My response to Kuo Yong Kooi

They are not ‘babies’ just learning how to walk, as you have argued. Some of the top leaders in the opposition have been in politics since the 1970s, some since the 1960s. Hence they have been in politics and leaders in the opposition since before some of you were even born. In fact, some have been in politics even before I was old enough to vote. And I will be 62 this year, mind you.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

To be honest, Kuo Yong Kooi, I did not read your earlier two letters published a month ago. However, since the title of your letter today is Part 3 of debunking RPK, I had no choice but to read them so that I can respond to all three of them. And the only reason I am responding is because a reader posted a comment that said: Let’s see what RPK will say or if he cares to respond.

First of all, Kuo, I want to talk about your choice of title, debunking RPK. Debunk means to expose, discredit, show up, deflate, demystify, run down, etc. Hence I take it that your letter is aimed at running me down rather than to reply to what I had said in my articles. And, in the same spirit, that would mean you are attacking me rather than what I said.

I would rather debate and/or discuss issues, ideologies, doctrines, events, interpretation of events, result of events, and whatnot. Then we would probably be able to enter into an intellectual discourse. However, when you are merely trying to defend an attack on your person, it becomes very difficult to engage in a meaningful discourse. And this is why I am finding it very difficult to respond to your three letters. I just do not know where to start.

Nevertheless, I will try. However, since your arguments, if we can even call them that, are all over the place, and most of your arguments are basically analogies and in some parts allegorical, I may not be able to do as good a job as I would like to. So bear with me as I take you through the points and try, as best as I can, to respond to what you said without going too far into digression.

I refer to your first letter: MT Simplified. I read through that letter twice and could find anything to reply to. To be honest, I could not even follow your arguments and I suppose the first thing you need to do before you reply is to understand what is being presented.

Anyway, you went into great detail about the analogy of buying a car. Maybe I should then talk about that as well, the analogy of buying a car. And my analogy would go as follows:

When they sold you the car, they claimed that you would be able to get a fuel consumption of 60 miles to the gallon highway driving, they would give you three years free service up to 60,000 miles, engine oil included, zero interest finance charges up to five years on a maximum 80% loan, free road tax up to three years, and so on, like how some cars are being sold here in the UK. So you sign on the dotted line and drive away after paying the equivalent of RM25,000 down-payment on a car that costs the equivalent of RM130,000. (You can buy a new BMW 3 Series for that price in the UK).

A few months later, you find all sorts of things wrong with the car. You bring it back to the dealer and are given a bill for RM1,200. When you protest, they tell you that not everything is covered by the warranty as they had first told you. You also point out that you are getting only 48 miles to the gallon and not 60 as claimed. They tell you that this is because of your driving habit and thus is your fault, not the car’s fault. You also discover that the free road tax applies only if you buy insurance from them. But they charge you RM6,000 a year for the insurance whereas you can get it for RM4,000 if you buy the insurance elsewhere. Hence, the free road tax does not actually work out free in the end. And so on.

Now, using your same analogy of buying a car, would you not feel cheated? And applying this analogy to voting for the political party that you thought would deliver all its promises, as you have done, would you not feel that the ‘salesman’ had cheated you?

But then in the UK this can never happen. Everything would have to be properly declared and someone would even ‘interview’ you before you sign on the dotted line to ask you whether you understand all these terms and conditions and whether you are happy with them. The detailed terms and conditions would also be explained to you one-by-one. And if they told you something different from what is, then they would have to refund you your money. Yes, your consumer rights are very well protected here in the UK, unlike in Malaysia.

In conclusion, your analogy of buying a car is flawed, although that type of analogy can be used if you want to.

On your second letter, Letter to RPK, I think the only part that makes sense and which I could probably reply to would be: Please note that this does not mean that the opposition cannot be criticized, it’s just the timing of it. It is almost like you have a baby and the baby has just started to learn to walk, you are a little bit excited about it, but you want the baby to start to carry a bag so that the baby can start to shoulder responsibilities. Chill out Mr RPK, just enjoy watching the baby run around first, teach the baby morality and responsibility lessons when they start to talk.

That appears to be the only point you are trying to put across. The rest appears to be justifying the view that all may not be perfect but then where you would find perfection? Not even in the west are things perfect. Hence, between bad and worse, bad is better than worse. So don’t expect good.

I trust I have not misunderstood what you meant because, to be honest, it is quite difficult to follow your arguments.

Anyway, using your same analogy of the baby needing to crawl before it can walk or even run, again, I think this argument is flawed. You are working on the premise that the opposition leaders are all greenhorns. Hence they need to be given time to learn the ropes before we take them to task for their shortcomings. But that is just it. They are not greenhorns. In fact, they are very experienced and matured politicians. In fact, some of the opposition leaders have even more experience than the government leaders. Hence, your argument is a fallacy and thus flawed.

They are not ‘babies’ just learning how to walk, as you have argued. Some of the top leaders in the opposition have been in politics since the 1970s, some since the 1960s. Hence they have been in politics and leaders in the opposition since before some of you were even born. In fact, some have been in politics even before I was old enough to vote. And I will be 62 this year, mind you.

Anwar Ibrahim has been in politics since the 1970s and a Cabinet Minister since the 1980s. He was also Finance Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister cum Prime Minister-in-waiting for seven years. Hadi Awang was once the Opposition Leader in Parliament and Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Terengganu for five years and a politician since the 1970s. Mustafa Ali has been a politician since the 1960s and a member of the Cabinet when PAS joined Barisan Nasional in the 1970s. And so on for people such as Niz Aziz Nik Mat, Lim Kt Siang, Karpal Singh, and the rest. 

Hence your analogy and your argument that the baby must be allowed to first learn how to walk are not very apt. These are not babies that we are talking about. These are grandfathers. And these grandfathers have been walking since the 1960s and 1970s, even before many of you were born.

Anyway, when they campaigned for our votes, they promised us that if we were to vote for them we would be guaranteed a better government. They went into great detail about the shortcomings of the present government and how all that would change if we changed the government. This is what they said. I am just reminding them about what they said and what they promised us. And I am reminding them that they have not delivered on what they promised.

If during the election campaign they had explained that they are all mere babies and will first need to learn how to walk before we can expect them to run — again, using your analogy — then I would accept your analogy and argument that I may be expecting too much too fast. Then I would agree that I should sit back and relax for five or ten years and allow time for the opposition leaders to get a grip on things. Whether time is on our side and whether Malaysia can afford to ‘mark time’ while the rest of the world moves ahead at rapid speed is another matter altogether. But if that was what was asked from us before we voted for them then I would have no choice but to sit back and relax for five or ten years even if it kills me, figure of speech, of course.

But that was not what we were told. They very confidently told us everything that was wrong with the present government and what improvements we can expect if we kick out that government. They did not tell us that five years or ten years after we change the government then we would see change. They just told us that if we change the government we would be guaranteed of change.

Using your same argument, Najib Tun Razak has hardly served one term as Prime Minister. He has been Prime Minister for less time than, say, Khalid Ibrahim has been the Menteri Besar of Selangor. Hence, since Khalid should be allowed time to learn how to walk, should Najib not also be allowed the same since Khalid has been the Selangor MB longer than Najib has been the PM?

Okay, now let us talk about the third letter today: Freedom without wisdom – Part 3 of debunking RPK.

Again, as in the first two letters, you talk a lot but say nothing. This is what ‘good’ politics is all about: being able to talk a lot and yet say nothing. Nevertheless, there are some parts that I could probably reply to.

Again, you have played with analogies in this letter as well. For example, you said: Malaysia’s current political climate is like having a big bully in the schoolyard for a long time. You have taken the task to train the little kid that is being bullied. You have to be patient and kind to the little kid. Every time the little kid makes a mistake, you bash him up for his mistake because you expect a higher standard. How then do you expect this little kid to stand up to the big bully?

I have already replied to ‘the baby needs time to learn’ so I need not repeat what I have already said. My only comment is that many in the opposition were actually those ‘big bullies’ that you refer to, back in the days when they were in the government. In the 1980s and 1990s, they were the ‘big bullies’ that you are talking about. Today, you reduce these one-time ‘big bullies’ to ‘small kids’ being bullied by big bullies.

What do you expect me to say about that? How do I respond to a scenario of the hunter now being the hunted and becoming victims of the very game that they played when they were in a position of power? For example, issues like bribing the voters, phantom voters, illegal immigrants being given citizenship in exchange for votes, and so on, were games played by the very people who are now the victims. And what about the sub-standard education system, BTN, the problems with the judiciary, the problems with the police, and whatnot?

Are not all these problems inherited from the 1980s? And is it not so that many who are now in the opposition were in the government in the 1980s? And are we not welcoming even more of these ex-government leaders into the opposition and giving them hero status? And is the opposition not going to give them seats to contest in the coming general election?

When opposition people leave the opposition to join the government, we call them frogs, traitors and turncoats. When government people leave the government to join the opposition, we call them heroes, patriots and true sons/daughters of Malaysia. This is the attitude of most Muslims as well. Those Muslims who leave Islam are called apostates (murtad) who should be killed. Those infidels (kafir) who embrace Islam are called ‘saudara baru’ (new relatives) who should be given Bumiputera status.

How much sympathy can you expect for ex-Nazis who complain about being hunted down by the same Jews whom they once victimised? That would be my analogy in response to your analogy.

You would probably argue that these people have repented and thus should be forgiven. Forgiven is one thing. Forget is another. We can forgive but that does not mean we should also forget. We can forgive Germany for the WW2 atrocities and for what they did to the Jews. But that does not mean we should forget what they did as well.

Thieves may repent. But how sincere is this repentance if these thieves refuse to give back what they stole? Should we close our eyes to thieves who have repented but continue to steal? Repentance comes with conditions attached. And so does forgiveness. But forget? Never! Many Chinese have forgiven ‘May 13’ but that does mean they have forgotten it as well. And would you expect the Chinese to forgive ‘May 13’ if you continue to threaten them with ‘May 13 Version 2’?

Most of the present Umno leaders had nothing to do with ‘May 13’ in 1969. Most of those guilty of ‘May 13’ have already died. So why get angry with Umno? Many Umno leaders were not even Umno members in 1969. But many of you are still angry with Umno when you talk about ‘May 13’. So be careful with what you argue. The knife can cut both ways.

Now, regarding the rest of your letter, I am not able to follow your arguments so I find it very difficult to respond. No doubt you did mention my articles, but you did not reply to my arguments in those articles. Instead, you talked about me rather than about what I said. You also sounded very much like an apologist by arguing that since we cannot have the best then we should settle for the second best. Maybe if you focus on the issues I raised rather than go all over the place we could probably engage in a better debate.

For example, you said: Episode 27 is just the “Bolehwood” drama that got everybody interested. You did not, however, talk about the RM1.5 billion EPF money or the 7,000 houses that Raja Nong Chik is going to distribute and the impact to Nurul Izzah Anwar. In fact, you sidestepped this issue. As I said, you talked a lot but said nothing. You talk about guns in America, women’s magazines, computer games, smoking, lepak, gambling, fishing, and whatnot. The issue is: can Nurul Izzah hold her seat in the next election? So what has what you said got to do with what I said?

Let me be very blunt. If this were your thesis, you would never get a passing mark. You have not argued your case well at all. In fact, your so-called arguments are very muddled and there is no continuity between one argument and another.

You made a reference to my article: Prostitutes more decent than politicians. However, while you made a reference to it, you did not reply to my arguments. So why refer to it?

Now, what was my point in that article? My point is that the Islamic State issue has been used for political purposes. Umno is trying to outdo PAS in the ‘Islam race’. Umno and PAS are both trying to show that ‘I am more Islamic than you’. Hence Islam is a tool of the politicians. But you totally sidestepped this point and talked about so many other things.

You also made a reference to my article: After the horse has bolted. This article is about how we have a tendency to whack those who no longer support us but cover up their misdeeds when they support us. Again, you did not respond to that but went on to talk about many other things.

When people who are with us make a mistake, we argue that we must give the baby a chance to learn how to walk and not criticise them just yet. But when they leave us, we call them all sorts of foul names and condemn them. Then we expose their misdeeds which were perpetuated when they were with us but which we covered up because they were with us. Now, since they are not with us any longer, we expose their old misdeeds. Are you not also guilty of this?

The impression you are trying to create is that you are responding to my arguments or my various articles. The reality is you have not responded to whatever I have argued and instead you are talking all over the place, disjointed and with no reference at all to what I said.

In closing, let me say that your three letters have been published in Malaysia Today in spite of them being critical of me. I have not called you all sorts of foul names or cursed you or refused to publish your most critical letters. That is something you will not find anywhere else. When I criticise both government as well as opposition leaders I am cursed. The same opposition supporters who curse the government for not allowing freedom of speech will not allow me the same freedom of speech.

Do I really need to say more?