What we have in Abdullah is not a chief executive but a pseudo sultan, and not a very regal one at that. Malaysia already has nine sultans; it does not need a tenth.
- what Dr Bakri Musa said of AAB
Dr Azly Rahman, academician and columnist at Malaysiakini wrote an article titled Neo-feudalism of the cybernetic Malays in June last year for our favourite online news portal.
I blogged on that partly to tease him for using frightening words in his essays that makes you wonder whether your education has been an utter failure, or you’re an intellectual pygmy, or you're suffering from ataxaphasia – see my post Malays' neo-feudalism hypermodern inner construct?
In the current climate of the government’s heavy-handed suppression and oppression of Hindraf and its supporters for their campaign to highlight the socio-economic marginalization of Indian Malaysians and for their Hindu religion to be respected in the face of government officials’ frightening attitude of religious intolerance - a worthy campaign spoilt somewhat by its melodramatic accusation of genocide (as we generally understand the meaning of the word) – I feel it may be worth a re-visit to Dr Azly’s article on the … er … neo-feudalism of the cybernetic Malays.
We see evidence of that heavy-handed suppression today in KL, ironically on International Human Rights Day where Malaysiakini headlined an article Human rights march: 5 lawyers arrested.
But worse, we also learnt that the police have arrested the Bar Council human rights committee chairperson Edmund Bon allegedly for preventing Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officials from removing human rights banners outside the Malaysian Bar building in Leboh Pasar Besar in Kuala Lumpur. See Malaysiakini article Police arrest Bar Council rights committee chief over festival banners.
No sirree, not even a banner outside Malaysian Bar building, and that’s the degree of intolerance. But if you’re UMNO, it’s OK to incite your party members to take to the street with machete to protect Ketuanan Melayu and of course the real reason, the privileges enshrined under Article 153 of the Constitution, and abused in unrestrained manner since 1972 - see Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik's Ketuanan Melayu via machete - case of 'inexperience'?
Dr Azly wrote (relevant extracts only):
In many an analysis of the transformation of the Malay society from the times of the Melaka Sultanate to the emergence of the Malay nationalism we find the conclusion of the idea of a good Malay subject is one who surrenders total obedience to his or her Ruler (the sultan or the Raja). The king is said to be ‘(Allah’s) representative on this earth’ and is thus bestowed with the Divine Rights.
The concept of a hero in Malay society is enshrined in Hang Tuah, the most popular symbol of the warrior-class in Malay history; the good ‘polyglot’, the magical-mystical Malay hero who pledged blind loyalty to the Sultan. The image of the warrior-blind loyalist is well-inscribed into the literature and consciousness of the Malays.
Today, … the myth of Hang Tuah, arguably, … has been inscribed into the consciousness of the Malays and forms the foundation of the master-slave narrative.
Then I had written on my observation of the Mahathir-Abdullah stoush, where we saw daily obligatory public expressions of fealty to AAB by those who offered themselves as political serfs, the very people who used to kiss Mahathir’s hands – a case of “The King is dead, Long live the (new) King”.
Though I commented in disgust that those sycophantic brown-nosing were real hair-raising stuff that's just embarrassingly terlampau jeleh (overly obsequious), I didn’t mention that those hypocritical but sycophantic pledges were expected and enjoyed by the recipient.
… which was why when tok ampu in Malacca held a special ceremony just for Jeanne Abdullah to confer a Datuk Seri something on her, AAB had not dismissed that fawning gesture as time-wasting, and actually accompanied her when she accepted that award even though the entire Malaysia knew it was awarded for no other reason than she is the new wife of the PM.
Same with some royalty who conferred upon each other all sorts of awards on their royal birthdays – these people actually do expect and relish such awards.
As for most of those Chinese towkays who crave and even are known to pay for a Datukship, they do so for nothing more than the associated access privilege into the upper inner circle of Malay politico-economic decision makers, to get contracts, to make business deals and to rub shoulders in hope of commercial advancement and advantage.
But the Malays see such honours and awards as meaningful. Dr Azly said:
Social status is calibrated based on the sophistication of the signs and symbols of the Malay sultanate. For example, royal awards are presented yearly to those who have demonstrated good service and relationship to the constitutional monarchical system. Upon receiving these awards, some recipients would even be given honorific titles. ….. The notion of the daulat or the ‘divine sanction’ still continues to this day.
As Dr Azly had said “…we find the conclusion of the idea of a good Malay subject is one who surrenders total obedience to his or her Ruler (the sultan or the Raja) ...”, I believe AAB as the head of both UMNO and the government, believes he is the ‘Ruler’ of Malaysia, and due all homage, loyalty and respect as should/would be for a sovereign.
We only need to go down to Port Klang to see evidence of such neo-feudalism of the cybernetic Malays, where a little (no, not General but Emperor) Napoleon is ensconced in his magnificent Istana (palace).
As Dr Azly said, the neo-feudalism of the cybernetic Malays, greatly influenced by the myth of Hang Tuah and the court intrigues of that era, has been so “... inscribed into the consciousness of the Malays” ... to form the foundation of a master-slave relationship where AAB expects total obedience from ‘blind loyalists’.
... hence the ‘pantan dicabar’ warning for those less than blindly loyal – indeed, how dare those serfs contemplate insubordination, let alone rebellion?
His ego, no doubt fed by his court hanger-on’s, couldn’t handle any protest from those traditional court jesters (in the eyes of many Malays), now insubordinately turned campaign jaguh.
Impossible! Unacceptable! Flog those rebels until their morale improves.
That’s who Hindraf and we are dealing with!
Democracy is only tolerated so long as it doesn’t impinge on our recognizing who the political ‘Ruler’ is and that appropriate homage and obedience to him are forthcoming.
That is why the Opposition is treated like the enemy, not His Majesty ‘loyal opposition’ as would be the case in Britain, Australia, New Zealand or Canada. That is why Lim Kit Siang remains a Mister while Jeanne Abdullah or anyone that the government approves to go on a sports junket somewhere, anywhere would be conferred a Datukship.
That is why there is no ‘independent’ personalities/officials in the IGP, Election Commission, Attorney-General, Anti Corruption Agency or the Judiciary, nor would any be tolerated.