Opposition elites fight to the death – of the Rakyat


“When rich people fight wars with one another, poor people are the ones to die.” so said Jean-Paul Sartre, the French philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. Wikipedia has a write-up of the Frenchman, and it is worth some attention.

Take that statement and fast-forward to today’s Malaysia (not just Malaysia Today), and then rewind a little to put it into the context of Malaysian political history. To me, there is much similarlity indeed between what the Frenchman said, with blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin’s New Year’s Day assault on Pakatan Rakyat.

Critical historians can probably remind us how the elites’ tussles for power throughout Malayan history, and also before and immediately after the formation of Malaysia, played out. History can relate how many struggling Malaysians died due to the elites’ feud. Oh yes, I forget: mainstream historians tell us those who died in battle were not struggling poor people, but “baby-eating” commies, with guns and explosives, the devil incarnate, supposedly.

Then fast forward Malaysian history – perhaps it is more appropriate to term it UMNO’s or Malaya’s history – to the Mahathir era in 1987. When authoritarian Mahathir was first threatened by the Kelantan prince, Tengku Razaleigh, for the prized and lucrative Prime Minister’s post, it was the first “modern day” Malaysian elites’ fight. Bear in mind that the top government post, in the Malaysian context, is lucrative not just for one’s own self, but for an entire empire-building industry.

There is more than enough documentation regarding those who suffered under political detention in that 1980s elitist struggle.

Advance now to 1997, again, “coincidentally” as in 1987, during yet another cycle of economic collapse, we had another elites’ fight. Mahathir, a practised dictator by then, was having to fend off another assault on his Prime Ministerial post and the treasure associated with the PM package, as perfected by King Mahathir.

It is well known that Anwar Ibrahim, a rising political star within UMNO, was the “victim” in this elitist fight. He was imprisoned and received a black eye from the highest-ranking police officer, the Inspector General of Police. But Anwar was not the only victim.

This time round, in 1997, the victims would again be the ordinary Malaysians, the working class and the proletariat, who had to suffer through another episode of Malaysian elites’ fight.

Opposition Elites also do battle

Of course history is never discriminatory, in only recording the ruling front’s elite battles. The Malaysian opposition politicians too, after all, are elites in our society. Since the birth of Pakatan Rakyat (PR), it has been an open secret who the elites are, with the exception of a few of those politicians with strong community-centred ideological foundations,

There are plenty of examples of the kind of suffering among the ordinary Rakyat, when elites fight within the opposition. Before one jumps into saying opposition elites’ fights do not produce any deaths among the poor, think again.

The elites’ battles left the poor under continuing oppression and suppression, and left them to be denigrated, and termed the ‘poor’ (in fact, in the Malaysian context, it is not enough to be ‘poor,’ but we have even created another category of “hardcore” poor, so that this last category of Malaysians – neglected Malays, Indians, Chinese, Dayaks, Kadazan Dusuns and “lain-lain” – are left to die young).

The opposition elites’ fight became more feverish after March 2008. Opposition numbers grew in and out of Parliament and State Legislatures in Malaya. Sarawak and Sabah elites had of course been fighting, long before Malaya were in any position to fight as they did after March 2008.

The latest battle lines

The controversial blogger, Raja Petra Kamarudin, or RPK, has now openly declared war on the opposition PR with his latest “interview” by the UMNO media group. His broadside has been picked up by various other online news portals.

As he expected, all sort of insults and accusations have been thrown at him after his savaging of Anwar Ibrahim and the PR. RPK knows what he is doing. After TV3 had twisted the content of his previous interview in April 2011 from Australia, RPK had written about further attention by UMNO’s media. He had even named his terms and conditions before he would grant another interview to the UMNO media.