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Thursday, May 12, 2022

If Najib returns, it will be because of Harapan’s incompetence

 


"Of course, we have a bright chance if the fence-sitters go out to vote. But what if they do not ?... I just narrated the worst-case scenario."

– Nurul Izzah Anwar

Veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang asks Malaysians to ponder the possible return of Najib Abdul Razak because social media disinformation and internet lies could “whitewash” the kleptocracy and abuses of power of the last decade and turn it into a “golden era” for Malaysia.

That is the wrong question to ask Malaysians.

Of course, Najib should be in jail but then again, so do many others whose reputations have been whitewashed because they were part of the campaign to save Malaysia.

Najib strutting around is not a legal issue – although it does point to the inequalities of the system – but rather a political issue.

The system is rigged. Everyone knows this.

In fact, Dr Mahathir Mohamad acknowledged this when he said the reason why Bersatu was needed was because of the disproportionate weightage given to rural voters.

Malaysians have voted in successive corrupt regimes for decades, and the opposition - by first breaking the two-thirds majority and winning certain states - demonstrated that it had an alternative narrative which resonated, especially amongst the urban and semi-urban polities.

While the data coming out from the string of Umno/BN electoral victories in various state elections points to the reality that Umno is either not gaining enough new ground with Malay voters or that it is losing ground with Malay voters means bupkis.

Elections are about the people who come out to vote.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim

Do Pakatan Harapan political strategists really think that people who vote Umno/BN especially in the recent state elections really did so because it was a vote for Najib? What about the seats Harapan and the DAP lost? Were those votes for Najib too?

The people who do come out to vote for Umno/BN want a form of stability. We should not be cavalier about claiming that social media disinformation and internet lies are the stratagems of Umno only.

Harapan is not dealing with the monolith Umno/BN of old. At this moment, Harapan is dealing with Umno riddled with factions who are waging a very public social media war and a bureaucracy which is in turmoil because various proxies are attempting to use the apparatus of the state in these factional wars.

And what has the leader of the opposition Anwar Ibrahim been doing? Beyond having to deny recorded clandestine conversations with the very kleptocrats, Harapan has been telling its base of what is destroying Malaysia, and there is this big tent nonsense whose sole aim is to wrest power from Umno.

The big tent, of course, is made up of the most mercenary political operatives Malaysia has to offer.

Harapan is the big tent

The news cycle should not be dominated by items highlighting the internal bickerings of Harapan. The narrative should not be of how Harapan is attempting to obstruct an election or courting political frogs or how Harapan is attempting to form another government through the backdoor.

All these news stories do is feed into the narrative that Anwar is a power-hungry incompetent hack and that the “Chinese” DAP will do anything and everything to hang on to the coattails of Malay power brokers to secure power.

And when the Bangsa Malaysia kool-aid ran into the reality of ketuanan politics, this is what happened. Mahathir said: "We still have to give them (non-Malays), but what we gave to them was very small (compared to what the Malays got). But we could not say it then, because then the Chinese would be angry. That's why we didn't talk about that. But now we have to because I have to explain this thing."

Also, when Harapan says “kleptocrats” are not welcome, could Harapan give us a list of kleptocrats who are not welcome in this “big tent”?

This way, people who support Harapan would be safe and secure in the knowledge they were not voting for kleptocrats or alleged kleptocrats, even though in the last general election, folks who were deemed kleptocrats were embraced by the Harapan faithful and indeed one of them became prime minister.

Harapan has never acknowledged that the Sheraton Move was part of the dysfunctional compact they made to secure power – which even the old maverick did not believe they could do, hence the system wrecking its manifesto.

Harapan seems to be making the same mistake again by attempting to forge alliances and placate political operatives who have no intention of supporting the kind of reforms that Harapan claims it wants to make.

The rakyat notice things like this and social media is not a good barometer of how people feel about the government of the day, especially since the swing vote is not inclined to air their views on traditional friendly opposition media.

PKR leader Nurul Izzah Anwar caught a lot of flak for basically belling the cat but in one of the braver moments in oppositional politics, former deputy education minister Teo Nie Ching, said this: “I personally won’t say (that we have done enough to convince the rakyat). We could have been more organised and put aside personal grievances, among many things."

Here is what people forget. Harapan has always been a big tent.

It already had various ideological and religious tensions which were sublimated for a common purpose and policy framework, which although not perfect, was better than anything Umno/BN was offering.

And Harapan did win elections and various states without having to abandon everything for the sake of political power.

It is that Harapan should be going up against Umno now. - Mkini


S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. Fīat jūstitia ruat cælum - “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

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

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