Mahathir’s ungrateful children

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“The point of modern propaganda isn't only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”

― Garry Kasparov, Russian chess grandmaster

COMMENT | So, this spin maestro (a long-time friend) aligned with Bersatu took me to task for referring to Bersatu members as “Najib refuseniks”.

“Can’t you people (“you” people?) understand that he is trying to save the country,” he went on. I cautioned him that when a propagandist starts believing his own propaganda, he should quit the business but we have been friends for many years and he did raise some interesting issues that I am always willing to discuss.

People got all hot and bothered when Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohamad Hasan told youths to take physical action against those who slander BN but forget when rowdy Bersatu members disrupted a Pakatan Harapan Negeri Sembilan convention after they got butthurt over “being allocated the least number of state seats among the four component parties.” Talk about your Umno DNA.

I asked this friend, would he prefer it if I referred to Bersatu as the Malay vanguard because that is the perception that the party is attempting to generate.

Bersatu leader Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen attempts to do just that when he waxes lyrical about what the old Umno stood for and how young leaders shaped the direction of the party.

What he leaves out is that the hegemon nurtured young talent through a system of patronage, grooming young men and women to whisper the poisoned words of old grey-haired men to a polity racked with religious and class divisions.

I know people in the #UndiRosak crowd, NGOs and outlier political and social activists whom I could make the case that they are the Malay vanguard but unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Bersatu.

This, of course, has nothing to do with the demographic that Bersatu needs to win Putrajaya.

Mukhriz Mahathir really should not feel bad about playing the race card. After all, that is the function of Bersatu in Harapan in its quest to oust Najib, isn’t it? The race card, unfortunately, is more than just a diversionary tactic.

It’s what sustains the Umno hegemon and any party which chooses to replace it. So potent is this card that anyone wishing political power in this country has to use it - or so conventional political wisdom goes.

Political analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff had to remind people that he did not wet himself when he met the old maverick but he is a construct of Mahathir and Umno politics, which truth be told is not mutually exclusive.

Maybe he should have wet himself a little when he met his maker. Kamarul, after all, is a child of what the Mahathir era wrought. All of Umno is. Everyone who supports Umno, including those who vote for them, is. They are all Mahathir’s children.

And people like Kamarul are ungrateful. In fact, the whole of Umno is...

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