The Malaysian Tea Party

Malaysians love tea, they love the ‘Teh Tarik’ in particular but they also do love Teh O’ Ais Limau. As a matter of fact, it is not surprising to say that the most popular drink in this country is ‘tea’. However, this article is not about tea itself but about America’s ‘Tea parties’ that helped a broken down, almost destroyed Republican Party (GOP) wrestle the ‘house’ from Barack Obama!

Malaysia-Today’s chief, Raja Petra Kamarudin is riding the horseback against the local opposition parties, accusing them of flinching in their quest for power and in abandoning many of the promises made during the 2008 General  Elections.

Raja Petra is also fighting for the creation of a ‘third force’ not to counter the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) but on the contrary to give the PR a boost by keeping ‘civil societies’ and ethnic groups together for the next General Elections, which may be held in 6 months time if we are believe rumours.

According to some logic, a third force in Malaysia will only contribute to a distraught performance by the PR in the next elections.

Raja Petra however does not agree with this theory as he insists in his editorials on Malaysia-Today that such a force, grouping the civil societies, the loose coalitions that supported the PR in 2008 and surely the group of ‘liberal’ thinking people will only add more power to the PR.

As a matter of fact, the PR is in need of additional support in the wake of the recent poor performances by the opposition coalition in the by-elections and the waves of dissent that has rocked the Party Keadilaan Rakyat (PKR) in particular. The Party Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) is only recuperating from the near break-away last year when members of the party wanted to sacrifice the PAS to join the United Malays National Organization (Umno).

The Umno has in a sense outpaced the opposition in this direction with the creation of its own ‘back-up’ group called the Perkasa which is the creation of a Malay group who is not satisfied with the Malays losing their ‘Ketuanan’ role.

Ketuanan would mean the bosses, the leading ethnic group and the group that controls the political strings in the country. With the advent of Anwar Ibrahim – rather his return – on the political scene since 2004, the ‘extreme’ Malays found themselves losing their prerogatives with Anwar Ibrahim taking the lead as the most popular, most supported Malay political figure in the country.

The jailed leader came out of the black box to emerge as the potential Prime Minister of Malaysia, surpassing Tun Mahathir in popularity and beating the Umno in the 2008 General Elections only to remain in opposition after the ‘betrayal’ of 30 Barisan National (BN) members who apparently gave him their word they will join his PR to form a new government.

The group Perkasa may be object of the most famous ‘jokes’ in blogs across Malaysia but this does not mean the group is not doing ground work jobs to bring back the Malays into the Umno folds.

Using very crafted languages that could stir trouble in a non-Muslim majority country, the Perkasa is telling the Malays they are losing to the Chinese and will lose to the Indians if Anwar Ibrahim wins the next General Elections. They are also pressing the Najib Razak regime to turn 1Malaysia into a 1Malay ‘Ketuanan’ political and economic force. The group has non other than Tun Mahathir as the ‘mentor’ as they have his absolute support.

In the end, they are doing their job as the ‘invisible’ force that is pulling strings among the Malays in an attempt at eroding Anwar Ibrahim’s powerful grip on a significant percentage of the Malay-Muslim community in the country.

Hence, the role of a ‘third force’ acting as the Malaysian ‘Tea Party’ in reflection to the Republican Party’s Tea Party in the US, is paying out for the Umno. Thus, Raja Petra would be right to create the ‘third force’ but only if the ‘third force’ will have for aim the destabilization of the Perkasa and the regrouping of the ‘PR’ supporters under one roof, one leadership, that of Anwar Ibrahim.