Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The return of the Prodigial Father

The recent demands by a large segment of the non-malay polity for greater transperance, accountability and good governance is in reality a red herring designed to mask their real intention : to subvert the core structure of Malaysian politics namely, Malay political dominance.
Malaysia's political canvas has always witnessed a tension between the center and the periphery, with the center being the domain of the Malays (the original inhabitants of the land) and the periphery, the territory of the Non-Malays (the sojourners who eventually settled the land). If one observes closely, this center-periphery construct has been imbued with qualities, both real and symbolic that tended to reinforce the accepted notion that the Malays-Muslim polity were the "rightful" rulers with the Non-Malay polity being the ruled/junior partners.

Built into this constrcut were other sub-constructs ( the fields of economies and education illustrate my viewpoint) that served to mediate the deleterious effects of the super structure. Hence, despite a near dominance in the government sector, the private sector to a large extent still remains in the hands of the Non-Malays with the foreign component (westerners etc) retaining a significant influence as well. A cursory glance at the top 10 local Billionaires list, the urban property sector, the private instutuitions of higher learning and the retail and SME sectors will validate this assumption. It is this tenous balance of "power" that has somehow glued together our social fabric and any attempt to destabilise it has often lead to tragic consequences.

One of the methods deployed to ensure the stability of the core construct was via fear inducing legislation which when applied judiciously often defused built up pressure and facilitated the restoration of the status quo. Such was the case under the stewardship of Malaysia's 3 prime ministers since 1970, the first and the fifth being the exception.
If one were to dissect the Tunku's era, one would not fail to notice how he consistently failed to heed the warning signs until the cascading effect of what began as a cultural/educational assertion by the core and periphery eventually snowballed into a political juggernaut fed as it was by the angst of economic inequality. In Abdullah Badawi, we had a repeat of the Tunku's error in that Dollah's expansion of the democratic space and his disinclination/inability to rein in the monsters unleashed by that glasnost eventually led to the blurring of the centre-periphery construct as rising Non-Malay chauvinism fueled an equally extreme Malay backlash. In addition, his abject failure to implement his promised post 2004 elections reform compromised his ability to act as well as seriously undermined the government's credibility. To compound matters further, the inability of Dollah to stem the percolation of extreme views from cyberspace into the public sphere is a damning indictment of his capacity to govern ( to intimate that he is the malaysian Gorbachev is laughable as much as it is demeaning to Gorby himself). In fact, at times, Dollah's actions and the shenanigans of his cabinet and fellow backbenchers gave the impression that here was a guy hell bent on ceding governance to the opposition for reasons best known to him. How else can you explain ridiculous decisions (like that 78 sen fuel price hike), the flip flops over policy, the dimunition of Malaysia's stature as a haven for investment, the inability to institute judicial and police reform and many other weird manifestations of vodoolitics. As it stands now, with the oncoming recession and eventual collapse of global financial markets (right now, we are in the calm before the storm ), there seems no one to take us out of this quagmire.. save one man.. who despite his many warts and shortcomings appears to be the only one, at the moment, to be capable of stemming the slide.. Mahathir Mohamad..the man who ironically gave us the disaster that was Dollah.
Yeah, you heard it right, not clown princes like Najib, Muhyiddin, Anwar, Razaleigh or even would be poseurs like Mukhriz or Khairy et al who will never measure up to the task but the real deal himself ..Mahathir Mohammad.
Revert: Welcome back, sir!

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