January 4, 2016
The Malays will always be UMNO’s Pawns
by S. Thayaparan
The Red Shirts–UMNO’s Pawns
COMMENT: “No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.” – PJ O’Rourke
PERKASA’s Ibrahim Ali is piqued. Apparently Malay sovereignty that is constantly under threat, has received its latest barrage from the UMNO-manipulated sale “of 60 percent of Bandar Malaysia for RM7.41 billion to a consortium consisting of Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) and China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC).”
This has led to the very funny YOURSAY headline of “Thanks to 1MDB, here comes the real ‘Chinese tsunami’, where Malaysiakini readers gleefully mock the racial provocations of UMNO and highlight that UMNO’s ineptitude will eventually be corrected by non-Malay intervention. I doubt that this rather embarrassing reality is of concern to jesters like Ibrahim Ali and lots of ultra Malay nationalists.
He has been used, abused and discarded
Ibrahim Ali, as the most vocal defender of “Malay rights” – even though, of late, better-funded outsourced thugs have overshadowed his antics – has always conflated the social and economic malaise of the Malay community with class-based concerns in an attempt to subvert the Federal Constitution and provoke a reaction demanding UMNO state intervention.
Every UMNO political or corruption scandal has been spun as a racial one as fearmongers like the PERKASA big cheese have earned their gold by poisoning the discourse with racial provocations as corrosive as some of the opposition rhetoric online, which some partisans think it is their privilege to engage in.
In my opinion piece “Malay Matters”, I singled out Ibrahim Ali (photo) in particular for condemnation because of his unbridled enthusiasm to play the race card in a corruption scandal that at the time had the public’s attention:
“It has of course gone to ridiculous extremes as in the recent National Feedlot fiasco, where Ibrahim Ali and his ilk (bolstered by the right- wing state-controlled Malay mainstream press) suggest that an issue of corruption is really an issue of race and a racial provocation against the Malay community. The fact that the alleged whistleblower has been identified as a non-Malay is par for the course in this country’s national political debate. And let us (non-Malays) not assume the high road because we, too, have played the same racial card when it comes to the shenanigans of non-Malay political parties.”
Ibrahim Ali laments the fact “that it was too late to do anything about it” but if he read my article or really had any concern for the community he claims he represents, he would have understood what every other right-thinking Malaysian, irrespective of race, knows and which was articulated by me in the same article:
“In any other functional democracy, an investigation into a case of corporate and governmental malfeasance would be handled with the utmost impartial diligence, or at least that’s the perception the powers-that- be would attempt to convey but here, the fact that the state responded with its usual fear-mongering is an overt threat to non-Malays that they should never attempt to impose any accountability on the government or its financial policies less they inadvertently start a racial incident.”
Always at the mercy of UMNO
So it is not that “Malay sovereignty” has been “tergadai”, but rather the Malay community has always been pawns to the political parties here in Malaysia, but more importantly and most damagingly, they have been at the mercy of UMNO manipulations to retain power.
I hope it is not arrogant of me to revisit one of my previous articles – these days I think there is really nothing new in the UMNO malefeasance that engulfs us – but a few points are worth revisiting in “Malaysia’s Beggars Banquet” that points to the nature of UMNO’s role in pawning Malay sovereignty and dignity.
1. Listen to your PERKASA patron’s words. Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s role in your community’s woes are well documented. His words are a cocktail of truth and bile but no “Malay” potentate has ever known the wants and needs of the Malay community as he does and manipulated them to his advantage.
“Speaking at the Malay Economic Congress, former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad attacked the Malay community in lieu of UMNO blaming them for the crisis they find themselves in politically, economically and socially.”
2. Malay special rights did not create the Malay middle class. UMNO, a post-1969 middle class by social engineering programmes, a crony rent seeking system, political patronage andby manipulating the Federal Constitution. Special rights are the illusion of power that Malays don’t have but which only UMNO has.
“I have no idea where UMNOPutras get the magical number that they make up 60 percent of the population and that they are only asking for 30 percent of the wealth. Nevertheless, let us take it at face value. Mahathir bemoans the fact that the Malays sell off whatever they receive as part of their “special rights” to the non-Malays, which is why they are in the state they are in. Former International Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz has said much the same.”
Islam used to constrain Malays
3. Islam has been used by UMNO to constrain the Malay community and implanted memes that are destructive to the social fabric of Malaysia.
“If the Malay community is mired in Islamic fetishism, it is because for decades UMNO and its allies played the hudud card all the while engaging in policies that would ensure that Malaysians would be divided along racial and religious lines. Is this our fault, sure but Mahathir does not get to blame the Malay community for the wretched state this country is in without blaming UMNO as well.”
4. The economic woes of the Malay community are not the result of economic competition with the Chinese community, but rather the hegemonic agenda of UMNO.
“The phenomenon of hardcore Malay poor (although the definition of ‘poor’ has always been a sore point with the UMNOputras) is testament not of Malay greed or wasted opportunities but rather of UMNO incompetence and greed. If the Malay community is reduced to beggardom, it is because UMNO willed it. They willed it through the BTN courses. They willed it through the bloated civil service. They willed it through the various Islamic indoctrination classes that have been translated into political blowback by an Islamic revival that is seen as a panacea to the rank fetid corruption of UMNO.”
I know Ibrahim Ali knows this. We are all pawns in some ways to political parties, but the test to determine how deeply we are in servitude to political parties is if we can survive without their benefice. I am confident that the non-Malay community can survive without any political party representing us.
A Pawn and a Stooge
I have no idea if the Malay community will not remain pawns to the alternative political parties and their mendacious schemes that pay homage to old corrupt ideologies in their quest to seek power, but I do know there is great comfort in voting corrupt potentates out of office when we still have the chance.
Sometimes, giving the middle finger through the ballot box is the only way to act as Malaysians. To act for just a moment as though we speak in one voice. Ultimately, though, as I have said numerous times, racial politics is a bitch and an unforgiving one at that.
S. THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.