Articles, Opinions & Views: Has Harapan learnt the folly of allying with a race-based party? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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No Atheists
In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Has Harapan learnt the folly of allying with a race-based party? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Sunday, March 08, 2020
Malaysiakini : “How can I say I am a Malaysian first and a Malay second. All Malays will shun me and say it’s not proper as Indians will also say they are Indian first.” - Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (2010)
COMMENT | Maverick Kelantan DAP head honcho made a few rather queer remarks recently. In arguing for a pragmatic approach to working with the current prime minister, Zaid Ibrahim claimed that to describe what happened as a power grab was factually and legally incorrect.
To relitigate the chain of events, the machinations of the plotters, the motivations of those involved is pointless. The factual and legal basis of this issue could be resolved if the current prime minister demonstrates once and for all that he has a legitimate claim to power by convening Parliament and surviving a vote of no confidence.
The fact that those who have benefited from this power grab, notably political operative Abdul Hadi Awang is now claiming that a vote of no confidence is disrespectful to the Agong, should tell us who the “good” and “bad” guys are in this scenario and whether working with them is a “pragmatic” course of action.
Keep in mind that PAS and Umno have vowed not to work with DAP, hence any attempt at building consensus and perceiving that members of Pakatan Harapan – PKR, DAP and Amanah and whoever else is with them – could fill in possible slots of the Muhyiddin Yassin regime is foolhardy.
The prime minister has to balance the expectations of his allies, which include the now disenfranchised plotters and his bona fides as a Malay-first PM. If Zaid could articulate how DAP and PKR, which have sizable numbers in Parliament – so far – could navigate the Umno/PAS political terrain without alienating their bases, this would be appreciated. As it is, PKR and DAP, as Zaid concedes, could not even stand up to Bersatu when it came to its Malay uber alles agenda, how could they possibly work with the Umno/PAS, even if the two allowed them participation in the game?
Which brings us back to the most important lesson that hopefully, Harapan has learnt from this fiasco. Forget about the machinations of the old maverick. Forget about the treachery of the Azmin Ali cartel. What were behind these moves was that mainstream Malay political establishment feared the rise of an effective multiracial coalition in opposition to traditional Malay politics.
I do not mean power sharing in the BN sense, but rather a form of egalitarianism that is anathema to Malay/Muslim power structures. While Amanah may be an “Islamic” party, in its constitution it states - “Keahlian parti adalah terbuka kepada semua rakyat Malaysia tanpa mengira bangsa, kepercayaan atau jantina.”
Harapan’s greatest strength is that it was supposed a coalition which had no race-based parties. Now the argument could be made that racial politics dominated the Harapan discourse in substance but in form they were a multiracial coalition and this was a good start. Good enough to wrest power in certain states from the Umno hegemon and good enough to make the Malay establishment fear the rise of a multiracial block because the “Malays” were split.
Hooking up with Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Bersatu poisoned the well when it came to Harapan’s multiracial discourse. PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim’s “don’t spook the Malays” comment would have not been as bad if he did not have a race-based political party – Bersatu – which was actively seeking not to spook the Malays.
Balancing racial expectations and preoccupations in a multiracial party is less difficult when all your partners are dealing with the issue, but when you have a race-based party which by its nature is there to promote a racist ideology and you have to spin or ignore that, it becomes problematic.
Harapan’s weakest link
Reportage from the Sheraton Move describes the Malay establishment as fearful of “Chinese” influence in the government which Anwar sought to allay. Reportedly even DAP leader Lim Guan Eng was amenable to relinquish his post if that meant making it easy for Malay power structures within Harapan.
Whether you believe that Mahathir was needed to swing the vote in GE14 is beside the point. The point is that by hooking up with a race-based party, Harapan has to replicate the failed policies of BN in the hopes of maintaining power, not realising that their win had caused palpitations by the very fact that Mahathir's Bersatu – the weakest link in the coalition – was not the racial power it claimed to be.
The old maverick has publicly stated when he had that kumbaya moment with the DAP a couple of years back - that it was the agenda of Umno to demonise the DAP because this is what Malay politicians did after all. The anti-DAP – read Chinese – propaganda was enabled by DAP’s political ineptness and their failure to present a cohesive egalitarian and secular alternative.
DAP wallowed in the Bangsa Malaysia nonsense while trespassing into the religious domains of the Malay polity all in an attempt to present themselves as acceptable to the majority community thereby falling into the trap of Malay power structures. I wish DAP strategists and policy wonks would write about the real issue that many in the Malay community have with the DAP, which is reflected in the blogosphere and social media. The mainstream narrative is not “Chinese hate” but rather the hypocrisy many Malays believe the DAP exhibit.
Furthermore, the discourse online by DAP supporters is mired in racialism and victimhood, which makes it easier to promulgate the anti-Chinese narratives that propagandists rely on. Try to do something about that instead of assuming tribalism will get you more votes from the “rural Malays”, especially since you think that they are uninformed about what goes on online.
DAP and PKR have the most potential – so far unrealised – which is why the establishment fears them. This is why we get partisans pushing the narratives that the "Malays" will not change and the system won't change and that it is Harapan which has to bend. Amanah could be the dark horse, the truly progressive Islamic voice, but they are being neutered by the far-right and agents of the fascist state.
An effective counter-narrative to this would mean slaying sacred racial and political cows and this would mean establishing secular and egalitarian principles that would be unpalatable to the base. Is the Harapan willing to do this? So far, they have not.
Underlying the Sheraton Move was a deep insecurity that Harapan, if left unchecked, would lead to a new dawn in Malaysian politics where a strong multiracial and secular-inclined coalition would supplant the traditional feudal corrupt power structures. If Harapan under the stewardship of leaders who actually believed in the manifesto, this would have been the death knell of race-based political parties in this country.
Harapan, meanwhile, has to reform and present an egalitarian and secular choice in opposition to whatever Umno and PAS stand for. This is, after all, was what fuelled the machinations of the old maverick, the treachery of Azmin and the connivance of Umno/PAS.
They fear that a majority in the voting demographic would embrace a multiracial coalition over ‘ketuanism’ (Malay supremacy).
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 5:45 PM  
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