for them. It
would worse if the infighting in DAP flowed into the press, like what is
happening with PKR. As a young leader who obviously has a grasp
on the history of DAP’s rise to federal power, I would hope that folks
like Chin Tong understand the lessons from the past, instead of
rationalising past mistakes because it is a self-defeating strategy.
If Harapan sincerely wants to build a New Malaysia, the people will come.