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Thread: THE RAT RACE PART VI – MALAYSIA: HOW DID UMNO STAY IN POWER FOR SO LONG?

   
   
       
  1. #201
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    13,392
    3. Where the Monarchy comes in.

    https://www.asiasentinel.com/opinion...hy-deep-state/




    Malaysia’s Monarchy and the Deep State

    July 31, 2019
    745


    By: Murray Hunter


    The investiture this week of Pahang Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shaw as Malaysia’s 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, or King, shines a light on one of the world’s most unusual royal institutions, with the county’s eight sultans and one Raja rotating the kingship between them every five years.

    The institution is based on nine old Malay states that came together with two of the Straits Settlements, Melaka and Penang, (and later with Singapore, which was expelled in 1965), Sabah and Sarawak to form the Federation of Malaysia. Official histories of the royal families have been shaped to show the monarchs as heroic and legendary.

    Malaysian royalty is technically a constitutional monarchy. Yet the monarchy is at the apex of an ancient Malay class-based authoritarian feudal system with all its artefacts, ceremonies, customs, and language. To some degree, Malaysia can still be seen as a patriarchy rather than a democracy.

    There is occasional criticism of royal behavior. Mahathir during his first stint as prime minister used public sentiment to limit their powers in the 1990s. However, there is very little public questioning the legitimacy of the royal institution today, even though considerable government expenditure is required to maintain the monarchy.

    The Malay monarchy is embedded deep within the Malay psyche, giving them patriarchal authority. The sultan is head of Islam in each respective state as well as defender of Malay and indigenous rights. The rise of Ketuanan Melayu narratives after the New Economic Policy was introduced has strengthened the monarchy’s position even more.


    There is a degree of absolute power in the hands of the monarchs that doesn’t devolve to other constitutional royal families. They can appoint a chief minister from their respective state assemblies without their picks being tested. They have used these powers to appoint the chief minister they want over the candidate from the largest party or coalition in the state assembly. Terengganu in 2008 saw a political impasse when the sultan insisted that Ahmad Said be chief minister over UMNO’s choice Idris Jusoh. In Perlis in 2009 the Raja refused to swear in Shahidan Kassim as chief minister and swore in Md Isa Sabu instead. In Selangor 2014 in what was called the Kajang move, the Sultan refused to appoint then-opposition leader Anwar Ibraham’s wife Wan Azizah as chief minister, picking Azmin Ali even though he didn’t have apparent support from the majority of assembly members. In Perlis 2018 the Raja swore in Azlan Man as chief minister, even though the ceremony was boycotted by assembly members who supported Ismail Kassim.

    This also extends into advice from the chief minister where in 2009 the Perak Sultan refused then chief minister Nizar Jamaluddin’s request to dissolve the assembly after three members of his government defected.

    In addition to appointing the chief minister, Sultans also have the right to appoint top civil servants. In 2011 the Sultan of Selangor confirmed the appointment of Muhammed Khusrin Munawi as Chief Secretary even though the then Chief Minister Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and his executive council opposed the appointment. The Agong delayed affirmation of Tommy Thomas as Malaysia’s Attorney General and the Chief Justice for more than two months.

    Bakri Musa was critical on the role of the Agong in the transition after GE14 which left Malaysia without a government for a number of days when the swearing in of Mahathir as Prime Minister was delayed.

    The monarchy’s influence over the political arena extends well beyond appointments. The government had to back down on ratifying the Rome Statute when the Johor Sultan argued that the treaty on crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes would undermine Islam, the Malays, and the monarchy.


    The Johor Sultan ordered the state assembly to ban e-cigarettes in 2015 and unilaterally banned vaping in Johor in 2016.

    The monarchy has enormous informal power. Sultans hold regular weekly meetings with their executive councils, providing an opportunity each week to give views on the running of the state to the chief minister and executive councilors. Insiders have told Asia Sentinel that Sultans are generally very forthright on what they think is best for the state.

    Sultans make regular visits to federal and state government departments, agencies, universities, schools, colleges, police and military stations, mosques, and organized events around their states meeting with politicians, civil servants, academics, police, military personnel, and people generally. Most also hold both formal and informal sessions at the palace where state business is often discussed in small informal groups. They ensure civil servants know their line of thinking, which sometimes is much more powerful than directives given by the state executive.

    The majority of members within the civil service are very loyal. In each state a select group of civil servants, academics, medical doctors, police, military form what is called by insiders as the “A Team”. These groups are very fond of royalty. Each member personally knows the sultan and his family members on a close personal basis. These “A Teams” network through common alumni such as the elite Malay College in Kuala Kangsar which extends nationwide with people who share the same sense of purpose.

    The Sultans are also patrons of traditional Malay martial arts or silat organizations in which members have cross-memberships with Malay rights organizations such as Perkasa, and Perkida. Organizations like Perkasa were opposed to the ratification of the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) on the basis that it would threaten Malay rights.

    Section 44 of the constitution places the Agong beside the Senate and House of Representatives with responsibility for legislative power. Some loyal groups see the Sultan as the absolute law, more trustworthy than politicians who come and go. Article 153 of the Constitution gives the Agong the power to safeguard the position of the Malays (and indigenous peoples). A strong sense of Malay identity maintains the traditional feudal cultural environment which has a long history.

    This is a continuation of the long-standing social contract between the Sultan and the Rakyat (people), something that existed long before the formation of Malaysia. This can’t be seen at a national level but is extremely important at the state level.

    Thus, in the eyes of many government servants, loyalty to “Tuanku” overrides loyalty to the democratically elected government.

    The Agong is also the Commander in Chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces. Sultans hold military ranks, are ceremonial commanders of military regiments, chancellors of universities, and patrons of various organizations.

    Traditionally Prime Ministers have been lenient with the monarchy. The first Prime Minister was a member of the Kedah Royal Household. Both Najib Razak and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi tended to be subservient and allowed the monarchy a lot of business concessions.

    Anwar Ibrahim has placed importance on building his relationships with the royal households since his release from jail last year. He also wants the Federal Court to declare null and void the Federal Constitution provision that allows bills to be automatically passed as law in 30 days, without the King’s assent. Mahathir brought in this provision to curb Royal power in 1994.

    The Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) actively watches social mediafor any criticism of the monarchy. The Sedition Act which Pakatan Harapan promised to abolish is being used as a proxy lese majeste. Islamic preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin recently had his jail sentence increased on appeal for criticising the Sultan of Selangor seven years ago. Ahmad Abdul Jalil was arrested for allegedly ridiculing the Sultan of Johor through social media. Constitutional Law Professor Abdul Aziz Bari was pressured to resign his university position and received death threats after he made comments about the monarchy. The police generally intimidate anybody who discusses the monarchy by hauling them up for questioning as the recent Fadiah Nadwa Fikri caseshows.

    PKR parliamentarians are still calling on the police to investigate alleged seditious comments in the press discussing royalty. The Pakatan Rakyat Government is planning even more draconian legislation that will provide even harsher penalties for criticism of the monarchy.

    The monarchy is the nexus between the state Islamic apparatus and the Special Branch and has been able to push back criticisms of JAKIM and calls for reforms. After the Mahathir era, the monarchy should be able to return to the understanding it has with the Special Branch, particularly with the numerous people they have nurtured into the force’s rank and file.

    How much power and influence the institution will yield will greatly depend upon the nation’s social and political evolution. A lot will depend upon how future Royals conduct themselves behind the scenes and present themselves in public.
    py

  2. #202
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    13,392
    4. Ketuanan Melayu explained. At the end of the day, the biggest losers are the poor while the Malay elite benefited the most.

    https://www.asiasentinel.com/politic...tate-malaysia/


    Ketuanan Melayu: Power and the Deep State in Malaysia

    August 7, 2019
    340


    By: Murray Hunter


    (Fourth of a series)The Ketuanan Melayu narrative – Malaysia’s Malays-first policy – has enabled an embedded deep state to become the dominant political, social, and economic force in the country. It is the primary tool the power elite have used to justify and cover their actions in pursuing their covert objectives over national policy.

    The deep state is a guileful legacy of colonial times. The British built up the persona of the sultans – most of them local warlords — as a buffer to thwart any potential revolt. Any political movement against the British would be construed as a revolt against them. Further, the British knew that Malays would not challenge a ruler due to strong respect for their sovereign (Daulat) and the mystical aura the monarchs were perceived to possess.

    Twentieth-Century communist infiltration of the union movement, and the beginning of the communist insurgency after WWII gave rise to the formation of Special Branch within the Malayan Union police force. Special Branch was Malayanized after independence and has ever since carried out a strong political agenda.

    In 1969 the Alliance Government, the forerunner to the Barisan Nasional, was returned to power with a greatly reduced majority. In a boiling political environment, race riots soon erupted in what is known as the May 13 incident. After the riots, Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman disappeared from day-to-day running of the country and eventually formally handed over power to Tun Abdul Razak.


    Contradicting the official line that the May 13 incident was started by Chinese opposition and the Malaysian Communist Party, declassified British Embassy dispatches indicate that Malay political leaders from within UMNO organized along with police and the army to deliver what amounted to a coup d’état against the Tunku for his perceived pro-Chinese stance.

    Not all documents relating to the May 13 riots have been, or are likely to be released by the Pakatan Harapan Government in the near future.

    Tun Abdul Razak developed a New Economic Policy (NEP) which was purportedly designed to enhance the economic position of Malays without disadvantaging other races. Rukunegara, similar to Indonesia’s Pancasila, was promoted to encourage national unity among Malaysians, and the Barisan Nasional government was formed with a spectrum of parties representing the major races in Malaysia.

    Mahathir Mohamed, a Malay extremist politician who lost his parliamentary seat in 1969 to PMIP (the forerunner to PAS) wrote a provocative book The Malay Dilemma. Mahathir took up the old British narratives about the “lazy natives” and argued the Malays’ non-confrontational approach to other races was dispossessing them of their own land. Thus, affirmative action was needed to keep the economy from being dominated by the Chinese.

    Mahathir returned to UMNO politics in 1973. PAS became a fierce competitor for UMNO in the Malay heartlands. Article 153 of the Constitution guaranteeing special rights for the Malays (and other indigenous peoples) fueled a much stronger pro-Malay narrative, which became known as Ketuanan Melayu.


    The NEP drastically changed the nature of government policy and structure of the economy. State intervention to correct economic inequalities, regulation, license and permit restrictions, were introduced. State mercantilism on a massive scale was developed and the government became embedded within most aspects of the economy. Banks and agencies were utilized to dispense easy loans to Malays.

    Although the NEP helped create a Malay middle class, it also created a super-rich Malay elite. There were many other undesirable side effects. An apartheid system was introduced into the civil service, eventually bloating it and making parts of it inefficient. With easy access to loans, Malays became risk adverse, leading to many business failures and bankruptcies.

    Some industries became monopolies or duopolies yielding bumper profits. State enterprises in many cases were corrupt and inefficient and often competed directly with entrepreneurs and SMEs. Equity accumulation became more important than raising incomes, leaving many still in poverty. Licenses and permits fell into the hands of political cronies who rented them out to others for profit.

    Cronyism and corruption became the norm. The NEP ended up dividing the country even more and created a deep-seated resentment towards the Malays by other races.

    After nearly 50 years of the NEP and its hybrids, distinct covert objectives can be observed.

    The NEP has created a class-based neo-feudal society headed by a small elite group. Even though there was a change in government last year, the elite still holds the reigns of power. A kleptocracy has been created, primarily based on rent-seeking rather than innovation. This has maximized the return to monopolists but left a narrowly diverse, inefficient economy that needs urgent overhaul. It has also amassed great wealth to the elite, with UMNO reported to have over RM 100 Billion in assets alone.

    To achieve the above objectives, society has been engineered, the politics of division played out, and a culture of dependence created.

    The symbols within Malaysian society today reflect class and feudalism. Royal titles and VVIP rooms in government offices depict feudalistic class distinctions.

    National narratives are shepherded by Malay ultra-nationalist groups to continually force capitulation of non-Malay groups in society. This is reinforced by nonsensical attacks on architecture that may resemble a cross on a building, the banning of non-alcoholic beer, the exclusive use of the word Allah for Muslims, and the banning of forums and books.

    The Islamic renaissance in Malaysia has been associated with Arabism, so many Malays today appear so visually different than their non-Muslim peers in society.

    Hantus or bogeymen have been created to unite Malays against others in what can be professed as hate politics. The narratives of pendatang, attacks on Jews, the reaction against the Rome Statute and ICERD, all serve the purpose to create an aura that Malays are under attack.

    A culture of dependency has been manufactured. This is based on the assumption that bumiputeras should be given continuing help because Malaysia is their land alone and that other races are interlopers. At election time politicians use this as leverage for votes in the Malay heartlands, where electoral malapportionment makes it the primary electoral battleground.

    This has been soul-destroying on Malay confidence to the benefit of the elite. Malays have been taught to fear, be dependent, and metaphorically to wait for their savior. Politicians want to project themselves as saviors rather than enablers of society. This will be the psychic battleground for the hearts and minds of voters next election.

    The Malay persona of a peaceful village life, cooperation, self-sufficiency, living a within a rich Nusantara culture, where there is amity towards others, once an integral part of self-identity, has been trampled on in favor of unemployment, lack of opportunity, drug abuse and subservience. The middle-class is locked into debt and a conformity-ridden lifestyle. A large numbers of Malays still live on bare means, totally ignored by the governing elite in Malaysia’s neo-feudal society once their votes have been extracted.

    The mythical concept of Malay unity has been reframed to mean that any diverging opinions against the Malay agenda are a threat to unity. Arguing against Malay unity is viewed as disloyalty and even treason to one’s race. The mythology of Malay unity is keeping Malays within a psychic prison, stifling self-expression, self-confidence, and self-respect. Society has become super-sensitive to criticism where it’s now taboo to discuss many issues, even with a new government in power.

    Ketuanan Melayu is still the philosophical basis of all policy making within government today. Members of the prominent elite like Tun Daim Zainuddin stand up from time to time to defend the need for maintaining the NEP, be it in some modified form. The narrative is a fiction designed to keep its perpetrators in power. Those who benefit the most are the ones who shout out about the need for the NEP.

    The history of Malaysia has been completely rewritten to suit the elite and preserve the feudal status quo. The British negotiated the Merdeka Constitution from Malaya with the royals and elite of Malay society, while the voices of the rakyat, the people, were glossed over. Massive national protests and a civil disobedience movement fought against the Merdeka Constitution. Opposition movements proposed a more egalitarian constitution, which was totally ignored by the elite and the British. On18th June 1948, the British rounded up protest leaders and held them without trial.

    Declassification of the May 13 documents would destroy the mythology the government created as the foundation of Ketuanan Melayu. There is a distinct possibility, if the British Embassy dispatches at the time are correct, that many of the elite, some still alive today, would be incriminated in instigating the incident. This is perhaps the real reason the Rome Statute ratification was sabotaged.

    Today, Malaysia is chained to this feudal-like society. The last election didn’t change that. Ignorance is the key to perpetuating the myths that are keeping Ketuanan Melayu in place, allowing the continuing plundering of the nation that has been going on since British times.

    Malaysia is still colonized, just by a different group. The different races making up Malaysia are kept divided to prevent true nationhood. This is the country’s tragedy.
    py

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