Read Sun Tzu (UPDATED with Chinese translation)

I am surprised that the opposition, in particular the Chinese leaders in the opposition, do not know this very basic and fundamental Art of War. I would have imagined they would have all read Sun Tzu by now. This is called the Principle of Subversion.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Two days ago, the Penang Malay Chamber of Commerce organised a demonstration against the Pakatan Rakyat state government and burned an effigy of its Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng. It appears the protest was led by ‘opposition’ Member of Parliament Ibrahim Ali — who won a seat in the last general election on a PAS ‘ticket’.

Yesterday, a police report was made against the Chamber for ‘inciting racial hatred’. The fact that PERKASA, meaning Ibrahim Ali, was behind the protest means it is definitely about race. PERKASA was created with only one objective in mind – to defend Malay rights and privileges and to uphold Malay Supremacy or Ketuanan Melayu.

So the Penang incident is undoubtedly a Malay-versus-Chinese affair.

Lim Guan Eng is Chinese and from DAP, a party perceived as ‘Chinese chauvinist’. And the effort the party has been making to erase its Chinese ‘face’ and to attract more non-Chinese, in particular Malays, into the party has thus far not been very successful. It is an uphill battle for DAP to clean up its image of being a ‘Chinese’ party, not that the party is not trying hard enough to do this. It is just that images are not an easy thing to create or change.

On the surface it is being made to look like this is about the Chinese being unfair to the Malays and that the Malays are merely bringing attention to this ‘injustice’. It is, after all, the business of PERKASA and the Malay Chamber of Commerce to look after Malay interests.

But if you look beyond the race issue you can see that it is not actually about race per se. Race is the whipping boy. It is the Red Herring. Race is used as the issue because race and religion are the two most potent issues in any conflict.

Are not all wars throughout history about race, religion and riches? Societies and nations go to war because of race, religion or domination. And domination could mean land, control over the oil business, trade supremacy, and whatnot. Wars are never about upholding justice or about doing the right thing. It is always about power — power over race, religion, land, trade, natural resources, and all those things material.

There is no such thing as religious wars. Religion is the excuse to go to war. It gives legitimacy to the cause. Race or nationalities is also a non-starter. Political boundaries change through the ages. What was once the Greek, Roman or Ottoman Empires are today many countries. And what was once one empire are today many countries at war with one another.

So there is no reason to go to war. There are just excuses. And any excuse is good enough if what you really want to do is to go to war. You just need to create a good excuse, give it legitimacy, and call it a reason.

What is the beef against DAP, the Penang state government or Lim Guan Eng? Is it really about the unfair treatment the Malays are getting at the hands of the Chinese? Or is it something else altogether?

The excuse (or ‘reason’) that triggered the Penang protest two days ago is that the Chinese government of Penang demolished the illegal stalls of the Malay hawkers. Yes, that’s right. That was the reason given. The state government demolished the illegal stalls of the Malay hawkers.

Now, note this very important point offered by the protestors. First is that the hawkers are all Malays. Next is that they had set up illegal stalls. And the state government demolished these stalls.

The Malay Chamber admits that these stalls are illegal. But they protest the demolishing of these stalls because they are Malay owned. Does this mean if they are not Malay owned but Chinese owned then it is okay to demolish them? Does this also mean since they are Malay owned then the state should allow them to continue although they are illegal?

Anyway, that is not the crucial issue here. What is more important is that the state did not order the destruction of these stalls. And PAS, what could be considered a ‘Malay’ party, has come out to say so. PAS has come out in defence of DAP and Lim Guan Eng.

But someone did demolish those illegal Malay owned stalls. There is no denying this. And if it was not the state government then who did?

It was the local council of course. It is the local council’s job to demolish illegal stalls and to take action against any illegal activities in their area. But does not the local councils come under the state and carry out the orders of the state? In theory, yes. In practice, no. And this not only applies to local councils but to all other state agencies as well such as the state religious authorities and whatnot. They do what they want and not what the state orders them to do.

Remember the recent case where the Shah Alam Local Council in Selangor confiscated beer that was being sold in establishments that did not have a liquor licence? The thing is, beer is not classified as liquor so you do not need a liquor licence to sell beer. Therefore, technically, no crime has been committed. But the local council still acted on those selling beer without a liquor licence although no licence is required to sell beer.

What is going on here? In all the states ruled by Pakatan Rakyat the state agencies and local councils are not working in tandem with the state government. They appear to be working against the state government. The right hand does not seem to know what the left hand is doing.

It is really quite simple and you do not need to be a genius to figure it out. The state government is Pakatan Rakyat. But the state agencies like the local councils, religious department, district offices, land offices, the state economic development corporation, etc., are all staffed by Malays who are still loyal to Umno and working for Umno.

The Malays call this kepala tak serupa dengan badan (the head is not the same as the body). So the head thinks one way while the body moves in the opposite direction. That was how Terengganu was brought down in 1999 when the state agencies worked against Umno and the state fell to the opposition. And the same thing happened in Perak last year when the state agencies, including the State Secretary, worked against Pakatan Rakyat and in support of Umno.

I am surprised that the opposition, in particular the Chinese leaders in the opposition, do not know this very basic and fundamental Art of War. I would have imagined they would have all read Sun Tzu by now. This is called the Principle of Subversion.

The name of the game is to subvert the government. Sabotage it all the way. Do things that will make the government very unpopular with the voters. Sabotage, sabotage, sabotage!

But to do this you have to get behind enemy lines, as they would say in the Special Forces of the military. You need to get in there and sabotage from the inside. Then the government will fall.

And this is exactly what is happening in the Pakatan Rakyat states. But the Chief Ministers and their EXCO Members are slumbering away and enjoying the victory of the 8 March 2008 general election. And while they ‘rule’ the states, those in the lower levels of the state government set up bombs and booby traps.

Sun Tzu wrote his ‘thesis’ called The Art of War thousands of years ago. It is so simple and so basic. But then do not most of us get caught on the simple and basic things? Islam says most people will go to hell not because of their big sins but because of an accumulation of many small sins.

Yes, Islam knows we shall always be conscious of avoiding big sins. But we are never aware of the small sins we commit. And because we commit so many small sins, the accumulation of all these small sins is more damaging than the big sin, which we avoided so carefully.

So, the Pakatan Rakyat state government may have avoided making big mistakes. They are very careful so as to not make big blunders. But it is these little things and the accumulation of these many little things that will bring down the government.

Umno does not need to launch an all out frontal attack. That would be too costly and too apparent. All Umno needs to do is to activate its many sleepers in the state government agencies and get them to commit these ‘blunders’ — which are not really blunders but intentional acts of sabotage.

The impression given to most people is that the opposition is in a mess. Actually, Barisan Nasional and Umno are in a bigger mess. But Barisan Nasional and Umno have very cleverly engineered it in such a way that all these many small issues affecting the opposition translate into one big mess.

The best and most effective way of bringing down the government is from the inside. And this is how they are trying to bring down Pakatan Rakyat — with minor issues such as beer being confiscated and illegal Malay hawker stalls being demolished, which at the end of the day are made too look like one massive shit hole.

Have we not learned anything from history where the most impregnable wall can be breached with the use of the Trojan Horse?