The late Tun Abdul Razak spent whatever little time he had building cross-cultural bridges to unite the races.
In the process, he built bridges between the Palace and UMNO to make sure that the Malay identity was preserved at the vanguard of Malaysian politics.
Mahathir came along and burnt those bridges. He pervaded UMNO with a culture of crony-capitalism that corrupted the party down to the core.
As the party was corrupted, so was the Malay identity. DAP leaders began to have very little regard for the Malays and questioned the privileges accorded to them.
Thanks to Najib, that identity has since been restored at the vanguard of Malaysian politics with bridges having been rebuilt between the Palace and UMNO.
Should Mahathir return to power, the DAP will likely rule the country by proxy once he’s gone and relegate that identity to bottomless pits.
THE THIRD FORCE
There is something fundamental that Dr Mahathir Mohamad does not seem to understand. It is, that there never was a time our rulers saw eye to eye with him on anything Malay or Islam. Contrary to what negative news paddlers are now saying, our palaces have always been in favour of Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, for it is he who resurrected the spirit of multiracial Malaysia that his father, the late Tun Abdul Razak, envisioned back in the early seventies.
Thanks to Razak, our rulers were content knowing that the Malay identity was well regarded at the vanguard of Malaysian politics. The late premier made this possible by presenting the aristocrats with ample opportunity in UMNO. It was a compromise that prompted the Palace to grant leeway for Razak to lead the country without interference. As a result, UMNO was able to grow together with the Chinese and Indians in ways that moderated Malay nationalism towards pragmatism.
Enter Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
From the day he took over the reins of government, Mahathir made every attempt to strip UMNO off the aristocratic and cross-culturally adaptive attitudes the late Razak worked very hard to instil. He subscribed to the idea that real power flowed not from the ideals of virtue, but through the bank accounts of billionaires who were committed to greasing the party’s war chests with money.
Because of him, UMNO was reduced to a breeding ground for power-crazed, money-hungry politicians who helped turn their cronies from nobodies to millionaires, and thereafter, billionaires. In time, the party graduated into a sanctuary for a new generation of elites that came to be known as the Mahathirists. These were a group of powerful Malays who put every ounce of guile into enriching themselves and members of their immediate families.
As far as this group was concerned, the only way to safeguard their wealth was to split the party right down the core. To accomplish this, they engendered a culture of money politics that spawned many warring cabals within the party. The leaders of these cabals were too busy fighting among themselves to pose a serious threat to the top leadership. The more they fought, the more money flowed across the rungs as each cabal attempted to latch its star onto the coattails of the Mahathirists.
As for the Malays, Mahathir made very sure that they remained docile by keeping them dependent on government aid. The more dependent they were, the less they leaned towards the palace in times of crisis. That allowed the Mahathirists to deprive the rulers of say and Chinese capitalists to reign supreme. But it wasn’t until 1988 that our rulers realised just how determined Mahathir was to rid UMNO of aristocratic influence.
When Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah posed a challenge to Mahathir’s leadership, the latter ran rings around the judiciary in ways that got UMNO deregistered by the Registrar of Societies (RoS). That effectively buried the spirit of UMNO that the late Sultan Sir Ibrahim Al Masyhur of Johor inspired in 1946. When the late Sultan’s grandson saw how Mahathir denied Razaleigh and his supporters entry into UMNO baru – a surrogate concern that replaced UMNO – it became clear to him that the Prime Minister had no regard for anything the rulers had to say.
Once established, Mahathir erected multiple barricades to keep the aristocrats from climbing the party’s rungs. Apart from Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak – whose rise could not be contained owing to the debt of gratitude Mahathir ‘owed’ Razak – the new UMNO was in every sense an anti-aristocracy with vested interests in Mahathirist ventures. By the time the grand old man left office in 2003, the party was a sorry compromise between reform-leaning supporters of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim and corrupt cabals that thrived on bribes.
Enter Najib Razak.
True to his late father’s ways, Najib made every effort to weave UMNO’s conscience back through the fabric of aristocracy by actively seeking consultations with Palaces. That explains why he found it necessary to have an audience with Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin back when the Terengganu executive was smothered in crisis. The Prime Minister recognised the ruler’s role as the state’s constitutional head and preferred that the latter decided who got to run the executive. That, in essence, is the spirit of Razak that Mahathir spent 22 years ‘exorcising’ from UMNO.
Thanks to Najib, the UMNO of today bears a lot more semblance to Ibrahim’s UMNO than did Mahathir’s anti-aristocratic dictatorship. With the son of Razak, the Malays can rest assured that their cultural identity stands strong at the vanguard of Malaysian politics and is in no way threatened by the Chinese. Should, however, the former premier be allowed to lead government once more, the Malays can kiss their special privileges goodbye as DAP Chinamen rule the country by proxy and relegate the Malay identity to bottomless pits.
So what makes you think she will fend off attempts by the DAP to destroy the Monarchical Institution?