August 28, 2016
UMNO Dignity is Malay Dignity (Maruah): So, it is Okay to be corrupt?
by Cmdr (rtd) S. Thayaparan
“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.”– Ralph Ellison, ‘Invisible Man’
COMMENT: I have never had much time for patriotism. It seems to me the people who advocate it vociferously are the ones who lack any kind of empathy for their fellow citizens. Around this time, the various media in this country transmit propaganda messages of how we are all Malaysians and that ‘Merdeka’ is the time to remember that.
Having said that, I do think that Astro’s ‘Unity Runs in Our Blood’ ad and the #kitasama blood donation drive are something that we should all get behind. They are clever bits of bridge-building that incorporate much needed corporate activism and address very serious issues that could help Malaysians.
I soon forgot all about Malay dignity because a Malay friend of mine, one of those true green PAS activists, decided that he was not going to participate in politics anymore because he finally caught on to the fact that everyone was using “Malay dignity” as a means to control the Malay polity and the only legitimate means of control, in his words – “should come from the Quran”. Go figure.
Of Malay dignity, this is what I wrote last month: “What this Bersih rally (Bersih 5) needs to be about is the dignity and integrity of the Malays. It needs to address the reality that Malay leadership has failed this country and the only way to restore any semblance of dignity to the Malay polity would be for the so-called ‘leaders’ of the Malay community, with the help of their non-Malay counterparts, to mobilise the Malay demographic into coming to the mother of all street parties.”
READ THIS by Geoff Wade:
Some folks took exception to this. Close friends of mine argued that this should be a ‘Malaysian’ demonstration and some opposition supporters actually believe we have a post-racial opposition. These same folks also believe that we should be pragmatic and were pushing the ‘PAS for All’ agenda. Go figure.
However, when the chips are down there is only ‘ketuanan UMNO’ and the rest of us ‘pendatangs’. Malay dignity – what a juvenile and immature platform to base an ideology on – is how UMNO defines it and how the opposition panders to it.
When the Prime Minster said that UMNO is a “sacred party”, I read it as “UMNO is a scared party” and just for a moment, I assumed that there was bit of self-reflection on the part of the not Malaysian Official 1.
Only in Malaysian politics could an UMNO potentate talk about dignity and in the same breath remind his cronies that it is he and he alone who dispenses monies to “cool their heads”. UMNO Malay dignity is the continued existence of a system of patronage.
The Prime Minister just proved what I wrote earlier, that “useful idiots that the establishment and opposition rely on to disseminate propaganda are distinct from the power brokers who rely on a steady infusion of cash to maintain, in UMNO’s case, political hegemony”.
This is a feudalistic culture where rich Malay potentates sustained by non-Malay plutocrats use a post-colonial system of governance in furtherance of their race-based agenda. Moreover, for decades they legitimately ruled a multiracial polity that enjoyed the poisoned fruits from the seeds planted long ago.
“Where are your principles? In politics, you cannot let your moustache touch the ground. What does this mean? It means (to protect) your dignity and self-worth,”laments the kleptocrat-in-chief to his docile audience.
This from a Prime Minister who has been accused of being in the centre of the largest corruption scandal the world has witnessed. It just goes to show you what UMNO Malays consider sacred. What is sacred is ensuring that the gravy train continues to run.
Redeeming Malay dignity
Is redeeming Malay dignity an ongoing process? How far has the Malay community come post-independence? I have argued that post-1969 an artificial Malay middle-class was engineered. Others have argued that whatever economic goals that were the foundation of the racist policies disguised as affirmative action programmes have been met, but with statistical legerdemain and propaganda is verboten in public discussion.
The Malay Dignity Champions–General Kulup Rani and Malaysian Official 1
To recap – “The reality is that all these policies have done – religiously, sociologically, economically or ideologically – is to instil a sense of independence in the non-Malay community and dependence in the Malay polity. I would argue (and have) that there is not really a sense of ‘ketuanan Melayu’ in the general Malay community but rather a ‘ketuanan UMNO’ that has been the dominant expression of ‘Malay’ nationalism.”
In other words, Malay dignity as defined by UMNO is dependence on UMNO. That is the covenant between the average Malay and UMNO. Of course, because the ‘Malays’ do not neatly fall into the stereotype that politicians would have us believe, UMNO’s so-called sacred duty to defend Malay dignity has always been open to attacks.
In the old days, UMNO had to contend with PAS. However, since these days PAS has decided to work with UMNO – the same folks who not long ago accused UMNO of betraying Islam and the Malay community – the real threats come from within UMNO.
So now, we get PKR defending Malay dignity. Amanah defending Malay dignity. PAS defending Malay dignity. The Najib refuseniks defending Malay dignity, and of course, UMNO defending Malay dignity.
The problem is that after all these years of defending Malay dignity, the Malay community is still in danger from every other community in the country. Malay dignity, or at the very least UMNO dignity, comes at the price of being bailed out by China or any other greater power that the propaganda goons from Putrajaya routinely demonise.
I wrote once that “nobody supports UMNO because of ideology or because they are legitimate caretakers or because of the belief that only they can lead the country. Patronage, cronyism, feudalism, all these things are connected to money. Cash is King, is the only way UMNO members know how to show and receive love or loyalty.”
And even though UMNO bleats that foreigners are attempting to take control of Malay destiny, the reality is that Malay destiny like the community’s dignity was pawned a long time ago to kleptocrats that these days are so inept and corrupt that the centre cannot hold.
In the end, those multi-racial urban enclaves will be overwhelmed by the hordes of rural dwellers wanting to know what all that Malay dignity has got them. UMNO would probably tell them, it is somewhere safe waiting to be redeemed.
S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.