New Malaysia is the same old villain, clothed in good deed

Jae Senn

In response to an article by Martin Khor, The Star Online.

Indeed it was an end of an era, no one would disagree with this. BN finally losing at the federal level for the very first time since independence. But. Mr. Khor, if you’d view things more objectively instead of being clouded by your past-due euphoria, perhaps you would not have made such glaring personal biases public.

You pointed out three things that catapulted Malaysia to the global news. First – 1MDB and its related web of deceit. Well, why didn’t you mention that as the US Department of Justice tightened its net, five main Malaysian culprits were identified.. and, shocker, MO1 wasn’t in the equation! Well it ain’t surprising to those who actually understood the contents of the verified complaint and associated documents. The very reason why Datuk Seri Najib Razak was labeled as “MO1” was because, of course, he wasn’t a suspect nor was he one of the subjects of the investigations.

To those gullible people who are always crowing about “Who is MO1?” and “Name MO1”, how much longer do you have to demonstrate your ignorance?

On top of that, the Malaysian Government’s risk exposure in the 1MDB venture is pretty minimal. There was only an initial injection of RM1 million. The rest of the amount owed by 1MDB was in the form of loans. 1MDB raised funds by issuing bonds that are guaranteed by the Malaysian government, yes, but backed by assets in the form of land and development parcels which will appreciate in value. The auditor-general’s recommendation itself explicitly stated that the assets should be developed so that they can appreciate in value, and that the assets exceeded 1MDB’s debts.

Unless these assets are sabotaged, the amount guaranteed by the Malaysian government will not be non-performing and absorbed by taxpayers’ money.

On top of that, with all the drama of Najib being charged with tens of allegations and charges, his bank account has been unfrozen months ago with absolutely zero fanfare and with hardly any major coverage in the mainstream media, much less the reason for it being released – investigations showed that his frozen accounts were unrelated to irregularities in SRC International, the subject of his first round of charges, which many considered to be the low-hanging fruit with which he will be nailed.

What? Did you think Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah will be so stupid to be gloating and over-confident if he knew that even one of the tens of charges against Najib will stick? Chances are, Najib will still be a free man after GE15. Let’s wait and see.

You also mentioned that against all odds, a 61-year old regime was overthrown and Mahathir re-emerged as our prime minister.

This is a 61-year old regime that has been described repeatedly as “corrupt”, “racist”, “extremist”, “dysfunctional” and much more. 61 years counting from Malaya’s independence in 1957, that is.

But have you forgotten, from the time Mahathir was readmitted into UMNO in 1973 until his resignation in 2016, a full 43 years out of the 61 years of unbroken federal power, he has been a dominant force in this degenerate regime that you speak of. And your solution to this degeneracy is to re-engage, embrace and elevate the one who’s associated with two-thirds of this rot that you mentioned, who was directly responsible for over one-third of the irreparable harm that we see today as a direct result of his tenure as Prime Minister.


But, to many, his reappointment as Prime Minister is the panacea of the ills you speak of. Seriously, have you given this line much thought?

Thirdly, and most mind-boggling of all, you hold the outcome of GE14 to be an example of how a regime change can be stable and not involve violence and bloodshed. You describe the previous administration as “authoritarian”.

An authoritarian regime will not allow online and print media to levy allegations and libel against its head of state continuously for almost 10 years without drastic consequences.

An authoritarian regime will not allow multiple street rallies opposing the government of the day to run loose in the nation’s capital with a few hundred thousand people defacing national symbols and denigrating the government of the day.

An authoritarian regime would not have allowed your publication, The Star, and other print media such as The Edge and The Malay Mail, from parroting online blogs and sensationalist news from foreign media with serious unproven allegations against the heads of government. Nor would the head of government of such a regime be willingly interviewed repeatedly by foreign news outlets such as BBC and Al-Jazeera to be ambushed with speculations of theft, murder and corruption repeatedly.

An authoritarian regime would be one that used unconstitutional legal mechanisms to silence and imprison its critics, like Operasi Lalang in 1987. An authoritarian regime would also revoke the publication rights of critical mainstream press outlets, like what a certain predecessor did to The Star, Harakah, Watan, and others. An authoritarian regime would also resort to silencing its opponents, critics. or those who know too much, such as Ibrahim Libya, Jalil Ibrahim and Yahaya Ahmad.

Mr. Khor, you totally insult the definition of what an authoritarian regime is, as if you’re mocking those who have fled actual dictatorial authoritarian regimes that violate human rights on a daily basis.

The years under Pak Lah and Najib Razak were far from being authoritarian regimes. Mr. Khor, you will have to check and double-check your ridiculous moral compass and confirmation biases on this issue. Do remember back in 1998-1999, who is the person that the entire nation wanted dead the most. Whose head did the masses want on a pike, and for what reason? The Anwar case was the straw the broke the camel’s back, and by coincidence it happened against the backdrop of the East Asian Economic Crisis.That was the closest Malaysia had to an authoritarian regime.

It was an era where mainstream press was silenced, opposition figures were stalked by secret police, a TV station was shut down for giving too much airtime to the opposition, and opposition publications were yanked from public distribution. I had to buy The Rocket and Harakah like a junkie getting coke from a dealer at a street corner in Jalan Masjid India. You’re older than me, you should know this better.

After GE14, expectations of reduced cost of living, abolition of highway tolls, waiving of PTPTN study loans, significant increases in minimum wage, reduction in petrol prices and many other goals fell by the wayside. Flippant replies of “Manifestos are not promises” were bandied about.

Were you one of those who lapped this line up?

And here we are, at the precipice of the new year. What did we get from the new ruling coalition as a parting gift to welcome 2019?

PPBM, the new self-appointed Malay Rights champion, openly demanding for projects and its associated implied kickbacks.

PKR coming apart not at the seams but right down the middle, marked with an irreparable crack, as Team Anwar’s and Team Azmin’s war of words overflow into the public domain.

Mahathir pressing on with unpopular initiatives, consensus be damned, to finish his unfinished business for a legacy that only he would be proud of.

The Finance Minister making U-turns after U-turns regarding pretty much every single policy, for the worse, while sticking to his guns on abolishing GST. In other words, he U-turned where he shouldn’t and he didn’t U-turn where he should. Just a few hours ago I saw that his latest hairpin turn had been upgraded from “U-Turn” to “V-Turn” by netizens. You can laugh at this creativity but don’t neglect the actual reasons and sentiments behind it.

Race relations have gotten worse and many can see less regard being paid to Bahasa Malaysia as our national language, as if our Cabinet ministers forgot about Article 152 of our Federal Constitution. Pakatan has also been recently slammed for playing the racial politics card again, disappointing millions of New Malaysia cultists.

Say whatever you want, Mr. Khor, but please be objective and state the obvious. We have not seen the competence that was promised and bragged about before GE14. A large chunk of the issues we are facing in our stock market downturn and economy contraction is a direct consequence of decisions made by a new government after GE14, like it or not, despite the presence of external factors like Donald Trump and the US-China trade war.

Whether you admit it or not, you and many others have put your hopes in the hands of a bunch of charlatans that have abused the people’s trust, who won through misdirection and disinformation. And yet, in a mixture of denial and Stockholm Syndrome, you and your kind have brushed off these shortcomings while loving those who screw up your lives more and more.

Hey, don’t take my word for it. Just trawl social media and the comments sections of news articles these days. Increasingly, people who are let down are voicing out. A predominant theme is that of online comments referring to the current government as a “one-term government” or even a “half-term government”. Even some Chinese are hilariously romanizing Cantonese, Hokkien and Mandarin swear words in the comments sections.

You can sing praises all you want and still convince yourself that 2018 marked a New Malaysia, but “New” doesn’t necessarily mean better.

Mamaks will serve today’s fried chicken as tomorrow’s chicken sambal. Is it a new dish or is it not?

A mamak has just served up his fried chicken that he kept in his freezer for 15 years as fresh fried chicken after a minute in the microwave. Is this a new dish, or is it not?

So ask yourself, honestly, is New Malaysia really new and is this a new era or a recycled old era?

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