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Archive for July 20th, 2017

1MDB Ketuanan

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https://shuzheng.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/missing-money1.jpg?w=804&h=622

USD18 bn at his feet, why wouldn’t Najib take it?

Pakatan Harapan’s seven-point political platform is broad-based, focused on institutions and ethics. Strange, therefore, that Mahathir Mohamad was willing, by removing Najib Razak, to cast aside his primary objective of restoring the bangsa, agama dan negara in the top place of Malay polity and Malaysian society.

Umno, through Najib in particular, is saying the Malay is already at the top, Felda being an example, so that his task ahead was ‘protecting’ that position. Indeed, Mahathir’s son Mukhriz agrees with Najib. Malay is top dog in Malaysia’s social, political and economic order. But so what? Says Mukhriz: “If we look at Felda, Mara, Tabung Haji, and all agencies linked to the Malays and Islam, all these are facing problems because of Umno leaders.”

Because of Umno leaders? That would count he himself, count Mahathir and Muhyiddin Yassin and so on.

Mukhriz and Mahathir just don’t seem to get it: nobody, the Chinese least of all, is in competition with the Malays as if Malaysia were a pie and unless Malays get to it first, there would be little or nothing left for them.

Since the beginning of time, Umno and Mahathir have sung the same song and then to the economic threat also added an existential (identity) threat. And, because of such threats, Malay needed protection. The like of Felda and Mara were launched on that underlying insecurity. On that, too, Mahathir molded his entire political career. The gains made by Islamic and Arab culture on Malay society is seen today in their entrenched position in government (Jakim, JAIS, etc), in schools and religious education, in Najib’s pro-Arab foreign policies. Those elements have today completely overtaken the Malay existential being.

In all that, 1MDB is hardly an aberration: Umno becomes chief purser. For funding, everybody in BN became dependent on Najib, Umno by extension. Its businesses had all the Arab, economic, and world conquest design elements and the Chinese (Jho Low, Yeo Jiawei), doing the dog-shit work, will even take the rap for Malays.

Indeed 1MDB is sine qua non, the finest expression in the development of the Malay ego: all of Malaysia’s banks and the rest of the world will throw USD18 bn at it and nobody blinks an eye. Why wouldn’t Najib take the money therefore?

So, adding Tabung Haji (religion) and the Saudis (foreign relations) to Felda (economics) and Mara (education), Umno’s march to top dog position, and in protecting, in molding and remolding Malay society is actually near complete.

Mahathir once despaired that he didn’t change Malay minds after a generation in power. He was wrong, of course. Instead he should sit easy because why else would he pine to return to the old days when the Malays were less materialistic and weren’t so preoccupied with watching FGV/Felda share prices? In the old days, Malays don’t ride submarines; in the old days few Malays gave a shit for the tudung or for Arabs.

So, you see, Malays have changed, Malays are top dog; and so what the fuck is Mukhriz bellyaching about? That’s what your father wanted after all. On the contrary, he should celebrate! All of Bersatu should sing the praises of Mahathir’s handiwork.

Here, however, is the straight answer to the question above: It is because Mahathir doesn’t like what he sees. And if that isn’t what he wants, then what the fuck does he want to see? That there’s no misappropriation in Felda, no thieving in 1MDB, no abuse of power by the police and so on?

But those are the demands for qualities of being, of the human character, the Malay mind and heart. Those have nothing to do with being top dog, with ketuanan, with economics and political power and with Malay special position. Those are qualities underlying the social, political and economic issues in the Pakatan seven-point plan.

The plan says, in effect, Mahathir got it wrong from the start. And, the biggest tragedy in Malaysia isn’t that Umno deviated (it accomplished what it set out) or that power was monopolized by Malays (under the mask of protection) but because Umno permitted no space for the Malay mind and heart to expand naturally, in different directions and to see life from the prism of light. It completely dismissed, in particular, how Chinese thought and ideas can contribute to different ways of seeing things, of governance. It gave in, far too much, to the Mahathir mentality that Malays were under siege from all directions instead.

It’s that mentality which hasn’t changed. Fittingly, therefore, while Malays have changed, Mahathir hasn’t.

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Postscript

These postscript lines take the above arguments a little further. That is, once Umno has served its purpose, what else is there for it? This is Najib’s predicament, a fact that points to why Malays should never govern Malays under an Umno or an Umno-like umbrella such as Berjaya. This Mahathirism is a contradictory and self-annihilating political model.

For the moment though, Najib’s only available answer to remain relevant — and also to stay the looming threat of Umno’s expiry and its self-destruction — is simply to bribe as many Malay votes as he can afford, the party rank and file, Felda, Tabung Haji, Jakim, and others. Political bribery is such a norm that Perkasa and Ibrahim Ali have no qualms demanding MYR1.4 trillion for Malays: ‘You owe us,’ is what the Alis are saying. It’s the inevitable consequence of Umno’s Mahathirism.

More pertinent to the future though is, What should be Pakatan’s answer?

It won’t be a bad idea to simply let Umno gorge itself to death. To let the Malays bring down each other would certainly rid the country, once and for all time, this Mahathir legacy.

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Samuel Huntington (Clash of Civilizations), from 50 years ago, remains instructive. On countries such as Malaysia, his ideas are being revisited:

Across the developing world, Huntington saw “the dominance of unstable personalistic leaders,” their governments rife with “blatant corruption . . . arbitrary infringement of the rights and liberties of citizens, declining standards of bureaucratic efficiency and performance, the pervasive alienation of urban political groups, the loss of authority by legislatures and courts, and the fragmentation and at times complete disintegration of broadly based political parties.”

These self-styled revolutionaries thrive on divisiveness. “The aim of the revolutionary is to polarize politics,” Huntington explains, “and hence he attempts to simplify, to dramatize, and to amalgamate political issues into a single, clear-cut dichotomy.” Such leaders attract new rural voters via “ethnic and religious appeals” as well as economic arguments, only to quickly betray their aspirations.

Every line above holds true in Malaysia, and equally applicable in Egypt, Turkey and Syria to Acheh, Sumatra. On Islam, that “failed civilization”:

The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism,” he writes. “It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power. The problem for Islam is not the CIA or the U.S. Department of Defense. It is the West, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the universality of their culture and believe that their superior, if declining, power imposes on them the obligation to extend that culture throughout the world. …

While economic dynamism drives Asia’s rise, population growth in Muslim nations “provides recruits for fundamentalism, terrorism, insurgency, and migration.” Much as Trump mocks politicians who refuse to decry “radical Islamic terrorism,” Huntington criticizes American leaders such as Bill Clinton who argued that the West had no quarrel with Islam, only with violent extremists. “Fourteen hundred years of history demonstrate otherwise,” he remarks.

He does not regard Western values as universal. They are ours alone. …

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Ketuanan Karma

Waiting for the Ketuanan self-destruction, we sing the blues…

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