Dap Should Give Us A List Of People It Will Not Work With
Like nothing I've ever known
But the more that I hear
Forget about long-range plans
'Cause this man's got his own
– Never say never again (James Bond soundtrack)
When Lim Guan Eng says that the DAP would not work with Umno and Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin because “we can’t accept them using race and religion to divide the people”, it is the kind of craven political rhetoric that furthers toxic partisan discourse.
The DAP should just draw up a list of people they are not willing to work with. This way we can keep track of all the backtracking they will eventually do, to “Save Malaysia”.
The reality is that the DAP has never had a problem working with hegemons which use race and religion to further political agendas.
Keep in mind that Bersatu, a creation of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said that the Malay polity needed a“Malay” only party to fight for their “rights”, and the various mandarins of DAPS supported this idea that the rural Malay heartland needed a Malay only party like Bersatu to get on the “ubah” bandwagon.
Lim Kit Siang admitted that there was no Malay leader in Harapan who could get the rural Malay vote. He said Pakatan Harapan lacks any personality capable of convincing rural Malay voters to support the pact, aside from Mahathir.
“If Mahathir cannot help create a wave of change among the rural Malay voters for the 14GE in the remaining 100 days, then no other political leader could accomplish this ‘Mission Impossible'," Kit Siang had said before that general election.
This, of course, must have been hard for Anwar Ibrahim to hear, considering that the reason why there was a viable opposition which controlled two major economic states (among others) was because of the moves he made, post-Umno.
As late as June of this year, when the fracas about succession came into play (again), the old maverick once again took advantage of the optics of the agitation among DAP, Amanah and PKR to profit politically from the question of succession – “Mereka sudah lama menjadi parti pembangkang. Mereka cuba menang pada 2008 dan 2013 sebelum saya menyertai mereka, tetapi mereka kalah dan tidak boleh menang. Jadi, pada PRU14 saya sertai mereka.
“Mereka tahu mereka perlukan undi Melayu untuk menang, dan mereka fikir saya boleh bawa undi Melayu kerana parti utama ialah parti Melayu dan yang lain parti pelbagai kaum. Melayu tidak akan sokong parti majmuk.”
In November of last year, DAP strategist and then deputy defence minister, Liew Chin Tong, said this: “Do we realise that, in reality, DAP needs Bersatu and Bersatu needs DAP to keep Pakatan Harapan together and succeed in rebuilding Malaysia? Harapan is a coalition of four parties — that is DAP, Bersatu, PKR and Amanah. Only through unity and cooperation of all component parties can we represent all layers of society.”
So, since race and religion by definition divide the people, there is absolutely no logic in Guan Eng claiming that DAP cannot work with Umno and Bersatu because of race and religion. Hence, the only reason why they cannot work with these parties is the personalities involved.
Guan Eng said the DAP can never work with "… an Umno that is under the leadership of (Umno president) Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and (Pekan MP) Najib Abdul Razak. Absolutely not.” So is the DAP head honcho saying that it would work with Umno if those personalities were not involved with Umno?
This would make the rationale of not working with Umno because it uses race and religion to divide the people, moot, right? This would also mean that working with Umno personalities that are not “tainted” would be acceptable to the DAP?
Indeed personality politics is what political operatives use to deflect from the real issue. It is not that the DAP cannot work with political hegemons who use race and religion, [it has ] but because the DAP would rather focus on personalities which it thinks would galvanise its base.
Racial and religious issues that divide the country are systemic. The same goes for corruption. It is pointless targeting individuals, although it has political advantages. The opposition, at least the non-Malay opposition, has claimed that the issues are systemic and the major part of the problem is race-based political hegemons that seek to sustain such systems.
Since the opposition has demonstrated that it really does not want to ubah the system, it makes sense to focus on personalities.
Remember Liew’s analysis of Muhyiddin in his essays "The strange case of Muhyiddin Yassin" and "DAP never failed you each time you asked for help, Muhyiddin".
Please refer to them again. In those essays, you will understand the realpolitik of race and religion and understand how the current prime minister wanted to get to know the DAP better, since the race-based political party and the multi-racial DAP would now be working together.
Read those articles and you will discover that, ultimately, the problem was not with the DAP but rather the power struggle within the Malay political establishment.
From Liew’s analysis, what we see was a dejected Malay leader who believed he was passed over by the Malay establishment after years of faithful service.
He was then co-opted by other Malay political opportunists to be the figurehead of a coup that would give him the premiership he believed was owed to him. And what does the Malay political establishment do when they need a scapegoat? They always go back to the reliable whipping boy the DAP.
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 consuming? This means that the DAP can be the running dogs of Malay power structures and, at the same time, the power behind the throne.
Why? Because they know the DAP, for whatever reasons - pragmatism, power hungriness or just good old fashion masochism - will always try to link up with Malay power structures because, for decades, it did not build a Malay base of its own using Umno as means of distraction while consolidating power in the non-Malay community and demonising the MCA.
From gathering in mosques and propping up religious operatives like Mujahid Yusof Rawa, the DAP has exhausted resources and political capital by attempting to court the Malay vote in the most craven of ways.
The DAP chose the quick way of pandering, instead of coming up with a plan to tackle Malay B40 issues, which could be formed into a greater multi-racial needs-based narrative, all the while supported by a base that elevated leaders to a cult-like status. Things, of course, are slowly changing now.
The DAP still has not figured out that folks who vote for them want them to be honest brokers of middle-ground politics and, to the best of their ability, be the voice for secularism and egalitarianism in an ethnotheocracy for as long as possible.
S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he hopes young people will assume the mantle of leadership – if there is to be any hope for this country. - Mkini
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.
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