Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mahathirism the cause of BN unravelling

Mahathirism the cause of BN unravelling
Proarte | Sep 19, 08 5:20pm
I refer to the Malaysiakini article MCA, Gerakan told to work with Umno to kick PM out.

This article revealed Dr Mahathir's breathtaking hypocrisy. He lamented that race relations were deteriorating under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi without even considering that it is the culture of Umno, which he himself engendered, which is responsible for Umno's racist and bigoted actions. Racial division in Malaysia today emanates from one source only and that is Umno.

Surely it was the fact that people of different races and religions were willing to unite which resulted in the unprecedented gains for the Opposition in the Mar 8 elections. In fact, the races have never been more united in Malaysian history.

Yes, there is a long way to go, but there has been a palpable sea of change. Race relations only apparently 'deteriorate' when Umno instigates it using the media, religious government authorities and the police. The recent ISA arrests of 3 individuals under the pretext of national security and race relations were utterly disingenuous and could only be described as a synthetic charade.

When Dr Mahathir took over power, he emphasised Ketuanan Melayu. Racial division became the modus operandi of BN during his tenure. It was Dr Mahathir who in fact gloated that Umno could rule Malaysia without non-Malay support. So much for promoting racial harmony and Bangsa Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir inculcated the idea that non-Malays must accept the discrimination in the country if they wanted to prosper and live peacefully.

He rewrote Malaysian history, selectively applied the 1957 constitution and encouraged a racist agenda in the civil service reinforced by institutions such as Biro Tatanegara. Nevermind if the majority of the Umno bigwigs were not pure Malay, as long as they claimed to be Malay and were recognised as such, they could be leaders.

It explains why Dr Mahathir, whose Indian ancestors came to Malaysia little over 100 years ago, could volubly claim to be 'indigenous' but yet consider Baba Chinese in Melaka who have been here for almost 600 years as orang asing.

This is 'Mahathirism' in short - a Machiavellian ploy to exploit race and religion for financial gain and power. Dr Mahathir is shameless in his duplicity and the only reason why he was able to succeed was because he was a leader of a feudally minded people who were economically and educationally backward. His Machiavellian psychological ploy was to engender a tongkat mentality in the Malay community to make them loyal to Umno.

Dr Mahathir was able to bring about a semblance of unity and economic progress during his tenure due to his dictatorial grip on all institutions of governance. He was willing to share the wealth with the leaders of BN component parties as long as they acquiesced to his Ketuanan Melayu stipulation. It is no surprise that MCA and MIC leaders became immensely rich but had to sell out their communities as part of the deal.

It was only a matter of time that we would see Mahathirism unravel because it was based on a lie and was becoming economically, socially and politically untenable. Anwar Ibrahim’s sacking was a symptom of this. This led to the haemorrhage of support from Umno to PAS and PKR.

In order the stem the loss, Dr Mahathir, the arch secularist in a cynical and unconstitutional manner, declared Malaysia an 'Islamic state' to steal the thunder, as it were, from PAS. This further divided Malaysian communities as there was now a rivalry between PAS and Umno for Islamic credentials leaving non-Muslims confounded and alienated.

Badawi's team saw this as an opportunity to wrest power from Dr Mahathir and seduced the rakyat with promises to end Mahathrism i.e. crony politics, police corruption, judicial corruption and religious and racial polarisation. The gullible rakyat responded by giving BN and Umno an unprecedented level of support in the 2004 elections. However, Abdullah squandered this opportunity to reform governance in Malaysia by reneging on his promises.

The overwhelming support seemed to make Umno even more arrogant to the extent that it actually put into practise the notion that it did not need other parties or communities to rule. This explains the arrogant and politically naive rhetoric by Khairy Jamaluddin about Penang needing a Malay chief minister, the brandishing of the keris by Hishamuddin Hussein at the Umno general assembly, the demolition of a Chinese temple in Penang and the escalation in Hindu temple demolitions.

We recall that at the Umno conference which was held on Deepavali day, a delegate had the audacity to say that the temple issue was a 'small matter'. Khairy then went on to make his infamous speech about Indian news vendors “who controlled the business” not distributing his father-in-law's speech because they chose to go on holiday. This was just the tip of the iceberg of a cumulative set of events from 2004 till now which have left Malaysians feeling bitterly short-changed and cheated by Abdullah.

I personally believe that Umno is not capable of reform under Abdullah, a man who has never been known to stand for anything other than being a 'Mr Nice Guy'. His promises for reform were at best well intentioned. The landslide win in 2004 made Umno think that they already had a winning formula and so why rock the boat and change?

Well, Mar 8 saw the rakyat waking up and bringing about change which they had been yearning for. The multiracial opposition smashed the psychological two-thirds majority of BN without any violent racial conflagration as a consequence.

It was a cathartic event for all Malaysians. It demolished the self -serving Mahathir mantra that a two-thirds majority was required for political stability. In fact, people began for the first time to see BN majority rule as a liability.

Umno does not appear to have learnt anything . It still behaves like a ‘one man show’ when it cannot afford to do so. MIC and MCA are lame duck parties which are incresingly seeing the wisdom of distancing themselves from Abdullah's Umno, which arrogantly pushed them aside when they won with a landslide in 2004.

Umno is now riddled with hopeless division and scrambling for power that it does not seem to realise that it is weak and needs to build up multi- racial support, otherwise it is as good as dead in the long run.

The current irrational actions by Umno to arrest people under ISA under bogus excuses betrays a pathetic mindset which sees the Malays as tools to be manipulated for Umno's own self-serving ends.

Malays know that it was an Umno warlord who uttered racist comments against the Chinese, yet the journalist who reported it was arrested. Malays now know that Khir Toyo’s allegations were the pretext for Teresa Kok’s ISA incarceration. The mosque in question has categorically said that Teresa was not involved in the azan petition and that the low volume of the azan was due to a technical fault.

Malays know from reading Raja Petra Kamarudin’s blog that he has always stood for justice and Islamic values. The arrests have further undermined Abdullah. It would appear that Abdullah's administration is in complete disarray and this is in no small way is due to his utter incompetence.

To be fair to Abdullah, he inherited the rot which Dr Mahathir had set in motion. I would go as far as to say that Dr Mahathir is to be blamed for all the nonsense we are witnessing now. Abdullah's fault lies in his inability to reform Mahathirism.

Malaysia and Umno needs Mahathir now like the proverbial hole in the head.

No comments: