Like nothing I've ever known
But the more that I hear
Forget about long-range plans
'Cause this man's got his own
– Never say never again (James Bond soundtrack)
Malaysiakini : When Lim Guan Eng says that the DAP would not work with Umno and
Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin because “we can’t accept them using
race and religion to divide the people”, it is the kind of craven
political rhetoric that furthers toxic partisan discourse.
should just draw up a list of people they are not willing to work with.
This way we can keep track of all the backtracking they will eventually
do, to “Save Malaysia”.
The reality is that the DAP has never
had a problem working with hegemons which use race and religion to
further political agendas.
Keep in mind that Bersatu, a creation
of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said that the Malay polity needed a“Malay” only
party to fight for their “rights”, and the various mandarins of DAPS
supported this idea that the rural Malay heartland needed a Malay only
party like Bersatu to get on the “ubah” bandwagon.
Lim Kit Siang admitted
that there was no Malay leader in Harapan who could get the rural Malay
vote. He said Pakatan Harapan lacks any personality capable of
convincing rural Malay voters to support the pact, aside from Mahathir.
Mahathir cannot help create a wave of change among the rural Malay
voters for the 14GE in the remaining 100 days, then no other political
leader could accomplish this ‘Mission Impossible'," Kit Siang had said
before that general election.
of course, must have been hard for Anwar Ibrahim to hear, considering
that the reason why there was a viable opposition which controlled two
major economic states (among others) was because of the moves he made,
As late as June of this year, when the fracas about succession came into play (again), the old maverick once again took advantage of the optics of the agitation among DAP, Amanah and PKR to the profit politically from the question of succession – “Mereka
sudah lama menjadi parti pembangkang. Mereka cuba menang pada 2008 dan
2013 sebelum saya menyertai mereka, tetapi mereka kalah dan tidak boleh
menang. Jadi, pada PRU14 saya sertai mereka.
mereka perlukan undi Melayu untuk menang, dan mereka fikir saya boleh
bawa undi Melayu kerana parti utama ialah parti Melayu dan yang lain
parti pelbagai kaum. Melayu tidak akan sokong parti majmuk.”
In November of last year, DAP strategist and then deputy defence minister, Liew Chin Tong, said this:
“Do we realise that, in reality, DAP needs Bersatu and Bersatu needs
DAP to keep Pakatan Harapan together and succeed in rebuilding Malaysia?
Harapan is a coalition of four parties — that is DAP, Bersatu, PKR and
Amanah. Only through unity and cooperation of all component parties can
we represent all layers of society.”
So, since race and religion
by definition divide people, there is absolutely no logic in Guan Eng
claiming that DAP cannot work with Umno and Bersatu because of race and
religion. Hence, the only reason why they cannot work with these parties
is the personalities involved.
Eng said the DAP can never work with "… an Umno that is under the
leadership of (Umno president) Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and (Pekan MP) Najib
Abdul Razak. Absolutely not.” So is the DAP head honcho saying that it
would work with Umno if those personalities were not involved with Umno?
would make the rationale of not working with Umno because it uses race
and religion to divide the people, moot, right? This would also mean
that working with Umno personalities that are not “tainted” would be
acceptable to the DAP?
Indeed personality politics is what
political operatives use to deflect from the real issue. It is not that
the DAP cannot work with political hegemons who use race and religion,
[it has ] but because the DAP would rather focus on personalities which
it thinks would galvanise its base.
Racial and religious issues
that divide the country are systemic. The same goes for corruption. It
is pointless targeting individuals, although it has political
advantages. The opposition, at least the non-Malay opposition, has
claimed that the issues are systemic and the major part of the problem
is race-based political hegemons that seek to sustain such systems.
Since the opposition has demonstrated that it really does not want to ubah the system, it makes sense to focus on personalities.
Remember Liew’s analysis of Muhyiddin in his essays "The strange case of Muhyiddin Yassin" and "DAP never failed you each time you asked for help, Muhyiddin".
refer to them again. In those essays, you will understand the
realpolitik of race and religion and understand how the current prime
minister wanted to get to know the DAP better, since the race-based
political party and the multi-racial DAP would now be working together.
those articles and you will discover that, ultimately, the problem was
not with the DAP but rather the power struggle within the Malay
Liew’s analysis, what we see was a dejected Malay leader who believed
he was passed over by the Malay establishment after years of faithful
He was then co-opted by other Malay political
opportunists to be the figurehead of a coup that would give him the
premiership he believed was owed to him. And what does the Malay
political establishment do when they need a scapegoat? They always go
back to the reliable whipping boy the DAP.
The fact is that
Bersatu has always had to view the DAP with a certain amount of contempt
because, for years, successive Mahathir-led governments had to paint
the DAP as the bogeyman of Malay politics.
How many times have I
pointed out that the far-right and most voters of race-based politics
have no problems with the dissonance in the narratives they are peddling
and consuming? This means that the DAP can be the running dogs of Malay
power structures and, at the same time, the power behind the throne.
Because they know the DAP, for whatever reasons - pragmatism, power
hungriness or just good old fashion masochism - will always try to link
up with Malay power structures because, for decades, it did not build a
Malay base of its own using Umno as means of distraction while
consolidating power in the non-Malay community and demonising the MCA.
gathering in mosques and propping up religious operatives like Mujahid
Yusof Rawa, the DAP has exhausted resources and political capital by
attempting to court the Malay vote in the most craven of ways.
DAP chose the quick way of pandering, instead of coming up with a plan
to tackle Malay B40 issues, which could be formed into a greater
multi-racial needs-based narrative, all the while supported by a base
that elevated leaders to a cult-like status. Things, of course, are
slowly changing now.
The DAP still has not figured out that folks
who vote for them want them to be honest brokers of middle-ground
politics and, to the best of their ability, be the voice for secularism
and egalitarianism in an ethnotheocracy for as long as possible.