For now, Malaysia has no opposition

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | So, do we finally have a two-party system? No, we don’t.

“We were too drunk on our own Kool-Aid, and this is a sobering lesson for us which we'll remember for the rest of our lives."

- Khairy Jamaluddin, member of the opposition

COMMENT | As someone who took a big gulp of Kool-Aid and wrote this, I’m thankful to de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim who reminded us that one election does not a democracy make. One wonders though when the circus of 1MDB issue peters out, what kind of bread would be offered?

So, do we finally have a two-party system? No, we do not. Not in the kind of way that an egalitarian Malaysia needs. As someone who has spent a great deal of time and effort promoting that line of propaganda – the many emails from Malaysiakini readers reminding me that it was propaganda is testament to my doggedness in pursuing an objective, I suppose - I have to concede when I am wrong. Malaysia has no real opposition, hence there is no two-party system. Not yet.

Malaysiakini columnist Nathaniel Tan may call the current opposition ineffectual, but it amounts to the same thing. We have currently no opposition to the Pakatan Harapan regime. Tan seems to think that the BN model is over but it is not. The BN model was a corruption – what isn’t for this regime? – of the old Alliance model, where Malay power structures ostensibly shared power with non-Malay power groups.

To argue that Harapan is not a marriage of convenience is disingenuous. However, it is also disingenuous to claim that all marriages of convenience do not work. It all depends on how much time and effort is put into making the union work and finding common ground, or in this case, mutually beneficial political outcomes. Remember, mutually beneficial political outcomes does not mean that the rakyat profits, it merely means that political parties secure their position.

The main justification by the opposition on why they needed Dr Mahathir Mohamad was because of the Malay vote. Bersatu is a Malay-only organisation, an organisation which Mahathir argued was needed to win over the Malay vote. If you think that this is politically incorrect to say now, remember it is Anwar who claimed that Mahathir was indispensable to regime change. The numbers will tell if there was indeed a Malay tsunami or if the non-Malays votes (in greater numbers) propped up Mahathir, which is a case of history repeating itself.

Detractors of this new game plan were mocked and cursed in the alternative media and on social media. Implying that we are in a post-racial political Malaysia is as dangerous as the reality distortion field that surrounded Najib Razak. That was some Grade A Kool-Aid right there.

When DAP leader and newly-appointed finance minister Lim Guan Eng says he considers himself Malaysian first, it is mendacious and subservient since he sitting at a table with someone who heads a Malay-only organisation, feebly makes noises (with his non-Malay partners) about following the constitution (as if the Malaysian Constitution is not a compromised document) when confronted about "Malay rights" but most importantly, it is a negation of non-Malay cultural identity at the expense of Malay realpolitik, which is the foundation of "ketuananism".

No, if you say it will take time to change the system, fine, but do not in a fascist way negate the subject of race from the conversation, especially when it comes to the non-Malays, to sustain and buttress weakened Malay power structures of this new regime. This does not dismantle the ‘ketuanan’ system, it reinforces...

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