MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, June 29, 2023

I will stick with the 'green wave' narrative


“I hope that observers of Malaysian politics discontinue the use of the ‘Green Wave’ narrative, given its inaccuracies and dangers. It is a lazy shorthand that inadequately captures the growing electoral complexities in Malaysia. This would be prudent regardless of the upcoming state elections’ outcomes, including any potential result favouring PN.”

- Ong Kian Ming

Former Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming attempts to minimise the rising tide of religious extremism in this country in his latest piece dismissing the “Green Wave” narrative as lazy shorthand.

Like most political operatives or former operatives as is the case, Ong ignores the on-the-ground reality for political rhetoric that sounds moderate but in reality, is appeasement.

In Ong’s piece, there are two talking points which are deflections that need to be debunked.

The first is this (Khairy Jamaluddin made a similar point) where Ong writes: “Third, it diverts attention from the main reason for the increase in votes for PN: a disastrous collapse in support for Umno in all states in Peninsular Malaysia, except for Negeri Sembilan and Johor. It was this unhappiness with Umno and specifically, the leadership of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, that enabled PN to benefit from the groundswell of dissatisfaction.”

What most politically correct observers do not want to publicly acknowledge is that if the dominant polity who voted for Perikatan Nasional (PN) really wanted an alternative, they would have chosen PKR and Pakatan Harapan.

After all, Harapan-controlled states were run more efficiently than BN states and Harapan-controlled states were drawing local economic migrants from less developed states.

Instead, what they chose was Bersatu which was formed (with the collusion of Harapan) to get their vote, and PAS, which made it very clear that they wanted to redraw the electoral map to make the votes of non-Malays irrelevant.

No matter what people who vote for PN say about wanting a clean alternative, the reality is they do not care about constitutional rights or corruption and were willing to give an extremist coalition a chance because, for decades, they were subjected to propaganda and economic policies designed to keep them hooked on Malay federal and state aid.

Former Bangi MP and former deputy minister Ong Kian Ming

This is the reality. In other words, we have in the peninsular a voting polity who do not care about the rights of non-Malays, which are in reality rights for everyone, but would rather vote for a coalition which has demonstrated they are willing to suspend those rights. They want non-Malays to be pak turut.

The second point is when Ong claims the “green wave” narrative “plays into a larger Islamophobic narrative. This attitude is prevalent among some segments of the non-Malay community and abroad. This kind of sentiment is particularly unhelpful especially when it comes to understanding the different demands of the increasingly diverse Malay community in Malaysia.”

The idea that non-Muslims who speak up against the very real wave of religious extremism in this country plays into the larger Islamophobic narrative is disingenuous and only hastens the formation of a theocratic state. Religious extremists have weaponised the term Islamophobia to silence any dissent against their political and religious malfeasance.

If you object to their fascism you are labelled Islamophobic. Non-Muslims were told that Islamic law does not apply to them but the reality is, with every small cut from the scalpel of religious extremists, our private and public spaces are withering away. That dress code in Kelantan for instance is the shape of things to come.

Religious extremists argue that non-Muslims objecting to a dress code are Islamophobic. So my question to Ong - Is the DAP agreeing to help this poor woman fight this case pro bono, Islamophobic?

Fascist religious dogma

In 2014, when Ong said this of PKR’s Selangor menteri besar during the Malay language bible flash point - “The MB’s request is an abdication of the responsibility of the state government to find a fair and just resolution to this matter that pertains to the constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion including the right to manage one’s own religious affairs as enshrined in Article 11(3) of the Federal Constitution.” – was Ong Islamophobic?

I would suggest that Ong read Abdul Hadi Awang’s piece about the Taliban to understand why Islamophobia is complete bunkum.

If Ong reads that piece, he will understand that according to Hadi, criticism of the Taliban’s fascist religious dogma is nothing more than critics not understanding Islam in its totality.

Another point Hadi makes is that immorality (in this instance the drug trade) is something that “kumpulan yang bukan Islam” (non-Muslim groups) inflict on a Muslim polity.

It really doesn’t matter if PAS enjoyed the strategic advantage of using the PN coalition banner. What is important is that people who voted for PN understood what that banner meant.

What that banner signalled was a departure from power-sharing (which was a myth anyway) to crude majoritarianism which many ignorant supporters of PN think is “democracy”.

Who knows, maybe the people who voted for PN believed that non-Muslims were the cause of corruption in this country, a narrative Hadi and co like to perpetuate.

The point Ong makes about the influence of tahfiz schools is absurd. Sure, I have made the claim that tahfiz school education benefited PAS (graduates make good foot soldiers) but the reality is that the education system favours religious extremism and that the religious bureaucracy has infiltrated every aspect of the majority’s political lives.

I do not know about anyone else in the chattering class but in my writings, I warned Harapan that PAS propagandists were adept at using social media in ways that Harapan political operatives and their proxies were not.

I warned that PAS’ propaganda was extremely sophisticated and that they were using Harapan supporters’ words as a launching point for Muslim grievances.

Ong writes that “If religious sentiment explained PN’s gains, then the most effective response for the unity government would be to counter this with religious rhetoric and related policies.”

And therein lies the rub. The opposition has never offered an alternative to the religious extremism of mainstream Malay politics.

In many articles, I pleaded, cajoled, and attempted to shame Harapan into offering an alternative but nobody seemed to care, even Harapan supporters. Why talk of “moderate” Malay votes?

As I have argued before, Harapan does not care about them. In Ong’s time in Harapan, they certainly did not care.

Moderate Malays are left to their own devices. If they speak up against religious extremism, there is a good chance they would be sanctioned if Harapan was in power or disavowed if Harapan was in opposition.

So when Ong talks about moderate policies and the moderate Malay voter, I have no idea what he is talking about.

Maybe if DAP had remained strictly secular, instead of attempting to use religion – donning the headscarf, wandering around mosques, remaining silent when moderate Malays were speaking out against the injustice they experienced – things would be different.

They would have been a foundation to build an alternative. But that time has passed.

Do not be bamboozled into thinking there is no green wave. It’s here. My advice to non-Muslims, try to keep your head above water. - 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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