Umno’s bully politics and the hijacking of an ancient covenant — Sakmongkol AK47
JUNE 18 — What was it that Nizar Jamaluddin said that greatly offended the sensibilities of the youths who gathered on the grounds of the Istana in Johor? Why are they so worked up? Precisely because they are little Melayus who believe there is only one way to progress — by having an absolute system tending towards totalitarian. If the people can be muted and be made compliant, then the little Melayus can rule unfettered.
That is the Umno mentality. Umno’s longevity rests on being able to keep Malays subjugated and subservient, and if these objectives can be achieved by using an ancient covenant which they think Malays are programmed to accept, Umno will have no qualms about using it.
Nizar does not have to meet up the Johor Sultan because he has publicly apologised for what appears to be an unguarded statement. The ancient covenant demands the sultan to act magnanimously. In the 1970s, when the late Sultan of Selangor built an arch leading into Petaling Jaya (on the Federal Highway) costing at that time RM4 million, it caused so much public uproar. Did the Sultan demand the vocal people be rounded up and impaled? No, he commended the people for having public spiritedness.
It’s Umno Youth and its Chinese and Indian running dogs who are demanding Shylockian justice be enforced on Nizar. They want his pound of flesh and his blood too. It’s better for the sultan to laugh off Nizar’s stupidity and forgetfulness instead of being made an instrument of Umno’s bully politics.
Do these Umno foot soldiers and their second-rank leaders understand what democracy means at all? The bedrock of democracy is of course liberal ideas and principles of freedom within legal and constitutional libraries. What does Umno want? They want unfettered concentration of power so that they can do as they please, plunder and pillage and bully the people.
This episode serves to widen the rift between the people and Umno. Three years ago when Najib Razak pompously proclaimed that the age of big government was over, he was only doing a publicity stunt. That was said only to get absolute support from the people by making them believe that his government believes in liberalism. But what he actually wanted was the concentration of power promoted under the disguise of liberal principles.
Najib just as Mahathir Mohamad before him does not believe in organic growth or the intrinsic dynamism of free people. His method has always been collectivism, concentration of power and government does know best. That is why he is actually continuing with the Mahathirist policies of absolutism and economic cronyism.
They (the youths who assembled) can’t suddenly be discovering a long-lost affection for the Malay monarch. Umno has had a bad track record of reviling the Malay monarchs and of shaming them. They were there to promote collectivism and the idea of a benevolent despot by the name of Umno. What they cannot understand is Umno has become the dirty four-letter word which is despised by the people. The gathering was orchestrated by Johor Umno Youth to declare and reaffirm their undying unconditional loyalty to the Sultan. They assembled to promote the idea of undemocracy.
Let’s widen the scope of the debate a bit. One issue that arises from this episode is whether or not the Malays are unpatriotic when they question the excesses of their Rulers. Umno wants to use this episode to distinguish between the unpatriotic and patriotic Malay. Its self-serving agenda is apparent to all — by making it out as if it is only Umno which looks after the interest of the Malay monarch, Umno wants to go to town claiming that Malays must rally behind them.
Unfortunately Umno’s black hand approach in manipulating the Malay monarch for its selfish end and advantages must be recognised. Umno is placing the fish trap between two narrow channels. Umno’s own record of patriotic zeal has been completely cancelled out by its own bullying of the monarchy.
Could it be that the shameless reaffirmation of the unconditional loyalty pledge to the Johor Sultan was only a “fetished” symbol invested with heavy political connotations? And because of the overt political leanings of the group that staged the gathering, the avowal “Pantang Melayu Durhaka” has only resulted in widespread scepticism to the very institution that is meant to be the focus of loyalty?
The partaking of the Ruler in such a gathering only serves to convince people that the institution which is supposed to be the fountainhead of justice renders itself to manipulation. Rulers should stay above politics and not let them be compromised by overweening political ambitions of some people.
Those who gathered before the Johor Sultan have not realised that their actions in entrapping the Sultan into their machinations has only led to people questioning and challenging the notions of jingoistic nationalism, xenophobia and “little Melayu” mentalities in this country. And there are many who now believe that what the group has actually done was to misappropriate and hijack the idea behind the avowal for selfish political ends. And as we have said, doing all these things — hijacking, stealing, plundering — is second nature to Umno.
Only the present Umno generation has no shame in doing this kind of depravity. We now know that because of the action of the group, Umno is using the rehabilitation of the narrow patriotism in its last desperate attempt to save its cause and even its existence.
What has Umno not used? Intimidation, bullying, religion, race relations and now the ancient covenant which no one really cares about. Umno will use any dirty tactic which they can find. Like a friend tells me, to a drowning man, even a patch of floating vegetation is treated as a life saver.
Even in the primordial covenant, loyalty is conditional. Even in the original form, it is less about the person but about a set of ideas. The idea of trust, for example, where reciprocity plays a vital role. The subject remains loyal in so far as the Ruler too observes his part of the bargain. The Ruler shall never abuse or shame his subject and even if the subject has committed a grave wrong, he shall never be killed except as sanctioned by shariah law.
If the subject fails to recognise that loyalty is conditional and a fundamental ingredient for conditional loyalty is reciprocity, then the subject is actually unpatriotic. In the history of the Malays, such misplaced loyalty ended in the greatest symbolic tragedy of the Malays — the killing of a friend by another friend. The conditionality of loyalty and patriotism must always be upheld, and if upheld, the Malay will go to great lengths and extremes to preserve it. Let the child die, but never the adat.
And because of that we will not fall into the stupid Umno trap to challenge them on their terms which is to see who can demonstrate absolute obeisance to the Ruler. Rather, we must challenge them on the grounds of their terrible obsession with their version of ethnicity and on their claim of monopoly to call people Malay or not Malay.
It is therefore Umno’s evil machinations that will lead the institution of the Malay monarchy into disrepute. Because it is Umno that is deprave enough to drag the institution into their political game and thus result in the institution being compromised. — sakmongkol.blogspot.com
* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.