COMMENT | There is a whole lot of
dumb going around now. Since the hegemon is making every card in the
deck a racial one, aggrieved Malay supremacists have been tripping over
themselves attempting to remain relevant at a time when the Malay
community is divided and Malay political parties are wondering who
exactly a majority of the Malay community - in the peninsula - will vote
for. A decisive majority is needed for the winner to claim that the
party is the only one that can defend “bangsa” and “maruah”.
Perkasa has been wondering around like a headless chicken attempting
to please many Malay masters but only managing to further expose the
scam that the BN is anything but a vehicle for a kleptocratic racial
hegemon. While Perkasa comes out sounding like the village idiot, groups
such as Isma (Malaysian Muslim Solidarity) have a strong consistent
message of racial and religious supremacy, bolstered by a cadre of
Muslim professionals who engage in sophisticated rhetorical legerdemain
to subvert the democratic process in favour of Umno, although they claim
the mantle of “independent” Malay/Muslim opinion shapers.
Perkasa meanwhile is waging a muddled war on two fronts, the first
with MIC and the second, with MCA. While certain Umno personalities
rightly point out that Perkasa is a joke, the reality is that much of
what Perkasa advocates is in line with mainstream Malay thought even
though the community is fractured and not along ideological lines but
along party (political) lines.
Perkasa’s war against the MIC is based on the MIC’s Vell Paari
statement that Indian Muslim preacher Zakir Naik - who apparently is an
honorary member of Perkasa - should be investigated for allegedly being
an Islamic State (IS) recruiter here in Malaysia. Apparently, such a
claim makes someone a threat Islam.
While I have no idea what Zakir Naik is doing here, the reality is
that Malaysia has always been a transit point for Islamic terrorism. The
New Mandala ran a piece in 2013 – ‘Extremism in the name of Islam and Malaysian Muslims’
- which I think is still relevant today. Indeed, I think the climate
has become more tense with recent geopolitical conflicts and regional
ratcheting of Islamic fervour by hegemons fearful of loss of power.
While I thought the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project
was a flawed endeavour, I do think that the thrust of the piece - an
examination of how the state creates an environment either willing or
unwittingly for these types of extremists to thrive - is an important
The article references prominent experts and the work of two I am
most familiar with - Joseph Chinyong Liow and Gordon P Means - and
points to the reality that when the state makes the environment
conducive to radical ideologies then we can expect more trouble from
foreign devils waiting to use Malaysia as a transit point and staging
area for terrorist acts. Anyone here remember the Kuala Lumpur ‘al-Qaeda summit’?
Land of opportunity
The following passage from the article should describe why I am
really not concerned with Perkasa’s bleating that Vell Paari’s words
were an affront to Perkasa - “For jihadi militants, Malaysia was a land of opportunity but not
where militants could enjoy tacit government sponsorship or a safe
sanctuary. What Malaysia had to offer the al-Qaeda network was its
climate of politicised Islam within a Muslim-majority population, its
visa-free immigration to citizens of Islamic countries, its excellent
worldwide communication linkages, and its advanced banking system that
included a well-developed sector of Islamic banks.
“Both Liow and Means have shown that the Umno-led government has
played an important role in enabling, though not outright and formally
encouraging, extremism in the country by way of sanctioning religious
revivalism and Islamisation.”
Honestly, when you have a father of two
pleading guilty and jailed for “giving support to a terrorist group and
supported terrorist act involving the use of explosives” and if you are
a rational person, you do not really have time to worry if Islam is
under siege but rather if explosives are being set off in the name of
Then, of course, there is Perkasa’s concern that the MCA will be a conduit
for communist China with the “cooperation deal” that the MCA inked with
the ruling party. Unlike many other of my pundit brethren, this whole
China relationship is not something that concerns me. I have more
concern with the anti-China rhetoric from the opposition fuelling the
anti-Chinese Malaysian sentiment that is the refuge of racists that
should be of worry for any rational person.
As usual, these so-called defenders of ‘Malay’ rights are missing the
bigger picture. Which is more dangerous - China attempting though
commerce to spread its influence or Islamic jihadism attempting to
subvert imperfect democracies in the region?
Perkasa deputy president Sirajuddin H Salleh asked, “Has BN, Umno and
Malay NGO leaders forgotten the thousands of Malay soldiers and their
families who suffered and died while fighting the communists who saw
Beijing and Mao Zedong as their guide during the emergency? And my question to Sirajuddin is, is Perkasa forgetting the thousands
of Muslims who have died all over the world because of Islamic
Understand this. I am not too concerned about the communist threat or
that MCA is sending party members to be possibly indoctrinated by the
Communist Party of China. What I am worried about are the thousands of
young Malays who are sent to the Middle East and come back with beliefs
and ideas that are anathema to our way of life, and this seems perfectly
fine with the Umno hegemon.
Why apply a different standard to the Chinese component party of BN? I
suppose that being Malay and a communist is a pardonable offence, but
being Chinese means that you and the generation after is always a
threat.What is Perkasa actually worried about? That these MCA cadres would
return and turn the Malays into unthinking, unquestioning drones who
support an ideology that is promulgated by the state? Oh wait…
Actually, what Perkasa should be worried about is the rhetoric of the
grand Umno poohbah concerning China. I doubt there has ever been a
Malay leader who is so unabashedly pro-China and who does not miss an
opportunity to demonstrate to China that Malaysia - Tanah Melayu - would
make an ideal playground for Chinese business. A Malay leader who has
no problem cosying up to China whose ambassador to Malaysia angered
Malay rights types with his overt rejoinders of tolerance and peaceful co-existence.
If I were a Perkasa member, I would worry about the current grand Umno poohbah being a Manchurian candidate.