Dato' Mohd Ariff Sabri bin Hj. Abdul Aziz, an UMNO blogger better known as Sakmongkol AK47 is in my opinion one of the more balanced political bloggers. However, don’t be mistaken that he is ‘neutral’ in his political views. He is a true UMNO bloke who blogs for UMNO’s interest, and there's nothing wrong with that. I have in general respected his views.
However, in his latest post titled ‘Leadership & Malay self respect’, I have to disagree with him in the general thrust of his message. He wrote:
… what Malays feel is no longer just about getting 30% share in listed companies or that Malays control 30% of certain industries. I think, Malays expect much more than just digits and numbers.
I think the fixation with the NEP is the idea behind the NEP. What could be the idea?
The NEP is a symbol of Malay power. it's a symbol of Malay self respect. The NEP represents the Malay amour propre (amoor proper) hence when Malays demand 30% of this and that, those are symbols of Malay self respect. Take that away from a Malay- he flies off the handle.
Today what they see is that this self respect is being denuded with wanton contempt.
Incidentally, amore propre means ‘self respect’ or ‘self esteem’, or what an individual believes he is worth.
The part which Sakmongkol says that frightens me, and of course on which I disagree has been his statement (note in particular the highlighted phrase):
Today what they see is that this self respect is being denuded with wanton contempt. They see their self respect being ridiculed. Malays can accept that as Malaysian citizens we are all equal, but we are first among equals. Whether Malaysians think this is unjustifiably so, is immaterial. The Malay public thinks so and expect the world of others to adjust to it. I am merely stating it as it is.
First among equals or primus inter pares!
In a cabinet, the PM is the primus inter pares. In a political alliance like the Barisan Nasional (BN), it’s acknowledged that UMNO is the primus inter pares.
There was a recent write-up by a journalist who obviously didn’t understand the term when he described PKR as the primus inter pares. This assertion is patently nonsense because PKR is the weakest of the three main component parties.
I am prepared to accept Anwar Ibrahim as the first among equals in the Pakatan leadership but that’s quite different from saying PKR is the primus inter pares in Pakatan.
Anyway, while there can be a primus inter pares in an alliance of parties (coalition like BN or Pakatan), committee (cabinet) or group (party leadership) there shouldn’t and mustn’t be such a creature in a group of races.
Preeminent personality or leader is recognizing the top leader in, say Najib Tun Razak among the BN leaders or his counterpart, Anwar Ibrahim in Pakatan. Preeminent race as what Sakmongkol alluded to in his statement “Malays can accept that as Malaysian citizens we are all equal, but we are first among equals” is virtually equivalent to the Aryan concept of the Nazis or the white Afrikaans, both of whom admittedly took it to the extreme.
But that’s precisely my fear, that some UMNO Malays want to take it to the extreme. And it’s already manifested in its incessant and aggressive ‘ketuanan Melayu’ assertion. The Army and Police are already under UMNO's control so all it needs is just that frightening extra step, and we have a de facto Afrikaan-style State [we are not fully there yet].
Sakmongkol claims the Malays are disenchanted with the current ‘weak’ Malay leadership (meaning Najib) who is seen as allowing the nons too much leeway, as reflected in his statements like “...when the Malay leadership, especially by those in power coming out with stupid nebulous policies and its over-compromising actions ...” and worse “...they see Malay leadership goes around bowl in hand begging for the support of non Malays ...”
He concluded that “... all these combined to lead to a general distrust on the capability and resolve of the Malay leadership ...” and thus “This is why Perkasa has become the spokesman for the alienated and disenchanted. UMNO has forfeited its legitimacy as the custodian and guardian of the Malay soul.”
Basically, Sakmongkol sings the same song as Dr Mahathir, namely the weak Malay leadership in Najib, the joke of a 1Malaysia, the greedy and/or arrogant Chinamen, and UMNO leaders bloody well listen to Perkasa (or him), etc.
Regretfully Sakmongkol said nothing about the real truth behind the current divisive politics of hate that have been ramped up by someone using Perkasa as a front, namely the prevalent avarice (greed) that underlines the bigotry and racist chants of UMNO. Its mainstream media lying mouths and of course the tool of some UMNO big shot, Perkasa and Jabba the Hutt are mere supporting actors.
Malaysia is viewed as one luscious gravy train, thus whoever gets to be its chief engineer and conductors gets the first shot at putting their snouts in the rich trough.
That’s why there is money politics in UMNO. Please lah, don’t tell me people pay to get elected as division leaders so that they can have the privilege of serving their members? They want to be division leaders because that may lead to a ministerial position, a lucrative position, a contract (RM700 million for selling a couple of submarines) or some goodies.
That is why there are two main objectives for UMNO leaders, namely: (1) step over each other or stab each other (including Najib in necessary) to be in a position to jump first on the gravy train, and (2) win the election to be government at all cost (whatever it takes) to have control over the Malaysian gravy train.
And Jabba the Hutt wants to be one of UMNO leaders in time for the next election for precisely this. That’s also what some once UMNO–then PKR–and now UMNO again people want – maybe then one will get his RM2 company to run a Penang golf club.
The concept of NEP is all about that, and not because of what Sakmongkol wants us to believe, in the arty farty concept of amore proper or Malay self respect.