Friday Jottings: A reminder, lest others forget


IN THE Potterish spirit, a veteran journalist and top-level editor, whose recent writings should be questioned, shall however not be named.

While in most times, who wrote it is unimportant but rather, what had been written is.

But in this case, both who and what are of import, and deserve to be given some space.

While much of what he had written sounds good, it lacked honesty and who he is makes what he wrote quite hypocritical.

The essence of what he wrote centred on his unhappiness with political leaders still harping on Muslims and Malays “as if other Malaysians, including the large non-Muslim population in Sabah and Sarawak do not exist”.

His main target was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) for still talking about race and reserving a backhanded compliment for the current Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob who speaks about “Keluarga Malaysia”, rhetoric it may be, but resonated with calls for diversity and inclusiveness.

The criticisms towards Dr Mahathir stemmed from the move by the former PM to set up the Malay/Bumiputera-based Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA), and that Dr Mahathir is old and should exit the political arena.

While others had uttered somewhat similar narratives, this one coming from the old hack only exposed the simplistic and flippant nature when discussing Malaysia’s race-based politics.

Firstly, for someone who had been working for a publication that is owned by a Chinese-based party and repeatedly accused of compliantly serving the political interests of the owners, it is quite rich on his part to lecture others for indulging in politics of race.

If he never had the gumption to stand up against his owners for still subscribing to race-based politics and denounce them, his repeated attempts to denounce and decry the Malay Bumiputera based party can only be because he himself is racist.

Simply put, he is alright with race-based parties as long as they are not Malay Bumiputera ones that emphasises on the interest of their people.

For him, Malay-Bumiputera race parties are only acceptable when they speak about “Keluarga Malaysia” but not about the interest of their own race.

Because of that, there was no attempt whatsoever for him to even look at why the GTA was set up, its objective and purpose, and if he had done so, would probably have been quite supportive of it if he was not a racist.

In many ways than not, the GTA, is like any other contemporary Malay Bumiputera based parties — Umno and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia — their objectives and DNA are almost similar.

But for GTA, very much like Bersatu before it became a turncoat, was a result of an Umno default.

Bersatu, prior to the 2018 polls, was set up after Dr Mahathir and other like-minded leaders tried to get Umno to remove kleptocrats within its ranks and when the party chose to ignore it, Bersatu was formed.

But Bersatu, after winning the polls as the Malay Bumiputera-based component of the Pakatan Harapan (PH), betrayed their partners and went on to form a new government with the support of Umno that was still controlled by the kleptocrats.

Dr Mahathir and a few of his colleagues found it nauseating to be part of the infamous Sheraton Move and opposed it, only to find themselves sacked from Bersatu.

Following that, Parti Pejuang Tanah Air was formed and now, the GTA, in which Pejuang has linked up with several other small Malay Bumiputera-based parties, NGOs and personalities who found it unpalatable to be part of an Umno that hero-worships kleptocrats and a hypocritical and traitorous Bersatu which was prepared to work with the kleptocrats to fulfil one of their ambitions to become PM.

Whether GTA and Pejuang are successful or not in the next general election, it is an attempt to turn around the Malay Bumiputera political direction that had veered off tangent in the past few years.

It offers itself as a platform for Malays and Bumiputera to rally and be rid of Malay-based political parties that are corrupt and traitorous.

And that offer is extended to non-Malays as well who obviously are aware of the possibilities of the nation’s helm falling into the hands of the kleptocrats and traitors.

Of course, the next question is why can’t Dr Mahathir offer a multi-racial based parties as an option?

The answer is obvious — the majority of the more than 60% Malay-Bumiputera voters still want a Malay Bumiputera-based party.

It is a fact that is acknowledged even by political parties in PH that wear multi-racialism on their sleeves.

Otherwise, why did they want and support Dr Mahathir and Bersatu to be part of them in the 2018 polls? The results proved the theory.

The only snag to the arrangement was that Dr Mahathir and Bersatu were only supported by the PH components to secure the Malay Bumiputera votes but once that had been achieved, they were not supposed to meet and address the concern of their voters.

That in part became the justification by the Bersatu faction that decided to quit PH.

Furthermore, if the political players were a tad more honest, they would admit that with the multi-racial parties — the majority of their supporters are of the same race as the race that dominates the party who openly would fight and defend the interest of their communities.

A simple litmus test is when fielding candidates for an election. No matter how multi-racial the party may claim to be, fielding a candidate who is not from the majority race would be disastrous.

Then there is the issue of age with Dr Mahathir. It echoed what the journalist’s publication were singing in 2018.

The crux of the matter was that Dr Mahathir, old as he was, stepped up and took on the whole of the kleptocratic regime at his own peril alongside other courageous Malaysians.

What was the top-level editor who is much younger than Dr Mahathir doing?

Playing toady to kleptocrats, directly or otherwise.

Shamsul Akmar is the Editor of The Malaysian Reserve.