Articles, Opinions & Views: Can Malaysia have meaningful coalitions? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy


 
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“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

Photobucket
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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Can Malaysia have meaningful coalitions? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Thursday, November 11, 2021


Malaysiakini : “A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen.”  – Winston Churchill

COMMENT | DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang said this recently: “The day for meaningful coalition politics in Malaysia has come, and political parties must learn to co-operate with one another for the good of the nation – not for personal and political party self-aggrandisement but on the principles of justice, freedom, fair play, well-being for all Malaysians so that Malaysia can be a world-class great nation and avoid the traps of kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state.”

I believe most Malaysians want this but the problem has always been that ideas such as “justice, freedom, fair play, well-being for all Malaysians” has never really been the goal of any political party. 

In a way, this should make cooperation between race-based parties and multiracial parties easier, but it does not because both sides have been demonising each other for decades.

Honestly, when two political parties – DAP and Umno – who have a sizable share of votes and representation, cannot find the middle ground, you know that this country is in trouble. 

Remember the flak Anthony Loke received when he dared wonder if such a DAP-Umno deal was possible. He said: "More people are saying that one way out (of our political crisis) is for Umno and DAP to come to the same table. But this needs political courage and will from both sides. Is Umno prepared to even talk about it?” 

The DAP, by making its Faustian bargain in cooperating with Bersatu, demonstrated that working with morally suspect and corruption-tainted politicians was not an impediment to “saving Malaysia”. 

Indeed, when Pakatan Harapan briefly formed the federal government, and Bersatu was accepting Umno frogs, the DAP bent over backwards attempting to justify why Bersatu accepting Umno members were part of the grand plan to save Malaysia.

What the DAP brings to any kind of coalition is the majority backing of a voting demographic and, hence, they can claim to be the “voice” of the community on secular and egalitarian issues. 

Now, imagine if they could do this with Umno, which is a vital part of the Malay power structure, and work on a reform agenda, which many in Umno know needs to be carried out if Malaysia is to remain a viable democracy and not some sort of theocratic nightmare.

The problem is that no matter what the DAP does, no matter how much they bend over for the Malay political establishment, it will never be enough. 

This is why we have these tensions within the DAP. The identity politics in the DAP, like most forms of such politics, is reactionary.

The DAP set the bar so high with the MCA that any attempt to navigate through the corridors of Malay power are futile because folks who voted for the DAP as a “secular” alternative to the race-based power-sharing model become disappointed by the way how DAP fit so snugly into the role they politicised for decades, yet feel there is no choice but vote opposition even though reforms will not be forthcoming.

Be as vague as possible

Now, of course, all this boils down to messaging. Harapan’s messaging sucks. Nobody is interested in the principles that Lim talks about, even the non-Malays, because even when Harapan fails to carry out reforms, they would still vote for them anyway to spite Umno/BN/PN. Therefore, the base can take a lot.

Harapan should tailor its message on a state level instead of attempting a grand national narrative that more often than not does not resonate. Mind you these state-level messaging may at times conflict with the national message that Harapan is putting out. 

The goal is to be as vague as possible so the other side cannot pin you down. Hammer down bread-and-butter issues on a local level because more often than not national agendas mean very little to folks struggling to make ends meet.

When Malacca DAP chief Tey Kok Kiew says that the DAP cannot rely on its Harapan partners to court the Malay vote, the question folks should be asking is why is it that the DAP continues to be a Chinese dominated party 50 plus years after its formation. 

Every so often incidents pop up where various power brokers clutch their pearls chastising Ronnie Liu for being a Chinese chauvinist (for instance), never once considering that they were working hand in hand with Malay bigots for lack of a better term.

That’s the problem right here. The whole Bangsa Malaysia horse manure was the negation of non-Malay culture for the benefit of Malay proxies who never subscribed to it in the first place. So perhaps it is best if the DAP drops this nonsense and concentrates on actual reforms as opposed to dispensing the kool-aid.

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang

There have been instances where the political paradigm could have changed, such as the offering of an olive branch by Muhyiddin Yassin (for instance) that Harapan rejected. 

Now what we are left with are disparate coalitions (including Harapan) squabbling amongst themselves to retain power while gaslighting their respective bases that all this is for some greater good.

Lim is right when he says that Malacca is a bellwether election and if Umno emerges victorious, it would be in a better position to consolidate power in the Malay uber alles coalition. 

However, as PN has ably demonstrated, without inclusive participation, the country is going down the manure hole, with a bloated cabinet, numbskull policies and political operatives warring amongst themselves even when part of the same coalition.

Meaningful coalitions in the Malaysian context by definition means reforming the system. This takes political will and at this moment, no political party wants to make changes that would transform Malaysia.

Everybody seems to be intent on keeping the game going a little while longer.

posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:27 AM  
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