Worse than murtad is political apostasy


Political apostasy is the reason for the country’s ‘moral crisis’ in governance as reports of electoral roll anomalies and threats of violence take centre stage.

Meanwhile many letter-writers and others have said allegations of religious apostasy are a ploy to detract from the more serious problem of potential electoral fraud.

Political backsliding from the original Merdeka plan began in 1969 when Tunku Abdul Rahman was deposed in a coup, as described in Kua Kia Soong’s enlightening book, ‘May 13’.

Political victimisation is the unmistakable sign of an apostate political culture and Anwar Ibrahim among others is the country’s longest political victim and symbolise the alleged abuse of power through selective persecution and prosecution of politicians and citizens.

Former American ambassador John Mallot explains why: “a senior officer in the Special Branch told an Embassy officer, ‘We are going to keep filing charge after charge after Anwar so he will be in jail for the next hundred years’” as reported in Malaysia Chronicle.

Merdeka ushered in an era of national pride and development. The British had not envisaged Malaysia would desert its legacy of a constitutional democracy. The country promoted the motto ‘unity is strength’ and the Tunku was an icon of racial harmony and religious tolerance having married four wives, at different times, that represented the different races. ‘Bapa Kermedekaan’ was an apt title for a man who proved slogans are not only for show and political window-dressing but carrying and living out.

As the one who facilitated the dakwah movement and established Perkim, he did more than any other Malay leader for his race and his religion and he was never a threat to non-Malays while promoting religion, unlike those who use Islam as a political weapon today. He never stooped to scapegoat any group, be they of a different religion or race, to elevate himself.

The sense of propriety in politics though not perfect was then an honoured tradition. Merdeka saw an era and aura of sincerity and earnestness in politicians and citizens working together to serve the nation, not like today when politics has become the refuge of scoundrels who find it a route to riches.

The Tunku was a gentleman and never expected to be betrayed but lived long enough to die disappointed and disillusioned when he saw his Merdeka dream dashed and the country become a ‘failed politically apostate state’ though unilaterally declared ‘an Islamic state’ by those who actions were anything but Islamic or even decent.

Hail Malaysia’s Caesar

The political apostasy is the result of abandoning the Merdeka principles of democracy, among others, that were meant to develop the fledgling nation. The new Merdeka nation was supposed to function like the British democracy fashioned after the Westminster parliamentary system that was strong on political accountability, as we saw their dishonest politicians exposed, charged and convicted for allowances rorts.

Politics after Merdeka was not flawless—no system is—but took a different direction when the Tunku was politically waylaid. After May 13, 1969 it suffered a heavy blow that has left the Merdeka nation in a political coma and apostates and heretics of sorts continue to lead it astray.

In 1988 the judiciary was assaulted and the Lord President became a victim of political bastardry. A major constitutional check on the executive was hijacked and the moral slide got worse. To his credit the eminent judge stood his moral ground and his reputation was vindicated much later under a more benign country leader.

Political apostasy saw a modern-day Caesar control everything: the various arms of the government that were meant to check one another—the executive, the judiciary, parliament—and anything else that has a voice such as the media and passionate citizens. He even had a centurion who acted like a lap dog to do his bidding when the police were supposed to be professional and impartial law enforcers, not a private security firm at the beck and call of the politicians.

The courts could not be depended to deliver justice when it involved powerful politicians and their cronies because judge-fixing resulted in a skewed justice. The ‘Lingam video’ scandal examined by a royal commission proved the reality of justice tampering.

On the economic front while Dr Mahathir Mohammed defends the system including the NEP and admits “there may be corruption involved in some cases” he blithely dismisses his role in the ‘rotten administration’ that he left for his successor and did nothing about the cases of corruption despite the overwhelming reports made to the police.

While he did stimulate the economy with bold projects the flip side under his leadership was that the country lost billions, 100 billion ringgit according to author Barry Wain in his book Malaysian Maverick, and till today the bailouts continue. Some facts stand insurmountable in the face of unconvincing rhetoric, spin and more lies. When your country owns a petroleum company and there is plenty of money around anyone can perform an economic miracle or even a disappearing act.

But political apostasy can only accelerate during Mahathir’s tenure and the dysfunctional democracy today is the legacy for which he can take full credit. In the end Mahathir short-changed himself and succumbed to the dark side. The country had lost its constitutional checks and balances not in theory but in practice. It is truth when perception is supported by the facts.

It remains the tragedy and huge regret in Malaysian history because those crucial years could have been the golden opportunity to transform the nation according to the Merdeka ideals if there had been ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ governance because Mahathir as many Malaysians believe, had the ability to lead but instead his legacy is a nation of lost rainforests, lost freedoms and lost opportunities.

It does seem incredible that anyone can justify the NEP when those it was supposed to help still suffer in poverty and those entrusted to help them have prospered beyond imagination. Whether it is the system or those who implement it, the government is still responsible and accountable. There can be no excuse when there is brazen corruption and natives lose their traditional lands when the British gave us back ours.

The trouble with political apostates is their ruthlessness and hypocrisy. They care not for the plight of the poor, only themselves. They must think Malaysians are daft like the policeman who made a police report because his colleagues cheated him out of his share of the loot.