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Archive for June 13th, 2017

That Najib Razak has to go is a given and not for the reason he is corrupt (1MDB). Since the days of Mahathir Mohamad there have been an accumulation of more corrupt officials than all the fingers counted in the Umno supreme council.

More vital for the future is a complete break with the past, and this can only mean one thing: No country can bring forward the future without creating its own history, and this includes jettisoning Najib Razak because he simply builds on the sands of the old. Lim Kit Siang, Anwar Ibrahim and Mahathir are all transplants of the past, wedded to its politics then, implanted with its core ideas, and then to graft them into the new policies. These — and the likes of them — must be the first go.

The Pakatan Harapan banner slogan that such people constitute the spearhead of the Future, Hope, Reform and Change are therefore never going to be fundamental; the evidence of which is the presence of Bersatu and Mahathir Mohamad in the coalition and that only with Mahathir et al at the front is it possible to break Barisan.

Zaid Ibrahim is a classic representative of this past and this thinking — so, too, he must go. In making an argument that turned pure supposition equal to fact, he turned Mahathir into a fixture, irreplaceable in the circumstances. That is, the Malaiyoo must come first, power first, win first, and there’s no other way. These are all the classics in the ingredients of past ideological arguments that, over time, 60 years to be precise, has made pure fallacy into a self-fulfilling prophecy and turned ghost into reality. Such a line of reasoning is identical to this, held in the common and atypical Hannah Yeoh fascism and prejudices that in black is racism but not white.

Below are summary-extracts of three lines of thoughts which, read together, call out the fallacies of the past. They are worth repeating because in combination those arguments speak the truth to Pakatan power which now, at this critical juncture, is in danger of abusing the part of Malaysia who got them in, ‘them’ being people such as Kit Siang, Anwar and Mahathir, plus those they have turned into their image.

1. Begin with Sin Chew Daily because its arguments (reposted here in all its glory by Din Merican), so tiresome, laying out Barisan’s fundamental principles are, really, the underlying problem manifested today: (a) Barisan is a contradiction to itself — one component protecting itself from the other while ‘building on diversity’; these are utter absurdities; (b) religious and race matters are not for moderation or for managing, they are for eradication; and (c) if moderation is a Malaysian DNA, why the fuck is it missing from Ibrahim Ali’s balls? If it is true moderation is a Malaysian DNA, why bother reform? Or why reform Umno because it is not entitled to reform. It is for eradication. And can anyone find this moderate DNA in Mahathir’s scrotum or his offspring Mukhriz…?

Since the inception of BN, we can see that component parties have been able to handle religious and racial matters rather prudently despite differences in their beliefs and thinking, and that they did not sacrifice the interest of the entire nation for their own political gains.

Unfortunately, recent developments in the country  (since Mahathir and now Najib Razak) have sounded the alarm bell…. Such things have happened before, but what we are worried about is that if things get out of hand, racial polarisation could happen out of the political needs of some quarters.

…Bankrupt politicians are those who look at things and national development from their narrow monoracial mind frame, overlooking the nation-building principles built upon the basis of our diversity….

2. Next, William Leong. One has to read this man carefully because, as with numerous PKR motherfuckers, you can never tell: Is he offering arguments for their own sake, the power of their appeal or for Anwar’s sake? Original thinkers within PKR is near impossible to find. But, let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. (Emphasis added in italics.)

The proposal for Tun Mahathir to take over leadership of the opposition and for Bersatu to become the dominant party in Pakatan Harapan to win Malay votes, instead of securing victory will end in disaster. Firstly, the assumption that by adopting a racial supremacy policy, Pakatan can hold on to the 52% who voted for the Reform Agenda in 2013 is false.

If Pakatan Harapan trade Ketuanan Rakyat for Ketuanan Melayu-Minus-Najib in exchange for power, it will be a betrayal of principles, a selling-out of core beliefs. Pakatan Harapan cannot argue they are acting as statesmen or being pragmatic. The argument that such a compromise is justified by the higher objective of Pakatan Harapan forming the government cannot hold water. It is disingenuous to say gaining power is better than remaining in the opposition when the deal requires Pakatan Harapan to give up the very core reason to gain power — to institute change through implementation of the Reform Agenda. It is not a compromise. It is not even a rotten compromise. It is a capitulation. Power without principles is simply greed. Winning office without the power to implement the reform promised is a betrayal of the 20 years of struggle and the cause so many have sacrificed so much for.

Secondly, the assumption that by taking over the leadership of Pakatan Harapan, Mahathir will take over the leadership of the opposition is false. The opposition is not Pakatan Harapan. Pakatan Harapan is only a vehicle for the real opposition, the masses who arose from the Reform Movement. The opposition are the reformists, activists, civil society, the 62 NGOs that formed BERSIH, the thousands who with their own money, time and energy went to the towns, villages, estates, Felda settlements and long houses to spread the word for change, the hundreds of thousands that came out to the streets, and the millions that voted against BN.

There are no elections in the Reform Movement. The Reform Movement is an assertion of popular leadership by the people themselves. Democracy does not come from the government, from high, it comes from people getting together and struggling for freedom and justice. Politicians are elected and selected but mass movements do not elect officials or seek blessings or legitimacy from anyone. Mass movements transform society, they aim to persuade the courts, politicians and other actors to fall behind them, not the other way round. Mass movements accomplish this through appeals to shared sets of deep and widely held convictions among the people they aim to mobilise.

Thirdly, the assumption that an opposition coalition founded on the removal of Najib from office and not a policy-oriented coalition is sufficient to win the election and sustainable to govern is false.

Coalitions formed for the purpose of securing enough votes or combining a sufficient number of parliamentary seats to govern through power-sharing arrangements without an agreement on the policies and their implementation are referred to as “office-seeking coalitions.” Office-seeking coalitions are coalitions whose main goal is access to power. Cabinet portfolios are the payoffs. Office-seeking coalitions have been accused of being “unprincipled” because their members were ideologically remote and therefore perceived as political opportunists interested in short-term gains rather than long-term policy goals.

[Editorial comment: Citing the political experiences of Kenya, Indonesia and South Africa, Leong missed the forest from the trees. The primary issue underlying the coalition building in those countries was not about a fundamental break with the past but with merely certain aspects of past policies. Thailand and Japan are counterpoints to Leong’s analysis; there, new coalitions emerged replacing the existing but, soon enough, old policies returned.

On the point of severing with the past, the better examples are, other than South Korea (break with military regime): China (Deng Xiaoping breaking with Maoism), Taiwan (a dictatorial Kuomintang), and Indonesia, maybe (it has been tough going, so the jury is still out). With their break, life began anew. On the other hand, one never sees fundamental change in Selangor and Penang, despite being ruled by Pakatan. Instead, Sarawak, without a new replacement coalition, is seeing a fundamental break with the past, the trigger being Hadi Awang and Umno’s Act 355.]

3. Last, S Thayaparan, who begins with an attempt to demolish Zaid Ibrahim though not entirely convincing. Leong is better.

This writer (Wan Saiful), agreeing with Zaid Ibrhaim, wrote – “This is the game the opposition has chosen to play and if they want to win, they have to play for keeps. And that is the only way the former Prime Minister knows how to play.” I am, I suppose part of the problem. The problem I have with Wan Saiful’s rejoinder is that there is no new batch. There is no fresh blood. Malaysia’s men of always have seen to it that their imprimatur is stamped on the new political operatives that are supposedly stepping out from their shadows.

This is the main idea of Malaysia’s men of always. That we have no choice but to embrace their ideas because it is the pragmatic thing to do. That it is the only thing to do because people will never change and we are all ghettoised in our racial cocoons. The reality is that the Malay community has changed. This change was deliberate. The Chinese and Indian communities have changed. This change was reactionary. Change is not alien in Malaysia, just misunderstood.

[Editorial comment. Notice his contradictions: people will never change, then saying Malays, Chinese and Indians have changed. And he doesn’t say change in what? Or, to what? The gem of his argument is below, which summarized means that the Malay voting is not a behemoth bloc and requires merely a small tweak — an alternative to life — to break the Umno/PAS hold on them.]

There are literally hundreds of fringe Malay groups of young people who form the complex structure of alternate Malay politics, and instead of carrying on ghettoising them and appealing to them when needed, they should form the mainstream of Malay politics or, at the very least, the mainstream of Bersatu Youth politics.

So what is the real lesson we can learn from this? That the opposition needs a leader who, although dismissed by his own mainstream, resonates with a diverse, fractured voting demographic. That an election manifesto that takes into account the needs of the many, instead of the few, is a flashpoint for change. That the ruling establishment coasting on previous victories and running a poorly managed campaign is a soft target but more importantly, young people, if inspired, can wreck havoc on traditional political wisdom.

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We are alone 獨角戲

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