Strange days for Malaysian politics

THE old narrative of Malaysian politics was that Red Shirts leader Datuk Seri Jamal Md Yunos was the villain of the piece in the Pakatan Harapan “Save Malaysia” rallies. The Pakatan crowd saw the Red Shirts and Jamal as the ugly face of Umno and its Malay rights struggle.

The new narrative is that Jamal is the villain of the piece in Perikatan Nasional’s “Save Malaysia” rally. He and his party are now with Pakatan and are against Perikatan, which claims to be the defender of 2R (race and religion) issues.

On Wednesday, the Sungai Besar Umno Division chief called on the Red Shirts to rise again to counter a Perikatan demonstration planned at Sogo Complex in Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia Day yesterday.

Jamal said the counter-rally is to save the country from the Opposition. For unknown reasons, though, he called off the Red Shirts’ protest when Perikatan changed the venue of its rally to nearby Kampung Baru.

The choice of Kampung Baru is ironic for journalists like me who covered the Reformasi movement in the late 1990s. It was the scene of many street “battles” between the pro-Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim faction and the police at a time when the then Opposition called Dr Mahathir a dictator.

So the Malay enclave – the first village populated by the community in Kuala Lumpur – became the venue for the Opposition Perikatan rally against Prime Minister Anwar.

At the rally yesterday, the crowd shouted “reformati” (which is a clever play on the words “reformasi” and “mati”, or dead).

They were protesting the discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) granted to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who had faced 47 charges in the Yayasan Akalbudi corruption case.

Protest: Save Malaysia rally participants gathering at Masjd Jamek in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, at about 3pm yesterday. -- AZHAR MAHFOF/The StarProtest: Save Malaysia rally participants gathering at Masjd Jamek in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, at about 3pm yesterday. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

The police did not allow the Save Malaysia rally. However, government backbencher Syahredzan Johan, the DAP MP for Bangi, said although he did not support the rally, the police should allow it to go ahead.

“With the House as my witness, I call for the police to allow them to have this rally. We have long fought for the right to gather peacefully. As long as the rally is peaceful, it should be allowed,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday.

“I don’t want us [Pakatan] to forget that our battle also began on the streets.”

That’s the twist in weird Malaysian politics. Before they were in power, Pakatan used street rallies to gather support. But now that they control the government, they are doing what they accused their opponents of doing during their Reformasi movement days.

Pakatan has forgotten that it rose from street protests. Or perhaps it remembers all too well and realises their political danger.

After Pakatan got into bed with Umno to become the dominant force in the unity government after the 15th General Election in November 2022, politics has taken a strange turn in the country.

Welcome to the new norms in Malaysian politics.

The new norm for most Pakatan leaders is that Umno president Ahmad Zahidi is no longer a foe but a friend.

Their old narrative was that the then Pakatan Harapan chairman Mahathir and Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin would save Malaysia from the corrupt government of the then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Now, Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin and other Pakatan darlings, such as Parti Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (who was the PM candidate of choice for some in Pakatan) and Muda president Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, are the enemy.

What happens if, just as they got it wrong with Dr Mahathir, Muhyiddin, Shafie and Syed Saddiq, Ahmad Zahid becomes the enemy in the future?

The new norm is that most Pakatan politicians are silent about politicians they once accused of being kleptocrats.

For example, they were silent over Ahmad Zahid’s DNAA.

On Tuesday, Kota Baru MP Takiyuddin Hassan questioned the silence of DAP members who used to be vocal about justice. The PAS secretary-general pointed out that even international news reports had challenged the decision to withdraw the charges.

“But there are those who ask, in such a situation, where are the voices of those who always stood up for justice, such as former Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang, where is Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng, where is Damansara MP Gobind Singh Deo?” he said.

“Where are the others who before this always talked about justice for the rakyat, but now when it comes to this DNAA issue, they are staying silent?”

Three days later and 10 days since the Attorney General’s Chambers withdrew the corruption charges, DAP veteran Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang finally broke his silence.

“I was stunned and shocked by the DNAA development with regard to the Deputy Prime Minister and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi,” he said in a statement.

Now that Malaysians have seen the new norms, will they still be “stunned and shocked” if Pakatan or Perikatan politicians perform a U-turn on their “principles”?  ANN

Umno Youth has better things to do than join ‘red shirt’ rally, says Akmal Saleh

PETALING JAYA: Umno Youth will not instruct its members to join a planned “red shirts” rally organised by Datuk Seri Jamal Md Yunos as the wing has other plans on Sept 16, says its chief Dr Akmal Saleh.

He said given the high political temperature in the country, it would be more logical to organise programmes that would benefit the public.

Akmal said Umno Youth would hold nationwide prayers and Quran reading sessions as it would be more beneficial to the people.

“Umno youth is not involved in any red or white shirt rally.

“If anyone wants to join, … go ahead, but I will not issue an instruction for Youth members to join,” he said when contacted on Wednesday (Sept 13).

On Tuesday (Sept 12) night, Jamal, who is Sungai Besar Umno chief, urged the ‘red shirts’ to take to the streets and counter the planned rally by Perikatan Nasional this Saturday (Sept 16).

Perikatan Youth chief Ahmad Fadhli Shaari had previously said the wing would organise a rally in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 16 to protest the withdrawal of corruption charges against Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

According to him, the Malaysia Day rally was part of the Save Malaysia movement. ANN

Hypocrisy takes precedence  in M’sian politics

’Silence sometimes is not the golden rule, but the only rule.’

Kit Siang: Dr M ‘eating own words’ over unofficial adviser role

IndigoTrout2522: Why should DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang be stunned and surprised by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent actions, including being an adviser to “state government four” (SG4)?

You said all the great things about him before during and after the 14th general election in 2018 but he has never changed since he entered politics and is interested only in power and position to advance his narrow political agenda.

He would partner or demonise whoever and whichever is in his way.

The rakyat does not believe in him now and his words are no longer relevant.

Mahathir will continue to stir controversies and cause the downfall of the unity government and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Sorry, did you just wake up?

What has Mahathir ever valued or practised or upheld assertions and values he once passionately preached? Nothing.

Every thought or word was written on swift-flowing water, not for posterity.

Mahathir just wants a position, it does not matter with which party.

He is not going to bring any value to the PAS-ruled states.

No international company will want to invest in the four PAS-ruled states without the approval of the federal government.

Let us forget the accusatory and atrocious remarks PAS levelled against Umno.

As far as Mahathir is concerned, they were made against Umno and not against his person.

Kilimanjaro: What are we going to do with these politicians – they are now blaming one another. Remember the days when Umno and the DAP were at each other’s throats?

If there is any sanity in both, they would have sat down in the interest of the nation but they didn’t.

We have to unwillingly stomach all these players and wait for the next sledgehammer. What have these politicians done to think of a honeymoon?

With so much of resources, the sins of squandering them are finally catching up.

Why should you and I pay for their sins? All of them are just useless.

None of them have any moral right to talk about another politician.

Apa pun boleh: Mahathir is best left alone for Perikatan Nasional (PN) to do whatever it is that they want to do with him.

As long as he is persona non grata in the unity government, he is best left alone to seek shelter wherever he is welcome.

Everyone knows his agenda is to break up Malaysians at any cost to topple the government.

What else has he to offer as a politician other than racial incitement and provocation?

We have seen the racist ferocity he froths in his recent state election and by-election campaigns.

In appointing him adviser in the PN-controlled states, it probably finds the toxic divisive venom he spews of value in indoctrinating its captive voter base.

It is better to leave them to reflect on their destructive ways.

Lionking: All this sharing of thoughts is just a waste of time. Nothing will change because of these useless statements by these politicians.

Lim should focus on the unity government to act on the manifesto they have made.

So far, it is a little discouraging, especially about the way corruption is being handled.

Why not focus on reforms?

On top of that, the present legal system is overwhelmed with corruption cases and it takes years to conclude cases.

Why not fast-track these cases and ask the law minister who seems unproductive to seriously bring some suggestions?

The unity government will be celebrating its first anniversary soon and it will be interesting to see what has been achieved by the Madani government.

We will have no hope if the PN government comes in. My bet is on Muda.

No harm in giving them a chance if the unity government fails to live up to their “reformasi” slogan.

Bamboo: For political expediency, Mahathir can do anything to achieve his own ends.

He could team up with Anwar for the 14th general election. Now he could team up with another former foe, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.

This shows to all how crooked, unprincipled and shameless Mahathir is.

Only our traditional Eastern politeness stops us from throwing eggs at Mahathir when he appears in public.

By the way, he has already got “eggs” on his face by losing his deposit standing for the Langkawi parliamentary seat during the last general election.

A Little Bit Crazy: Alamak Uncle Lim, you should be the last person to condemn Mahathir, especially since you are from DAP.

The more you say against those Malay politicians, the more damage you cause to DAP and non-Muslims. Don’t be provoked too.

Your time has passed too. Just retire gracefully.

Be a role model, be an example to other old politicians, and let the younger existing active politicians respond to comments on political issues.

Don’t issue any public statements. Silence is sometimes not the golden rule, but the only rule.

LETDOWN 2018: It is comical for Lim to say this. He has worked with all of them before on his party’s route to power.

Today’s political situation is that hypocrisy takes precedence over power.

If these old deceitful people retire quietly and enjoy the superfluous pension that the taxpayers pay, perhaps the nation can be saved.

Pink: Mahathir is going to advise on the economy only. He has vast experience in that, more than Lim and his son Guan Eng put together.

Such a shame if his experience is gone to waste. Religion is not his forte, so he is going to avoid that. After all, he is an unpaid adviser. Stop quibbling.

Anonymous11223355: Atok has lost much of his influence on all Malaysians.

We just leave him alone to ponder his bad deeds. At one time, I did respect him, but now he has zero respect for me.

Why? Because whatever initiatives he has embarked on lately are very divisive to all Malaysians.