Articles, Opinions & Views: Hadi is the willing scapegoat for non-Malay political operatives - 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.”

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“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."
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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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Hadi is the willing scapegoat for non-Malay political operatives - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, November 15, 2021

Malaysiakini :"For though ours is a godless age, it is the very opposite of irreligious. The true believer is everywhere on the march, and both by converting and antagonising he is shaping the world in his own image." – Eric Hoffer

COMMENT | Abdul Hadi Awang’s comment about PN being a coalition of non-extremists has brought predictable responses from the mainstream non-Malay/Muslim political class. 

The problem with criticism levelled against the PAS president is that it never addresses the underlying ideology of mainstream Islam in this country.

This has always been an issue. When BN was at the height of its power but was carrying out the Islamisation/Arabisation process that subverted democratic norms, institutions and the majority voting polity, it was also projecting itself as the middle of the road coalition while demonising the DAP as “Chinese chauvinists” and PAS as religious zealots.

The religious terrain got even murkier when PAS joined the opposition under the leadership of the charismatic Tok Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who to this day is still propagandised as some sort of paragon of Islamic moderation, which is a deliberate mischaracterisation of his political pragmatism or some would argue opportunism.

In many ways, the DAP, which continues to be demonised by the Malay political establishment, made possible the mainstreaming of PAS. 

Now here is the thing. Folks always like to imagine that the leadership of PAS under Tok Guru made PAS a moderate political entity which of course ignores the reality that it was the efforts of Tok Guru, amongst others, who redefined the party’s discourse towards political Islam.

To understand the kind of working relationship in better days between the DAP and PAS, we can refer to Boon Kia Meng’s piece about "Working with PAS":

“These personal experiences beat any amount of political sloganeering and media spin anytime. The attacks by Utusan Malaysia that the DAP insults Islam, troubling and defamatory as that was, remains a cold, abstract allegation. For those with eyes to see, and ears to hear, I can testify that my fellow DAP and PAS members have the utmost respect for one another's convictions and political struggle.” 

I remember even back in the days when I was sceptical of the "PAS for all" propaganda and was vilified for attempting to be clear-eyed about the problems with working with a religious party that had made clear its stance on turning Malaysia into an Islamic state – as envisioned by countless charlatans enabled by the House of Saud.

So ingrained is the Islamic narrative in oppositional politics that, as late as 2017, a genuine leader such as Lim Kit Siang wrote a piece that the DAP supports Islamisation based on the Federal Constitution. All this does is merely play into the narratives, schemes, machinations and agendas of those who support racial and religious supremacy. 

The late Tok Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat

Of course, with the passing of Tok Guru and the ascension of Hadi, the religious terrain changed and built up to utter chaos when Umno was toppled. The fact that the corruption scandals of Umno and PAS become the nexus in which these traditional political enemies built their newfound partnership did not diminish the fire of the true believers in PAS who venerate Hadi.

When Hadi goes on about political and religious extremists, the reality is that mainstream Islam confirms such narratives by demonising progressives, liberal and other supposedly Western ideas. 

Now, moderate and urban Muslims may be deathly afraid of the rhetoric and policies coming out of Hadi, but there is no alternative to the kind of discourse and policymaking that Hadi is offering. And Hadi knows this.

Do not get me wrong. The reason why this country has been able to maintain the facade of being a “moderate” Islamic country is that the urban demographics and policy decisions enabled relative economic success, despite all the leakages. 

In other words, there was political will that this country would not turn into just another failed Islamic state.

PAS' ideology is mainstream

Hadi understands that he will be vilified by non-Malay political operatives but he also knows that when it comes to actual policymaking, his rhetoric and that of his base will have a profound impact, even though politically in terms of representation, PAS may be negligible especially in the federal government.

What separates Hadi from the rest of the Umno-aligned herd is that the PAS base still believes that they have a shot at truly influencing the direction of this country. 

They do not view what Hadi says as malicious or bigoted, indeed because of the millions of ringgit spent on religious schools and governmental propaganda, the kind of Islam PAS advocates is mainstream.

And it does not matter if PAS does not win elections, especially in urban areas. Actually, more often than not, it is a point of pride that they continue hacking away, even though they lose. 

The fact that their ideology is mainstream means that Malay/Muslim political operatives who do win are mindful that they do not transgress on the groupthink that Hadi and PAS are carefully cultivating.

It is so easy vilifying the PAS president because it is red meat to the base. The problem is that there has never been an alternative to the kind of ideology that PAS is spreading. 

BN purposely cultivated the kind of religiosity that PAS envisions. Pakatan Harapan, when they were in power, continued with policies that further eroded secular and democratic norms which further encouraged PAS.

So you see, for PAS – and political operatives and strategists of PAS have told me this:"It really does not matter if PAS wins or loses elections, ultimately the winds will favour them because of the efforts of mainstream political parties, the ideology of which closely mirrors PAS."

Dismayed at the recent ban (by non-renewal) gaming shop licences because it caused the collapse of the family institutions? Well, think back to when Khalid Samad decided to enforce the 1am closing time on entertainment outlets in KL so that locals could spend more time with their families. Sabah of course pooh-poohed that idea. 

These fascist ideas and PAS’ fascist ideas have already taken root in mainstream Malaysian politics. It is pointless vilifying Hadi because non-Malay political operatives are merely gaslighting the non-Malay communities. 

If it wasn't for folks like P Ramasamy and Ronnie Liu, non-Malay public dissent by political operatives would be even more muted.

Meanwhile, PAS will continue to play the long game.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 1:29 PM  
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