Stability above Chaos? A Bad Peace is even Worse than War!

Since last year, MCA has come out with its political slogan in Mandarin, ‘Stability above Chaos’, hopefully to recoup the people’s support by rebuilding its tainted image. This slogan has become the theme of the party’s recent mega dinners nationwide. MCA has also followed in the footsteps of PAKATAN parties – KEADILAN and DAP by launching its own mobile cum stage, a double decker ‘People’s Stability Bus’ to be used in the upcoming general election.

The Chinese slogan literally translated goes as – “(we) want stability, don’t want chaos” is not merely a direct plea to Chinese community, more than that, it signifies a sense of intimidation. In fact, it is in line with the tune that BN has been singing publicly and this is undoubtedly the approach adopted to be their political strategy; which is to constantly intimidate and spread inflammatory rhetoric in order to thwart people from resisting the authoritarian regime and seeking reform. In the absence of actionable and constructive political platform, as well as effective countermeasure to deal with important socio-economic issues, particularly afflicting the Chinese community, MCA can only repeat its old rhetoric of political certainty and economic stability, attempting to threaten the people that a change of regime will inevitably lead to social instability and chaos. No doubt, BN’s favourite gambit is to deploy politics of fear and intimidation.

It is totally comprehensible that people might as well unsure of the consequence of a change of regime, and uncertainty is believed to lead a country to face some blight. Such uncertainty thus triggers anxiety within community. Above all, Malaysia has yet to experience governmental transition ever since Britain granted Malaysia independence. BN has hold power continuously for more than a half decade, and therefore such unchallenged power and authority has granted them the so-called “stability”. Former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir’s “better the devil you know than the angel you don’t” has precisely aimed to persuade Malaysian to keep the old same regime, leaving alone the fact that their monstrosity might eventually victimize the rakyat and wipe out the nation’s wealth through prevalent corruption and abuses of power. Such stability, entrenched by the endless injustice and top-down suppression, might not be the worst scenario, but it can be worse than ever. In short, MCA’s “stability above chaos”, is an out-and-out bad stability! Or to quote from a historian of the Roman Empire, Publius Cornelius Tacitus: A bad peace is even worse than war!

Alternation in power and governance is an indicator of transition towards democracy; it is the practice and norm of a democratic regime. Notwithstanding, this is not the case for Malaysia, despite the ruling coalition has been constantly claiming that Malaysia is democratic. The fact is, Malaysian political life and government has been dominated by an authoritarian single-party dominance of UMNO since gaining independence. Even the political and international editor of Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Hartcher was astonished by such “a serious accomplishment” as single party dominance can endure for more than half a century.[1] Conspicuously, this unquestioned dominance has permitted BN to wield its influence and power to deceive and befool the rakyat relentlessly.

Perhaps, it is not the broad coalition of ethnically oriented parties to be blamed entirely, but the oldest and strongest UMNO, in precisely. It is widely admitted that UMNO is the “big brother” and it holds decisive political edge over its partners in the alliance. MCA on the other hand, regardless of its status being the oldest and largest Chinese party in Malaysia, is literally a little brother who merely obeys orders, or otherwise might get twisting on ears. It is UMNO that decides on every matter, including sensitive issues involving or affecting other races and religions. It is doubtful that MCA is capable and strong enough to fight for Chinese’s rights and defend the Chinese’s privileges as its head scraping the ground when in the presence of UMNO. This is how decisions were made within the coalition, based on its own model of cooperation, namely “BN model”.

What is more saddening, MCA views the coalition of PAKATAN in light of BN model, particularly putting its arch rival, DAP, in its own shoes and ridiculed DAP as incompetent to strive for Chinese as it might as well be the “little brother” within PAKATAN, and that KEADILAN the “big brother”. Additionally, MCA has been working hard on its anti-hudud campaign, which is what MCA strategists believed to be its trump card, by spreading fear amongst the Chinese community through claiming the possibility of the Islamic law being implemented should the federal opposition pact wrest Putrajaya in the coming polls. The leaders deliberately manipulated and played on the issue of hudud implementation, as well as the agenda of Islamic state, seeking to frighten the Chinese voters to stampede them to cast a vote for MCA. The hair-cutting controversy in Kelantan over the forbidding of non-Muslim women to cut the hair of non-Muslim men and vice versa, for instance, has been grasped as a weapon to threaten non-Muslim that extreme Islamic policies will be implemented if PAKATAN ever become the federal government. In point of fact, the implementation of licensing terms involving hair salons owned by non-Muslims has yet to make. MCA, which is now in its death throes, is merely hoping that its slogan “stability above chaos” can be helpful to prolong its political life.

 

The never-ending racial and religious issues

Multiracial, multi religious and multicultural describes the totality of Malaysian society. The beauty of such an extraordinary blend of people, nonetheless, has been manipulated and utilized by the ruling party as a sharp blade to segregate different ethnic communities rather than to promote unity amongst all. This is to create false impression that Malaysia needs BN to maintain the stability and the equilibrium between different races, and therefore they always have a valid reason to continually cling on power.

“May 13 incident” – the May 13, 1969 racial riots in Malaysia, had and has always taken the centre stage to deter the people from voting the opposition. The official version of “the dark episode of Malaysian history” had pinned the blame on the victory of opposition parties for inciting the post 1969 election riots. BN UMNO is therefore straightforwardly drawing a conclusion that when the regime is changed, the current status quo is too shaken, and thus causing racial riots to occur. May 13 incident was indeed a haunting and miserable experience for the older generation. As for the younger generation born after that tragic history, it might not seem to be a wise choice to gamble on the current comfortable and peaceful life. Hence, May 13 racial clash bogey has been replayed again and again, attempting to craft an intense, nerve-wracking atmosphere that simply would turn into an impediment for the development of a democratic two-party (two-coalition) system.

In the UMNO general assembly in November 2006, we already witnessed the UMNO youth chief Hishammuddin Hussein, who currently serves as Home Minister in Najib’s administration, ritualistically waved and kissed the unsheathed keris and issuing threats to anyone who would dare to raise issues of civil rights and equality of opportunity. And recently, the spectre of May 13 was raised once again at the opening of the Wanita UMNO general assembly, as the wing’s leader Shahrizat used the racial clash to warn delegates that a powerless UMNO would affect the country’s political stability and probably lead to similar racial conflict, and therefore should work harder to ensure UMNO’s victory in the coming election. Furthermore, there was a surprise screening of the controversial film Tanda Putera by UMNO leaders to Felda settlers, who are traditionally UMNO heartland. Such move is really intended to brainwash them against voting for PAKATAN. The intention is unequivocally conspicuous, that BN-UMNO would try their utmost to make sure they are still relevant and they can hardly afford a defeat.

The truth behind the veil of the official account of the May 13 incident is that it were neither purely a spontaneous outburst of violence between Malays and Chinese, nor simply caused by the jubilation and celebration of the opposition parties after the announcement of triumph; Academic studies showed that it was a coup d’etat meticulously planned and organized by the then emergent Malay state capitalist class to oust Tunku Abdul Rahman who represented the out-dated Malay aristocracy, thus orchestrated racial conflict which caused the bloodshed.[2]

Coincidentally, it seems like whenever UMNO faces internal turbulence, it tends to create external crises to smoke-screened the real situation. Perhaps, UMNO is above all the initiator or culprit of all chaos? And interestingly, as a pawn at UMNO disposal, to which extent MCA’s “stability above chaos” can be convincing and persuasive enough to pacify the uneasy people?

 

Milestone of democratic transition

Unlike BN, PAKATAN is not a coalition of race-based; each of the parties within PAKATAN does not only represent a single ethnic group and their supporters go beyond the categorization of colours and religions. KL112 Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat, dubbed the People’s Uprising Rally, has particularly highlighted that Malaysian can gathered as one for different appeals and demands. It was indeed a symbolic coming together of both political parties and the country’s civil society movement in a mammoth event. Approximately 100,000 Malaysians from all walks of life – young and old, men and women, boys and girls thronged Stadium Merdeka and downtown Kuala Lumpur was swamped with hundreds and thousands of rakyat to make their voice heard over a host of national issues, and a voice of change. Yellow signified electoral reforms, green for environmental causes, red for pro-oil royalty, orange for the anti-Felda Global Venture Holdings (FGVH) listing movement, and last but not least, purple for women’s rights. Most importantly, it was a peaceful rally with carnival atmosphere and ended with zero casualties. The rights and freedom to peaceful assembly is the manifestation of democratic society, and Malaysia is now steadily taking her path towards democracy, alongside the flourishing of civil society movements such as Bersih 1.0, Bersih 2.0, Bersih 3.0, Himpunan Hijau and so forth. KL112 has proved that Malaysians have now gotten rid of the old thinking of “rally equals to unrest”, democracy would soon begin bearing fruits. There are significant signs showing that the rakyat are ready to welcome democratic two-party system with open arms. So, MCA, what kind of chaos will a change of regime lead to?

 

Economic chaos, who to be blamed?

As the election is approaching, there have been increasing predictions from BN leaders emphasising that there will be a sharp fall in the share market should there be a PAKATAN victory. Amongst all, the president of MCA, Dr. Chua Soi Lek even confidently and openly declare that Malaysia will witness a huge financial disaster that our stock market will drop by 500 points within a win if PAKATAN comes to power in the 13th general election. According to him, the country would then go bankrupt and the Chinese would end up being the biggest casualty.

In relation to this matter, the renowned world economist Nouriel Roubini, who also known as ‘Dr Doom’ for his consistently pessimistic economic outlook said that the Malaysian economy will weather the next general election and stay robust even with a change in government. Despite admitting that the electoral process itself will introduce elements of uncertainty for investors, Roubini pointed out that the investor recognised that as long as there is a democratic process and there will be policy clarity after those elections, the economy is certainly going to be positive. In his keynote address at the Datum Economic Forum 2013, he also highlighted that Malaysia has shown institutional and political stability, and therefore will not descend into economic chaos should PAKATAN wins the next polls. [3]

Moreover, in response to the growing concern over the nation’s economic state amid a possible regime change, the former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam, who once served under former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad also quoted saying that it was unfair to claim that country could go bankrupt if PAKATAN triumphs the BN to take Putrajaya. He was convinced that the federal opposition pact would not allow the country’s economy to deteriorate but to ensure the continued growth of national economy.

The senseless claim of “market will plunge and country will go bankrupt should regime changed” putting forward by the president of MCA, as a continuation of “stability above chaos” is completely baseless and preposterous, as if these were happen, such economic calamity will be unprecedented in the history of anywhere in the world. Notwithstanding, it seems that Chua Soi Lek has high level of confidence with his prediction; probably because he deeply believes that his argument might be effective in frightening the people, especially the Chinese businessmen, and therefore flinch from pushing forward political reform.

Chua’s concerns over PAKATAN competence and capability in economic management are unnecessary. Over the past 5 years, PAKATAN state governments have proven their prudence in managing state finances. Just to name a few instances, Penang achieved a record budget surplus of RM138 million in 2011 after successive surpluses since 2008. The financial reserves of the Selangor state government have also increased from a mere RM400 million in 2008 to a whopping of RM2.4 billion. Similarly, the Auditor-General has confirmed on such excellent performances.

On contrary, our country’s official debts have reached RM502 billion under the administration of BN government, not including the RM140.2 billion worth of contingent liabilities of Federal Government guaranteed debts,. The last time Malaysia ran a budget surplus was in 1997, when the current PAKATAN leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim served as Finance Minister, which means Malaysia has been operating on an annual deficit budget for 16 consecutive years. In fact, it is the current administration’s continued profligacy, corruption and abuse of power which is going to lead to economic disaster for the nation if they are given another 5-year mandate in the coming polls.

Conclusion

As the historical 13th general election draw near, there are even more incidents involving aggressive and bolder violence attack on the opposition parties have been unfolded. The political talks organized by PAKATAN were disrupted by the throwing of rocks and shouting of threats and vulgarities, bus was splashed with paint and pelted with rocks. In some incidents, there were a number of unfortunate and innocent supporters got injured by scuffle. Not long before, there was even UMNO-linked NGOs carried out a violent demonstration at the PKR headquarters, wherein dozens of eggs, as well as hard objects including stones, sticks and so forth had been thrown at the building… The violence deployed by the ruthless BN regime is rampant. The sad fact is, these goons are the younger generation that are “nurtured” and “educated” by the arrogantly domineering UMNO, and such gangsterism is not least, the product of the ruling party’s hegemonic control of all facets of society for 56 years. MCA advocates “stability above chaos” is really intended to persuade the fellow Malaysian to sacrifice our rights and well-being as a token to keep these UMNO goons tamed under the shelter of a powerful and merciless UMNO.

 

 

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