How the DAP looks just like Umno
If there is one thing politicians have one thing in common, it is that they crave power, but always claim to do so only on behalf of the people. Malaysian politicians have another thing in common: they talk about high principles such as respect for the Constitution but in practice treat the Constitution like a piece of toilet paper.
Some examples of this can be seen in all kinds of little ways in Penang, in the DAP’s practices and working attitudes (not their grand speechifying) towards constitutional governance.
One is in the giving out of cash money to some people. It says: you can be bought.
Giving cash to people merely for being old is not the business of government. A government is not a commercial concern, declaring dividends to its shareholders and distributing profits. But the chief minister of Penang, like a past prime minister, fancies himself as the CEO of the state. Is Mahathir running Penang?
Another little way is how the Penang state government is presented as the property of the DAP. “CM Lim Guan Eng” is the label often used for the chief minister of Penang, and the DAP secretary-general. There is no distinction between the constitutional position — representing all the people of Penang — and the party position, where he represents merely some people.
The difference, between “@cmofpenang” and “@secgenofdaplimguaneng”, has been submerged in “@cmlimguaneng” on Twitter, whether out of personal pride or the result of misguided advice.
At the Sarawak state elections last year, DAP supporters proudly proclaimed that Lim Guan Eng was the only chief minister present at the campaign. But what government business did the chief minister of Penang have in leading a political party campaign in another state?
Party is government and government is party? That’s Umno philosophy, the underlying principle of the People’s Republic of Umno as well as the People’s Republic of China — now it seems to be the philosophy of DAP supporters, too, in the People’s Republic of DAP. Are the words “rule of law” and “constitutional governance” merely slogans for use against Umno-BN?
It’s just words, DAP supporters will say; small thing also you make so much noise, they will say; Umno also does it so what’s wrong, they will say; so many big issues you don’t talk about (and don’t embarrass us by talking about this) they will say; we are in a holy war, we must defeat evil, whose side are you on? they will say. “You have been bought” they will say (that’s rich, for a party using state funds to buy the people’s sympathies) and “you have gone over to the other side”.
That’s bullshit. And I don’t buy your bullshit.When the Young Turks of Umno challenged Tunku Abdul Rahman way back when, they questioned: Does the government run the party or the party run the government? The Tunku said he was prime minister of all Malaysians, not the prime minister of just Umno. But the party began taking over: now there is little distinction between Umno and government.
Has the DAP behaved any differently, in essence, and in attitude?
Parliamentary democracy does not provide for political parties in the system of government. Parties are not the government. Parties are not part of the constitutional system. Parties only exist within the election system.
In practice, in Penang, is there any difference in attitude from that of Gerakan-Umno? Or just a change of clothes? Is there a difference in policies and attitudes towards the destructive urbanisation of Penang, particularly the island, and the greed of property developers? Or just a change of cronies?
If Pakatan Rakyat “captures” Putrajaya, as they “captured” Penang and Selangor, will the people of Malaysia be in charge of Putrajaya? Or will it be the powerful business cronies behind the scenes who will tell Pakatan Rakyat what to do?
Ultimately, politicians will cheat the ordinary people, because the politicans can capture politics (the debate about policy) and government (the execution of policy), both of which rightly are the property of the people.
This business of “capturing” power has become just another business, whether DAP and Pakatan Rakyat business or Umno and Barisan Nasional business, and the reform business a subsidiary to the business of power.
The people are pawns, but given false hopes by being called shareholders. So, too, the media and many journalists, who fall into the embrace of either side, whether out of emotion or self-interest, or seduced by the attraction of power.
By failing to provide a clear-sighted, disinterested, honest appraisal of what is happening, not what appears to be happening, they too have become part of the business of capturing power. For some, it’s profitable or potentially so.
That’s why politics as the business of power in practice is truly filthy.
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