R.A.B.U - The final conflict in the Malay community

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“We call upon all Malaysians, irrespective of race, religion, political situation, creed or parties, young and old, to join us in saving Malaysia from the government headed by Najib Razak. We must rid ourselves of Najib as prime minister. If he’s allowed to go on, the damage will be worse and worse.”

- Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Pakatan Harapan leader

COMMENT | To my Malay comrades, old and new, this article is for you. I am not fishing for votes for Pakatan Harapan. Indeed, this will be the only time I will do this.

Never has the Umno hegemon been so afraid of losing political power. They are doing everything possible to mute the voices of those who will not submit to their power. This is not a political conflict the non-Malays can prosecute on their own. No election will ever be. As the years go by, the window of opportunity will close until the light of democracy can no longer seep through and we Malaysians will eventually be consumed in the darkness that fascism brings. You know what I speak of.

DAP’s Liew Chin Tong proclamation that GE14 is our final battle is slightly queer. Shouldn’t that be “war”? After all, a “battle” implies a continuation of hostilities until a “war” which defines an outcome. So is this the final battle before the war?

I realise when opposition MPs talk about “wars” in the political sense, the Umno hegemon will be up in arms – maybe literally – and there would be this nonsense about a Chinese MP warring with the placid Malay community. Claiming that a political party will defend Putrajaya with the last drop of their blood, brandishing the “keris’” around and claiming enslavement of the Malay community if they lose this “war” with DAP, is the province of Umno.

Since I too am bound by certain imposed norms, instead of “final battle”, I will say “final conflict", which implies finality and which I assume was what Chin Tong was going for. However, this is not “our” final battle. This is the final conflict within the Malay community. This GE will once and for all determine if the Malay community will reject Umno and embrace a two-party system or continue supporting the Umno hegemon when the other two communities have abandoned BN.

The stakes are much higher than merely living in a kleptocracy and systemic inequality. If the opposition loses this fight and depending how badly they lose, we would be bereft of any kind of sustained opposition against the Umno hegemon. Malay opposition power structures have to win at least one state and preferably as a dominant political party, to ensure the survival of the opposition as a credible threat to Umno.

If the Malay community does not endorse through the ballot box alternate Malay power structures in the Malaysian political system, what could happen if the opposition loses is the DAP could be the last party standing surrounded by either a weak coalition of Malay powerbrokers or worse, a resurgent Umno.

Does this mean that the struggle is over? No. It would just mean that it would be more difficult for the opposition because it would mean that the opposition would have to redefine itself. Some would argue that this is a good thing but this is not the conversation we have to have now. At this moment, if you are a Malay who believes in a two-party system, this opportunity is the closest “we” have of attaining that goal.

There has never been a time when Malay power structures have been at such odds with one another in a way that could change the course of this country. This is the perfect opportunity for progressive Malays and those who think like them to stake their claim on the future of this country.

If this is a fight between the current Umno grand poobah and Dr Mahathir Mohamad, this is also a fight between the disparate power groups aligned with the latter, who may stem the tide of religious extremism and the corrosive culture of corruption that hastens the ascension of religious extremists in this country.

If Mahathir and the opposition manage to dethrone Najib, there is a possibility of a recalibration of the power structures in this country. There is a chance for political reform. There is a chance that we will not become a theocratic state because of a compromised leadership struggling to maintain power...

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