GE 13 and the emergence of the enlightened Malays

― Ahmad Mustapha Hassan
The Malaysian Insider
May 20, 2013

MAY 20 ― The general election has come but not gone. I wrote on March 15 that the 13th GE would be the most undemocratic and the dirtiest elections Malaysia would ever experience. I was not wrong at all.

Umno/BN used underhanded tactics to gain power and it was never the tsunami as uttered by the PM, who not only could not regain Selangor but also failed to obtain the two-thirds majority in Parliament that he had promised. It is a disgrace and the choice for any honourable leader is to resign. But he willingly got himself reappointed as the prime minister.

The number of seats won also dwindled and the worst part was to lose the popular vote. This is a shame beyond redemption.

And then he also had the audacity to blame the Chinese for the loss. This was most unpardonable. The shift away from Umno/BN was multi-ethnic in nature and furthermore, the young voters had lost confidence in this party that has held power for more than 50 years. The Umno/BN rule was mired in corruption, cronyism and maladministration.

To win in fair and democratic elections would have been most honourable. But to win using unfair means was most deplorable.

Umno/BN had known that their heavy dependence on the rural electorate would not be as it used to be. PAS had posed as a critical threat to their rural hegemony. But there was one factor that they knew they can exploit and that was FEAR.

The Malay psyche had been based on fear. This factor had been the underlying foundation since the feudal days. It was more so when the Malays embraced Islam. They had been moulded socially, politically and economically on fear. This fear syndrome had made the Malays so much dependent on some kind of protection.

It was the aristocracy during the feudal days and since the fight against the colonial power Umno had posed itself as being the new protector. All Umno had to do was to nourish this element further. Thus the Malays are made to fear the dominance of other communities and also being Muslims are made to fear the ascendency of other religions, especially Christianity.

The liberated Malays in the urban areas were no longer tied to this syndrome and therefore Umno could not depend on this group of Malays for any support or sympathy. They had opened up their minds and were no longer shackled with outmoded beliefs and had become a class that could not be duped at all.

But the rural Malays unfortunately were still vulnerable to this element and all Umno had to do was to make full use of this fear factor to fight PAS. They had used the deception that a vote for PAS would mean a vote for the DAP. To the rural Malays, the DAP is still a Chinese political party and possibly the Islamic religion too would face a threatening danger. And this gimmick works. PAS lost a number of rural seats that they commanded before in 2008.

But it did not work with the Chinese. The Chinese have an open mind. MCA tried to con the Chinese by portraying that any vote for DAP would mean a vote for PAS and, thus, hudud. MCA had completely lost touch with the Chinese mentality.

Umno had championed the Malay rulers against the onslaught of the British colonial power and, thus, was accepted by the Malays as having championed the Malay cause for defending the integrity and sanctity of the Sultans. As from that date, Umno had imbued the Malay psyche with the notion that they were protecting the Malay interests, whatever that means.

AB Sulaiman, in his book “Sensitive Truths in Malaysia”, made this very relevant observation:

“The Malay mindset harbours the traditional thinking norm; its rational norm is suppressed. It is monistic, accepts indefinite knowledge as truth, and has tendency for value judgement and syllogism. Its acceptance of wisdom is instinctive and involuntary even blind.

“It is ethnocentric, has a penchant for myth and mystery, miracle and magic.

“It is easily swayed by doctrine and dogma, and falls prey to the punishments that dogma dictates.” (The Malay mindset is bound by mysticism and fear”, p.35/36)

The delineation of the constituencies had been very much biased towards the rural areas and combined with the posture as being protector of Malay rights, Umno could easily triumph in the rural areas. But this situation is slowly becoming a myth as the old generation is being replaced by the youths who are restless and are no longer taken in by empty rhetoric.

The idea behind having this rural bias was to assist Umno in maintaining power indefinitely. Thus numbers do not count at all. What is important is to create Malay majority constituencies to enable Umno to win.

GE13 witnessed the new shift in the voting power of the enlightened Malays who no longer believe in racism. Umno has become panicky and has lost all ideas on how to continually hold on to power.

The days of Umno’s unrivalled and indefinite political hegemony are clearly numbered!

  1. #1 by vsp on Monday, 20 May 2013 - 10:57 pm

    Najib is afraid of these two words: “Altantunya” and “Scopene”. So far he has been able to deflect the attacks from those outside of UMNO, since he has complete control of the levers of power over the police and the judiciary. But he has to watch out that these two words are not been whispered inside UMNO for this will portend calamity to his survival. His slogans of inclusiveness have not been heeded by the extremists lead by Mahathir and they got away with impunity. Whatever Mahathir wants, Najib surrenders meekly. Mahathir knows that he will get his final prize: to get his son to be the prime minister. All he has to do to topple Najib is to whisper the two little words, “Altantunya” and “Scopene”.

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