UMNO state seeks DAP’s demise for political reasons

Washington DC

July 2, 2016

UMNO state seeks DAP’s demise for political reasons.

by  Cmdr (rtd) S. Thayaparan

If you give me six sentences written by the most innocent of men, I will find something in them with which to hang them.”– Armand Jean du Plessis Richelieu

COMMENT:  At first, I was pretty pissed. I am generally in an ornery mood when I began writing but more so now at the sight of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng being carted off by the establishment, another in a long line of opposition personalities harassed by the UMNO state.

Then I read an email, an impassioned one – you could tell it was impassioned because the whole mail was in capital letters – by a DAP supporter who ended the mail with a question –” Even Though you are a critic of  LGE do you think that LGE should take leave of absence?”

I was a bit surprised at that particular ending since I assumed all understood that my vitriol against the Umno establishment that I see as the clear and present danger, did not preclude criticism against the opposition establishment. Furthermore, as someone who is on record as saying that I think Guan Eng is someone who should be given a shot at being a prime minister  even though he and his followers eschew the idea for so-called pragmatic reasons, I would be the last person who could be considered hostile to the man. That is partisan politics for you.

UMNO State’s Winning Captain

I remember the online opprobrium Ambiga Sreenavesan received when she advocated this option and Cynthia Gabriel of C4 who advocated the same and included “the Youth and Sports Ministry senior officer under investigation for alleged misappropriation of funds amounting to RM100 million should similarly be ordered to go on leave”.

When asked recently, former Bar President Ambiga Sreenevasan was reported as saying, “In view of this being an unusual case, she said the usual conventions cannot necessarily be applied.” I can understand this position. I can empathise with this position but ultimately because the democratic process has been undermined, what we can do is act by individual principle.

Then, of course, there’s DAP’s Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng’s questions to those asking for Guan Eng to take leave which are not really good questions since Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, even if he takes a leave of absence, would still be able to influence the legal and security apparatus beholden to him. There are many reasons why a politician accused of corruption should take a leave of absence until vindicated, but the fact that so far the DAP has not rung that bell, except when it involves BN politicians is predictable.

Of course as DAP’s Seri Delima assemblyperson RSN Rayer, directed at the activists and lawyers at the time, warned “the Malaysian Bar to be ‘cautious’ when commenting on the issue as some quarters may ‘take advantage’ of it”. Nobody, certainly not someone like me, would want to be on the same boat as most BN politicians and certainly not someone like Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim who I have written about before, but yes, I think the Penang CM should take a leave of absence until these charges have been settled.


Now of course supporters are going to take offence at my stand. This is to be expected. Ambiga is right when she talks of the stratagem to force opposition leaders to take leave.  However as long as Guan Eng does not take leave, it just provides further propaganda for the Umno state to attack the Penang administration with this issue and further stoke racial and political fires.

It’s much better for the opposition to demonstrate that even if their leaders are removed from the political chessboard, other personalities could step in the interim and run the state and the opposition machinery.

The problem with the opposition has always been that there has been too much investment in personality politics, which is why the Umno regime has been very effective in neutralising their political foes. This is the perfect opportunity for DAP leaders and the opposition to demonstrate that their – our – cause is more than just about one man. It is also the perfect opportunity for others to demonstrate their leadership capabilities.

While there are murmurs amongst certain opposition supporters that Guan Eng should be above reproach, that since his party and him have set the bar so high and knowing that his political adversaries watch his every move, that any hint of impropriety should be avoided. The majority, of course, shouts down these people.

Ahirudin Attan, (aka Rocky’s Bru), in wishing Guan Eng good luck – since he had a personal relationship with the man – said this while advancing the narrative of the similarities between this particular case and that of former Selangor menteri besar Mohamad Khir Toyo’s – “I believed this country of ours had a working justice system that must be allowed to proceed with as little hindrance as possible in order to let the truth prevail.”

I know Rocky and even though we are playing for different sides, I believe he is sincere when he wishes the best of luck to Guan Eng even if just in remembrance of past comradeship.

However, I do not have the same faith in our justice system as him. I believe that these charges are politically motivated. Ever since the by-elections, the hatred against the DAP has been ratcheted up by propaganda organs of the Umno state. This is why the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has been spinning for the Pahang mufti who advocated genocide against the DAP and non-Muslims. Apparently he has been misquoted but when his own clarifications make his intent clear, why bother arguing the point is beyond me.

Najib’s biggest blunder

The men hunting Lim Guan Eng are not interested in the truth. The men hunting him have a very specific agenda. From talking to some of my UMNO friends – and there are people in UMNO who think this is Najib’s biggest blunder since the 1MDB fiasco – certain themes emerge. The agenda of these men are as follows:

1. Tarnish the reputation of the chief minister of the state that has received accolades from the UMNO state’s own governmental agency thereby damaging the credibility of the government and collecting propaganda material to be used domestically and internationally against a politician who was once detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

2. Capitalising on what UMNO believes is a shift in Chinese voting patterns by damaging the “alternative” Chinese power structure. This is why the head honcho of the MCA is dispensing dollops of schadenfreude since the majority of the Chinese community have stood by in the past when DAP leaders were vilified and targeted by the UMNO state.

3. Furthering the narrative that we have an independent security and legal apparatus by linking the corruption scandal and subsequent legal consequences of Khir Toyo and the allegations against Guan Eng. This is why the rush to paint this as part of a larger unbiased crackdown on corruption in this country.

There is also a racial subtext here. That a Chinese politician is equally as corrupt as a Malay (?) politician. This is fodder for Malay language pro-establishment news outlets and the continuing sabotage of the Malay polity. Remember what veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin said?

4. That the DAP is hypocritical and racists in its reaction against allegations of corruption. Already propaganda organs have been disseminating the numerous public rhetorical blunders by DAP operatives and linking to DAP-friendly online sites where the most vile speech is used in defence of Guan Eng.

5. The outcome is inevitable. Former Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim was right when he implied that the fix is in. Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali is the man who cleared Najib of any wrongdoing but in the process inadvertently raised more questions on the scandal. Perhaps he is the wrong person to run this case for the UMNO state.

His confidence that he can win the state’s case is not a question of legal ingenuity but rather establishment manipulation, plain and simple.

Someone reminded me that where there is smoke there is fire but I am not interested in anything like that. Some would find fault in my thinking but this is of no concern to me. When I say that this is a politically motivated prosecution, this does not mean that I think Guan Eng is innocent or guilty. In a functional system, that would be for the courts to determine. What I mean is that UMNO wants to destroy Guan Eng and the DAP for political reasons.

What I do know is that when the system turns a blind eye against the biggest corruption scandal this country has witnessed, then I say that every single other case of corruption – no matter how small or big or the personalities involved – is irrelevant. There are no laws that demand fidelity. There is only pantomime.

Four months ago, Rayer warned some folks they “should not fall into BN’s trap”.This should have been directed at the opposition.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.

9 thoughts on “UMNO state seeks DAP’s demise for political reasons

  1. Taking out LGE changes nothing for DAP. If the plan was to affect DAP, the planners are delusional. Damage to DAP already done, by Hadi’s PAS.

    Regardless their purpose, it’s malevolent politics. They are wishing ill will and real harm, physical even on their competitor. It is evil, monster. For Malay it’s what they call ” pesong aqidah”. THIS is underwritten by Hadi’s PAS and decades of their reading the Quran. The Malays are in danger of losing the respect of others, here and most of the civilised world.

  2. It’s the perennial tension between principles and realpolitik/hardball politics.

    When UMNO Baru-BN plays hardball and socially divisive “wedge issues” politics, it is difficult for progressive parties to stick to principles.

    But the Commander is right when he says that progressive parties should go beyond personality politics. There should be many other capable leaders who can step in if the top leaders are politically neutralised by devious means by ruling regimes. Thus the importance of some sort of training school for the most able recruits to progressive political parties. (Training in leadership, public relations skills, and for ideological parties like the DAP – learning about the principles and proud history of the Social Democracy movement worldwide and in specific countries such as Malaya/Malaysia, Sweden, Britain, New Zealand, Germany especially. Perhaps also countries such as
    Costa Rica, Uruguay, Mauritius – well-governed democratic Third World countries)

  3. Verily, the supply of talent in the DAP is not bottomless. For one thing, many of the second level leaders may succumb to temptations especially when in awesome and shocking quantities, perhaps as in the Perak ‘coup’, which may be flying around already.

    LGE perhaps should only step back, to come up with more creative strategies and outflanking manouvres, and never for a single second vacate his office. For one thing, the media folks, here and overseas, already see him an ‘underdog’ and may be scenting blood as the “arbiters” meet in London along with the recent release of the ‘IPIC letters’.

  4. Najib knows that if he steps down, he will be powerless like Dr. M. Likewise if LGE were to step down as a matter of principle, he too will be finished. That is Malaysian politics. UMNO does not play by the rule of honest and fair play. If the opposition falls into their trap of being principled men, they will be finished. In a game of Football, if a team plays with their feet and hands to score a goal, it’s opponent will lose the game if it sticks to its principle of just playing with their feet. In Malaysia, sorry to say, you must try to stick to your principles but must be willing to bend or ignore them if the circumstances demand it. This is one occasion for LGE to ignore the call for him to step down.

  5. “What I do know is that when the system turns a blind eye against the biggest corruption scandal this country has witnessed, then I say that every single other case of corruption – no matter how small or big or the personalities involved – is irrelevant. There are no laws that demand fidelity. There is only pantomime.”

    This is it right here.

    I would argue that the average apparatchik on Malaysiakini is too dumb , bigoted or ignorant to understand this.

    There’s this sense of victimhood that the DAP and its supporters always retreat to. PSM leaders and supporters are routinely harassed by the UMNO State and you don not hear the kind of vitriol or bleating from their supporters.

    I remember mocking the PSM’s obsession with Rashid Maidin and Che and yet I have respect for the party, its leadership and supporters even though I do not subscribe to their dogma.

    The mandarins at the DAP think that just because they have control of the English and Chinese social media landscape this translates to real world support.

    They are learning the hard way that winning the social media war means nothing in the real world.

    I thought that this was a good article about the situation but as usual on Mkini at least the apparatchik instaed of discussing the merits or not of the piece descended in to the bullying, aggressive counter productive mode of communication that characterizes their preferred form of leadership.

    I admire LKS but this road show is not some sort of democracy in action. It’s more like mob rule. More and more I think the DAP can’t or won’t make that distinction.

    I know UMNO is corrupt, diseased and a cancer to this country. The problem is the Opposition is slowly but surely making the case that they are not the cure. There are the placebo.

  6. Dear Taosuo

    Political activists who are motivated by ideology or religious fervour are much less susceptible to being “turned over” or bought with the help of “generous donations” from kleptocratic ruling regimes.

    In history, we have “Robespierre the Incorruptible” and the Communist cadres of various countries who underwent great personal suffering and sacrifice for their political beliefs. I remember watching an excellent movie on the white
    South African anti-apartheid activists Ruth First and her husband Joe Slovo – how their children suffered by having parents who were constantly away or on the run. (Ruth First was assassinated by a letter bomb posted to her by the
    apartheid regime). Then you have Nelson Mandela who spent decades in prison before emerging to lead his nation.

    Here, in Malaysia we have the activists from PSM. One may disagree with their ideology but there is no doubting their sincerity, dedication and lack of corruption.

    In other countries, we have ex-political prisoners (who were even tortured)
    who became effective presidents of their countries e.g. Kim Dae Jung of South Korea, Michelle Bachelet of Chile, Jose Mujica of Uruguay.

    This is why I think the DAP must spend more time teaching all its members the principles of Social Democracy and the proud history of the international social democratic movement.

  7. ” When i say that this is a politically motivated prosecution ,,,,,,,, what i mean is UMNO wants to destroy Guan Eng and the DAP for political reasons. ” Thayaparan

    And whom ,may i ask , has offered UMNO this golden opportunity to do so?

    If at the pinnacle , DAP has such morons like Guan Eng , then how can they be a good alternative with their partners?

  8. Just discovered a new blog in Malay “senapang sakti” which would dovetail neatly with issues discussed here.

  9. I wish to raise two points in my comments here as follows:

    1. The charges on LGE are more serious than Khir Toyo’s. Those who are not clear about my point here please check the charges on both men and compare them.

    2. LGE should resign since his case is already mentioned at the Session’s Court. All BN(UMNO) who were charged for various cases in the past, viz. corruption, rape, murder, abuse of power, etc., all resigned. Commander S. Thayaparan, RMN (Rtd.) is right, for as long as LGE does not retire, he will be attacked continually by BN and UMNO people.

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