Malaysiakini Letter

Who dares hold Umno to account?

Manjit Bhatia  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | I refer to the Malaysiakini column Only voters can hold Umno accountable.

Umno-ites, or the sycophants of Umno, are the ones to hold Umno to account.

But will they? Or the better question: why should they?

Umno-ites certainly don't feel the "fatigue" borne by 61 years of Umno shenanigans.

Nor would they feel the 1MDB corruption fatigue.

I say keep the IMDB scandal alive on the front pages of the media, in the headlines, because there is obviously a lot more “Very Important Dirt” to be revealed.

Not that - given the state of the law in Malaysia - any “VID” would ever be jailed, much less prosecuted.

Since Salleh Abbas's tenure, Malaysia's judiciary has lived handsomely courtesy of Umno.

Umno-ites won't bite the hand that feeds them. It would be self-defeating if they did. Not when they're on a good wicket.

And they've been on a good wicket since 1970 - thanks, initially, to Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he outlined The Malay Dilemma.

The Malay Dilemma became policy overnight. It's best known as the New Economic Policy.

It's a policy for all the right reasons, arguably. But it's execution stinks. It has been prosecuted for all the wrong reasons and, worse, for all the wrong outcomes.

Not all Malays are equal. Any more than all "Malaysians" are equal.

The New Economic Policy was, to all intents and purposes, a lopsided and racist policy. It was meant to serve a select group of people. We call them elites, in a small “L” liberal sense.

I prefer to call them the dominant class. I prefer my Marxist class analyses.

The NEP isn't dead. Not by a long shot. It lives in another skin, called the New Development Plan.

But in essence, it's the old policy - one that prejudiced non-Malays and some Malays in very significant ways across all socio-economic and political spheres.

It still does.

It buried "democracy". And out of those ashes arose authoritarianism of the typically Third World kind.

It also gave birth to authoritarian capitalism, which in turn gave rise to the widespread, unending scourge or disease of nepotism, cronyism and corruption.

That's Malaysia's religion - relentless corruption.

Since 1970, kleptocracy also became a feature of the Umno state. It built on the early Ali Baba practices. Remember those?

Kleptocracy thrives in Malaysia because democracy in Malaysia is dead.

Kleptocracy survives because the authoritarian Umno state lives and gives kleptocracy oxygen.

Forget the MCA, Gerakan and the MIC in their alliance with Umno. They're more than Umno sycophants.

They're in the "alliance" not as equal partners but as clients of the Umno patron. It's the Umno hand that feeds their manic greed.

The same hand that feeds the Umno-ites.

At one level the relationship between state and society in Malaysia is called Umnoitis.

At all other levels, it is bedevilled by oppression, suppression and violence - similar to the type that used to exist in the old Soviet Union and China and continues to live in Vladimir Putin's Russia and Xi Jinping's China.

I'd like to think Umnoitis is a fatal disease but it's not. It's not as long as the elite Malays and the likes of the MCA and Gerakan and the MIC continue to live off it like parasites.

Remember that this is a zero-sum game: while they grow richer, the others not in that camp are milked of their taxes, opportunities for progress.

Your future has been mortgaged for the sake of maintaining the rich and their lifestyles and their political connections to the so-called power elite.

Now the proceeds of crime from the corruption and money-laundering scandals plaguing 1MDB - which Najib Razak designed and ran out of his ministry of finance but which I prefer to call the Ministry of Funny Money - is the additional new hand that will ensure Umnoitis continues unabated and unabashedly in order to feed its political base in pockets of the country's cities, towns and kampung.

If you think about it, the strategy is straight out of Lenin's playbook. That makes the Umno state a Leninist state.

As long as these sycophants are fed, and fed well, no questions will ever be asked of anything the Umno Leninist state does or says.

That's how it is in Malaysia. That's how it has been since 1969.

So why should Umno's Malay demographic bite the hands that feed it? Why would that demographic even hold the Umno Leninist state to account?

Who, indeed, holds the Umno demographic to account? In fact, who dares?

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.


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