On the Last Honest Man in UMNO

October 4, 2016

Thayaparan on The Last Honest Man in UMNO

What this really means is the success and failure of this country depends on how the Malays decide to play the game. The terrible truth is that it is not the non-Malays who are playing a rigged game but the Malays. The sooner the majority of Malays figure this out, the better for the country.–Thayaparan

by Cmdr. (rtd) S. Thayaparan


Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids.”

– John Steinbeck, ‘East of Eden’

I have no idea why political analysts have jumped on Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s response to a question by Sinar Harian. Did anyone actually bother reading the two articles where the UMNO veteran held forth on a variety of issues?

Image result for Ku Li the two headed dragon

Both articles were interesting because it gave a brief glimpse into the political reality of this country and the agitation in the Malay polity concerning the two major parties that supposedly represent their so-called interest.

Of Razaleigh I have earlier said, “Razaleigh, of course, always nurtured the perception that he was the last honest man in UMNO, a prince who reluctantly found himself consorting with thieves.

“Ku Li, as he is fondly known as, has the remarkable ability to engender goodwill from certain sections of the general public by disassociating himself from the excesses of UMNO even though he contributed to the very culture he claims to despise.”

The Sinar Harian articles are littered with his distinctive pose of being ultimate insider and reluctant outsider.

To recap, the answer that got some analysts all a tither was in response to this question, “Ramai tak puas hati dengan Umno dan PAS. Dikatakan sekarang ini bangsa Melayu ini tidak berada di tempat yang sepatutnya dan usaha menyatukan dua parti Melayu perlu dilakukan?” (Many are dissatisfied with UMNO and PAS. It is said today the Malay race is no longer in a place that it should be, and efforts to unite the two Malay parties need to happen?)

Razaleigh’s response begun with an acknowledgement of the dissatisfaction on the part UMNO and PAS supporters – “Rasa tidak puas hati tu memang ada dalam kalangan sesetengah orang yang jadi ahli fikir atau yang fikir keadaan masa depan orang Melayu dan Islam. Banyak tidak puas hati dengan cara PAS memimpin sekarang ini. Banyak tidak puas hati dengan cara UMNO dipimpin sekarang. Itu memang jelas. Itu sebabnya wujud pelbagai puak parti serpihan, kata orang, daripada UMNO ataupun PAS” – and then a dismissal and acknowledgment of the propaganda that a divided Malay community would mean the ascension of the DAP as a political hegemon, which was spun as a question of its own.

Image result for UMNO's Double Game

The Game these UMNO Brats Play

However, the reality is that Razaleigh knows that the game is rigged. When questioned about the chances of the opposition winning in the next election, he conceded that it was a possibility if there was a common platform but without the support of PAS, the chances were slim. Indeed, he acknowledges that solely partnering with DAP will not mean the keys to Putrajaya but what is needed is a coalescing of Malay power structures to vanquish the UMNO hegemon.

However, the more we peel away the rhetoric, we come to understand that voting and democracy are merely parlour tricks in the Malaysian context. Forget about the gerrymandering or redelineation exercise, this idea that the game is not rigged that we are in democracy is ludicrous.

Read what Razaleigh says about not underestimating the establishment – “(Bagaimanapun) jangan memandang rendah kepada kerajaan kerana mereka ada kuasa, ada televisyen, radio, duit dan media. Mereka juga ada alat-alat risikan dan sebagainya. Media dia lebih tahu pada kita. Dia tahu kita belum tahu lagi. Sama ada dengan kekuasaan itu, parti yang berkuasa akan kalah saya tidak tahu.”

Here is an establishment politician admitting that the state controls nearly every avenue of expression and uses its intelligence services as a means of securing political victory. In any functional democracy, this would be verboten but here in Malaysia and perhaps South-East Asia, this normalizing of authoritarian measures as a means of political victory and a tool of economic and social stability is considered par for the course.

Devoid of any principled politics

Image result for Najib and the Red Shirts

Playing the Race and Religion Card for Regime Survival

And while I did not find the so-called “question” troubling, I do think that Razaleigh’s spin on money politics is indicative of why the political terrain is devoid of any sort of principled politics.

When he says, “Dalam isu wang, pilihan raya perlukan (wang). Suka atau tidak suka, itu tidak menjadi masalah curah duit banyak macam mana. Semua orang nak menang pilihan raya. Tidak ada nak bertanding hendak kalah,” I would say that nearly every politician I have met – establishment and opposition – has sublimated this idea and justified it as a means of achieving a greater good.

While UMNO practices money politics in its own crude and blatant way, increasingly the opposition is resorting to this to achieve their political goals. Indeed, jailed political leader Anwar Ibrahim warned of this in his letter from prison – “…the idealism which once fired PKR appears to have been doused by the lustre of power and funds”.

Indeed, when commenting on the letter I wrote, “Rich men with money are always hedging their bets. The average opposition supporter would be shocked by who funds whom. Plutocrats who are routinely mocked on in the comment sections of Malaysiakini and the other ‘alternative’ news (sic) sources, have always been amenable to funding potentially powerful power structures. Money politics isn’t just an UMNO thing.”

The real theme of the Razaleigh interview – ignoring the spin about how governance has only a small impact on the economy or how so-called security bills are there to protect us from foreign interference – is how politicians like him can never truly abandon UMNO because to do so would mean jumping off the gravy train.

This is not to say that politicians who have abandoned UMNO have the country’s best interest at heart. It merely means that they at least have the courage to stand up to the UMNO hegemon. Ultimately, standing up to the UMNO hegemon is the first step is acknowledging that the Malay community is evolving.

(I want to qualify this statement with this caveat from another article – “chasing the Malay vote using the dogma of UMNO is amplifying mistakes instead of rectifying them and ultimately a progressive Malaysia is better than one merely led by a political party using the same old UMNO dogma.”)

The great irony is that the “Malays”, because of how the game is rigged and how the opposition operates, are truly the masters of this land. As the ever-reliable political observer Dr. James Chin said, “It is not possible for a non-Malay victory, under any circumstances.”

What this really means is the success and failure of this country depends on how the Malays decide to play the game. The terrible truth is that it is not the non-Malays who are playing a rigged game but the Malays. The sooner the majority of Malays figure this out, the better for the country.

11 thoughts on “On the Last Honest Man in UMNO

  1. Well said, Cmdr! Alas, almost all Malay, including those within the opposition seems to be oblivious of what the Cmdr has clearly pointed out. Middle-class would work with neither parties. The reality is that the elite class has the most to loose. As long as there is a separation between the word Bumiputera and pendatang, there would be imbalance and pecah-belah within the Malay community. This has nothing to do with what pendatang would decide to push forth or not.

  2. It’s indication how strategically hopeless the opposition is to let anyone describe the Malays as most divided today. Between Najib UMNO and Hadi’s PAS, the Malays have never been more united. It’s simply nonsense to suggest just because there are many fractures, the combined majority of Najib and Hadi is Hegemony. This idea that PAS is opposition is ridiculous. Anyone that think UMNO and Hadi’s PAS will not eventually merge is delusional or nostalgic.

    Like it or not, GE 14 is UMNO- PAS vs PH. Those in PKR, Muhiyiddin or anyone else that believes or even take for granted it’s anything else is grasping for straws or hurrying their heads in the sand.

  3. Quote:- “What this really means is the success and failure of this country depends on how the Malays decide to play the game. The terrible truth is that it is not the non-Malays who are playing a rigged game but the Malays. The sooner the majority of Malays figure this out, the better for the country”

    The Malays would say, or brain washed to say ,….this “game” is not necessary if the wealth of the country is not in the greedy hands of the non-Malays, especially the Chinese.

  4. The problem is,
    whoever and whichever play or condone the “rigged game”( in Malaysia, race, religion and money,lots of stolen monies from the Rakyat ), are in fact, against ourselves, the Malaysian Rakyat,whether they are from or within Malays, non-Malays, government, oppositions,parties, institutions, individual leaders or otherwise.

    Malaysians Are Against Themselves.

    It has become an acute National Problem, pertinently the Rakyat’s, not just the
    ” majority of Malays” .It can be traced to the leaders’ Personal Greed and Excessive Extravaganza over and above the Basic Needs of Food and Shelter, and Affordable Wants.

    Yes, it is The People’s Problem being created by the rogue political and institutional leaders.Every spinning action can be Traced back to one or all of these 5 elements, Money politic, Abuse of power, Corruption, Cronysm and Puppetry, MACCP, which has been, for decades, the Dominating Cause consequence of the damaging characteristics and integrity of the leaders–Where Scandals and Huge Sums of country’s money Lost or Squandered that were Unaccounted

    The (last honest ?) political leaders, most very rich, some filthy, need to be made aware of this problem and take actions to collectively overcome it for a better future.But it is not happening, even most are aware of it. The grassroots have been persistently misled or (dis) misinformed.

    The Cause of the problem facing the nation is , MACCP.

    So, it is pertinent for the Rakyat who had now inherited the problem,(eventually,people are the ones paying for it) to Act and help solve the problem facing the nation by, First Asking and Getting Answers From the these political leaders, and some institutional:

    How in a short period of time, even a life time, they could have acquired such enormous wealth, some UNEXPLAINED, in the hundreds of millions or billions ?

    ,and from Where and Whom ?

  5. Cmdr, you have analysed the political situation well. As for me and a large number of both Malay and non Malay friends, we are of common conviction that right from Perlis to Sabah and Sarawak, even if all the CMs, Pengarah2, Heads of Depts are all Malays, it would not matter to us, so long as they are the best qualified, corrupt free and 100% dedicated nationalists. There is nothing for the Malays to worry about the Chinese or even foreign power. The real threat to the Malays are Malays themselves. The power crazy, highly corrupted, manipulative, unqualified, greedy and selfish Malays are the very threat to Malays and the nation. When corruption becomes a culture and Malays ignore it and large group even condone it, be assured the nation is headed towards disaster.

  6. Is there an honest UMNO man? Name me one. The honest man would have quit UMNO like Saifuddin and Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah.

  7. Not for long. The regime is and has always been looking for ways to increase its base without having to rely on DLL anymore

  8. Right to, Commander. The Chinese are never interested in taking over any country that they live in. Look around at all the the countries where you find Chinese citizens. They are only interested in working hard to make as much money as possible, and in doing so, the adopted countries benefited.
    This corrupted regime has, over the years, brainwashed the Malays so thoroughly, blinding them with crutches, and making them so uninitiated and dependent, that the Malays believe they will never survive without UMNO. Where will the country go from here, except downwards.

  9. Eric,

    I would agree to much that you have mentioned. But, I always need to remind myself democracy wasn’t build with selfless people serving the public. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. Democracy is neither virtuous nor efficient. Democracy thrives on letting individual’s greed to grow to the extent before it kills the host by others around oneself. Democracy is there to safeguard only one thing, that is the unnecessary shedding of blood to remove a ruthless greed. (Google Karl Popper on Democracy)

    One can deny one’s right to lead, but one has no right to deny others the same right. If you are a Malaysian, Malay or not, you must ask yourself one thing:- did you deny yourself when you cari-makan at the expense of others, or did you deny your closest family the right for a better life when you short-sell yourself, when you said we are all ok to have only the Malays as wakil? Stop denying the rights of capable non-Malays the right to lead and shine in Malaysia. Stop denying the weakest in the society the opportunity to taste the meaning of a better life.

    If Malay wants to lead, then lead, but such Malay needs to stop the ‘layu-layu’ act of ‘rent-seeking’. If they are not doing so, any Malaysian could and should rise up to take their place. Most of the so-called modern-day leaders too were all children of pendatangs or someone whose father is nobody. Stop putting son-of-so-and-so on a higher pedestal than they ought to be.

    Many self-made men of this generation deserves to lead too.
    As per fixing UMNOb .. it could only fixed when there is competition.
    Pakatan Harapan today is still no harapan. UMNOb is still not threatened.

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