For Malaysia, it’s back to the good old times
Manjit BhatiaPublished 9:58 am3
“Once senility has come upon a dynasty, it cannot be made to disappear.”
– Ibn Khaldun, Muqaddimah (1377 AD)
COMMENT | Two regime changes in less than two years says an awful lot about the place. Malaysia is a basket case – a Third World country with grand pretensions of turning First World by 2020, with democratic affectations. Dream on.
The long and short of the past week’s psychosis is that there are no winners in that seemingly perennial cockup that is Malaysian politics – other than politicians of course. Taxpayers (still) pay them handsomely, plus a collection of perks, for doing bugger all. Meanwhile, the crisis continues – one that’s within a hare’s whisker of approximating to an out-and-out legitimation crisis. One major loser just got hit by the politicians’ fracas – an amalgam called Malaysians; what folks call rakyat. Where are you now?
Who cares now who did what, where, how and to whom. It’s passé. Water under the bridge. Though the stench will stay forever. It’s hard to imagine the 10 days that shook Malaysia to its core is different to previous attempts at character assassination cast around vile and vicious claims of a person’s loathsome behaviour. The French call it sordidité, and for good reason.
Muhyiddin Yassin may be the eighth prime minister but he’ll go down in history as the Belakang Masuk PM, aided and abetted by his three gorillas: Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who faces court over RM13 million corruption, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and the ever-reliable former PKR deputy president Azmin Ali. All three have form. If you’re a betting person you’d put your last sen on these ponies to make you a neat little bundle. What the goings-on illustrate is a serious famine of competent, decent politicians and deepening distrust of politicians by the public.
Or is Muhyiddin now like the king in the popular nursery rhyme? You’ve probably forgotten it, or don’t know it, seeing English hasn’t been the medium of instruction in Malaysia for donkey’s years. Here’s not the modern rendition of the rhyme but the original version as it appeared in Tommy Thumb’s ‘Pretty Song Book’ circa 1744 in London. The first verse went like this:
Sing a song of sixpence
A bag full of rye
Four and twenty naughty boys
Baked in a pie
Familiar? It goes on about the king in his counting house counting out his money.
Transpose this to Muhyiddin counting out his statutory declarations. Big roaring business these SDs. He’d be hoping he hasn’t screwed up with his count, that he hasn’t ‘misled’ the king. He’d be praying he has 112 supporting SDs for a simple majority to rule; 114 to win an extra breath; 120, at least, to survive a cardiac arrest.
Muhyiddin wouldn’t want his trusted Azmin to perform CPR on him if the crunch came. Because in Bolehland, anything goes. Yessiree, Bob: You’re all back in mighty Bolehland. Well and truly back in the thick of its old bile. And you can’t go past the real losers who aren’t political cretins.
Right up to May 9, 2018, the losers were sold Umno lemons – 61 unbroken years of rabid racism, lies, corruption, cronyism, kleptocracy. Then for 22 months after that, they were sold the Malaysia Baru lemon, which, clearly, never stood a chance. Never planted a single root the entire time. Last weekend the losers got – ho, ho, ho! – an early Christmas present. This lemon, however, is the size of a monster artocarpus heterophyllus, nangka, with the smell of durian rotten through and through.
The losers are the Malays – those fine ordinary Malays who couldn’t, wouldn’t, back the criminally insane maggots of Umno and their voiceless, spineless muppets in the MCA and the MIC, and the PAS lunatics in their sarban and burqa costumes.
And the non-Malay losers – constantly and maliciously dubbed ‘pendatang’ by Malay fascist nationalists and charlatans. The “nons” will be hammered again by the ‘pertama saya Melayu’ types. So will the Orang Asli – the real, genuine bumiputera from whom the Malay fascist nationalists and charlatans stole their lands, purloined their livelihoods, and hung them out to dry.
The only Malaysian who stands out, for me at any rate, is Fadiah Nadwa Fikri (above) – the fearless, articulate, intelligent Malay political activist and human rights lawyer. Already Muhyiddin’s Gestapo, the police, is persecuting her (and other well-known activists) for her anti-Belakang Masuk politics public stance at the weekend.
It’s back to the good old days. The good times.
Recriminations will come
Harapan is dead. Malaysia Baru was stillborn. Get used to it. Recriminations will come. Mahathir has started the ball rolling, blaming everyone for the debacle he created and mismanaged but himself. The old story.
Hopefully decent, thinking Malaysians won’t feel the game’s up, that they should re-familiarise themselves with the return of putrid Umnoism, hopefully not for 61 more years for Umnoists to burgeon people with their profligate sanctified moral decadence and intuitive sense for pilfering.
Malaysians mustn’t sit back. They must mobilise. Together. All races. All classes (but the self-seeking rich and filthy-rich).
There’s every likelihood serpentine Bersatu will absorb the Umno crooks, not for brethren’s sake but out of politico-ideological necessity. Or Umno crooks will emasculate crooked Bersatu. The latter is odds-on.
Will either move make any substantive difference to the lives of Malaysians? Hell no. Just worse. Now watch who the Muhyiddin regime begins to sack from or wheedle in the previous regime’s institutions. I suspect Latheefa Koya, or Kak Lat, will be at the top of Muhyiddin’s hit list.
MANJIT BHATIA is a reader of international political-economy with focus on Asia.