Principles, not Personalities and Parties

March 21, 2013

Principles, not Personalities and Parties

posted in Aliran

chandraChandra Muzaffar responds to Choo Sing Chye and explains why he has been critical of Pakatan parties, among others.

I am pleased that in ‘Dr Chandra – just an open note for you’, Choo Sing Chye does not resort to the vile and vulgar vitriolic of so many commentators in cyber media. His quotes from one of my earlier books are also accurate — unlike some who invent or distort the writings of the targeted person in order to tarnish him.

However, when one quotes from someone else’s writings it is also important to provide the context. Many of my commentaries in Challenges and Choices in Malaysian Politics and Society were responses to specific episodes. Choo has also been somewhat selective in his quotes. While it is true that as the President of a reform group, I was mostly concerned with the actions of the wielders of State power, I was also critical in the book of PAS and the DAP.

In fact, Choo (right) recognises this. He says that, “You didn’t speak for thechoo-sing-chye Opposition, nor the BN government but you spoke eloquently for the poor and (sic) injustices.” This is the crux and core of the matter. Our fidelity should be to the principle of justice, not to a personality or a party.

When I joined the Anwar movement in 1998, it was not because of Anwar the man but because of the injustice done to him. For taking a principled stand, I paid the price. I lost my university job.

Three years later when I left Parti Keadilan Nasional, it was because my conscience could not accept the wrongdoings in the party. I was not prepared to acquiesce with money politics in the party; the manipulation of communal sentiments in pursuit of political objectives; the utter lack of transparency in the financial management of the party; and the cosy relationship that Keadilan’s de facto leader had cultivated with certain elements in Washington.

It was while I was in Keadilan and as coordinator of the Barisan Alternatif (BA) comprising Keadilan, PAS, DAP and Parti Rakyat, that I realised that the ideological chasm that separates PAS and DAP on fundamental issues such as the role of Islam in society and the identity of the nation is unbridgeable. I organised a few sessions among the leaders of the BA to try to address these issues but there was little progress.

It is because their differences are insurmountable, that PAS and DAP need Keadilan, specifically Anwar, as a link. Anwar in turn needs both parties to shore up his position. Through DAP, PAS gains some Chinese support while through PAS, DAP secures some Malay support. PAS discovered the value of a link to DAP via Anwar in the 1999 General Election when it captured 27 parliamentary seats, its best performance ever. DAP, on the other hand, realised the efficacy of a link to Pas mediated by Anwar in the 2008 General Election when it won 28 parliamentary seats, a figure that it had not reached before. So it is a case of Pas and DAP using one another. Indeed, everyone is using everyone else in the Pakatan.

Pakatan is a totally opportunistic inter-party grouping that has one overwhelming aim: to take over Putrajaya. Of course, like other parties elsewhere seeking power, Pakatan’s rhetoric is all about fighting corruption and ensuring good governance.

Unlike other coalitions in Malaysian politics, it has no common belief-system that holds it together. Even the Socialist Front of the sixties, comprising the Parti Rakyat and the Labour Party, had some ideological bond. When the Alliance was formed in 1954, achieving Merdeka was its all-consuming goal. In 1974, the Barisan Nasional committed itself to development and national unity. Indeed, the Pakatan is not even a coalition in the sense in which the term is understood. It has no common symbol; no common flag; no common structure of authority.

When a citizen alerts his fellow citizens to the inherent pitfalls of an inter-party grouping like Pakatan, isn’t he doing his duty to his nation? Why should he be accused of betraying his “egalitarian idealism” when he speaks the truth about those who are lusting for power?

After all, didn’t I in Challenges and Choices ask the honest question, “Will it (PAS) ever be able to realize its potential of becoming the leader of an alternative coalition of parties to the Barisan as long as it persists with its goal of establishing an Islamic State defined on the basis of traditional theology?” (p.123)

Dr Chandra Muzaffar is the chairman of the Board of Trustees of Yayasan 1Malaysia.

15 thoughts on “Principles, not Personalities and Parties

  1. Good response from Dr. Chandra. He has his reasons for leaving Anwar. He is not the only one who is disillusioned with PKR’s Ketua Umum. Others have followed in his footsteps and more will do so once they realise that they cannot deal with this chameleon.

  2. I rather have a chameleon to lead Malaysia now than a bunch of immoral daylight robbers led by Najib Tun Razak.

    The fact is Chandra is too blinded by his ‘disillusion’ with Anwar that he rather let the country continued to be rape and plunder by crooks. That show what kind of mindset this supposedly learned person has. He and Rosmah should have been a couple. Both of them have skewed values. Their parents forgot to teach them properly.

  3. Chandra has principle? I thought he cashed them in with BN. Does BN have principles? For Chandra its just best to walk away from BN and PKR and remain true to your principles (that is if you have any left). A principled man will walk away and take his principles with him and not talk bad about his departure. Maybe go form your own Chandra Principle Party and stand for election based on your principles.

  4. Three years later when I left Parti Keadilan Nasional, it was because my conscience could not accept the wrongdoings in the party. I was not prepared to acquiesce with money politics in the party; the manipulation of communal sentiments in pursuit of political objectives; the utter lack of transparency in the financial management of the party; and the cosy relationship that Keadilan’s de facto leader had cultivated with certain elements in Washington….. Of course, like other parties elsewhere seeking power, Pakatan’s rhetoric is all about fighting corruption and ensuring good governance.- Chandra Muzaffar

    Chandra Muzaffar @ Sankaran Pillai,

    Are’nt you describing what Malaysians have been saying about UMNO BN. Change the word ” Keadilan”, and you have described pretty well the UMNO-BN regime. Talking about links with Washington, what about the payment of RM millions to influence American perception of Anwar and the Opposition which was exposed recently.

    Isn’t the sole aim of Political Parties especially if they are in Opposition is to primarily to win Govt based on a platform and rhetoric to appeal to voter?

    Come on, Chandra, you cannot be naive, the way I see it, you are essentially trying to spin away from your REAL reason for jumping over to the other side of politics to be an APOLOGIST for the corrupt practices of the ruling regime ie for accepting the moral bribe of some civil society position aligned to the ruling parties. It was your EXCUSE, not a reason, for your rubbishing of the opposition coalition to justify your apologetic stand for the corrupt UMNO-BN regime.

    You and Tunku Aziz can share the same pillow.

    Let me ask you, why are you so disably quiet on all the scandalous revelations attributed to this UMNO-BN regime which had been the subject of the national conversation in the few years. Where were YOU hiding when all these were going on ….. In your closet with your notebook computer??

    Talking about being opportunistic, you have come across as an opportunistic intellectual who exploited the prevailing circumstances at that time back in the late 1990s by aligning with opposition politics for your egoistical reasons so as to be in the national limelight. Never mind that, but your writings since coming out of opposition politics, more of an APOLOGIST for all the wrong-doings of this Govt.

    You have NOT been critical at all of the obvious failings of this Govt, have you?? Of course not, because they are buttering your bread right now.

    You don’t even appear to have one iota of objectivity in your commentary of the socio-political issues of the day. No, your writings today are all about the opposition, in an attempt to shift away the focus on the govt. You know, what matters is what GOVT does affects the lives of Malaysians, NOT the Opposition.

    So, stop the crap about your pathetic reasons for leaving opposition politics. We were not born yesterday

    After reading Choo Sing Chye remarks about you and I, having followed your professional career and your dabbling in partisan politics over the years, Choo Sing Chye assessment of you is pretty close to the mark.

  5. Let me define a few principle terms in biology that this dick-wad (yup, it’s a vitriolic vulgarity), isn’t able to fathom:

    * Mutualism – aka symbiosis – obligatory dependence of two or more different species which may be united bodily (conjunctive) or not (disjunctive), in order to survive in a given environment. Symbiont partnerships benefit each other.
    * Commensalism – a relationship of two or more species, where one benefits – without affecting the other. For example, carcass eating vultures going after a kill by a predatory bird, or the sucker fish on a shark.
    * Parasitism – a non-mutual relationship between two species, in which one (the parasite) benefits at the expense of the other (the host). No need example.

    Biologically speaking then, DAP-PKR-PAS (PR), at the moment are Mutualistic Symbionts – for each of them benefit from their relationship. This relationship of course might very well change in future – i.e temporary symbiosis. But the most it will degrade is to go the way of the Commensals – picking up carcasses.

    BN on the other hand, is best described as a mutually Parasitic entity, with each of it components Not contributing to the Mutual benefit of the Super-Organism – but to each cancerous cell, with it’s own selfish agenda.

    So MeePakAbu, lets get a wee bit Organic, shall we? After all, Chamelons are Organic Creatures – whose eyes can rotate separately and independently, to give it a 360 degree view.

    So much for Principles!


  6. The strong moral, ethical and egalitarian tenets underpinning Pakatan politics make the ideological differences within its partners less of a concern. Only people like Najib and Dr Chandra are itching for Pakatan to disintegrate, which will probably never happen in their life time. Is having an ideological difference worse than being corrupt and looting the country without guilt and sense of shame? If it is all right for BN to seek to hold down to power, why should it be not all right for PR to bid for the same power as well?

    Once PR gains power, the chances are the component parties will strive to iron out their ideological differences and work their way around to find common grounds to deliver good governance. If they can do it in Penang, Kelantan and Selangor, they can certainly do it at national level too from Putra Jaya.

    If PR is not a registered coalition it is not for lack of trying. The Registrar of Societies, probably under instructions, wantonly makes the rules so onerous to ensure that the PR will not qualify for registration for kingdoms come.

    I am afraid the good professor had lost all credibility when he decided to switch camp. All his ranting is just smokescreen. The turning point came when he lost his university job and he needed money to maintain his life style and jet setting. The offers must have come at a good price and he probably took it. The rest is shameless history.

  7. In any political party, the art of manipulation with strategy for survival in a tough environmental situation by a political leader is a form of political strength. In any political party, one can expect to see members leaving and new members joining for some good reasons. In politics, there is no permanent enemy or vice versa and not many can survive in a tough situation like Anwar who came back strongly in politics after six long years in jail under solitary confinement. Be like a chamelon for changing colours to get adapted to different environment.

  8. What is there to read anymore from the pen of this turncoat? You can call it character assassination or personal mud-slinging, but old Chandra brought it all upon himself. Does anybody doubt he is richly rewarded for the forked tongue that flicks out of his mouth these days?
    What he’s done is a betrayal of what the public had come to believe was a principled man, but more than that it’s a betrayal of self. Chandra betrayed himself, and that’s quite pathetic. As you say yourself, he speaks half-truths and, of course, he repudiates everything he ever stood for when he was with Aliran.
    Even his choice of words is loaded these days – when a government is OVERTHROWN in a democracy…? Right. And sure, a new administration may not be able to resolve the problems that the old administration helped spawned and fed over the decades, but you have to make a fresh start and hope it works out. It would be better than persisting with what created the problems in the first place.
    Better the devil you know? Oh, please. Time to retire that old cliche & bugaloo…Oouch!!

  9. Having read all comments made about this Dr Chandra, I don’t know what else to say. I have known him when he was tailing the late Prof Neguib and joined Gerakan in 1969. The late Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu ignored him considered him a bit of humbug. He once lectured about Islam which I attended which was faulty. He converted to Islam having married another academician – a lovely lady.

    When he was at USM , AI helped him. For him to say that he was sacked after he joined Keadilan is a blatant lie. The previous VC confirmed to me it was’nt so. He was no politician. The unkind view I had of him of being a self serving charlatan or pseudo intellectual has proven to be right. It is best to leave him alone to earn his living as he goes about in his wheelchair. May Allah bless him and make him a better Muslim.

  10. If all that Chandra said is justifiable than he should have not accept the appointment as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Yayasan 1Malaysia. Isn’t this a BN establishment? Why were you given the post? And only after you left Anwar?

    If you have your Principles as commented here, you should have stayed independent. Your comments will not be one sided as seen by all. You should have maintained your position to speak for the weak and unjust.

    Many here have agreed that your respond are excuses covering your tracks to leave. Again, if you are a man of principles, resign from BN appointed institution and join those seeking justices. If you need to take sides than declare your stand and we will response accordingly. Stop justifying.

  11. A rational response from Dr. Chandra without any hints of vile or vulgar remarks. Not all Malaysians, who are currently highly politically-polarised, would see things pertaining to the PR’s loose grouping as he does.

  12. o Chandra!, so lame indeed is your response. we are awaiting your neutrality on matter on national interest but all we can be expected from you is to attack the opposition whilst ignoring the beam in front of your eye.

  13. he is a wonderfully PRINCIPLED Gentleman like TAA polishing apples for an authoritarian and corrupt government that rapes and plunders. Vile, Vitriolic and Vulgar?? my God!? he has no comments on all the crooked things perpetrated by the umno-bn politicians in Malaysia but he pours scorn on the opposition for being what they are, a ‘loose’ coalition waiting to be endorsed by the registrar of parties who is in turn waiting for instructions from umno.
    give us a break lah, go get a job as a primary school teacher and do some good for the country.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s