Malay Harapan MPs should not limit discourse in Malay polity

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

― George Orwell

COMMENT | The last time I broached the topic of veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin and his “personal opinion” about the expenses the royalty incurred, I wrote this – “So when Kadir makes a statement about royal expenses, his claim does not have to be challenged by the royalty but should either be verified and challenged by the Finance Ministry. End of controversy. However, Kadir’s piece is more than just about royal expenses.”

The last part of that paragraph about Kadir’s piece being about more than just royal expenses is the important bit. This, of course, goes beyond the simple platitudes the political elite in this country - Malay and non-Malay – spew about those institutions they believe sacred to mainstream Malay politics that they use to acquire and retain power.

Kadir’s latest dust-up on the Kedah royalty got him the usual fascist attacks - that his comments were “seditious” and needed to be investigated by the authorities - from a PKR political operative, Johari Abdul. I wish political operatives would advocate on behalf of rape survivors as they do for the royalty in this country.

By the way, I thought it was smart of Kadir in his response to criticism that he had overstepped when it came to this issue - that he quoted the lyrics of the Kedah state anthem and the national anthem to demonstrate that royalty were not beyond criticism, especially if their position (literally) departed from their traditional seats of power.

If a non-Malay had said this, they would have been hell to pay. So the politically correct thing to do for non-Malay political operatives, journalists and other public commentators, is to remain silent when it comes to issues like these. For non-Malay political operatives, it is merely playing the game of acquiring power in the Malay political landscape and any form of corruption, moral or fiscal, is ignored because we are told that this is Malay territory, so do not trespass.

Before the election, a young Malay political operative now with Bersatu but formerly with one of the more intelligent think tanks in this country, wrote that he joined the political fray because there were some things that needed to be said but was better coming from a Malay. The irony, of course, is that his posts about affirmative action being morally wrong, for instance, has since been removed and any kind of “progressive” think pieces has been sanitised. This is what happens in mainstream politics in this country.

What right-wing Malay types fear more than non-Malays trespassing into their sacred domains is the idea that other Malays deviate from the group-think. This is why the public comments of a young Malay woman like Fadiah Nadwa Fikri about the royalty is feared by the Malay political elite in this country. This, of course, is hypocritical...

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