Like a trapped animal (part 2)
And that is what the 13th General Election is all about. It is about kill or be killed. It is about whether Dr Mahathir or Anwar will win. It is about who is going to jail, Dr Mahathir or Anwar. And if Anwar wins then Dr Mahathir is not going to go to jail alone. Pakatan Rakyat has promised to go for everyone who is corrupt and has committed a crime. So, many people have something to lose. Anwar has to die so that so many others can live.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Dr M: Malays will lose political power if PR takes over
(The Malaysian Insider) – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called the Malays “ungrateful” and “lacking intelligence”, warning that the greed of a few power-hungry Malays in the opposition would see the country’s dominant race lose its political power.
“If any of these Malay (opposition) parties win the elections and forms the government, this government would have to follow the dictates of other (races). The Malays will no longer hold dominance in the government that they were so willing to share with others,” he said in a special column titled “Suara Hati Mahathir” published in Mingguan Malaysia today, the weekend edition of Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia.
In his lengthy tirade against the Malays, the former prime minister expressed sadness that the Malays were now purportedly split into three factions and said that this has resulted in them “begging” for support from the other races.
“It has forced them to beg for support… even from those who have all this time been fighting against efforts to uplift the positions of the Malays and make them equal to the others. But this support is not given for free,” he warned.
“Who brought on this disaster? No other than the Malays themselves ― greedy Malays, Malays lacking in intelligence, Malays easily influenced by lust, easily dominated by hatred when agitated,” he continued in typical no-holds-barred fashion.
Dr Mahathir took pains to remind the Malays of their colonised past in the decades before independence, detailing horror stories of how the British had called them lazy and stupid, enslaving them in their own country. He said the Malays were only allowed to take on menial labour jobs and were made into drivers and orderlies or clerks and office boys at most.
“There were assumed to be incapable of holding any responsibility. The Chinese and the Indians were even brought into the country to solve this problem of the Malays being stupid and incompetent,” the veteran politician recalled.
When the Japanese arrived, Dr Mahathir said the Malays even lost their lowly office jobs and were forced to become petty roadside traders selling goods like bananas. If they failed to bow their heads low when walking by a Japanese soldier, they would be forced to balance large chunks of rocks on their heads and shoulders until they would collapse from dizziness, he said.
“They would be ordered to climb tall coconut trees to get the fruits for these Japanese soldiers. If they failed, they would be slapped and would have to crouch to seek forgiveness,” Dr Mahathir continued.
The 13th General Election, which most expect in February-March next year, is going to be very interesting. It is going to be interesting because of a few reasons. The pertinent questions I would ask would be:
1. Are we going to see history being repeated?
2. Was the 12th General Election a flash in the pan?
3. Are we finally going to see the end of the rule of the same government that Malaysia has had for the last half century?
4. Have Malaysians finally buried the spectre of ‘May 13’ and is it now no longer a factor in Malaysian politics (and hence has become a blunt weapon)?
5. Has Malaysian politics been reduced to that of the United States Presidential elections?
6. Whose propaganda machinery and political strategy is better, Barisan Nasional’s or Pakatan Rakyat’s?
7. Have the political surveys and opinion polls done over the last couple of years been accurate in assessing the mindset of Malaysians?
8. Are we still retaining the political culture of the last 30 years or is that now a thing of the past?
I suppose my list of questions can go up to a dozen or more but for purposes of today’s discussion allow me to focus on just those eight. My list is not in order of priority or importance and I am going to address them not in the sequence above.
Most likely Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak would be requesting an audience with His Majesty the Agong early next year to request His Majesty’s consent to dissolve Parliament. Thereafter the Election Commission (SPR) will take over and has 60 days in which to hold the elections.
Most likely, also, SPR will allow a ten-day campaign period. Hence, while Nomination Day could be about a month after Parliament is dissolved, Polling Day would be just ten days after that.
Now, Malaysians feel that this is unfair. A ten-day campaign period is too short, they say. In actual fact, if the 13th General Election were held, say, in March 2013, then the campaign period would be five years rather than ten days. Hence it really makes no difference whether the ‘official’ campaign period is ten days or ten weeks. The reality would be the campaign would have been going on for five years, making Malaysia the only country in the world where the campaign period is five years.
Do I need to explain this? Well, considering the comprehension level of most Malaysians maybe I do. You see, it is like this: both Barisan Nasional as well as Pakatan Rakyat have been on the campaign trail since 9th March 2008, the day after the 12th General Election. They started campaigning the very morning after Polling Day of 8th March 2008 and have never stopped campaigning ever since.
More importantly, though, the campaigning is not really about which will make a better government, Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat? It is about who will make a better Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak or Anwar Ibrahim? Hence, when Malaysians go to the polling booths on Polling Day, many people will be voting not so much based on which political party they support but on who they want as the Prime Minister.
For example, say Pakatan Rakyat announces that if it wins the general election Anwar Ibrahim will not become the Prime Minister but Hadi Awang will instead. How many Chinese will still vote Pakatan Rakyat? Or, say, Pakatan Rakyat announces that Lim Kit Siang is going to be the Prime Minister (which is allowed under the law). Would many Malays still vote Pakatan Rakyat?
The factor, therefore, is Anwar. It is because Anwar is going to be Prime Minister that these people will vote Pakatan Rakyat. And they will vote Pakatan Rakyat because they do not want Najib rather than because they want Anwar. It is about what you don’t want and not about what you want. Hence ABU (anything but Umno) may work because ABU is about what you don’t want, meaning Umno.
Say Umno announces that Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah will be taking over as Prime Minister after the 13th General Election. Najib will retire and hand the reins to Ku Li. Will all those who intend to vote Pakatan Rakyat still vote Pakatan Rakyat since the main reason they are voting Pakatan Rakyat is because they are pissed with Najib and Rosmah?
So, the criteria here is vote the other side of what you don’t want. This makes it easier to ignore and close your eyes to who or what you are voting for. You just decide who or what you don’t want then close your eyes and vote the opposite to that.
And this is partly the fault of the political parties themselves. The campaigning has not been about what they can do for the country but about the bad points of the other side. Barisan Nasional has been going out of their way to point out the bad points and faults of the Pakatan Rakyat leaders, in particular Anwar Ibrahim, while Pakatan Rakyat has been doing the same about Barisan Nasional, in particular regarding Najib and Rosmah Mansor.
In fact, the 13th General Election is not even about Anwar and Najib. It is about Anwar and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. And to understand this we need to rewind 30 years to 1982 when Anwar first joined Umno.
While Anwar may be the de facto leader of PKR (plus opposition leader as well because of that), Dr Mahathir is the de facto government leader (the power behind the throne so to speak). Basically, Najib is Dr Mahathir’s proxy. Hence if you hate Dr Mahathir (assuming hating Najib and Rosmah is not enough reason to reject Umno), then you vote for Anwar (meaning vote Pakatan Rakyat).
Many may not be aware that it was Ku Li who brought Anwar into Umno back in 1982. Dr Mahathir actually did not want Anwar but Ku Li was persistent and Dr Mahathir eventually relented.
The main concern was that if Umno does not take Anwar then he might join PAS (which was seriously courting him). So better Umno takes Anwar then he goes to PAS. At least in Umno Anwar could be controlled.
Dr Mahathir actually admitted this in an interview in Japan some years back. He said he agreed to allow Anwar to join Umno to prevent him from joining PAS. Dr Mahathir added that he thought he could control Anwar once he was in Umno but then he discovered that Anwar was conspiring to oust him so he had no choice but to get rid of Anwar.
Hence Dr Mahathir admitted that he did not actually want Anwar and he got rid of Anwar not because of the sodomy allegation but because he (Anwar) was conspiring to oust him (Dr Mahathir). We can assume, therefore, that the sodomy allegation was the excuse rather than the reason.
It is, therefore, to Dr Mahathir’s interest that he ensure Anwar does not take over as Prime Minister. It has become something very personal between Dr Mahathir and Anwar. This is a vendetta, an old score to settle, not about better governance, etc. And if Anwar succeeds in taking over he would do what he had intended to do back in 1998 but failed. Dr Mahathir is going to go to jail. And if Anwar fails to take over then he is going to jail instead. Dr Mahathir will make sure of that.
Hence the 13th General Election is about whether Dr Mahathir or Anwar is going to win while the loser, whoever that may be, is going to end up in jail. It is winner takes all and loser loses all type of situation — the Malaysian political culture.
This is a high stakes game. This is about who is going to sit in Putrajaya and who is going to die in jail. And the fact that Pakatan Rakyat has promised that if it takes over the federal government it is going to korek (dig) all the wrongdoings and transgressions of those currently in power (including those already retired) means Pakatan Rakyat (meaning Anwar Ibrahim) cannot take over at all costs, even at the cost of bloodshed.
Well, it is either my blood or your blood, so better your blood.
So it may have been better if Pakatan Rakyat had not made so much noise about the witch hunt they are going to launch once (not ‘if’) they take over. Promising revenge and retribution have made not only the politicians but the civil service, police, judiciary, military, etc., scared shit. They visual a Pakatan Rakyat takeover as translating to the death of many who walk and sit in the corridors of power in Putrajaya — not confined to just the elected officials or politicians.
It may have been prudent if Pakatan Rakyat had announced an amnesty and period or reconciliation instead. Promising revenge has turned this into a deadly game. It is kill or be killed.
I remember once speaking to Zakaria Chik, the then CPO of Johor (whom I knew when he was in Terengganu). I congratulated him on his success at combating crime in Johore. I then asked him why all the robbers and kidnappers seem to have been shot dead. You do not seem to arrest anyone, I said. All are shot dead.
Zakaria replied that he told his police officers he does not want any prisoners, only bodies. Any police officer that brings back a live prisoner would be transferred to traffic duty. Hence they don’t make any arrest. They shoot on sight.
The criminals, too, knew that they were not going to be arrested or taken alive. They were going to be shot dead even if they surrendered. So why surrender? Better they try to escape by shooting their way out.
So the criminal would never surrender. They will shoot at the police. And the police too have to shoot back. So it is a ‘kill or be killed’ situation — and most times the police win.
And that is what the 13th General Election is all about. It is about kill or be killed. It is about whether Dr Mahathir or Anwar will win. It is about who is going to jail, Dr Mahathir or Anwar. And if Anwar wins then Dr Mahathir is not going to go to jail alone. Pakatan Rakyat has promised to go after everyone who is corrupt and has committed a crime. So, many people have something to lose. Anwar has to die so that so many others can live.
In 1999, the opposition did very well. And the factor was Dr Mahathir. Many people hated Dr Mahathir and were angry at what he did to Anwar.
In 2004, the opposition did very badly. The factor, again, was Dr Mahathir. Dr Mahathir had retired and had handed the reins to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. So no more hate Dr Mahathir factor. Let’s give Pak Lah a chance.
In 2008, the opposition did well again. And, yet again, the factor was Dr Mahathir. Dr Mahathir had resigned from Umno and had asked the Malays and Umno members to punish Umno by voting for the opposition.
So what is 2013 going to look like? Is Dr Mahathir still a factor? Are we going to see the 1999 scenario, the 2004 scenario, or the 2008 scenario? And how strong is the Dr Mahathir factor or is he no longer relevant or significant?
Umno is now like a trapped animal. And trapped animals can be very desperate and vicious. Umno and the Umno leaders (plus those in government such as the civil servants) have been promised that once Pakatan Rakyat takes over it is going to be payback time. Heads are going to roll. Jails are going to be full. There may not be enough jails for everyone.
Do you think it was wise to make such a promise? Do you think these people should have been made to feel like a trapped animal? Do you think they will allow Pakatam Rakyat to take over if their heads depend on Pakatan Rakyat not taking over? When it is either kill or be killed how do you think your enemy is going to fight? If you are going to die anyway and there are not going to be any prisoners you might as well come out with both guns blazing.
That is what the 13th General Election has been reduced to. But maybe Pakatan Rakyat is so confident it is going to win it need not care about the ‘death threat’ to the losers once Pakatan Rakyat takes over.
But the thing is the votes have not been counted yet and there is many a slip between the cup and the lip. So anything can happen. And as they also say, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. Oh, that’s right, the fat lady did sing, on Hari Raya. Okay, maybe it is over; but let’s see.
Anyway, I will stop here and maybe I can continue with part 3 another day, if I am in the mood for it.