The Self Destruction of PAS In the Works

April 30, 2018

The Self Destruction of PAS In the Works

Here is another compelling reason why we must reject Najib Razak and Barisan Nasional. PAS advocates Radical Islam. Vote wisely. Vote for Pakatan Harapan and Dr.Mahathir as our next Prime Minister.–Din Merican

UMNO – in looking to PAS as a spoiler in three way contests has made an assumption that PAS can deliver the votes necessary to clip Harapan candidates at their wings. But if that assumption proves to be false, May 9 will indeed be a day of reckoning for all involved.

By Mustaqim Abdullah

President of Amanah, Mohamad Sabu affirmed that “keimanan tidal boleh diwarisi” (faith cannot be inherited). He wasn’t so much stating a fact as he was pointing to the many instances in Biblical and Islamic history where sons and daughters of religious figures, unfortunately, did fall far away from the proverbial apple tree.

Going around the election circuit now, is the 30 minute audio of Nik Abduh, one of the younger sons of revered Tok Guru Nik Aziz, that the “top leadership of PAS had received money from UMNO.” If proven true in the Hadi Awang versus Clare Brown suit in London, the audio would go down in history as one of the evidence that blighted the spotless reputation of Nik Aziz, albeit through sins of association, not omissions or commissions.

But just when all hopes were lost, Nik Omar, widely regarded as the favoured son of Nik Aziz, emerged as a candidate of Pakatan Harapan on nomination day.

The 14th general election is shaping up to be a titanic contest between caretaker Prime Minister Najib and former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Muhammad, with Anwar Ibrajim set to be released on June 8 2018. In such a triangular contest, there is little room for error especially when it comes to stating the party’s policy position firmly. Yet, PAS waffling on 1MDB and other issues, has cast them in bad light. Nik Omar’s defection to Pakatan Harapan is yet another example of the chickens coming home to roost for a party that has found itself, oftentimes, out of touch with even its own grassroots.

Image result for tok guru nik aziz

In fact the overall strategy PAS has taken may not only lead to what many predict is its obliteration at the polls but also to the self destruction of UMNO. First of all, PAS is experiencing nothing less than what Yale historian Paul Kennedy would call an “imperial over stretch.”

In trying to do too much, with too little resources, PAS has spread itself thin, even if it’s leaders are helped by more exposure on TV3 due to their quasi alliance.

By competing in 160 constituencies, without any major group of political stars, to galvanize the troops on the ground, the message will turn time and again to need to expand the role of Islam. Yet, Amanah, it’s splinter party, has taken the more realistic, and strategic route, of competing in 27 constituencies. Whereas Amanah is not lopsided, and is helped by the machinery of Pakatan Harapan, with Sabu contesting in Kota Raja, Selangor, Amanah is making forays into areas that PAS should be defending.

Second, PAS in the current form is hobbled by its inability to make full use of the aura of the late Nik Aziz. When Nik Omar is touted as the better progeny of Nik Aziz, the soft power of Pakatan Harapan cum Amanah cannot but increase gradually.

Third, members of PAS are quietly distraught with the though of having to help UMNO yet in several cases having to challenge UMNO too. Such inner contradictions do not augur well for a party that aspires—-valiantly but vainly—–to be a “King Maker”.

Finally, PAS is down to the last man standing. If Hadi Awang is gone, as age has caught up with him, PAS would not have a viable bench of actors who can step to the fore of their responsibility. Invariably, the lack of strong leadership and branding would cast PAS to be seen as a bit-player rather than a central actor.

UMNO – in looking to PAS as a spoiler in three way contests has made an assumption that PAS can deliver the votes necessary to clip Harapan candidates at their wings. But if that assumption proves to be false, May 9 will indeed be a day of reckoning for all involved.

GE-14: Dr Bridget Welsh takes an incisive look at Sarawak Politics

April 29, 2018

GE-14: Dr Bridget Welsh takes an incisive look at Sarawak Politics

by Dr. Bridget Welsh


Sarawak is largely being overlooked in GE14, but when the final tally of seats is counted, Sarawak and Sarawakians will be in there. BN is guarding its safety deposit carefully, and for now, has Sarawak locked up. If the campaign moves from defensive to offensive mode and momentum starts to build, then the situation will change.–Bridget Welsh

COMMENT | The mood in Sarawak is relatively quiet. Sarawakians have serious election fatigue. But it is not only the voters who are tired, the messages and campaign are as well. The challenge for both sides will be to get Sarawakians to be vested in GE14 and come out to vote.

Make no bones about it, the contests in Sarawak will be important. This is BN’s safest deposit, and the BN is relying on it. With 31 parliamentary seats, Sarawak makes up 14% of national seats, with 1.2 million voters. Seats from Sarawak comprise 19% of the BN win in 2013. More Sarawakians are registered in the population of 2.6 million than in most states, reflecting long-standing engagement with political issues.

The state election two years ago has been a national bell weather, with BN’s whopping victory in the 2016 polls overshadowing dynamics locally. Voter turnout drops, delineation, and a changed narrative led by the late Chief Minister, Adenan Satem (2014-2017), brought home the BN victory one year after the 1MDB allegations emerged.

On the defensive

As such, the opposition goes into the Sarawak contest on the defensive. With the DAP’s loss of five state seats in 2016 (from 12 to seven) and PKR winning its three seats narrowly, the opposition parties are hoping to stem the BN tide.

Four of the six parliamentary seats – Sarekei, Miri, Sibu and Stampin, all in urban/semi-urban areas with Chinese majorities – are in the BN’s sights, along with their projection of retaining all its 27 rural and semi-rural seats, including Julau which will likely be contested by Larry Sng as an independent. (Sng has a fighting chance of winning Julau due to his resource advantage.)

The BN is fielding heavyweights in all these targeted urban seats and appealing to the Chinese in these areas to return to the BN fold.

The defensiveness is not just about electoral contests; it is also about the fact that the BN in Sarawak has been able to take on the ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ narrative and neutralise many of the criticisms toward BN with more state activism against the federal government.

Pakatan Harapan in Sarawak does not yet have a clear message in this campaign. The opposition’s manifesto – “New Deal” – does not have all that much new in it. Pakatan is relying on old anti-federal resentments to maintain its support, and capitalising on the concerns with economic issues, especially a slow economy, GST and high cost of living.

They are also trying to convince Sarawak voters that their votes and the results will matter in shaping a potential new federal government, as many Sarawakians (along with many Malaysians) do not believe that change in power can happen. With local issues largely neutralised, the opposition in Sarawak is banking on national issues to change local voting behaviour – hard ground in a state where parochial issues have predominated.

Adenan’s Legacy

The ground, however, has shifted since 2016. Adenan Satem, the powerful leader who changed Sarawak, is no longer leading the state. He passed on in 2017 after three years at the helm. His legacy is being contested.


For Adenan’s successor, Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg, GE-14 is about proving his mettle. He is seen as ‘Najib’s man,’ appointed to lead the state and in need of his own mandate. He is seen to be more of a follower compared to Adenan. He is trying to fill Adenan’s large shoes and, given the constraints on further gains for state power, he has yet to deliver much for the state on his own. He is thus relying on continued support for Adenan to boost his own support.

Sim Kui Hian, SUPP’s President, is also using the Adenan name, couching the contest for the Stampin seat as a continuation of Adenan’s legacy. Sim was Adenan’s personal cardiologist and was seen to be close to Adenan. He is facing DAP leader Chong Chieng Jen, who is moving to this competitive seat from his safe Bandar Kuching base in a bid to inject some excitement into the campaign and showcase the importance of the 2018 elections locally.

Stampin (along with Miri where SUPP Ssecretary-General Sebastian Ting is facing PKR’s Dr. Michael Teo) have been significantly reconfigured in the 2018 delineation exercise, making these seats more challenging for the opposition to win.

The absence of Adenan, however, offers the opposition an opportunity. Abang Johari is not as popular, and unlike 2016, the BN cannot dismiss national issues in this campaign. The Sarawak BN’s message of “a stronger Sarawak” with its slick “marching on” video does not have the same resonance without Adenan to lead this effort.

Image result for abang johari abang openg


Discussion centres on the comparison of Najib with Mahathir, with views differing according to generation and ethnicity. Perceptions of Mahathir in Sarawak are not as negative as those in Sabah, while support for Najib is soft. Along with Adenan’s legacy, there is a debate about the legacies of the two different national leaders, both of whom want to return to the premiership.

Ethnic swings

For Sarawak, attention centres on the Chinese vote. The Chinese community in Sarawak is divided.  As shown in the table, in 2016 only 65% supported the opposition, with BN gaining 8.9% in support from Chinese Sarawakians from the 2013 election. Chinese estimated turnout dropped 7.6% as well across the two elections, leading to further erosion of Pakatan support in urban areas.

The economy is the main concern for Chinese Sarawakian voters. In the 2016 state election, Adenan promised to give them more opportunities and he made multiple direct appeals to the community. The national election is different given that Najib has not made as systematic an outreach. Some Chinese blame Najib for the slow growth in Sarawak over the last decade and are critical that the BN pledges of 2016 have not had the level of economic trickle-down promised, with large shares of government investment in Sarawak going to Peninsular Malaysians rather than into the hands of local businessmen.

There are also discussions about whether it is better to vote for BN or for the opposition for Chinese to be better represented, with views differing between those who feel it is necessary to strengthen SUPP within BN to those who argue continued support for DAP will best protect Chinese Sarawakians.

Pragmatism is shaping the debate, as opposed to anger evident in earlier elections. The DAP (and PKR in Miri) need to win back more Chinese support to hold onto its seats. In some races, such as Sarikei, it faces an onslaught of money being poured into the constituency to secure a BN victory, which puts the DAP at a clear disadvantage.

The contests in rural and semi-rural areas are less competitive, and arguably even more of an uphill battle for the opposition. There are two important issues – divisions within the ranks of the BN itself as a result of the sacking of traditional leaders as has happened in Lubok Antu and Selangau (where PKR leader Baru Bian is contesting), infighting due to the choice of BN candidate as is the case in Sarikei, and continued resentment over land and development issues as is occurring, for example, in Baram.

The opposition faces a financial challenge as BN’s resource advantage shapes the outcome, with vote-buying a critical part of this support. Many rural Sarawakians continue to depend on state largess, as this is where the BN strategy of preying on precarity, on using poverty to its advantage, is strongest.

In 2016, the BN won an estimated 68% of the rural and semi-rural vote, and won 64% of lower-income voters and seems poised to replicate these results in 2018.

Younger voters

One area to watch is a shift among Malay/Melanau voters, 80% of whom voted for BN in 2016. The “Malay tsunami” dynamic on the peninsula may send some ripples eastward. Mahathir has some loyalties among the older generation of Malays/Melanau. Among the other major ethnic communities – the Bidayuh, Iban and Orang Ulu – no major changes in their voting pattern is expected.

Image result for Bidayuh, Iban and Orang UluAdenan’s Legacy–Sarawak for Sarawakians


The shifts that can happen (if they happen at all) will be among younger voters across all ethnic communities. Younger voters continue to be more opposition-friendly in Sarawak – an estimated 67% supported the opposition in 2016.

This group, however, is also most impacted by turnout constraints, as disproportionately younger voters are the most likely to be working away from home and will have to travel back to vote. With the campaign starting out very slowly in Sarawak, it has yet to engender the investment to go home to vote for many.

Voter turnout, in fact, is an overall issue for Sarawak, as traditionally there is lower turnout in national contests compared to state elections. Voter turnout dropped to 66.1% in 2016, from 77.5% in the 2013 election. It will be a difficult task to get turnout levels beyond 2016 levels, given the lack of momentum going into the Sarawak campaign. Lower voter turnout traditionally hurts the opposition.

Sarawak is largely being overlooked in GE14, but when the final tally of seats is counted, Sarawak and Sarawakians will be in there. BN is guarding its safety deposit carefully, and for now, has Sarawak locked up. If the campaign moves from defensive to offensive mode and momentum starts to build, then the situation will change.

Sarawak campaigns in the past have moved rapidly, as occurred in 2011. Given the fatigue and well-established voting patterns, however, convincing Sarawakians to speak loudly and differently will not be easy.

BRIDGET WELSH is an Associate Professor of Political Science at John Cabot University in Rome. She also continues to be a Senior Associate Research Fellow at National Taiwan University’s Center for East Asia Democratic Studies and The Habibie Center, as well as a University Fellow of Charles Darwin University. Her latest book (with Greg Lopez) is entitled ‘Regime Resilience in Malaysia and Singapore’. She is following the 2018 campaign on the ground and providing her analyses exclusively to Malaysiakini readers. She can be reached at

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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The Malay or The Najib Malay?

March 17, 2018

The Malay or The Najib Malay?

Let the Late Malaysian Poet Laureate Usman Awang remind the present generation who they should be.


Image result for The MalayThis is a Najib Razak Malay


They can longer be a people who have to depend a nanny state which is being run into the ground by a kleptocracy under Prime Minister Najib Razak. They cannot be bought by BR1M money and other handouts. They need to demonstrate that they are a proud, self-reliant, competitive and hard working people.–Din Merican

Malaysia’s Budaya Tipu in Academia

June 20, 2015

New York City

Malaysia’s  Budaya Tipu–Academic Plagiarism and Intellectual Fraud

 by Rom Nain
COMMENT: Malaysian Higher Education, evidently, is once again in the limelight. Once again, for the wrong reasons.

Over the past couple of days, news has gone around that four researchers from a local public university had deliberately manipulated images in a co-authored article published in a prestigious international academic journal.

The four, from Universiti Malaya (UM) – our oldest and,  often enough claimed, our most prestigious, public university – were initially accused of duplicating and manipulating images of cells in their article.

An article which allegedly had three versions was published in three separate journals. Sadly for them – and certainly for UM – the allegations initially exploded over the scientific community’s social media and then spread to other platforms, finally catching the attention of the mainstream scientific media.

The main author, not surprisingly, initially brushed off the charges, providing ‘reasons’ that even non-scientists who had examined the article found rather incredulous.

Now, it has come to the attention of the Malaysian Higher Education Ministry and the authorities at UM. And UM has acted swiftly enough to investigate yet another potential scandal and possibly discipline any wrongdoers.

There will surely be more revealed over the next few days and, I’m sure, there will be demands that the heads of the four researchers, if found guilty, roll. But will they? And even if they do, will the wider problems be resolved?

Going by previous incidences of this nature, one doubts anything major will be resolved. In 1994 a professor at the same Universiti Malaya went to court to defend herself against allegations of plagiarising the work of her students. Despite the evidence, she remains a professor till this day.

A couple of years back, the infamous Ridhuan Tee, while an Associate Professor at the Armed Forces University, was accused of plagiarism as well. Again, despite the clear evidence, he was able to move to another university on the east coast, getting a promotion to full professor to boot. That is classic Malaysian academic culture.

Then there is the infamous University of Bath-UiTM debacle earlier this year, when graduates from the UK university discovered that their theses had somehow found their way into UiTM’s repository, with UiTM’s copyright and watermark on them.

UiTM, predictably, apologised, asserting that it was a technical error that had caused it all. It is still unclear today why the Bath papers were gifted to UiTM by a staff member, and whether she or he had the right to do so.

Fundamental issues of Integrity–The meaning of the word Integrity.

Needless to say, there are a number of things we can – and must – take away from these cases that strike at the core of fundamental issues of integrity. Namely, the integrity of individuals, the integrity of the Malaysian academic profession and, yes, the integrity of our institutions.

It is, after all, easy to apportion blame to individuals, such as the four UM researchers or the professors who blatantly plagiarised the works of others But, unfortunately, these cases – alleged by many in Malaysian academia as barely ‘scratching the surface’ – will continue if the core issues and problems are not located and sincerely addressed.

Of course, one could say that they indulge in these activities because they feel they can ‘get away with it’. But why do they do it in the first place? And why does it seem so prevalent these days?

To begin to answer these questions, we would have to at least go back to this relatively recent phenomenon of university academics needing to meet pre-determined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

But, unfortunately, these cases – alleged by many in Malaysian academia as barely ‘scratching the surface’ – will continue if the core issues and problems are not located and sincerely addressed.Of course, one could say that they indulge in these activities because they feel they can ‘get away with it’. But why do they do it in the first place? And why does it seem so prevalent these days?

To begin to answer these questions, we would have to at least go back to this relatively recent phenomenon of university academics needing to meet pre-determined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Pre-determined, often enough, by university administrators more concerned about pleasing their political masters than they are about the welfare of their staff and, even less, about any commitment to a particular academic ethos.

Hence, meaningful university teaching and research be damned. Instead, a bureaucratic or mechanistic view of what higher education, particularly the role of universities and academics, is advanced. Indeed, in Malaysian academia, increasingly it has become a case of institutions and individuals having to meet certain, often quantifiable and quantitative, targets.

And achieving high international rankings yearly has become the name of the game. For some public universities, especially those designated as `research’ universities, publishing in top-tier Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and Scopus journals now is the main, sometimes determining, criterion for promotion.

It is within this cauldron of quite rapid change and shifting of priorities – often directed by politicians and their ministries – that we find many of our public universities and their faculty members.

Things have gotten worse for Malaysia under Najib Razak

This, of course, hadn’t been the case for a long time. Indeed, it could be argued that the slide began the moment politics and notions of what has derogatorily been called kulitocracy (skin based meritocracy) took top priority from the 1980s onward.

Policies that led to the recruitment of faculty due to their skin tone and, more subtly, their political affiliation, rather than the grey matter in their head, led to a culture of conformity and mediocrity being developed. For some critics this gradually replaced the emphasis on dedicated teaching and learning, and doing good research that had been cultivated in the 1960s and 1970s.

‘Carma’ academics

This was facilitated by (administrative) structures that policies and strategies that (still) disproportionately reward what the national laureate, A Samad Said, has rightly called the ‘carma’ (cari makan) academics.

These often are the apple polishers, those who turn academia into an arena where rapid advancement means getting on with their bosses and courting top UMNO leaders and moving up the administrative ladder; from section to department head, to program chair, to head of school, to dean, deputy vice-chancellor and vice-chancellor. Stopping briefly on the way, of course,to obtain a datoship from corrupt political leaders.

And this group has grown significantly as the number of public universities has rapidly increased. Often quite clueless as to what constitutes good – let alone path-breaking and innovative – research, yet now needing to ‘publish or perish’, they look high and low for the ‘right’ ingredients, however “halal” or “haram”, to enable them to come up not only with publishable papers in referred journals, but also those that often have to meet international criteria and standards for scholarly research and peer recognition.

Unfortunately, when the environment all this while has not helped to nurture whatever research and writing skills they may have, and they now have to regularly produce ‘international’ publications, many find themselves in a ethical quandary.

And so the illicit options become more enticing.Indeed, more widespread, arguably, is this practice of putting one’s name as a co-researcher on the work done by one’s research assistant or graduate student. Even when all the work was done solely by another person.

Of course, dodgy publishing houses have cottoned on to this widespread desperation by academics. So, we have the case of academics (often aided by their institutions) paying substantial sums to purportedly international publishers to get their articles published in  journals and books of questionable quality.

Needless to say, it is within this wider context – of dodgy academic standards, a legacy of a mediocre research culture and environment and a rapidly changing academic milieu and, of course, a general lack of integrity from the top downwards – that we have to locate the alleged offences committed by the UM4 and others.

Virtually nothing happens in a vacuum. Yes, if found guilty, the wrongdoers must be truly punished – and not just transferred to some other university where they are promoted later.

But issues of integrity, dignity and ethics will not and cannot be simply resolved that way. More detailed and critical examination of the environment, the policies and the strategies that have led to this sorry state of affairs, will need to be conducted.

This would require political will–this is sadly lacking in Malaysia today– and a genuine commitment to removing the rot that has set in public – and increasingly private – universities. And I don’t believe that many of us are so sanguine as to believe that this will happen any time soon under this regime.

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Malaysia: Rise of ‘Racist’ Strain of Islam

June 10, 2016

Malaysia: Rise of ‘Racist’ Strain of Islam

by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee

The Lay Preacher and Demagogue Zakir Naik

A recent article comparing the treatment accorded by the Government and the larger Islamic community to two recent Muslim visitors notes that the question as to why preacher Zakir Naik and scholar Abdullahi An-Na’im and their messages are resounding differently with the Malay Muslim community is a crucial one for Malaysians to ask


The contrast in the themes articulated by these two visitors in their lectures and public engagements cannot be more different.

The Scholar Abdullahi An-Na’im

That of the scholar is a vision of a more humanistic and intellectually more rational and defensible Islam. The other by the preacher stems from a conservative and extremist position. Based on advocacy of Islam as a superior religion, Zakir offers simplistic but popular – with the Muslim masses – opinions on topics such as dealing with LGBT’s and other non-Islamic minorities, apostasy, the treatment of other faiths in Islamic states, the evils of secularism, etc.

Similar questions have been asked by others as to why Islam in this country has taken a hard line position and turned its back on its traditionally moderate roots and associated Hindu-Buddhist values and mores. Also why the defence of secularism and secular-oriented positions such as those espoused by G25 group of prominent ex-civil servants have received little traction while, at the same time, rabble rousing groups such as the Red Shirts and ISIS type extremist views have gained ground among the Malays.

Two scholars have recently contributed insights into the rise of a conservative and hard line Islam in the country. Dr. Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hami in his paper “ISIS in Southeast Asia: Internalized Wahhabism is a Major Factor” (ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute Perspective, 16 May 2016) has dissected the impact of the Wahabbi brand of Salafism with its extremist world view from a political development perspective since the 70s.

Dr. Azhar Ibrahim, in his blog article, “Secularism as Imagined in the Malay-Indonesian World: Resistance and its Muted Counter Responses in the Discursive and Public Realms”, using a cultural anthropological cum historical approach has explained the failure of Muslim intellectuals and intelligentsia to engage and contest the anti-secularists.

Race in Malaysia’s Islamic Discourse

While the two papers are useful and timely, what is missing is a discussion of how the factor of race, and the rise of a virulent strain of Malay racism may be a key, and perhaps the major, factor explaining the recent rapid spread of an increasingly conservative and reactionary Islamic ideology and practices in the country.

Although orthodox Islam rejects race and racism, there is mounting evidence that the resurgence in Islam in Malaysia is closely correlated with the rise of anti-non-Malay sentiment, and an ethno-centricism directed at the non-Malay and non-Muslim communities.

Ahmad Fauzi and Ahzar Ibrahim are not the only two scholars who have failed to attach sufficient importance to the racial factor playing a critical role in the most recent phase of Islamic socio-economic and political development in Malaysia. Many other local scholars have chosen to ignore it or have studiously avoided the subject.

This avoidance is possibly because of the belief that Islamic extremism in Malaysia has spread primarily due to externally generated events such as the rise of political Islam in the Middle East. It may also be because of the view that an academic or public discourse on the subject – even from an academic or intellectual perspective – may be opening up a pandora’s box; or is not helpful to one’s academic or professional career; or perhaps reflects poorly on the integrity of the scholar’s own religious and racial community.

Recent events, however, have brought into the forefront the importance of putting the subject under the academic microscope and of engaging in an open and frank exploration of it, even if this discourse may be regarded as treading on sensitive concerns and issues.

The opening of this pandora’s box is also necessary because it appears that both extreme forms of the two ideologies – one religious and the other man-made – are not only converging but are also mutually reinforcing. The fused outcome – a form of Islamofacism – may be displacing, or perhaps may already have displaced, the earlier moderate mainstream forms.

Two examples of the convergence of “Ketuanan Islam” and “Ketuanan Melayu” can be highlighted, although more instances are taking place on a daily basis.

In September 2015, UMNO Supreme Council member, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, openly admitted that he is a “racist”. In his speech to participants at the “Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu” or “red shirt” rally which its organizers estimated to have attracted a crowd of 250,000, he emphasised that racism was allowed in Islam, so long as other races were not oppressed in the process.

According to him “I am racist but it’s racism based on Islam. Racism is allowed in Islam”. He was also reported to have quoted a hadith (a saying of the Prophet) on ‘assabiyah’ which he interpreted as justifying racism.

The UMNO leader may have been playing to the gallery during his speech. However what he announced reflects not only his understanding – and justification – of Islamic racism a-la its Malaysian variety. It also reveals a similar position held by UMNO’s leadership and most of the ruling party’s rank and file members since there are no reports of anyone from the party expressing dissent with Annuar Musa’s view.

More recently, the open display of the “keris” – commonly seen as the symbol of Malay nationalism – during the recent opening of PAS’s muktamar has led Dr. Mahathir to note that “PAS used to criticise UMNO for being a nationalist party, but now the opposition party is “more nationalist because their keris is longer than Umno’s”.

“We measure nationalism based on the length of the keris, The longer the keris, the more nationalistic. Now they realise that they’re Malays,” he added.

For non-Muslims and non-Malays, these new developments, and the racialism and extremism seeping into the Islamic consciousness of the Malay community, are no laughing matter.

What it means is that they cannot expect PAS, UMNO, or perhaps even Amanah, the latest of the Muslim parties and progressive Islamic NGO’s and conscientious scholars to draw attention to and fight the battle for equal rights within an increasingly Islamic Malaysian nation.

They have only themselves to rely on and should not, as in the boiling frog anecdote, wait too late to respond to the rising heat from this present incarnation of Islamic and racist resurgence in the country.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah: What’s your deal with Najib Razak?

March 28, 2016

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah: What’s your deal with Najib Razak?

by Mariam Mokhtar

Politicians like Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah cause the electorate to lose faith in politics. Affectionately known as Ku Li, he confirms our suspicions of him. He is all spin and no substance. He joins a long list of sycophants who should have had the interests of the rakyat at heart, but at the critical moment, let down the people and himself. Where are the men of integrity and honour?

Ku Li’s betrayal may not matter now, because a majority of the population still cast their votes. In time, this number will drop because they will see politicians as untrustworthy.So, was it emotion, or political expediency which prompted Ku Li to sign the ‘Kelantan Declaration’?

The Citizens’ Declaration of the ‘Save Malaysia’ movement is supported by former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The Kelantan Declaration is just a vanity declaration, like a love letter for politicians. It is a tit-for-tat move to distract the rakyat from national issues.

So did Ku Li sign because of his 30-year-old grudge against Mahathir, whom he challenged for the UMNO party presidency in 1987 but lost by a whisker? There were irregularities in voting, and Ku Li’s supporters mounted a legal challenge. The High Court declared UMNO an illegal party and forced Mahathir to form UMNO Baru, and Ku Li, Semangat 46.

Was Ku Li exacting his revenge on Mahathir? Or did Najib Abdul Razak whisper sweet nothings into Ku Li’s ears and promised him a role more prominent than that of a mere MP? He is free to sign the Kelantan Declaration and express his loyalty to Najib, but in the past, why did he have to string some of the rakyat along, and say that he cared?

Ku Li has expressed dissatisfaction with the government on numerous occasions. When asked why he refused to leave UMNO Baru and fight for change from the opposition benches, his answer was always “No!” He claimed to be more effective, fighting for change from within.

His critique of the government convinced some of the opposition that he could be an interim prime minister should GE14 result in a hung parliament, or if the no-confidence vote against Najib had been successful. Some people may remember that at the convocation ceremony of the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), in June 2014, Ku Li moaned about the division of race and religion, the low standards of fluency in English, and Malaysian education.

He reminisced about his teenage years when athletes were selected on their sporting prowess, and Malaysians were united in their support of them, irrespective of their race. He recalled fond memories of Wong Peng Soon, the All-England badminton champion, in 1950 and 1951.Today, he supports the leader of a party which condones division in society.

In 2010, Ku Li said that in the 1980s, the government was spending money like water, and the Defence Ministry would purchase Exocet missiles, at RM2 million each, for target practice.

Why regurgitate these issues?

Why regurgitate these issues, decades later? He once held the portfolio of finance minister, and had to sign the chits, but did not complain about the frivolous spending on the armed forces.

He held two heavyweight ministerial posts, (finance and international trade and industry). His arguments would have carried weight. Why were these matters not highlighted, then?

A few days ago, Mahathir stunned Malaysians with the revelation that Ku Li and a group of UMNO Baru leaders had secretly plotted to oust Najib. Mahathir said, “He (Ku Li) came and met me, and said he wants to push for a no-confidence vote. He said he can get the majority, but he failed.”

The irony is that having been defeated, Ku Li later signed his allegiance to the man he had wanted to topple.How are we to have any confidence in our politicians, if they fail us when they fall at the first hurdle? Where is their persistence, and their moral duty?

On September 16, 2008, former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim failed in his bid to secure enough defections in UMNO Baru to oust the erstwhile PM Abdullah Badawi. Anwar was subsequently demonised by UMNO Baru politicians. Today, the same politicians keep silent about Ku Li’s tactics, which were similar, and also failed.

If there is any threat to the stability and national security of the nation, it is from politicians who have abrogated their duty to serve the rakyat.  Our enemy is not from outside, it is from within. Our enemy is made up of politicians who fail to act against corruption, injustice, and divisive and racist politics.

Members of the political elite want only one thing, to hang on to their seats. And power.You know what you must do in GE14