Opposition should not hold their anti-kleptocracy rally

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

- R Buckminster Fuller

COMMENT | The opposition does not need another rally. I know they want a rally, they want to make some noise but as the last Bersih rally demonstrated, you could be handed a loudspeaker but when you have nothing to say, you end up thinking you have accomplished something but ultimately, whatever gained is superficial and just furthers Umno narratives about the opposition in this country.

The big question which has never been answered is why “people don't feel the 1MDB issue is related (to their lives)”. Will holding roadshows provide clarity to these people? Would roadshows suddenly make them think independently and question the toxic eco-system of racial and political privilege that subsidises their community while shackling them to religion that teaches them that they are constantly under siege?

Some people have told me that unless the opposition manages to articulate the 1MDB issues in terms that the “average” folk can understand, then there will never be a political awakening in the base that Umno relies on to maintain hegemony. I find this line of thinking hard to understand.

The opposition, in their rhetoric, have more or less called the current Umno poohbah a “thief”, demonised his spouse as a Lady Macbeth figure who corrupts the party from within, and virtually controls online narratives that paint this country as a state that's failing because billions of ringgit have been looted from public coffers.

One would think that with all this, the opposition would have made inroads with the so-called rural Malay demographic. These people are not all Luddites who only get their information from the state’s propaganda organs - which are failing, by the way - and as portrayed by some opposition supporters as too “stupid” to know the truth when its right in front of them.

Something else is going on here. While ignorance, of course, plays an important role in the election of kleptocrats, the reality is that the opposition is suffering from credibility issues that make voting for a corrupt hegemon - something Malaysians have done before - a better alternative than trusting a fractured opposition.

I reiterated this point I made during one of the numerous by-elections in my piece about the hurdles faced by the opposition in overthrowing a kleptocratic regime - “So if Umno delivers everything it says it will deliver, the cycle of complicity will continue. Disenfranchised people will continue voting for a regime which puts rice in their bowls. I am not talking about the urban class but rather those people who have depended on real power, federal power exercised corruptly for their benefit. That is the culture some people forget that we are dealing with. We nurtured this culture.”

Some analysts have made the point that an opposition rally to appeal to a broad demographic, which merely means that more Malays have to be involved, or this rally would be spun by the warlocks of Putrajaya as a Chinese attempt to usurp power. Conventional thinking is that Bersatu and Amanah could pull in the rural Malay votes or those “Malays” who are enamoured by the former prime minister and current de facto opposition leader.

I made the same point on the last Bersih rally, which really did not pan out as I had hoped for - “What this Bersih rally needs to be about is the dignity and integrity of the Malays. It needs to address the reality that Malay leadership has failed this country and the only way to restore any semblance of dignity to the Malay polity would be for the so-called ‘leaders’ of the Malay community, with the help of their non-Malay counterparts, to mobilise the Malay demographic into coming to the mother of all street parties.”...

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