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Saturday, November 30, 2019

Nazi-salute, Chin Peng’s ashes, reap what you sow



"The graduate also supported the actions of the Nazi regime and the holocaust, which claimed the lives of six million Jews." 
– Universiti Malaysia Sabah graduate.
While I reject the revisionist interpretation of Chin Peng’s legacy – some people have the audacity to call security service personnel who fought the Communist Party of Malaya as “collaborators” – I see no rational argument for the state security apparatus to “investigate” those who brought his ashes back.
Some folks have said that if we accept Islamic State (IS) returnees, why not Chin Peng’s ashes? This is problematic for various reasons and misses the point. Chin Peng’s ashes have nothing to do with the danger these IS returnees bring. A better comparison would be how Malaysia deals with different Malaysian legacies.

Now, I am not going into the historical minutiae of the value of – better or worse –  Chin Peng to nation-building but what I want people to understand is the way how Malay political hegemons use legacies to control the narrative.
Chin Peng’s legacy is useful to demonise the Chinese community and further the bogus “communist narrative” as how the Indian community is saddled with the “LTTE narrative”. Chin Peng’s ashes became a convenient talking point for not only Pakatan Harapan but also agents of the fascist state to attack the non-Malay power structures.
The legacy is important. By denying Chin Peng’s ashes to return, the state not only denies the sub-altern history of this country but also those hands which shaped nation-building. The complex non-Malay narrative is simplified for political purposes to justify racists policies and non-Malay power structures have to play along.
Nowhere is this more evident in the burial of Islamic terrorists who have caused death and misery overseas but who are buried peacefully in this country. A good example would be the religious extremist Azahari Husin.
In 2005, Azahari, who was known locally as the “Demolition Man”, was killed by Indonesian security forces and his body brought back for a traditional Muslim burial in his Malacca hometown. Azahari was an extremely efficient terrorist and he managed to leave in his wake murder and devastation that had security forces in the region on his trail for some time before finally managing to kill him in his hideout.
As usual, colleagues of this former UTM lecturer had no idea of the dangerous individual in their midst. All they saw, or what he wanted them to see, was a benign lecturer who was incapable of the mass murders through bomb-making that security forces have pinned on him.
As reported in Aljazeera: “Azahari will always have friends here. We shouldn't be asked to believe what is written about him in the newspapers," a man, who identified himself only as Yusrisaid.
“We shouldn't be asked to believe what is written about him in the newspapers”. Keep this line in mind when you vent about the USM student who gave a Nazi salute during his recent convocation. Dr Mahathir’s bigotry when it comes to disputing the numbers murdered in the Shoah is evidence of the mainstream antisemitism in this country. This student is nothing more than the product of this antisemitism.
The fact that many Muslims use the Palestinian issue as a convenient cover for their antisemitism is well documented. Just like how they accuse non-Malays of being communist or LTTE sympathisers, the idea is to mark a segment of the Malaysian community as outsiders.
This young punk has probably read racist Western anti-semitic narratives by the “alt-right” – can we just call them racist nut jobs – not realising that he would probably be on their hit list if they ever came into power. It never ceases to amaze me how local agitators use the literature of Western bigots and racists in their propaganda. It's extremely lazy if you ask me.
When the Najib regime allowed Israel to participate in a UN event in this country, it was PKR and Amanah that went on anti-semitic rants. They wanted to know if Malaysia is having an “affair” with Israel.
The cherry on the horse manure cake was when Amanah’s Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah said, "Or is (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak) so eager to follow in the footsteps of the Saudi Arabian government which reportedly has close ties to Israel?”
Really, Saudi Arabia? The country which has since conceded that it has intentionally supported radical Muslim groups all around the world is now the whipping boy for Islamists wanting to outdo each in domestic politics? Isn't it strange how Amanah and PAS sound so much alike?
That’s the problem with the mainstream Islamic narrative in this country. On the one hand, you have the religious bureaucracy funded by our tax ringgit using the Palestinian issue to further anti-Jewish narratives and, on the other, we have the prime minister of this country who lectures Israel for being an apartheid state when domestic policies are based on racial imperatives.
Does anyone really think that this “communist" and LTTE narratives are not going to have a blowback? Does anyone really think that a Nazi-saluting student, who supports the Nazi atrocities during the Shoah, is merely an aberration which does not have a lasting impact on this country?
The state security apparatus recently foiled lone wolf attacks by religious fanatics who were using the death of fireman Adib as justification for mass murder, how long do you think that foreign operators would influence local extremists to go after communities demonised by the politicians and hounded by state security apparatus?
Just recently, the home minister said that regional intelligence services were aware that Southeast Asia had become the new theatre of operations for terror groups. Anyone who reads my columns would know that I have been pointing this out for years, citing trends in open-sourced articles, published intelligence reports from think tanks which, more often than not, acts as proxies for intelligence cartels and interviews with sources from regional intelligence services.
Keep in mind that this is a country where a mainstream preacher like Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin (photo, above) had said he was looking for a candidate like Saddam Hussin to unite the Malay/Muslim polity. 
And, of course, the prime minister warned we may get a Hitler (if we choose wrongly) even though he disputes the numbers murdered in the Shoah.
Malaysia may just get one. 

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he is one of the founding members of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan. - Mkini

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