“No one man can terrorise a whole nation unless we are all his accomplices.”
– Edward R Murrow
The statements made by Perak Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu regarding his battles with the DAP in Perak are neither provocative nor unexpected. Faizal is a figurehead for Bersatu’s supremacy in Perak, and just another talking point of Malay supremacy in Harapan.
I have no idea how Faizal can “clarify” his statement because his statement is obvious in its banality. The menteri besar was merely saying what was on the mind of the far right, Bersatu and those voters who threw in their lot with Bersatu hoping that Harapan would become the neo-Barisan Nasional and Bersatu the new Umno.
DAP politics in Perak is treacherous enough, without the added machinations of federal level proxies whose agenda is to further entrench Bersatu’s hegemonic agenda in the state. This should not be surprising to the rakyat, and it certainly should not be surprising to the DAP.
Bersatu is all alone in Perak. It does not have the numbers to exhibit the kind of raw political power that Malay power structures are used to. The menteri besar has to rely on “partners” to carry out policies favourable to the Malay community, which makes Bersatu’s claim that it is the sole protector of Malay rights and Islam suspect.
It is all there in (the spirit of) Bersatu’s constitution. The raison d’etre of Bersatu is to become the Umno of Harapan. The big tent in which all other parties seek shelter. This is not about a paradigm shift in politics, but rather about rebranding.
The fact that Bersatu has not become the political powerhouse it hoped it would be necessitates political plays sub rosa and overt to demonstrate to its political rivals that it has control of the coalition.
Often times this includes castigating the DAP for slights, imagined or real. It is all political theatre meant to create a narrative of strength, when the reality is that the infighting (egged on by proxies) is destabilising the coalition.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s (above) claim that “We shouldn’t have a friend acting like an opponent” is a queer statement to make. Bersatu is a race-based party. Ideologically, it is in direct opposition to everything the DAP is supposed to stand for.
The fact is, before the great compromise that resulted in the crowning of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, politicians aligned with Mahathir, but in opposition to the Najib regime, were still attacking the DAP as a racist party bent on destroying the “social contract” of this country.
In 2012, when debating MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng claimed: “We should not bow to fate and have the right to equality. We should not kneel and beg. We should be brave enough to stand and ask for it.”
Now, I want people to consider what Guan Eng said in 2012. Does the behaviour of the DAP, in any way, shape or form, conform to the spirit or intent of that statement? Of course it does not. Why? Because the DAP is learning fast that dealing with Malay power structures on a federal level, and a bureaucracy that is, in essence, an extension of a political party (Umno) is complex, and requires stratagems and rhetoric that are in total opposition to the egalitarian ideas that the DAP tells its base is the foundation of a new Malaysia.
Say what you want about Anwar Ibrahim (below), but at least he had the cajones to attempt to change the political discourse by forming a multi-racial party (flawed it may be) to displace the Umno hegemon.
This is why Anwar always has to present his bona fides when it comes to Malay and Islamic preoccupations. However, this also makes it easier for non-Malay power structures to work with him without having to worry about Malay PKR operatives wandering (it happens, but it is not nearly as disruptive as Bersatu) off the reservation because they, too, have to compromise when it comes to contentious issues.
This, of course, is a feature, not a bug, of democratic power where competing interests have to be managed for a (hopefully) utilitarian outcome.
“The Bangsa DAP” and “puak puak DAP” are standard far-right talking points and something that politicians, supporters and the various cottage industries of aggrieved Bersatu proxies have used before, and an effective counter-narrative to the Bangsa Malaysia propaganda that Bersatu obviously does not promote or believe in private.
The fact is that Bersatu has always had to view the DAP with a certain amount of contempt because, for years, successive Mahathir led governments had to paint the DAP as the bogeyman of Malay politics.
How many times have I pointed out that the far-right and most voters of race-based politics have no problems with the dissonance in the narratives they are peddling and consume? This means that the DAP can be the running dogs of Bersatu and, at the same time, the power behind the throne.
You have to wonder when Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin said: “I would like to say here, at the central level, all the decisions we make are based on discussions, a collective decision. Collective responsibility. It was not made by one or two ministers.” This means the DAP was complicit in all the backtracking and screw-ups this government has made.
Which makes the vocal bleating of the DAP representatives, who took offence at the statement that MCA president Wee Ka Siong (above) made of the DAP as not having the courage to speak up in Parliament, pathetic. You cannot have it both ways.
Either you were part of the decision-making process or you opposed such measures and can offer evidence of your dissent. Can the DAP do this? Instead, what the DAP always does is plead for more time and whine about the problems Harapan inherited.
This is a deflection because the people are not worried about the slow pace of reforms. Folks are pissed off at Bersatu, and the DAP’s complicity is hampering reforms.
Keep in mind that a high ranking minister threatened open season on the DAP if the DAP did not sanction one of its members for criticising the prime minister. In other words, Ronnie Liu was putting country above party. What does the DAP do? Accuse its own member of attempting to destabilise Harapan?
Moreover, do not get me started on this fake LTTE and communist narratives that Malay power structures and the deep Islamic state cooked up to hamper efforts of egalitarian reform, and as a warning to non-Malay politicians.
It is pointless attempting to carry water for Bersatu because, at the end of the day, the DAP and PKR represent everything that Bersatu is fighting against. The irony, of course, is that if Bersatu makes it clear that it was going to carry out the reform agenda and ceases attempting to destabilise the coalition, Harapan would be a unified front against the forces attempting to subvert democracy in this country.
Instead, we have a member of the ruling coalition that is determined to subvert the democratic process, in concert with extreme forces allegedly aligned against them but sharing the same purpose, and coalition partners in their passivity becoming accomplices.
DAP should stop swooning over Bersatu.