The sorry state of dinosaur thinking

By Kee Thuan Chye in FMT
Sun, 26 Sep 2010

In just two days – Sept 23 and 24 – three developments summed up the sorry state of the ruling establishment. And caused sensible Malaysians to lose further faith in the government. In the first, the deputy prime minister played the role of Pontius Pilate by washing his hands of a responsibility the public had expected him to fulfil.

In the second, a former prime minister showed his racist true colours and desperation when he said Malays would lose power if Pakatan Rakyat took over the government.

In the third, the police arrested a cartoonist, just hours before the launch of his latest book. On what charge? Wait for the government to decide.

What we are witnessing is not surprising. These three events are manifestations of dinosaur thinking, which by now should be extinct. But those who adhere to them seem to think they’re still effective, which must mean they cannot be qualified to lead a progressive nation.

Muhyiddin Yassin may have some fine print in some rules of procedure to back him up in regard to the Kedah school principal who uttered racist remarks to his students. On Sept 23, he said any action against the principal can only be taken by the disciplinary board of the Public Services Department (PSD), headed by the director-general.

However, the public is asking: “But you are the education minister. And also the deputy prime minister. Surely, you have certain powers to act on something as heinous as racism, to send out a positive message to the people?”

The public is also asking why the report by the Ministry of Education team investigating the incident is taking so long to be considered. It was given to the PSD on Sept 4. Has the time been mostly spent instead on digging up the PSD regulations to provide Muhyiddin with an escape clause?

If you asked any sensible Malaysian, they would tell you Muhyiddin has simply “copped out”. He is not thinking like a Malaysian Leader No 2, one who must do the right thing in the Malaysian interest regardless of other factors.

His action shows he is thinking as a party leader, bound by considerations of race. On that score, you might be able to excuse Umno – and Muhyiddin – for thinking that no action against the principal means no loss of votes for the party. Better that than appeasing other races and risk losing Malay votes. That’s dinosaur thinking of the second highest order. Very un-1Malaysia.

Meanwhile, what has happened to the case of the Johor school principal who allegedly told her Chinese students to go back to China and insulted the religion of her Indian students? It seems all quiet on the southern front. Which also happens to be Muhyiddin’s territory. And Umno’s.

Dr M, the top dinosaur

I alluded earlier to dinosaur thinking of the second highest order. What about dinosaur thinking of the highest order?

That honour must go to Dr Mahathir Mohamad. On Sept 24, he said that if Pakatan Rakyat came to power, even if the resulting prime minister were Malay, he would be a tool of others. As an analogy, he said when Mohamed Nizar Jamaluddin was menteri besar of Perak, “he followed the DAP’s orders”. He was heading “a Chinese government”.

This is actually nothing new from Mahathir. He has expressed these views before, in his bid to instil fear in the Malays that they will lose power and be overrun by non-Malays. Lately, however, he has been stepping it up. He is working more and more on conditioning the Malay mind into believing who the enemy is, even if it’s imagined.

This is dangerous divisive politics, but does Mahathir care? This is regressing to the politics of fear, which he generated when he was prime minister, but which many voters rejected during the 2008 general election. Again, does Mahathir care?

What seems clear from his recent sustained onslaught is that he’s getting more desperate in wanting to keep Pakatan out of Putrajaya. He apparently fears the consequences of Pakatan in government. From all the talk that has been circulating about aspects of his administration – and we’ve seen just an example in the recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the VK Lingam case – he might be hauled up to answer some questions. Understandably, he would not want to live through that ordeal.

Meanwhile, Nurul Izzah Anwar of PKR has challenged Mahathir to a debate “to clarify if his ‘fear’ for the Malays is really about loss of power or, in reality, loss of wealth for the chosen few”. Would the old man of the past have the guts to take on the young leader of the present and the future?

Govt cuts off its nose

As for the third event, the arrest of cartoonist Zunar (Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque) has merely created a new popular hero in the movement for a better Malaysia. And it has made the government look worse for stifling free expression. Which is why it doesn’t make sense that it should resort to

What’s even more damning is that there was no clear indication of what Zunar was being arrested for. According to his lawyer, Latheefa Koya, the authorities were not sure whether to charge him under the Sedition Act or the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

In this age of the Internet and speedy communication, arresting someone for producing a book of political cartoons is reflective of dinosaur thinking. Even if the cartoons are critical of the government, it speaks better for the government to tolerate its right to be published and disseminated, and to acknowledge that its creator enjoys the freedom of expression.

This is guaranteed in the Constitution, and we are supposed to be living in a democratic state. So let a thousand flowers bloom, let a thousand voices vie for attention in the marketplace. Perkasa is given their voice, why not Zunar?

Is it due to the fact that he is Malay and therefore more of a threat, because his ideas might appeal more to the Malay masses? Is it because cartoons transcend language and can express in one picture what a thousand words might not?

Whatever the reasoning, it overlooks one crucial point. Zunar is not alone. There is a resistance movement. Not an organised one, but it’s there. And it’s like the mythical Hydra. If you cut off one head, another will grow to take its place. Perhaps more.

So, to put it idiomatically, the cutting that has been done in the Zunar arrest is not quite what was intended. It is more a case of the government cutting off its nose to spite its face.

That’s what happens as a result of dinosaur thinking.

  1. #1 by Godfather on Monday, 27 September 2010 - 11:32 am

    Know why Mamakthir is so worried about a PR government in Putrajaya ? It’s not just the likely removal of the lid on the can of worms on the VK Lingam saga. It’s also his role in the award of pet projects to his favourite cronies like Vinnie Tan, Francis Yeoh and Syed Mokhtar. It’s his role in asking his lapdogs like Ali Abul Hasan to force compliance by all the government agencies to give deals to his cronies and to his relatives.

    The civil servants have made photocopies of the memos and directives issued on behalf of Mamakthir. They are just waiting for the day when PR comes into power and declassifies all the documents on projects such as Tg Bin, Smart Tunnel, YTL Power, double rail-tracking, PKFZ, etc etc.

    Mamakthir would have us believe that he didn’t know what was going on with the AP scandal which had Rafidah as the scapegoat. Helloooooo….he knew who was contributing to UMNO from the AP awards, and his son was a major beneficiary of the AP awards. We will also know how he directed the bailouts of his friends and relatives such as Tajuddin Ramli, Mirzan, Mohzani, etc etc.

    Be afraid, Mamakthir, be very afraid. The rakyat will soon know what you have done to bring Bolehland to its knees.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Monday, 27 September 2010 - 12:07 pm

    To call them dinasaur thinking is to be kind to them. How do we know that deep down, its not actually malice – simply deep rooted pyschotic hatred? The way they are going, there is no guarantee the flame of hate violence would not be ignited. Hate violence is uncontrollable, its unpredictedble how it can hurt, the extend of possible damage and its immoral should there be significant lost of property and lives. That they are so cavalier about the possibility, its only logical to ask if its psychotic – a perverted mind from too much politics.

  3. #3 by johnnypok on Monday, 27 September 2010 - 12:22 pm

    If they have the brains like Singaporeans, and if they are smart like the Singaporeans, I am sure Bolehland would have been the powerhouse of SEA.

    The making of Zimbabsia will be completed ahead of time.

  4. #4 by Loh on Monday, 27 September 2010 - 1:47 pm

    ///That honour must go to Dr Mahathir Mohamad. On Sept 24, he said that if Pakatan Rakyat came to power, even if the resulting prime minister were Malay, he would be a tool of others. As an analogy, he said when Mohamed Nizar Jamaluddin was menteri besar of Perak, “he followed the DAP’s orders”. He was heading “a Chinese government”.///– KTC

    The same line of argument must have been said with Nizar replaced by Tunku after May 13. Mamakthir must have said that UMNO followed MCA orders then and thus Razak changed from Tunku’s coalition to Barisan national where Razak drew a line behind him. Since then all the subsidiary parties of BN had the duty to vote with UMNO and had no right to propose policies for the government. That was how Mamakthir operated all his 22 years, and he now questions Najib for approving some minor requests by MCA so that MCA might look good in the Chinese community, and thus more votes for BN in the coming election. With Najib track record such as in announcing the connection between kris and Chinese blood in 1987 Najib is known to not care for the welfare of the Chinese community though he yelled the 1Malaysia slogan.

    To Mamakthir, the approach Najib adopted to let MCA look good was too much for him to stomach. Mamakthir thinks that UMNO should depend only on Malay votes, and that his approach of dividing the country to court Malay support is good enough to remain in power. All told, Mamakthir does not think that non-Malays in the country have a right to participate in government. Mamakthir in the past said that government policies had the input and approval of MCA. His recent statement shows clearly that that were lies, and the only truth was that he used a few Chinese ministers to show that his cabinet was multi-racial in person but not multiracial in policies. Hence MCA and MIC have fooled Malaysians that they were trying hard to be in the government to influence policy. Mamakthir did not allow them to influence police in his 22 years reign. Now he would even condemn UMNO president who tried to fool Chinese into voting Barisan Nasional. To Mamakthir non-Malay votes are not needed by UMNO to remain in power. He accuses other Malays who realise that the benefits awarded in the name of Malays are held only by a few thousands who are linked to UMNO Cabinet ministers and UMNO divisional chiefs.

    Indeed like lee Kuan Yew said, had Malaysia practised multiracial policy, the country would have been more developed, or at least we would be in a higher income group. If Malaysian average income is five time what we have now, would the millions Malay Malaysians care whether during the 22 years, it was a Chinese who was Prime Minister rather than a so-called Malay who should have been classified based on Islamic practise Melayalee? In fact that Malayalee has made Mamak more Malay than Malays in term of hijacking the resources meant to change the special position of Malays from being Crutch-dependence to independence of government aid.

    UMNO should have been ashamed that when Razak considered 20 years the maximum period required to fulfilling the objectives of NEP to severe the link between race from economic function, and the 30% ownership held directly or in trust for Malays, UMNO leaders are luxuriating that the objectives have not been met after 40 years. In those 40 years UMNO has no obstacles as to the form and implementation of the affirmative actions. The 30% equity had indeed been provided to Malays through government regulations. It is now as though non-Malays were responsible when Malays who had been provided with those 30% equity had chosen to convert them to other form of assets.

    There were proportionally more Malays, in comparison to the population share, employed in the government services when NEP was introduced in 1970. 40 years later there is a higher proportion of Malays in government service. Thus, UMNO government intentionally chose to use NEP to discriminate against non-Malays.

    The myth that Barisan nasional operates on power-sharing is now shattered by the number one racial opportunist. Whoever Malays may choose to vote, non-Malays should vote against BN in the coming election. Well if the big-mouth racial opportunist is not around to influence UMNO policy….Pakatan Rakyat should still be elected the next Federal government.

  5. #5 by frankyapp on Monday, 27 September 2010 - 1:55 pm

    All these guys in BN are so scared of the opposition that even a tiny dot /shadow apprears in their wall will make them to re-act in a devilish manner. Pretty similar to a drowning man who will catch any scroll to save his lives. Question is why they are so afraid of the opposition after all are they not being in power for more than half a century ? Frankly for such long period,any roots would have rooted firmly into the ground and remain un-shakeable. Unless its roots are in the volatile hot red volcano ass hxle.

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Monday, 27 September 2010 - 2:36 pm

    According to TheMalaysianInsider’s report by Boo Su-LynSept 27 —

    [Quote] ///“National Civics Bureau (BTN) deputy director Hamim Husin today proclaimed Malay rights as a mandate to rule the country amid a spike in Malay rhetoric.

    “The rights of Malays, is to rule the country. Simple,” Hamim told Puteri Umno delegates in a closed-door function today….

    “The general election is coming soon. If there is still disunity, we cannot have events like this… where we can say what we want,” he said.

    Hamim stressed that the Malays could not rule the country without co-operating with the non-Malay communities as each citizen only carried a single vote.

    “Malays cannot rule the country by themselves. That’s why we make friends with the MCA and MIC,” he said.

    “The ‘si mata sepet’ that has never gone to a mosque or surau only has one vote. The ‘si botol’ that only knows how to go up to Batu Caves up and down only has one vote,” said Hamim, using apparently derogatory terms to describe the Chinese and Indian communities in Malaysia.
    “So Puteri Umno must make friends with youths who are not Malays,” he added.///

    The PM promotes an inclusive platform called ‘1 Malaysia’. And BTN is an agency under the Prime Minister’s Department.

    Is making friends with the MCA “Si-mata sepet” (slit eyes) and MIC’s ‘si botol’ (alcoholic) (for comon political objectives) a “dinosaur thinking or a novel idea of 1 Malaysia pluralism as propagated by BTN?

  7. #7 by k1980 on Monday, 27 September 2010 - 2:42 pm

    MCA “Si-mata sepet” should be replaced by MCA “Si-tongkoi lembik” in honour of its president CSL as shown by his DVD

  8. #8 by yhsiew on Monday, 27 September 2010 - 3:03 pm

    ///These three events are manifestations of dinosaur thinking…..///

    Perhaps more correctly, these three events are manifestations of BN end time, that is the BN era is closing!

  9. #9 by ablastine on Monday, 27 September 2010 - 11:58 pm

    The Malays in Malaysia will never achieve the 30% equity because par values of company remains at par value perpetually even though some these companies have grown beyond recognition and share holders gotten back thousands of percent of return. New start ups will be even up with those which close down. Further whatever equity which went to the Bumiputra went directly into the pockets of the few thousand UMNO warlords and cronies which will of course has shiped these money into their overseas accounts never to be accounted for. The majority of Malays will of course remain as poor as ever. To that dinosaur Mamak, non malays in this country are for one and one purpose only. To be exploited. Make them work hard, pay tax and get exploited. Whatever opportunities the State has to offer is the exclusive rights of the his UMNO Malays and cronies. The rest can go and die for all he cares. Wonder really how he got elected and elected again all these years. We are simply very gullible. All those who have sufferred under him should go and spit and shit on his grave after he died.

  10. #10 by BoycottLocalPapers on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 - 12:26 am

    Mahathir hates Jews.
    Adolf Hitler hates Jews.
    Many evil men in history hate Jews.

    Chinese people is often referred to as the Jews of the East. That is the reason why Mahathir hates the Chinese.

  11. #11 by dagen on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 - 8:35 am

    Johnnypok, are singaporeans smart? Not really. But they are definitely hard working and much more diligent than the average malaysian. That makes a great difference. This is a direct result of fair competition.

    And to top it off the PAP government maximises the human resources in three ways (1) by giving them the best training; (2) by matching the right people to the tasks/jobs; and (3) by getting the best brains from malaysia and elsewhere. Umno does not respect education for our education minister himself does not seemed bothered by grossly misbehaving school heads. Matching skin colour and tasks is umno’s primary aim. Finally, in umno’s reckoning we need labourers and manual workers more than “brains”.

    And of course the singaporean government is almost uncorruptible. This is an added advantage. Corrupted ones do exists but they are merely a few bad apples really whereas in malaysia you would need to strain hard to find good ones.

    The singaporean government plans development in the interest of the nation and its people as a whole whereas here umno launches development plans to further the interests of cronies and family members. In order to gain acceptance (at least by their own kind) umno calls the cronies and family members bumiputras. And umno has a knack for spending money to pursue dubious pride and economically worthless prestige like angkasawan.

    Jib jib boleh!

  12. #12 by Loh on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 - 9:55 am

    DPM Muhyiddin said that money collected from tax on gambling is haram and Malay will have nothing to do with it.

    Is money collected through corrupt practises such as by the traffic police haram? Would Muhyiddin tell these police officers not to spend their money collected?

    Is profit made from selling shares at market price obtained at par value based on NEP regulations not haram? Would money made without effort at the expense of other not haram? So where have the haram profit made out of selling 52 billion ringgit worth of shares at par value gone to? They were held by Muslims and to Muslims if interest made from saving at the bank is haram, money made by transferring shares obtained because of unfair regulations should be haram too. Why then does the government continue with enforcing policies that make Malays collect haram money? Yet Muhyiddin thinks that the poor and needy old folks who practises islam cannot collect and use haram money.

  13. #13 by Comrade on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 - 10:08 am

    Normally If there is any trouble
    That affects the whole organisation
    The top leaders will be held accountable
    And they must take corrective actions

    The DPM is simply inexcusable
    For saying it is outside his jurisdiction
    He is showing a bad example
    For his indifference and inaction

    The other leaders are also not responsible
    All kept away and show no interest
    A good DPM should have made himself indispensable
    To solve the problem and put it to rest

    The two principals are not put away
    Clearly politically connected in nature
    UMNO not wanting to lose support of the Malays
    In order to stay relevant in the future

    UMNO is doing whatever to stay in power
    Most tactics used are against the rule of law
    Having PR emerge as the eventual winner
    Will certainly be the final straw

    The Malays rights are always protected
    As enshrined in the Federal Constitution
    It is only the UMNO Malays that are rejected
    If PR takes over to rule the nation

    BN/UMNO has betrayed our confidence
    We really need a change of government
    We have reached the limit of our patience
    Vote in PR for better management

You must be logged in to post a comment.