Tuesday, November 23, 2021

In Kedah, Ramkarpal of DAP is demonstrating the right stuff

S Thayaparan

“The decision of the Kedah state government to not renew such gaming licences is ultra vires the Constitution as the power to issue such licences is exclusively within the jurisdiction of Parliament.”

- DAP's national legal bureau chairperson Ramkarpal Singh

COMMENT | As for the trouncing of Pakatan Harapan in Malacca, I wrote this a few articles back:

“Now, of course, all this boils down to messaging. Harapan’s messaging sucks. Nobody is interested in the principles that Lim (Kit Siang) talks about, even the non-Malays, because even when Harapan fails to carry out reforms, they would still vote for them anyway to spite Umno/BN/PN. Therefore, the base can take a lot.

“Harapan should tailor its message on a state level instead of attempting a grand national narrative that more often than not does not resonate. Mind you, these state-level messaging may at times conflict with the national message that Harapan is putting out.

“The goal is to be as vague as possible so the other side cannot pin you down. Hammer down bread-and-butter issues on a local level because, more often than not, national agendas mean very little to folks struggling to make ends meet.”

Having said that, DAP is on point when it comes to the Kedah issue.

Here, in the words of the Kedah menteri besar, is the key to religious and racial extremism in Malaysia:

"I am a Muslim and cannot gamble. Later in the hereafter, I will be asked what I did on this issue, and if I did not do anything, I will be punished. While I have the power, I should use it.”

Power, in this case, is used to destabilise the economic rights of non-Malays in the pursuit of the political and religious agendas of his political affiliation.

Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor explained that his policy to ban number-betting outlets was his way of obeying God's command and giving thanks for the state's many blessings.

Malaysians should face this extremism head-on as what the DAP is doing by helping local Kedahans mount a legal challenge against this ban.

If being unreasonable means using your religious beliefs to enact a ban that you have no power to carry out, maybe justice will be served.

If being unreasonable means telling Malaysians to be creative and find other means of earning a living, perhaps justice will be served.

If being unreasonable means telling non-Muslims that their rights are subject to the religious interpretations of an individual, then maybe justice will be served.

The decision made by the PAS menteri besar is a decision of a racial supremacist. Keep in mind that in this country, race and religion are not mutually exclusive.

Do not take my word for it. He says so right here: “There are many Muslims here. The decision was made based on the need to maintain harmony and on the basis of being grateful for the bountiful blessings.”

Now, of course, Sanusi is the kind of political operative who says the quiet part out loud, which basically means, for the ketuanan (supremacist) types, every policy decision they make is based on the fact that the Malays are the majority and the rest of us should be “pak turut” (yes men).

Racial and religious extremism does not happen in a vacuum. Right now, as reported in the press, the prime minister has “proposed quotas for Bumiputera-owned businesses in strategic locations such as shopping malls as part of efforts to increase the community’s participation in the economy.”

All this is being done under the Keluarga Malaysia concept, which, like the ruling of the Kedah menteri besar, is a display of raw racial and religious power. What we are dealing with is the fallout from the fractured Malay political establishment.

I have no idea if there is a good-natured and good-hearted majority who would speak up against such injustices.

My view is that the majority polity, after decades of policymaking by the ruling elite and an opposition who does not offer an alternative, probably believes that the political class, following the will of God, is beneficial to the majority polity.

Not to mention the rights and privileges that give them preferential treatment in everything from education to housing.

Furthermore, those Malays who do speak are targeted by the state and are left high and dry by Malay political operatives who are supposedly progressive and enabled by non-Malay political operatives who need Malay political power to have any input in policymaking decisions.

In this context, the DAP stepping up and standing up for the rights of all Malaysians is something to be acknowledged.

The fact that PKR and Amanah have not joined in on this legal action says a lot, but for those Malaysians who do not believe that fascist menteris besar should get away with their religious bigotry, we must acknowledge that the DAP is going out on a limb here politically.

kt notes: It's only Ramkarpal who dares to do so - the 'elitist faction' won't dare to spook the Melayu ๐Ÿ˜‚

What the DAP is doing, by mounting a legal challenge for local Kedahans, is the way democracy should work.

What the DAP is doing in this instance - and they should be doing a lot more of this - is fighting for the legal, economic, and social rights of all Malaysians but specifically the non-Malays, which strangely, other supposedly progressive Malay political operatives should be doing but are not.

When I say all Malaysians, I mean all Malaysians regardless of race, religious affiliation, or gender identity. This is the antithesis of what the PAS political operative Sanusi views as the Malaysian experience.

Now I get that the DAP will be demonised by mainstream Malay political operatives and who knows if this action will be disavowed by members of their own coalition.

However, this does give non-Malays a fighting chance because at least somebody in the political establishment is fighting for their basic rights and attempting to push back on the racial and religious extremism that is faced by the non-Malay polity.

This is far better than what the MCA and Gerakan are doing. Gerakan wanting to have a “chat” with the menteri besar who rebuffed them just shows you how ineffectual they are but more importantly how PAS views them.

The MCA actually having the nerve to accuse the DAP of placating Muslims voters because of the crucifix mix-up is downright laughable.

Get one thing straight, the DAP placates their Malay coalition partners but, then again, so does the MCA.

However, the DAP in this instance demonstrates the right stuff, which is far more than what the rest of the non-Malay political establishment is doing.

I sincerely hope that the DAP continues these attempts of pushing back against racial and religious extremism and this inspires Malaysians to mount legal challenges against extremist laws.

But then again, I am someone who believes in free speech, freedom of religion, and, well, good old-fashioned democratic ideas, which I suppose makes folks like me the fringe minority.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. Fฤซat jลซstitia ruat cรฆlum - “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

1 comment:

  1. "But then again, I am someone who believes in free speech, freedom of religion, and, well, good old-fashioned democratic ideas, which I suppose makes folks like me the fringe minority."

    Yes, you maybe in the minority Commander, but you have my support.