Hadi Stoops To New Low Attacks Dap With Mccarthyism
PAS chief Abdul Hadi Awang is stooping to ‘McCarthyism’ in his attacks on the DAP.
According to the Marang MP, DAP is intrinsically evil. Anything it does is wrong and whatever it doesn’t do is also suspect. Simply by existing, DAP is a problem, in the PAS supremo’s worldview.
‘McCarthyism’ is the term that entered political discourse in the early 1950s when Senator Joseph McCarthy triggered a ‘Red scare’ in the United States by branding anyone he disliked a communist.
For a few years, in the mid-1950s, his lurid claims of communists lurking in the higher echelons of the US government and society fomented an atmosphere where reputable and patriotic Americans had their names and careers besmirched by the frenzy that the Wisconsin senator set off.
The senator leveraged on the noxious fumes stemming from the blame game the US political establishment was caught up in because of China’s fall to the communists in 1949 to create an atmosphere in which ‘Reds’ were suspected as a lurking presence and threat to the nation.
It was a lurid time in US politics and the reluctance of President Dwight Eisenhower to openly condemn McCarthy gave the senator an untouchable quality which he took as a licence.
The ensuing obsession with a supposedly hidden communist threat poisoned US politics, with the term ‘McCarthyism’ entering the public lexicon, denoting a phenomenon where paranoia rules and sanity is relegated.
In present-day Malaysian politics, continuing splits among a hitherto consensual Malay political elite are causing the angst that the loss of China occasioned in the American political establishment in the early 1950s.
This angst is not as deep but causes helplessness before it becomes disabling, a condition ripe for charlatans to exploit the situation by searching for scapegoats.
Hadi is game for this exercise where the easy target is DAP, a party which over the course of four successive general elections has demonstrated its hold over the Chinese vote even as a hitherto unified Malay one has been exposed as fissiparous.
As many demagogues in history’s gallery of rogues are wont to do in similar circumstances, Hadi is demonising another community on account of the faults of his own.
The ‘othering’ of a minority is what we are witnessing in the venomous fusillade that Hadi directs at the DAP.
To be sure, he has had a long history as a divisive political figure, going back to March 1981 when he branded those supporting Umno as apostates.
Whereas his predecessor in PAS, Fadzil Noor (president from 1989 to 2002), did very well to attract professionals to a cleric-dominant party in an attempt to give it a modern outlook, Hadi’s conservative leadership has driven them out to form their own party, Amanah.
Hadi trails division in his wake, within the Islamic community, within his party, and now in the face of a nascent project by Anwar Ibrahim at nation-rebuilding.
Hadi’s McCarthyism, directed at the DAP, is a cynical effort to prevent support from waxing for this project.
Even as Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, hitherto a parochial more than a progressive leader, is moving to abandon sectarian imperatives to help realise Anwar’s nation-rebuilding initiative, Hadi is moving to thwart it.
Many may feel that recognition of the threat he poses and a determination to frustrate is a Sisyphean effort, given that Islam is a building block of this polity.
But there are progressive and conservative forces in Islam. The contest between the two in this country will determine whether Hadi will be just a McCarthyite footnote in our history or the harbinger of a radical change to our polity. - Mkini
TERENCE NETTO is a journalist with half a century’s experience.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.
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