Ode to the Unsung Heroes of GE-14–People of Malaysia


May 23, 2018

Ode to the Unsung Heroes of GE-14–People of Malaysia

By James Unsworth

 

Image result for Ode to the Unsung Heroes of GE-14

Her Departure from Seri Perdana, the Official Residence of the Malaysian Prime Minister, in itself is cause for  celebration

Now that we have the title, Change Was the Victory, perhaps this can be the narrative. Like any good narrative, there will be complications, plot twists and the like, but if the product is truly one Malaysia, one equal Malaysia, then that would be quite the book.

Recently, we all bore witness to a truly momentous and historic event. The momentous occurrence, was the change itself, the change in government. It is not that a band of saviours sailed ashore and a bright destiny was, or even will be, realised, it was merely that change was seen to be possible. It was that hope returned.

The change was the victory. From now on, whoever holds the reins will know that should they govern poorly, they will lose their jobs. They will be kept honest.

It is not the next band of political leaders that needs celebrating therefore, this victory belongs to the people, as the people did not vote for particular individuals, they voted for change, they voted for hope.

Image result for Ode to  Malaysians

This ballad therefore is not dedicated to the big names of the new government, it is for the smaller, less heard, but nonetheless effective actors, the everyday man, the everyday woman, who long ago spoke of ‘Malaysians’, long before 1Malaysia, those who spoke of equality, justice and transparency and saw political change as the first step towards this.

This ballad is dedicated to the quiet warriors, the quiet heroes, who, in Malcolm Gladwell’s terminology, were “the few”, the few who became the many, the many who spoke together last week. This ballad is to people like my wife: Gayatri Unsworth.

Since before I knew my wife, she has spoken with a tone of confused frustration about a Malaysia, without “Malaysians”, where division is normal and unity is a dream.

I’ve heard the stories of her childhood, of Ahmad’s, Chin’s, Kumar’s and Jonathan’s, of an idyllic singular Malaysia. When she was a young journalism student, I read her articles, which accounted as such and in which she dreamed of a day where this might once again become reality.

When she was a young professional in Australia, I heard her broadcast this message in her weekly Malay Language programme on SBS Radio around the country, to the Malaysian diaspora.

Back in Malaysia, I heard her imbue this message in her teaching to university students, as she taught them journalism ethics. I have heard this message repeated and manifest in the actions of her many graduated students, who have since taken leading roles in the Malaysian and foreign media and other aspects of civic life.

I have read it in her alternate news media articles, like ‘Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka’, widely read before a previous election, in her FB posts, in her weekly column and even in her article published the night before this famous election. I have seen it in her work with charities and social enterprises and in the way she raises our children.

Most importantly, I have heard it in the way she has consistently and calmly (and sometimes not so calmly) held firm in innumerate conversations over the past two decades, with family, friends and strangers, even when they said, “don’t trouble”, “don’t risk”.

I am delighted for my wife and for this country, as every one of these individuals has changed their tune, over time, gradually, one by one. Every wave, began with a ripple.

Image result for Malaysia makes History

Tun Dr. Mahathir is back with his Fellow Malaysians to make history and drain the swamp in Putrajaya. Together, we can make a difference

My celebration this week is for Malaysia, a country I love and for Malaysians and my tribute is to those few, those quiet warriors, those quiet heroes who kept on, kept on, kept on, until all of a sudden it happened!

Is there still plenty to fix in Malaysia? Yes. I first came to Malaysia in 2001 and I have lived here full-time for the past 12 years, longer than I have lived in any other place and I have observed many things.

Will these things be fixed because there is a different group in charge? No, maybe some, but that is not the point. Change was the victory, but it is just the beginning, not the end, not the climax, not even the introduction, just the title of a new story: Change Was the Victory.

I love this country, I was married here, my children have been born and raised here, I have taught here, I have studied here, I have bought, lived in and then sold a house here.

I have traveled all over this beautiful land and lived in three states, as I followed the work, like so many. I have become “me” here. I have partaken in the culinary multiculturalism of open-house culture, I have cheered for Harimau Malaya in the stands, I have cried at Chong Wei’s loses and sung Negaraku with pride.

I have sat in the front row at a Zainal Abidin concert, rocked out at Rock the World (back in the day), been to more weddings than I can remember, each a different kind, sweat it out on the local badminton court each Monday night and craved a teh tarik or Milo ais straight after.

But, despite my BM, my palate for sambal, my pride, my history on the ground, my Malaysian cultural idiosyncrasies, I will always be a foreigner. Well, maybe not always, but certainly for a long time yet.

Before I might be accepted, Malaysians need to accept each other, they need to come to know each other, one bangsa, equal. This is the story that needs to next be written.

Now that we have the title, Change Was the Victory, perhaps this can be the narrative. Like any good narrative, there will be complications, plot twists and the like, but if the product is truly one Malaysia, one equal Malaysia, then that would be quite the book.

James is the Head of English at an esteemed private school in Malaysia.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.  http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Trump is right on China-US Trade


April 9, 2018

Trump is right on China-US Trade

by  Dr. Fareed Zakaria

https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/fareed-zakaria/?utm_term=.b9d5085da8fd

Ever since the resignation of top advisers Gary Cohn and H.R. McMaster, it does seem as if the Trump White House has gotten more chaotic, if that is possible. But amid the noise and tumult, including the alarming tweets about Amazon and Mexico, let’s be honest — on one big, fundamental point, President Trump is right: China is a trade cheat.

Many of the Trump administration’s economic documents have been laughably sketchy and amateurish. But the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s report to Congress on China’s compliance with global trading rules is an exception worth reading. In measured prose and great detail, it lays out the many ways that China has failed to enact promised economic reforms and backtracked on others, and uses formal and informal means to block foreign firms from competing in China’s market. It points out correctly that in recent years, the Chinese government has increased its intervention in the economy, particularly taking aim at foreign companies. All of this directly contradicts Beijing’s commitments when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Image result for donald trump trade policy

President Donald Trump’s Trade Policy: Getting Tough on China

Whether one accepts the trade representative’s conclusion that “the United States erred in supporting China’s entry into the WTO,” it is clear that the expectation that China would continue to liberalize its markets after its entry has proved to be mistaken.

Washington approached China’s entry into the world trading system no differently from that of other countries that joined in the mid-20th century. As countries were admitted, the free world (especially the United States) opened its markets to the new entrants, and those countries in turn lowered barriers to their markets. That’s how it went with such nations as Japan, South Korea and Singapore. But there were two notable factors about these countries: They were relatively small compared with the size of the global economy, and they also lived under the American security umbrella. Both factors meant that Washington and the West had considerable leverage over these new entrants. Singapore had 2.2 million people and a gross domestic product of $19 billion when it joined the GATT (the precursor to the WTO), while South Korea had 30 million people and a GDP of $41 billion. Japan was larger, with 90 million people and a GDP of under $800 billion. (All GDP figures are adjusted for inflation.)

And then came China, with 1.3 billion people and a GDP of $2.4 trillion when it joined the WTO in 2001. That was almost a fifth of the U.S. economy. The Chinese seemed to recognize that once they were in the system, the size of their market would ensure that every country would vie for access, and this would give them the ability to cheat without much fear of reprisal. Moreover, Beijing was never dependent on Washington for its security. It had fought a war against American troops in the 1950s with some success and had grown into a great power in its own right.

The scale and speed of China’s integration into the world trading system made it a seismic event. The distinguished economist David Autor, along with two colleagues, has published study after study on the impact of the so-called China Shock. They conclude that about a quarter of all manufacturing jobs lost in the United States between 1990 and 2007 could be explained by the deluge of Chinese imports. Nothing on this scale had happened before.

Look at the Chinese economy today. It has managed to block or curb the world’s most advanced and successful technology companies, from Google to Facebook to Amazon. Foreign banks often have to operate with local partners who add zero value — essentially a tax on foreign companies. Foreign manufacturers are forced to share their technology with local partners who then systematically reverse engineer some of the same products and compete against their partners. And then there is cybertheft. The most extensive cyberwarfare waged by a foreign power against the United States is done not by Russia but by China. The targets are American companies, whose secrets and intellectual property are then shared with Chinese competitors.

China is not alone. Countries such as India and Brazil are also trade cheats. In fact, the last series of world trade talks, the Doha Round, was killed by obstructionism from Brazil and India, in tandem with China. Today the greatest threat to the open world economy comes from these large countries that have chosen to maintain mixed economies, refuse to liberalize much more and have enough power to hold firm.

Image result for fareed zakaria

The Trump administration may not have chosen the wisest course forward — focusing on steel, slapping on tariffs, alienating key allies, working outside the WTO — but its frustration is understandable. Previous administrations exerted pressure privately, worked within the system and tried to get allies on board, with limited results. Getting tough on China is a case where I am willing to give Trump’s unconventional methods a try. Nothing else has worked.

Bank Negara RCI –A Political Witch hunt?


September 26, 2017

Bank Negara RCI –A Political Witch hunt

by Wan Saiful Wan Jan@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

The hearings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Bank Negara Malaysia’s foreign exchange trading losses has ended. They called in 25 witnesses, and apparently more than 40 relevant documents have been scrutinised.

Image result for Bank Negara HQ Building

The RCI was to investigate the losses incurred by Bank Negara in the early 1990s. The RCI was led by its chairman Sidek Hassan, who is former Chief Secretary to the government and current chairman of PETRONAS.

At the beginning of the RCI, Sidek told the public that they had been given five key tasks.

Image result for najib vs mahathir

Zeroing the Blame on Dr. Mahathir for Bank Negara Forex Losses.But what about 1MBD Scandal?

First, to determine the authenticity of the allegation on the foreign exchange trading losses suffered by Bank Negara Malaysia in the 1990s and its implications on the national economy.

Second, to determine whether BNM’s involvement in the foreign exchange trading activities which caused the losses had contravened the Central Bank Ordinance 1958 or any relevant laws.

Third, to determine whether there were hidden facts or information relating to foreign exchange losses suffered by BNM and misleading statements given to the Cabinet, Parliament and the Public.

Fourth, to recommend suitable actions to be taken against those found to be directly or indirectly involved in causing the losses and hiding the facts and information on the losses.

Fifth, to recommend appropriate measures to ensure the incident will not recur.

I find the increasing demands for RCIs rather worrying. Yes, indeed it is a legitimate tool that we can use to investigate any pertinent matter. But the fact that we see more and more people calling for RCIs on various issues show that there is a lack of trust in the regular mechanisms or institutions that exist to investigate matters.

We already have bodies like the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), plus various other law enforcement agencies, whose jobs are to conduct investigations on matters under their purview.

Public demand for RCIs to be formed imply that they do not fully trust the existing institutions, and that is why another body needs to be formed. This declining trust in our public institutions worries me.

In any case, the formation of this latest RCI is another low in itself. It was formed to investigate a matter that took place 30 years ago, when there are more than enough things that remain unresolved today.

The Malays have a saying about this: “Gajah depan mata tak nampak, tapi kuman di seberang laut nampak jelas.”

Supporters of former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed have claimed that the RCI is an attempt by the government to tarnish his legacy. They have a point.

The focus of this investigation seems to be on Mahathir alone. With a stretch, perhaps it will implicate Anwar Ibrahim too. But the focus seems to be Mahathir.

I find this truly amazing because the RCI was formed only when Mahathir formed a new political party that is currently challenging UMNO.

When he was still in UMNO, nobody was interested in investigating him. And when he was Prime Minister, many of these people, from all races and religions, were kissing his hands.

Some of the current members of the Cabinet were Mahathir’s ardent defenders soon after the losses were incurred by Bank Negara. They stayed sheepishly silent while Mahathir was their leader. And they continued to be silent even after Mahathir’s retirement as Prime Minister in 2003.

Is it a coincidence that these politicians suddenly found their conscience a few months after Mahathir founded a new opposition party?

Where did they hide that conscience during the years when they were worshipping Mahathir?

Malaysia follows a Westminster-style democracy where the cabinet as a whole acts collectively. There is no one-man-show. All members of the cabinet are collectively and equally responsible for all the decisions.

Now with the new-found conscience, can we reasonably expect that everyone who has ever served under Mahathir’s Cabinet will take collective responsibility for any recommendations made by the RCI?

Or are they going to blame Mahathir alone since he is now an opposition leader, while claiming infallibility for those who are still in government?

An RCI is an institution that we usually appeal to in order to boost confidence in our system of government. When other bodies cannot fully fulfil the trust burden, we often appeal to entities like the RCI to step in and play their roles.

The high regards commanded by an entity like the RCI is the reason why it usually works. That is also why such a body deserves the word “Royal” in its name. But abusing an RCI like this is completely unacceptable. It erodes trust in yet another institution in the country.

If Mahathir has done any wrong in the Bank Negara forex dealings, then those people who were in his Cabinet at that time should have resigned in protest, or they should at least have spoken, then. Not just now. But they had 30 years to do it.

Failing to resign at that time shows that they have no real principles. And what a shame that they damage public trust in the noble institution of the RCI too in this blatant exhibition of their hypocrisy.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan is chief executive of Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).

 

Trump and the Truth About Climate Change


July 22, 2017

Trump and the Truth About Climate Change

by Joseph E. Stiglitz

http://www.project-syndicate.com

Image result for trump and climate change cartoon

Under President Donald Trump’s leadership, the United States took another major step toward establishing itself as a rogue state on June 1, when it withdrew from the Paris climate agreement. For years, Trump has indulged the strange conspiracy theory that, as he put it in 2012, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” But this was not the reason Trump advanced for withdrawing the US from the Paris accord. Rather, the agreement, he alleged, was bad for the US and implicitly unfair to it.

While fairness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, Trump’s claim is difficult to justify. On the contrary, the Paris accord is very good for America, and it is the US that continues to impose an unfair burden on others.

Historically, the US has added disproportionately to the rising concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and among large countries it remains the biggest per capita emitter of carbon dioxide by far – more than twice China’s rate and nearly 2.5 times more than Europe in 2013 (the latest year for which the World Bank has reported complete data). With its high income, the US is in a far better position to adapt to the challenges of climate change than poor countries like India and China, let alone a low-income country in Africa.

Image result for trump and climate change

After 6 months in office, Trump has shown that he is incapable of getting his agenda going. He cannot get at the issues which require his leadership.

In fact, the major flaw in Trump’s reasoning is that combating climate change would strengthen the US, not weaken it. Trump is looking toward the past – a past that, ironically, was not that great. His promise to restore coal-mining jobs (which now number 51,000, less than 0.04% of the country’s non-farm employment) overlooks the harsh conditions and health risks endemic in that industry, not to mention the technological advances that would continue to reduce employment in the industry even if coal production were revived.

In fact, far more jobs are being created in solar panel installation than are being lost in coal. More generally, moving to a green economy would increase US income today and economic growth in the future. In this, as in so many things, Trump is hopelessly mired in the past.

Just a few weeks before Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord, the global High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices, which I co-chaired with Nicholas Stern, highlighted the potential of a green transition. The Commission’s report, released at the end of May, argues that reducing CO2 emissions could result in an even stronger economy.

The logic is straightforward. A key problem holding back the global economy today is deficient aggregate demand. At the same time, many countries’ governments face revenue shortfalls. But we can address both issues simultaneously and reduce emissions by imposing a charge (a tax) for CO2 emissions.

It is always better to tax bad things than good things. By taxing CO2, firms and households would have an incentive to retrofit for the world of the future. The tax would also provide firms with incentives to innovate in ways that reduce energy usage and emissions – giving them a dynamic competitive advantage.

The Commission analyzed the level of carbon price that would be required to achieve the goals set forth in the Paris climate agreement – a far higher price than in most of Europe today, but still manageable. The commissioners pointed out that the appropriate price may differ across countries. In particular, they noted, a better regulatory system – one that restrains coal-fired power generation, for example – reduces the burden that must be placed on the tax system.

Interestingly, one of the world’s best-performing economies, Sweden, has already adopted a carbon tax at a rate substantially higher than that discussed in our report. And the Swedes have simultaneously sustained their strong growth without US-level emissions.

America under Trump has gone from being a world leader to an object of derision. In the aftermath of Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the Paris accord, a large sign was hung over Rome’s city hall: “The Planet First.” Likewise, France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, poked fun at Trump’s campaign slogan, declaring “Make Our Planet Great Again.”

Image result for joseph e. stiglitz

But the consequences of Trump’s actions are no laughing matter. If the US continues to emit as it has, it will continue to impose enormous costs on the rest of the world, including on much poorer countries. Those who are being harmed by America’s recklessness are justifiably angry.

Fortunately, large parts of the US, including the most economically dynamic regions, have shown that Trump is, if not irrelevant, at least less relevant than he would like to believe. Large numbers of states and corporations have announced that they will proceed with their commitments – and perhaps go even further, offsetting the failures of other parts of the US.

In the meantime, the world must protect itself against rogue states. Climate change poses an existential threat to the planet that is no less dire than that posed by North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. In both cases, the world cannot escape the inevitable question: what is to be done about countries that refuse to do their part in preserving our planet?

Anwar Ibrahim is my Prime Minister and why


May 25, 2017

Anwar Ibrahim is my Prime Minister and why

by http://www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for anwar ibrahimNo Politician in Malaysia has been challenged, tested, and made to suffer like Anwar Ibrahim. Yet he has remained steadfast to his cause. It takes a lot of willpower and character. Nurul Izzah Anwar told me when I met her recently in Phnom Penh that her father refused asylum in the United Kingdom and a professorial position at the prestigious Georgetown University in the United States because he would not abandon his struggle for freedom, justice and democracy.–Din Merican
Image result for anwar ibrahim

Comment: It is life’s irony that a man who was regarded a “Malay Ultra” by the Late Lee Kuan Yew and a long serving 4th Prime Minister with blemished track record of failed institutions and Malay-centeric policies is the preferred choice to be the Prime Minister should Pakatan Harapan win the GE-14 elections.

It shows to me at least how desperate Malaysians have become to want a 92 year old ex-UMNO President to lead our country. This is good news to the incumbent Najib Razak because he can beat Dr. Mahathir  quite easily. He has enough information about his predecessor twice removed to sway voters against Pakatan Harapan.  It will then be from “Ada Harapan to Tiada Harapan” (Hope to No Hope).

I make no bones about my choice as our country’s next Prime Minister. He is no other than the village boy (he is not a member of the Malay aristocratic class) from Chrok Tok Kun in Penang called Anwar Ibrahim. He is not perfect (neither am I and you) but he is the most experienced Malaysian politician and a charismatic personality cum public intellectual with ideas about democracy, freedom, social justice and good governance. He has been through a lot as a result of being in jail on trumped up charges of sodomy. Yet Anwar is unwavering in his commitment to the people of Malaysia the way Nelson Mandela was to the people of South Africa. Mandela became President after spending 27 years in jail.  Anwar can be Malaysia’s Prime Minister.

I should know about Anwar Ibrahim as I was once working for him in 2007-2009. In 2008, I traveled with him in his car day and night to campaign throughout the length and breadth of our country. We spent countless hours chatting about his vision for Malaysia and empathy for the ordinary man. He united the Opposition including PAS and created a movement that eventually led to the political demise of Abdullah Badawi, our inept and sleepy head 5th Prime Minister. He replaced by Najib Razak, Mahathir’s choice as UMNO President and Prime Minister.

Unfortunately for Anwar and us Malaysians , Najib Razak was able to create Sodomy 2 (I am not sure if Tun Dr. Mahathir and his associates had hand it in this) that landed him in Sungei Buloh for the second time.  Today, he remains our prisoner of conscience, who is strong in will and very committed to the cause of justice, freedom and dignity for Malaysians. Here is to you, Anwar Ibrahim: Salam Reformasi. Lawan Tetap Lawan. –Din Merican

Desperate Malaysians prefer Tun Dr. Mahathir as Prime Minister again

by http://www.malaysiakini.com

An overwhelming majority of Malaysiakini’s readers have endorsed Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Pakatan Harapan’s Prime minister candidate.

According to the 12,777 who voted in the new portal’s poll, 8,926 (69.9 percent) said Mahathir should be made a candidate while 3,276 (25.6 percent) disagreed. A small group answered “Not sure” or “Don’t care” in the poll, which ran for six days since May 19.

As the poll was conducted in three languages, the results showed different voting patterns among the various demographics.

Respondents who took part in the English-language version were the most supportive of naming Mahathir as a candidate for the premiership, compared to Bahasa Malaysia or Chinese-language readers.

Of those who answered the English-language poll, 76.6 percent were in favour of naming Mahathir as prime ministerial candidate while 68.6 percent of those who answered through the Bahasa Malaysia poll voted the same.

However, only 51 percent of those who answered the Chinese-language poll backed Mahathir for the top post, with 43.9 percent disagreeing.

One of the reasons for the Chinese-language poll results could be related to Mahathir’s words and deeds during his tenure as Prime Minister, for example, the Suqiu election appeals issue. In 2000, even DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang, who has since buried the hatchet with Mahathir, lambasted the former Premier over the Suqiu matter.

After accepting Suqiu’s election appeal, which included a review of the National Economic Policy, Mahathir, following the 1999 polls, had likened the movement to the communists. Another reason for the lack of support among Chinese-language readers is perhaps because they prefer jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to helm the nation.

Harapan has been under pressure of late over their nominee for Prime Minister, with BN claiming that this proves that the opposition coalition was not united.

The Harapan New Deal–Mahathir


May 9, 2017

The Harapan New Deal–Mahathir : The Hobson’s Choice for the Opposition?

Cmdr (rtd) S. Thayaparan@www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for mahathir

Strange Brew in the Politics of Convenience

“I see Datuk Seri Najib is bending backwards to appease the Chinese, in the process of course he has antagonised quite a lot of Malays.”

— Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad

“Gua Tolong Lu, Lu Tolong Gua.”

–Prime Minister Najib Razak

Everything columnist P Gunasegaram wrote in both his articles about the former Prime Minister and does ‘Harapan need Mahathir’ is correct and if you believe that saving Malaysia means getting rid of the current grand UMNO Grand Poobah then yes, the Opposition does need Mahathir.

“Correct” in everything, other than bringing PAS back in the fold. Then again, it is somewhat correct. I know what Guna means about bringing PAS back in the fold. There is a dialectic going on within PAS that scares the hell out of the Abdul Hadi Awang-UMNO wing of PAS and it is probably this element that Guna thinks is worth working with.

Hopefully the strategists in the Opposition are working on this because the Opposition has only ever been successful when they present a unified front against the hegemon. While Abdul Hadi Awang attempts to work his magic for his patrons in Putrajaya, he is mindful of manoeuvres from within to undermine the post-Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat reality he is attempting to forge. But this is not what this article is about.

Image result for mahathir

The Return of an Old Warrior–Can he make a Difference?

As I have argued, needing Mahathir is a Hobson’s choice of the Opposition’s making and while racial politics has always been a feature of opposition politics, the rhetoric coming from the de facto Opposition leader is furthering the fear-mongering racial narratives that used to be only the province of UMNO only.

Those dark paths to retaining power is always fraught with danger and it is naïve to think that the Opposition is “using” Mahathir. Nobody has ever used Mahathir and as one dejected DAP political strategist told me, referencing a line from a forgettable Nicholas Cage film ‘8MM’, “When you dance with devil, the devil doesn’t change, the devil changes you.”

You have to give it to former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Even when he is peddling his ‘Malay’nationalistic narrative, he manages to include the ‘domestic’ Chinese under his protection by claiming that “local businesses, largely Malaysian Chinese owned, will definitely lose out to those of the Mainland Chinese.”

Image result for Zakir Naik

Najib Razak’s Secret Weapon for GE-14 to subjugate the Malays

The operative word here is “Chinese” and even though Mahathir said, “It is this massive immigration that we object to. If the project is by Indians and a few million Indians are to come and live in Malaysia, we would also strongly object” – this probably does not include a certain Indian national (preacher Zakir Naik)who has been granted PR status and will no doubt be the loudspeaker du jour from the UMNOo regime to shore up ‘Malay’ support.

While Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali is grateful that the Bandar Malaysia, or whatever is called, is flushed down the toilet at the moment, I do wonder though that if those “local largely owned Malaysian Chinese” concerns are as relieved as Perkasa? This considering the fact that business in Malaysia is an unholy brew of ‘ketuanan’ politics and Chinese plutocrat enablers.

Same strategy

Foreign interlopers are a legitimate concern; that is why the strategy is used the world over and extremely effectively by far-right political parties. Here in Malaysia, where the distinction between local and foreign Chinese is unappreciated in the crowd that Bersatu and Pakatan are attempting to win over, this idea that appealing to the baser fearful instincts of the Malay electorate spells nothing but trouble for Malaysia.

Image result for ketuanan melayu

Yes, it is putarbelitism ala Najib’s UMNO

Anti-Chinese narratives fuel ‘ketuanan’ politics and while it may seem like a good political strategy to further the narratives that the Malay community is under threat from foreign Chinese intervention, the reality is thanks to Biro Tatanegara (BTN) courses, the social contract, the racist rhetoric of UMNO, the ‘putarbelit’ narratives of the Opposition, this meme that the Malay community will always be under siege, is what is going to destroy this country in the near future.

When the former Prime Minister writes – “Pimpinan tertinggi DAP mengaku bahawa oleh kerana penduduk Cina adalah minoriti di Malaysia, tidak mungkin DAP mendirikan kerajaan di peringkat pusat di Malaysia, jauh sekali menjadi perdana menteri walaupun jika DAP menang semuakerusi yang ditandingi,” in attempts to reassure the Malay polity that all is well in the state of Denmark, the only thing the DAP can do assume the role that MCA played while the UMNO regime made its carpetbagger deals with the Malay community.

Just four years ago, DAP’s Tony Pua was warning Malaysians of the former prime minister’s attempt to redefine racism. He wrote – “When Malays vote overwhelmingly for UMNO in the past, it is never ‘racism’. When a 100 percent Malay crowd hold weekly protests against the Pakatan Rakyat government in Penang, it is not ‘racism’. When Chinese voted for MCA in the past, that can’t be ‘racism’. When Chinese also voted strongly for PAS and PKR in the current elections, PAS and PKR are not accused of ‘racism’.

“When Malays increased their support for the DAP candidates in the same election, Dr Mahathir accused DAP of spreading “propaganda” that influenced educated Malays into perceiving the Barisan Nasional (BN) government as corrupt.

“However, when the Chinese also voted strongly for DAP, that is proof of DAP ‘racism’. When many Chinese turns up at Pakatan Rakyat events, that is beyond shadow of a doubt, Chinese ‘racism’. What type of senile perverted logic is that?”

Some would argue that it is the same “perverted logic” that sustained the hegemon and still does all these years. Does anyone really think that there would be no blowback from this kind of rhetoric? Racism and racial politics do not exist in a vacuum. There is a reason why the former Prime Minister is relying heavily on the DAP to provide him with his anti-racist credentials.

Image result for ketuanan melayu

PKR and DAP’s Ketuanan Melayus

What the DAP has become is the fig leaf for the type of ‘ketuanan’ dogma that the Najib refuseniks hope will cause enough rifts within the Malay community that would cause Umno to implode from within and enable them to pick up the pieces when the dust clears. In other words, the DAP has become those best friends in the “I am not racist as some of my best friends are black people” defence.

Like I said, in another piece, Mahathir could be the Trump vote – “Trump used every bigoted trick in the book, from demonising Muslims to scaremongering about a ‘Mexican’ menace to warning about the yellow peril all because of a weak entrenched political establishment. The de facto opposition leader is doing the same thing now – pointing out compromised trade deals made by a weak potentate and the threat of ‘foreign’ migration. As with Trump, he camouflages these with legitimate economic and social anxieties. And like Trump, he has a diverse coalition of ideologically disparate power groups working with him to destroy the establishment.”

What has Trump been doing since he won and promised to drain the swamp? Simple, he has been placating the far-right elements of the GOP (Grand Old Party, or the Republicans) while attempting to maintain the status quo and re-energise a divided GOP.

Hopefully this will not sound familiar.

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