Anwar should stop wasting time

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Conservative Malays love dirty water, poverty, racism, extremism and corruption.

Bernama

Anwar Ibrahim had been whining, moaning and bitching about the importance of good governance, political stability, economic growth, trustworthy leadership, anti-corruption and whatnot during his political rally in the just concluded six-state elections. He spent most of his time in the rural Malay-majority areas, hoping to win their votes. As a result, he ignored urban voters.

In fact, the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia was so desperate that he had basically rained cash – disguised as special aid and assistance – on civil servants and pensioners to pamper the Malay voters. He also splashed millions for Mara, Risda, Felcra, Felda and other Malay development programmes and agencies. Heck, he even promised to consider raising salaries of civil servants.

To show that he was the biggest Malay hero, Anwar unilaterally wiped off RM8.3 billion in debt accumulated by Felda settlers, never mind that taxpayers’ money should be used responsibly rather than for a bailout. And to win the popularity contest, the premier started a war of words with former backdoor PM Muhyiddin over who should take the credit for cancelling the Felda debt.

The prime minister begged the people of Kelantan to rise up and make changes to enable the state, which has been under the clueless and incompetent PAS Islamic party’s rule almost uninterrupted since 1959, to enjoy development and progress. Promising not to marginalise Kelantan, he approved a staggering RM1.5 billion allocation to overcome the state’s water supply problems.

Kedah, another state under the control of Opposition Perikatan Nasional, saw a jaw-dropping RM3 billion allocated by the Anwar administration to improve “paddy yields” production in an effort to increase farmers’ monthly income. Anwar told the Malay community that he was committed to improving the livelihood of farmers, fishermen and rubber smallholders.

Not only the unity government increased monsoon cash aid to rubber smallholders from RM600 to RM800 per month, but the fishermen were also given RM300 every month. This year alone, a special RM200 Aidilfitri festive cash aid had been given to more than 850,000 farmers, rubber smallholders and fishermen. Like Santa Claus, Anwar was throwing cash at the Malay community.

In Terengganu, as Chief Minister Ahmad Samsuri and his wife were happily honeymooning in New Zealand, leaving 40,000 flood victims to fend for themselves, PM Anwar Ibrahim was the top leader who rushed to visit the flood-hit areas. The federal government immediately allocated RM100 million to opposition states Kelantan and Terengganu, with a promise to provide extra funds for disaster management.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the premier cared more about the welfare of the Malays in the opposition states than his own Pakatan Harapan-ruled states such as Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan. The charismatic Anwar thought the Malays would appreciate what he had done to the community, in spite of lies and fake news spread by the opposition to demonise him.

Too afraid to offend the conservative Malays, the prime minister was reduced to bullying a teenager during a dialogue session at Kolej Matrikulasi Penang when a student of Indian ethnicity asked Anwar when will the discriminative “quota system” be abolished and replaced by a meritocracy system. The PM rudely interrupted the student, before criticizing her for asking a sensitive question.

Yet, despite his best effort to demonstrate that he was more Malay than racist bigot Muhyiddin Yassin (president of Bersatu) and more Islamic than religious extremist Hadi Awang (president of PAS), Anwar Ibrahim failed spectacularly in the six state elections. The poster boy was unable to convince the conservative Malay-Muslim voter base to support his unity government.

Selangor, the crown jewel of the Anwar-led Pakatan Harapan coalition, saw the opposition bloc increase its share of seats from five in the previous election to 22, effectively denying the ruling coalition its two-thirds majority. In Penang, the opposition Perikatan Nasional won 11 seats, up from one in the previous vote. Even in Negeri Sembilan, it won five seats, up from zero in the last election.

The Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS – Parti Islam Se-Malaysia) won all 32 seats in the Terengganu state legislative assembly. That’s an improvement from the 22 seats that the radical party captured in the 2018 General Election. The United Malays National Organization (UMNO) was totally wiped out, allowing all 32 state seats and all 8 parliamentary seats to be controlled by Perikatan.

Terengganu, which recorded the highest voter turnout out of all six states, was captured by PAS largely due to the massive number of young Malay voters who returned home to vote. Likewise, it was a landslide victory in Kelantan after PAS lost only two of the 45 seats it contested. The Perikatan Nasional also successfully captured a two-thirds majority in Kedah to form the state government.

To make matters worse, the results of early voting from military camps showed up to 80% of military voters overwhelmingly supported Perikatan Nasional in Terengganu. Previously, military camps or police quarters were often viewed as strongholds of the government of the day – the “fixed deposit”. Despite PM Anwar’s commitment to improving the welfare of the armed forces, military camps chose to vote against him.

Anwar should stop wasting time and resources trying to charm the stubborn and gullible conservative Malays. He can’t convert the converted, especially when those converted were being brainwashed with racist hatred, xenophobia, Malay supremacy and all forms of bigotry. The PM should realize that he can’t win the contest by trying to be more Malay and Muslim than Bersatu and PAS.

If the prime minister still doesn’t understand it, he is stupider than he looks. The people of Kelantan actually don’t mind digging wells for water supply. In fact, they just love drinking murky water. That explains why the Malay Muslims in the state have been religiously voting for PAS since 1959. They actually believe the Islamic party holds the ticket to heaven, with the promise of “72 virgins” in the afterlife.

The conservative Malays in Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah, as well as Perlis, don’t really care about infrastructure facilities and development. They don’t understand economic issues such as rising prices, slowing growth, and the weakening Ringgit currency. That’s why they worship Kedah Chief Minister Sanusi like a God even though he, like all other PAS leaders, doesn’t know anything about economics.

Sanusi was seen as a Malay hero because the clown was extremely good in entertaining the villagers, never mind he talks cock most of the time. His lies and fake news were taken as gospel because the rural Malays were too lazy to read and think. With limited intelligence and inferior education, snake oil salesman like Sanusi could easily hoodwink them without lifting a finger.

Rural Malays – old and young – naively believed that non-Malays were about to take over the country as spewed by racist bigots like opposition leaders Muhyiddin, Hadi Awang and Sanusi. Even though the Agong (King), nine Sultans, Prime Minister, Chief of Armed Forces, Inspector General of Police, Attorney General and all top-ranking officers are Malays, they still believe the lies.

The reason the radical Islamic bigots could use racial and religious hatred to control the conservative Malays is due to the “insecurities” faced by the ethnic thanks to racial politics propagated by past UMNO leaders, especially former PM Mahathir Mohamad. Already overwhelmed by Chinese economic prowess, the weak Malays needed political dominance to overcome their insecurity.

Hilariously, disgraced Mahathir’s children all become billionaires because the Malays once relied on a Malay hero called Mahathir. The best part was more than 850,000 farmers, rubber smallholders and fishermen are still poor today, begging for RM300, whilst their so-called Malay heroes – including Muhyiddin – have become mega-rich by spooking the Malay village folks that they needed protection.

Yes, UMNO deserves to be wiped out. Its past leaders practised dictatorial-style leadership and gerrymandering and misused institutional tools to manipulate an electoral process to stay in power – till the May 2018 General Election. To attain dominance and remain in power, it had rigged the election by unfairly creating many small “Malay electorate” parliamentary constituencies as fixed deposits.

Today, those fixed deposits have been stolen by rival Perikatan Nasional, who has replaced Barisan Nasional as the dubious defender of Islam and Malays. Conservative Malays flocked to Perikatan because they thought it could protect their interest. Therefore, even if the Anwar government spends billions to solve the water problems in Kelantan, the people will still vote for PAS, not the Anwar-led unity government.

Anwar Ibrahim should instead focus on three areas – economy, education and reforms. National schools are seen as religious schools, producing not only students with violent religious extremism, but also have caused students ill-equipped to get jobs. Reforms are needed to prepare for the worst in the event the unity government were to lose power in the next 16th General Election.

More importantly, how the government manages the economy or bread-and-butter issues will decide whether the unity government could keep Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan. Even though the status quo result is a huge relief to Anwar and his government, the power-hungry Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin will try to seize power through the backdoor.

The good news is the progressive and liberal Malay community has rejected PAS’ desire to transform Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan into a Taliban state. However, if Anwar is dumb enough to move “further to the right” with more Islamic and pro–Malay policies in order to appeal to conservative Malay voters, even after the state elections showed it didn’t work, then he is wasting a valuable five years and should resign. – Finance Twitter