Mandate of heaven this nation awaits

Dr. Azly Rahman

Sometime ago, I wrote these:

1)”Let our children learn that it is terrifying to be corrupt; such as to build palaces while the homes of the poor are demolished. Let us teach them to vote with their conscience.”

2) “The current regime cannot solve the problems it creates. It must dismantle itself, die a natural death, destroy the symbols of power it has abused, and let a peaceful renewal take its natural course.”

We have 13 days of campaigning period and after that, the opportunity to exercise our fundamental rights as Malaysian citizens. We are doing this at a time when our political system is in utter chaos – the three branches of government are growing more visible thorns and climbing onto each other, while the roots are diseased in this wasteland called democracy in which the air is foul and toxic. Is this a curse of our obsession with the number 13?

These 13 days are crucial for our nation’s future. It might not be as dramatic as 10 days that shook Russia in October 1917 but nonetheless it is a time when the change we need is now. The process of getting there is “perestroikic”. The previous ruling regime that has served Malaysia for 50 years too I believe is asking for radical change to happen. This feeling resides in the collective unconscious of our race-based politics. It will be our bipolarist Freudian moment of Malaysian Machiavellianism. The calm of Mahathirism is now creating a storm of unknown proportions.

Sense of fear

Mahathirism is giving way for Radical Multiculturalism, or to be more accurate Radical Marhaenism. There is a sense of meaninglessness in the word “Agenda Melayu” these days. There is also a sense of fear of holding on to power for too long when the rakyat has lost its trust in a government that is no longer gentle, let alone clean, efficient or trustworthy. The Internet is helping raise critical awareness of what actually is going on. The blogs have become our last frontier of the spaces of justice we are yet to discover. “Thus Sprach Cyberspace” as a philosopher would say.

What goes on inside the mind of the present coalition is this: it wants to have a strong check and balance as being a coalition with absolute power can also be a painful experience. More force is needed to stop the growing wave of dissent. How much of the ideological state apparatuses must one abuse? “Dissent is patriotic”, as American philosopher statesman Thomas Jefferson once said. More water cannons, laced with chemicals are needed in a toxic democracy such as Malaysia’s on the eve of choosing a new regime. To be patriotic, one must dissent.

But there is still hope for detoxification. We all want this – ruling party or the opposition, regardless. It is a dictate of the mandate of heaven. We must go for a strong check and balance system.

Malaysia has achieved the goals for Agenda Melayu. Time’s up – game over? The 2007 report by Asli spearheaded by eminent scholar Dr. Lim Teck Ghee gave us a glimpse of objectivity in reporting what ought to be reported in regard to the economic pie Malaysians are so obsessed with.

We need to spend the next 50 years making Agenda Bangsa Malaysia a reality. We need a political will to go with it. We must be brave to ride the new wave of change – as brave as the astronaut we sent to experience the joys of being in outer space.

Agenda Melayu a bad excuse

Agenda Melayu has become a leit motif at best and a bad excuse at worst for the few to oligopolise this resource rich nation; a nation whose oil revenues should have best been used to finance the education, welfare and health services of Malaysians of all races instead of building tall structures and “corridors” to showcase the autocracy of our oriental despotism. Instead of building “corridors” all over, one might ask: why not build affordable houses for the poor and build minds that will learn how to live ethical lives and resuscitate this nation? These corridors will ultimately be of benefit only to local elites that will be plundering the nation in concert and in cohort with foreign investors from faraway and nearby lands. Or, why not meet the needs of Indian Malaysians and all those that are still in abject poverty?

Agenda Melayu is a base and superstructure of the hegemony of one race that lives and breathes the spirit of neo-cybernetic-feudalistic construction of elusive and heterogeneous power; a modern-day daulat that has lost the magic of “divine rights” that never was there in the first place – the power derived from materials, artifacts and the politics of language that colonises the mind of the silently-reproduced Malay.

The rise of Makkal Shakti (People Power) through Hindraf, the emergence of a yellow wave through Bersih, the persistence of rallies, the uncertainty of socio-political stability, and the increase in the use of state apparatuses to crush dissenting viewpoints – all these are the symptoms of mass dissatisfaction against the regime in power that is begging for a fresh mandate.

Unembarassingly too, Malaysian education ministries avowed their contradictory stand on political culture by releasing statements the students can cast political votes but cannot be involved politically. Education as an enterprise to create good citizens and through ars liberalis (the arts of the free man/women) has become a huge conveyor belt to create minds filter-funneled with ideologies of an outdated race-based politics surviving on the modus operandi of fear, ferociousness and phantasmagoric proclamations of world-class this or that.

The writings are on the wall. The graffiti of our national grouses and grievances are even written on the walls of that Petronas Twin Tower, a Caesar Pelli-an symbol of the Malay Agenda. We want to reach the heights that imitate the advanced industrial nation but our political and civic consciousness can at times be in the pits of neanderthalism. The height of this abysmal consciousness is embalmed in the Royal Commission of Inquiry, epitomised in the ideology of “Lingam-ism”. The narratives that we read on the proceedings of inquiry into the conduct of the judiciary is like a freestyle of a most vulgar form of gangsta rap that humiliates the minds of Malaysians yearning for blind justice to prevail.

Issues before the elections

The issues before the Malaysian general election are plenty, amongst these:

As it affects Malaysians of Malay origin, the continuing growth of the abject poor, now sprawling in the urban areas, the continuing exposure of corruption amongst primarily Malay leaders of the ruling regime, the clampdown on dissenting views in public universities and the recent warning by the minister of higher education for students not to be engaged in politics, the unresolved mystery of the Altantunya murder case involving Malay suspects, and the rising prices of basic necessities as a result of the rise of oil price.

As it affects Malaysians of Chinese origin, the continuing dissatisfaction of the way the NEP has favoured one race over others in terms of educational funding across the board.

As it affects Malaysians of Indian origin, the continuing marginalisation of the community left to fend for themselves in abject poverty, the demolition of Hindu temples, the neglect of their basic education via neglect of Tamil schools, and the continuing detention without trial of the five Hindraf activists as a result of the clampdown on now the internationally-broadcasted rally for their rights.

As it affects all Malaysians, the uncertainty of what is to be derived out of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the “Lingam Tape” in which the public is now confused on the matter of how much information is being given to ascertain if indeed the entire workings of the judicial system is based on unethical practices; one allegedly based on rigging of the appointment of judges.

As it affects the rights of the indigenous people such as the Orang Asli and the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak, the systematic effort of failing to protect their rights in face of hypermodernity the government has embarked upon.

The tightly controlled government media has been playing up and down issues before the general election. It has played up Barisan Nasional’s “confidence of a winning big” at a time unlike the previous elections in which the Internet was never a tool of counter-hegemony. It is assumed that the ruling party will continue to be given the mandate (more that 2/3 majority) at every election even though the issues mentioned above continue to be unresolved. The nation continues to see parties carrying their baggage and unresolved critical issues into this election.

New masks, old spirits

The ruling party assumes that by announcing that “new faces” will be introduced to replace the old despots, the system will be rejuvenated, somewhat like a political dialysis. This reminds one of the blood transfusions of Keith Richards, the stoned-aged-but-still-alive guitarist of the legendary rock group The Rolling Stones; whose life defies the stories of the dangers of drug addiction. It is assumed that by getting new individuals to run in the elections, a fresh mandate to carry out the Malay agenda will be given.

But the issue is not about propping up new individuals – it is about ideology and institutions that support it. It is about a race-based ideology that is no longer in sync with changing times, as if the cognitive capacity of the nation will never progress and surpass the ideology of the Malay Agenda.

The overplayed doctrine of “Malay dictatorship/hegemony” (Ketuanan Melayu), an arrogant sounding developmentalist agenda pillared upon arrogant and truncated theories of development which brushes off new findings on the ownership of the NEP, continue to dominate the mind of campaign strategists.

The biggest issue before this election is the ideological shift. Because Umno as the dominant party actually does not have an ideology, except sentimentality and authority to deploy the ideological state apparatuses, and because the dissatisfaction of the masses/rakyat is growing in leaps and bounds and is tsunami-ing the streets, we have got a national problem.

What will the election bring us? It is you and I who will decide.

Did Marx the historian not say that we must become makers of our own history?

Or – if we are to become a superstitious nation who believes in numerology, we must also believe in a mandate of heaven, where it rains change predictably.

  1. #1 by ahluck on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 9:36 am

    dear kit,
    Most of forces and police men are for the opposition. becos of the postal vote and the slip has serial numbers, they are scared to vote for opposition. what i come to know, they going to spoil the vote. Sad isn’t it? when i was in the forces i voted for DAP. for me voting is secret and no one to check who i vote for. if they check i wanted to sue them.
    pls comment and advice not to have spoil votes.

    anyway, BN is not going to get 2/3 majority this election.

  2. #2 by Tickler on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 10:06 am

    When Tajol Rosli, Rajoo and Yik were presented with garlands, an egg was hurled onto the stage, missing the VIPs.

    At the same time, a man made his way up to the stage and charged towards the VIPs but the policemen managed to remove him.

    Thanking the group for the egg and their jeers, Tajol Rosli said: “I was formerly a Youth leader, I’ve been president of the Malaysian Youth Council and Asian Youth Council. So this is nothing new to me, thank you very much.”

    So Paranjothy was right?

    In an audacious move, a notable Gerakan politician has taken Barisan Nasional coalition leader Umno to task for inciting racial sentiments among Malays to gain political mileage.

    “They incite racial sentiments among their community in a petty attempt to further their political career,” Gerakan Youth vice-chief S Paranjothy alleged today (Dec 21).

    Such attempts, he said, include taking potshots at other BN component parties which draw their support from non-Malay communities.

    “Umno leaders are very found of picking on component parties and use them as their punching bag or stepping-stone to gain popularity in their community,” Paranjothy said in a hard-hitting four-page statement entitled ‘Discrimination from Womb to Tomb’.

  3. #3 by jennifer cheong on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 10:43 am

    Yes, we must fight not just for the Malaysian now, but our young next generation who will tend to suffer the same if we still insist NOT TO CHANGE or MOVE ! Friends – just vote it a BIG CHANGE ! vote DAP for our kids better future. We are strongly support DAP and it’s vision and mission ! Hidup DAP ! MENANG DAP !

  4. #4 by penangboy on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 10:50 am

    By the way, the serial numbers are gone. Vote to your heart contends.

  5. #5 by k1980 on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 11:27 am

    Should the opposition wins on March 8, among the first to scamper out of the country to ask for political asylum in Indonesia and elsewhere would be the present batch of ministers plus Lingam @ “Looks like me but…”

  6. #6 by hkh on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 11:37 am

    I was in this taxi driven by a Malay who has to rent the licence from some crony. He is a UMNO member but not happy with the BN and to console himself that he did not betray his party, he won’t vote in the coming election. I see this as a positive gesture for the alternative front (I am not calling you the opposition as I wish the downfall of BN, so you can become the ruling coalition). Any vote not given to the BN by their supporter is as good as a vote gained by BA.

    So, tell the govt servants just don’t vote if they are afraid to vote for the alternative.

  7. #7 by badak on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 11:51 am

    It is UMNO that is scared ,scared of losing ,scared of being found out how coruppted they have been.For 4 years Pak lah have been sleeping,Then when election was near suddenly he woke up and started opening all kinds of corridors and spending billions of RM.

    I really wonder ,will all this corridors take of or just be an UMNO PLOY, to hook wink the public.Yes M.O.U WAS SIGN during this launches …. I was there for one signing, to me it was just an eye wash.End of the day nothing is going to happen.Will a big multi national company sent a junior executive ,to sign a USD 125 MILLION DEAL.iI for one don,t think so.

  8. #8 by zack on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 11:58 am

    dear Dr Azly,
    I read you piece and laugh … not because its funny but because you dreamt too much and for being too unrealistic and too idealistic. Most importantly as Malay who reaped so much benefits and never have the decency to pay back for all the time money spend at MRSM, you still do not understand about the Malays’ minds and thinking !!!! And why do you have to hide behind DAP’s platform of Malaysian Malaysian as you way of thinking knowing fully well that’s it is the platform created by LKY of Singapore who have always have a hidden agenda towards Malaysia as how he tricked the British so as to gain Singapore’s Independence through Malaysia knowing fully well that Singapore will not be able to subscribe to the Malaysia’s principle mutual co-existance.

  9. #9 by Rakyat Teraniaya on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 12:15 pm

    Dear Penangboy, you sure the serial numbers are gone? I remember the last 2 GEs I voted, all votes had serial numbers, but didn’t deter my votes to Opposition. That’s why also, the last GE, many DAP supporters who voted donkey years for Kota Melaka suddenly get sent to Duyung.
    If it’s true this time round the votes have no serial numbers then yeah, we shall vote to our hearts content!

  10. #10 by KanNinNeh on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 12:39 pm

    Uncle Kit,

    Can’t Opposition Parties team up to rectify the manipulations of “Postal Votes” ?

  11. #11 by muni49 on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 12:43 pm

    The changes is blowing in the wind.So,Uncle Lim ,we promise to do the best for the country.That is to vote for BA and put to shame those who have been cheating the people like us.I would suggest that you have more of your talks during the election be put on blog for us to listen. Thank you.

  12. #12 by k1980 on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 1:24 pm

    Take 5 for some of the best of Malaysian comedies—->

  13. #13 by a-malaysian on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 1:54 pm

    Fellow Malaysians,

    Serial numbers or no serial numbers, just vote and make sure your vote is for the oppositions. They can never trace you, it’s just a ploy to frighten people. If really they trace to you, then they are in trouble themselves for balloting is suppose to be secret.

    FEAR NOT they cannot do anything to us common little people with no status.

    50 years is ENOUGH
    Vote For A Change
    Vote For Any Opposition
    Give Them A Chance To Change For A Better Malaysia
    Remember bn Is A Useless Grouping Of Self Serving, Corrupt, Dictator, Power Crazy, Racist, Kris waving, etc, etc type of parties.

  14. #14 by helpless on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 2:05 pm

    Dr.Azly, my salute to you for your ability to see beyond the damage done by the corrupted BN leader.

    The damage was done even back to eighty. There is no check and balance. The NEP was manipulated for the benefit only the Minister whereas general civil servant with small salary are still suffering.

    The Malays was brainwash to support only Umno for ‘Ketuanan Melayu ‘ . The fact is how can Non-bumiputra play any unfair in Malaysia. It is damn stupid to think Non-bumiputra is a threat to UMNO except for get undully support to continue corruption.

  15. #15 by Tickler on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 2:07 pm

    JD says:”Can’t take it now is it? When you guys were doing it to the public who questioned on what happenned to the funds in Maika Holdings, its ok.When people affilated to all of you hit and abuse people who want an answer to their question of what happenned to their money,it s ok.When temples are being demolished and all of you can do nothing, you visit the place with gangsters in tow.When asked oh they are security,the time when the Malaysian Indians were stupid,ignorant and pacified are all over.The Malaysian Indians have come to haunt all of you for the misdeed and lies the community has been fed all these years.

    All of you can be sure of one thing you are going to see more of these and it s better if all of you walk away from all of this and let qualified and truly dedicated people to work for the community”.

  16. #16 by a-malaysian on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 2:16 pm

    Keep Reinventing, so say the racist umno running dog gerakan in Penang.

    I hope DAP and the oppositions will counter them.

    DAP and the oppositions are going for better new inventions to bring progress and equality to the people of Penang. We do not need to keep reinventing on things that does not work for us anymore.

    racist umno running dog gerakan, shaft your ‘keep reinventing’ slogan in your a#ss. we do not need to keep reinventing on things that does not work anymore.

    Voters of Penang, please do not be misled by these racist umno running dogs anymore. The threat of no chinese CM if oppositions win no longer hold water. A Malay CM from the oppositions is much better than a running dog CM to racist umno.

    So tell your friends and relatives to FEAR NOT and vote for the oppositions for a progressive and equal status future generations.

    50 years is ENOUGH
    Vote For A Change
    Vote For Any Opposition
    Give Them A Chance To Change For A Better Malaysia
    Remember bn Is A Useless Grouping Of Self Serving, Corrupt, Dictator, Power Crazy, Racist, Kris waving, etc, etc type of parties.

  17. #17 by Jong on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 2:30 pm

    The indelible ink isse this GE 2008 is still not not solved, it is not compulsory use. I am told deliberately or otherwise, the ink issue had not been gazetted in Parliament thus not a “must” usage on fingers of voters.

    Hardly surprising, SPR Chairman Rashid was lying and had been misleading the rakyat all along. Don’t we all know he is an UMNO implant?!

    YB Kit, what’s your comment?

  18. #18 by catharsis on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 9:41 pm

    ” ………….Both Malaysia and Australia have a rule of law that’s based on the English system. Both started out as colonies of
    Britain. So why is Malaysia getting it so wrong now?

    Malaysia’s Government hates feedback. Dissent is regarded as dangerous, rather than a product of diversity. And
    like the wicked witch so ugly that she can’t stand mirrors, the Government of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi
    controls the media so that it doesn’t have to see its own reflection.

    Demonstrations are typically banned. But what every Malaysian should know is that in Britain, Australia and other
    modern countries, when people wish to demonstrate, the police typically clear the way and make sure no one gets
    hurt. The streets belong to the people. And the police, like the politicians, are their servants. It is not the other way

    Michael Backman
    The Age
    (Truth and justice are no longer Malaysian way)
    Nov 21, 2007

  19. #19 by limkamput on Tuesday, 19 February 2008 - 11:59 pm

    Dr. Azly Rahman, I am sorry, I do not know much about you. I assume you are a Malaysian of Malay origin. After reading your piece, I want to cry. Why are there no more Malays like you? Why are there no more Malays like you in positions of power and influence? Why only “scumbag” Malays are able to reach the pinnacle of power?

  20. #20 by cheng on soo on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 - 12:14 am

    Those who support opposition, just vote for oppostion, they just cannot take action on say at least 1.2 million such voters. no need to worry lah!

  21. #21 by AhPek on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 - 1:05 pm

    ‘Most importantly as Malay who reaped so much benefits and never have the decency to pay back for all the time money spend at MRSM, you still do not understand about the Malay’s mind and thinking!!!’. Zack.

    Wow, is that your understanding of Azly Rahman’s above posting that has prompted you to say his article is laughable and elicit comments from you like the one quoted above.I am baffled.
    Are you saying he would have understood Malay mind and thinking if:-

    (a) He should urge in his writing that children must learn that corruption pays.Just look at Zakaria and his palace,it pays doesn’t it?
    (b) He should in his writing advocate Malay Malaysia and that this Malaysian Malaysia thing is racialist because it promotes the idea that Malaysia is for all citizens which is rubbish.Malaysia is for the Malays.
    (c) He should state that the Malays are still oppressed even though the British has left 50 years ago.The malays are still poor and that this Lim Teck Ghee guy is spreading rumours saying that Malays are having something like 40% of the economic pie.In fact we ought to have 70%.
    (d)He should state that this NEP thing must go on forever although it doesn’t benefit the bulk of the poor Malays it still goes to a select small group of Malays.And it is still OK.
    (e)He should advocate the building of ‘corridors’ to benefit a select group of elite and if in so doing also benefits foreigners,it is still OK.He should not recommend building affordable houses for the poor and minds that will learn how to live ethical lives and resuscitate this nation.
    (f)He should write glowingly of the Malay Agenda and its underlying principle ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ to state unequivocally that this Ketuanan Melayu thing should be the basis of all policies of this country.It has to lord over all activities in this Boleh Land.

    Is that what it is for him to understand the Malay mind thinking?

    Honestly I AM STUMPED!

  22. #22 by badak on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 - 1:18 pm

    In today,s SUN PAPERS..MARFREL LODGES COMPLAINT WITH EC.500 VOTERS REGISTED AT ABADONED ARMY CAMP.Now there are 1437 registed voters at the abandon camp .

    Mr Lim K.S. PLEASE tell the people in MARFEL that they are just wasting their time.This is just a ploy by BN and the E.C.

    During the 2000 BY ELECTION in my area, i made Four police report and two report with the EC .NO ACTION WAS TAKEN.There were two abadone houses in my area with 45 registed voters. Two SINGLE STORIES HOUSES with 65 registed in each house.One report was about a party leader giving out money to voters in a polling station.The best joke is that the EC said they don,t have the power to act.

    Mr Lim K S as a Malaysian and a voter can i take the EC to court for not protecting my rights to a free and fair election.

  23. #23 by Jimm on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 - 2:30 pm

    BN have been reaping result of all the GE in the past with the entire workforce under their armpit.
    They’re power and will continue to do so.
    We can never bring them down from outside.
    Let KJ do his part for all Malaysian.
    Only he alone can bring down the UMNO walls from inside.

  24. #24 by cheng on soo on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 - 3:07 pm

    Sad! Msia could go bankrupt in future, if majority of ppl think like what Ahpek wrote about Zack above.
    Zack cannot see that current policies cannot last! oil depleting, competitiveness down, educn std down, judicial systm down, crime rate increase, population increase, productivity down. How to keep present policies for another, say 25 years??

  25. #25 by beankadok on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 - 3:25 pm

    Election Commission(SPR) discrepancy exposed! Shocking find by MAFREL of 500 phantom voters registered at a deserted former Army Base on Northam Road(Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah) Penang, except for the presence of a single security guard!

    Mafrel’s norther region coordinator BK Ong described the find a “mockery of democracy”, has lodged a report with ACA.

    MAFREL – Malaysia For Free and Fair Election, the polls watchdog accredited as “official observers” for the first time by the Election Commission(SPR).

  26. #26 by helpless on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 - 4:11 pm

    Just wonder how to stop EC, the BN crony from manipulate the voters?

    Police report – no action
    EC- no action
    Who can take action ?????

    May Allah, Jesus and whatever god give an inspiration to people who love Malaysia.

    Cry from helpless.

  27. #27 by helpless on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 - 4:38 pm

    Thank you Rakyat Teraniaya for the clarification.

    It is shocking to know this. My guess is no many Malaysian know this.

    I can’t believe it. There must be way to stop this or otherwise our donation to DAP could be wasted by at least 50%.

    Yesterday at 09: 54.24
    To helpless, with regards to postal votes as told to me by my brother, he was in the army, postal votes are a bigger sheet of paper with the voters name, rank and other particulars. The lower ranking soldier would have to “vote” in front of his commanding officer. So naturally, the CO would have standing instructions that the soldier “should” only “vote” BN.This is done at their respective camps without any third party to witness. That’s why they can almost guarantee each postal vote is a vote for BN. If I am wrong on the process,well I a sorry but that’s what I heard of postal votes and each time they(EC) tally a slim win for the Opposition, suddenly a sealed box arrives and eventually our Opposition candidate loses by a few hundred or even less than a hundred votes due to the postal votes. That is why it is imperative this time round for a total swift of support of the voters to the Opposition. This way even their postal votes threat can work! Let’s all come together and vote for the Opposition!

  28. #28 by Jong on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 - 5:12 pm

    MAFREL has confirmed it has successfully managed to get changes, got them to remove the laws on recording of voters’ serial number on counterfoil of voting paper.

    Looking forward to more changes!

  29. #29 by clear conscience on Thursday, 21 February 2008 - 12:50 pm

    Zack must be an UMNO man or supporter. He may be one who had benefited from UMNO. Otherwise, why is he so critical abt Dr Azly’s postings. It must be made known that Zack is still dreaming of the days how his forefathers had also benefited. Dream on…on & on! Vote for DAP

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