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“Let me define terms: hardball is clean, aggressive Machiavellian politics. It is the discipline of gaining and holding power, useful to any profession or undertaking, but practised most openly and unashamedly in the world of public affairs.”

- Chris Mathews, American political commentator

COMMENT | Apparently if Prime Minister Najib Razak wins, this would be our last election. Huh? Depending on how Najib wins the upcoming general election, he would realise that –

1. He really does not need the non-Malay vote (if the non-Malay vote abandons him) and his numerous alliances - or should that be dalliances? - with the extreme elements of Malay political structures have borne fruit.

2. If the non-Malays do not abandon him, then the “social contract” is still relevant and Umno understands that the non-Malays have grown tired of rebelling against the Umno hegemon.

Either way, with all the gerrymandering, abuse of electoral institutions and cash politics, what passes for democracy in this country will continue with the Umno hegemon secure in the knowledge that they have bested one of its best and brightest – okay, the only best and brightest (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) – and secure in the knowledge that their hegemony will never again or at least most probably will never be threatened by the split in the Malay community with the collusion of non-Malay voting blocks.

Make no mistake. This election is not about principles or policies but rather the biggest fight in the Malay community. This election is a choice between Najib and former prime minister now opposition PM-designate, Mahathir. If you think that this is about reforming the country, you are operating under severe delusions. Whether you believe that the former prime minister is an agent of change depends on how much you have invested in the opposition.

This does not mean change will not happen under a Pakatan Harapan regime but just lay off the kool-aid. Things happen when there is regime change. The important point is not to invest in politicians and holding politicians accountable for what they claim they want on your behalf.

Do not get too excited about election manifestos. They do not mean a thing. They do however give potential voters a hint into the mindset of how politicians want voters to think. It is strange, isn’t it? Election manifestos are not legally binding when they are supposed to be (written) promises from politicians to the people who vote for them. I wonder what would happen if they were? Anyway, it is not important.

Senior minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan claims that Umno wants a broad base of support and non-Malays risk being marginalised in the country if they do not support Umno. In other words, the only thing holding back the excesses of the Malay community is the participation of non-Malays in this charade we call democracy. What happens if the non-Malays abandon Umno?

Would Umno ditch all those “rights” that non-Malays rely on to survive in this country? Get one thing straight, non-Malays are not asking for any “rights” which are not expressly stated in the Malaysian constitution. But because this is the cursed politics of our country where unimaginative, petty tyrants in the establishment and the opposition hold sway, this is how politics is defined in this country.

Sometimes I wonder why non-Malays even vote. I mean, it is not as if they are dependent on the...

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