Normalcy only lasts for so long.
| As I said in my last piece, the “failed state” debate is a
distraction. Our failing healthcare system is something that we can fix
right now and without the usual horse manure navel-gazing that comes
with attempting to solve racial and religious issues in this country,
which are used by the political establishment (Perikatan Nasional and
Pakatan Harapan) to divide us for political reasons.
pandemic has given the political establishment an opportunity to
redefine policy by bypassing sacred cows in the name of national
security, but more importantly, to help the average rakyat in a
bipartisan manner which could bring political dividends to a regime
which half the voting public in the country thinks is illegitimate. In
other words, fixing the healthcare system during a pandemic is a safe
Indeed if the PN regime puts in as much effort into fixing
the healthcare system now, organising policy around issues faced by
frontliners and listening to health professionals, what they would be
doing is winning this war, but more importantly, restarting the economy
and we would be on the road to some kind of new normal.
said that, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s statement that
the white flag campaign is not an indicator of the country falling into
failed statehood is pure bunkum. Now I get that some academics and
activists might feel insulted when Malaysia was said to be on the path
to failed nation status, but the reality is that the best indicator that
we are on that road is the emergency declaration.
declaration by this regime is cogent evidence that this government has
given up all pretence of having democratic institutions in this country.
There are legitimate reasons why an emergency could be called and if
this regime did not handle this emergency in such an incompetent manner,
a defence could have been made in support of it. Hence, if the numbers
went down and there was strict supervision of policy and procedures, the
emergency could have been justified or at least the narrative
The reality of this emergency is that it is nothing
like the kind of urgency we went through back in the day. On the ground,
the way the state security apparatus is being used by this regime makes
a mockery of what an emergency is and is further driving perception of
the state security apparatus as minions of a tinpot dictatorship.
someone who, as a young officer, was part of the state security
apparatus and who was active during the real emergency, the way how this
regime has abused this vital tool needed in national security issues
points to the political and moral bankruptcy of this Malay uber alles government. And it is a dangerous tool because, unless controlled, will bring forth extremely dangerous consequences.
was dismissive of the hand wringing when this emergency was first
declared. The fact is that folks like to talk about democratic
institutions and ideas, but they really have no political will to reform
those institutions or stand up for those ideals. Hence the emergency,
but more importantly the response to it, was always farcical to begin
The fact that the prime minister and his loyalists were
trying to spin this as not an emergency but something more palatable,
indicates that they were afraid of the consequences of “genuine”
emergency and that they want the trappings of an emergency – the
subordination of political and judicial oversight – in the hopes of
The fact that for decades these institutions
were eroded and the opposition relied on their base that was not really
interested in reform but engaging in personality politics is merely the
chickens coming home to roost. The fact that the royal institution had
to step in and attempt some sort of fig leaf strategy to reconvene
Parliament is further indication that the charade of an emergency was
for political benefit and not national security-related. The fact that
since the emergency, Harapan has been doing the same thing that it does
when Parliament is in session - nada - is indicative of how normal, not having institutions of democracy is in this country.
just goes to show you how fragile democracy is, especially in this
region, especially during a pandemic. With the pandemic in full bloom
and aided by the incompetence of this regime, people really have no use
for politicians who go on about democracy and Parliament. In fact,
people are most often angry not that Parliament is closed down but by
the discrepancy of treatment between the political elites and them.
people are scrambling to make a ringgit because of loss of permanent
income, the political elites are battling for power without oversight
and consequences, which is what Parliament nominally does. But let us
face facts, it has never really brought the reform that politicians tell
us it brings.
So yes, the white flag campaign is not an
indication of a failing state but the suspension of Parliament, the
unequal application of the law, the ridiculous use of emergency powers
for issues that could be handled by the existing legislation, the state
security apparatus closing down food banks because of long queues, is
indicative that this is a big step towards failed nation status.
dangerous sense of normalcy seems to have set in. The opposition never
really advanced any radical or reform-minded ideas which would change
the political, social or economic landscape, which is why for most
people Parliament is not such a big deal. Hence there are no real
competing democratic ideas which would make it easier for folks to
define what separates one theocratic ethnocentric power structure from
Folks are more interested in how the government can
help them – any government – than politicians arguing about debating the
emergency ordinance. This is the danger of the emergency the government
has declared. It further narcotises or radicalises people who think
that the system has failed and I am not talking about minority
communities in this instance.
The fact that there is essentially
no Parliament, and things are going down the crapper, seem so normal.
And really, things were already going down the crapper when there was a
Parliament. If this is not the road to failed statehood, I do not know
what is. It’s a journey, this road to failed statehood, and with each
step, Malaysia gets closer to its final destination.
when you narcotise people for decades with race and religion or when you
continuously let them down after promising reform, does anyone really
care if we are on the road to failed nation status?