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Saturday, March 31, 2018

A ‘bad’ Umno win and the non-Malay fate



“Our worst enemies here are not the ignorant and the simple, however cruel; our worst enemies are the intelligent and corrupt.” 
– Graham Greene, ‘The Human Factor’
I really wish when Umno “konco-konco” (to use a Mahathir term) make threats against the Chinese and Indians, they would elaborate on them, so the pundit class – that would be people like me – can make an accurate threat assessment. 
I am kidding, of course. I enjoy riffing off these goons because their generalities allow me to fill in the blanks and explore narratives often ignored for a more palatable fare.
The Umno grand poobah's son, Nazifuddin Najib, claimedthat if Umno lost the upcoming general election, the bumiputera power that also protected the Chinese and Indians would be lost. Insidious words for a tragic election.  
Who exactly wishes the Chinese and Indians harm in this country? The only threats, which have always been made or existed, are those emanating from Malay/Muslim hegemons.
However, Nazifuddin (photo) is correct but not in the way he thinks or people who despise Umno think. It is a little more complicated than merely reverting to the Umno playbook and this election is perilous not if Umno loses but depending on how “badly” Umno wins. If Umno wins with an iron-tight mandate from the Malay community then the non-Malays are safe.
However, if Umno wins by merely scraping through and with the aid of the electoral legerdemain of the mendacious electoral redelineation, then the non-Malay community is in trouble.
A “bad” Umno win would embolden the Islamic deep state and with other Islamic powerbrokers, make Umno conform to extreme Islamic narratives that even Saudi Arabia is attempting to withdraw from.
Bumiputera power is Umno power and the only people who could challenge it are the Malays. However, the Malays in this election are not challenging bumiputera power. What they are challenging - and led by the most cunning political operative this country has - is the right to replace Umno as the wielder of bumiputera power.
So, if Umno loses then the non-Malays would have a coalition made up of Malay/Muslim political hegemons who partnered with the “Chinese” dominated (DAP) opposition and the Chinese and Indians in this country would still be protected by bumiputera power courtesy of Bersatu. 
Meanwhile, depending on how Umno wins (1) by commanding the lion's share of the Malay vote (2) by having to rely on PAS (3) by heaven knows what permutations arise if Sabah and Sarawak do not maintain their vote bank status, then would this mean that the Chinese and Indians would not be protected?
Who exactly is threatening the non-Malay communities and what exactly do these threats entail? Bumiputera power manifests in so many ways and the only vulnerable points of the non-Malay communities are the urban centres which so far have been shielded from the excesses of the Islamic deep state.
And there is a reason for this. Nobody wants to destroy the economic infrastructures that pay for the rights and privileges that Malays are warned are always in jeopardy.
Doubled-edged sword
Already right-wing Malay sites are pushing the narrative that if the “Malay” opposition is wiped out, the political landscape would be defined by a Muslim (Umno) hegemon against a Christian (DAP) dialectic. 
This, of course, is something that I warned about last year when I wrote about the irrelevancy of the non-Malays to Malaysia’s future. Three points are worth revisiting.
1. I sincerely hope that Bersatu and Amanah make headway in this upcoming election and become viable Malay power structures in their own right because if they do not and the DAP remains the last political party standing in this election, this would be the end of oppositional politics in this country.
2. If you thought that the Chinese community was getting it bad from Umno now, you would be witness to the community getting it worse if Bersatu and Amanah are wiped out by PAS and Umno. Indeed, all PAS has to do is hold on to Kelantan and maintain the status quo in Terengganu and this would be a victory, even if they lose in Selangor.
3. We are already witnesses to the Islamic games a weakened Umno plays with PAS but consider what would happen if a strong Umno is held accountable by the Islamists and a sizeable Malay population indoctrinated by years of racial and religious supremacy unburdened by alternative (perhaps more moderate) Malay power structures?
This redelineation shenanigan carried out by Umno is a double-edged sword. It only means anything if there is a Malay tsunami in Umno’s favour.
If there is a Malay tsunami and Umno wins but is crippled – politically – in the process, it would be worse for Umno. Check that. This, of course, does not take into account what happens in Sabah and Sarawak.
This is really an all or nothing game. If Umno wins “badly” then the non-Malays are in trouble. This is why it is imperative there is a huge voter turnout and there is a decisive opposition win.
Now some would argue that if there are no clear winners, this would be a problem too. It would only be a problem to the non-Malay/Muslims opposition parties because Muslim/Malay solidarity and the political permutation it could involve trumps any other kind of political partnership with non-Malay powerbrokers.
This is the last great fight of the Malay community before the next great fight where the choices would be between some sort of imported Islamic extremism and a bloated regime, staggering under decades of corrupt rule, infiltrated by extremists working in the deep Islamic state.
I would rather we fight this fight and hopefully stall the next one for a couple of generations at least, instead of turning our backs and thinking that this election does not mean anything.
Civil society group Komas thinks that the redelineation exercise is a racial tragedy waiting to happen. Get real, folks. This election is a racial tragedy and it will be worse if the opposition does not win the fight.

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

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