RUU355: who won, who lost?

Malays are better at politics because they know how to ‘tarik rambut dalam tepung’. In kungfu you leap, jump, scream, shout, grunt and punch and kick 100 times but no one dies. In silat you dance, move gracefully, smile and stab only once to kill your opponent. While Chinese look at politics as a zero-sum game, Malays understand the concept of ‘menang dalam kalah’ and ‘kalah dalam menang’.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

That is what is being discussed since last week — RUU355: who won, who lost? — when it was announced that the government will not be taking over PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill on the Sharia amendments, now popularly known as RUU355. The immediate reaction was that Umno has sold out PAS or that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has played out Hadi.

Malays faced four colonial powers since the 1400s and survived while China and India were ruined 

Most people see politics as a zero-sum game. If one side wins then the other side loses. Of course there are some who talk in terms of a win-win situation — both sides win at the same time. Amateurs and novices to politics, such as the Pakatuns and Dapsters, normally think this way.

Malays, however, are more politically savvy than non-Malays because they understand the concept of ‘menang dalam kalah’ and ‘kalah dalam menang’. Chinese do not quite understand what this means mainly because the Chinese are way behind the Malays in politics.

Take Lim Kit Siang as one example. He is so transparent you can read him like an open book and anticipate what he is going to do even before he can blink his eyes. If he were a gunfighter in the old ‘Wild, Wild West’ he would be dead in the first gunfight before he can draw his gun. And what is even more comical is that Kit Siang thinks he is able to fool everyone and that people swallow what he is doing and saying hook, line and sinker.

Malays play politics ‘bagai menarik rambut dalam tepung’ (and if you don’t know what that means that is your problem). It is like how Malays play silat. Chinese play kungfu, which is rough and noisy with screams, shouts and grunts coming from a scowling face. Malays smile and dance and make graceful moves as they move in to kill the enemy. And while the Chinese doing kungfu hit each other 100 times and no one dies yet, in silat it is just one stab followed by death after smiling and moving gracefully.

In silat you do not kick and punch 100 times, you stab only once after dancing and moving gracefully

You know a Chinese is out to get you from 100 feet away. But you never know what is in the mind of a Malay. The most polite Malay may actually be your most deadly enemy. That is why I fear Malays more than I fear Chinese. And the Malays have mastered the art of jarum halus where they will kill you with 100 microscopic needles instead of with one big sword.

See how they tried to kill Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. For the last four years they slowly coiled around (belit) Najib and tried to strangle him to death. They did the same with Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and it took almost six years to finish him off. Even then it took six years because his wife had died. If not it may have taken 10 years because Kak Endon is a fighter while Jean Danker is not (she never was since I first knew her almost 50 years ago back in 1968).

But ten years (or even just six years) is too long because Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad does not think he can live to 2023. And even if he can he would be about 98 years old and certainly far too old to enjoy his victory. And ten years is too long to wait for his son to take over as Prime Minister. If his son cannot be Deputy Prime Minister by 2015 then he cannot be Prime Minister by 2020. And by 2023 the window would have closed.

When Mahathir’s silat failed he was forced to join Kit Siang in his kungfu and agree to a Chinese Deputy Prime Minister

That was why in 2016 Mahathir decided to resign from Umno and set up his own party. He realised that the Umno-Barisan Nasional route is closed and if he still wants his son to become Prime Minister then it has to be through the opposition. Mahathir has no choice but to sell his soul to the devil for the sake of his political dynasty.

And that was why after doing silat for two years from 2013, Mahathir suddenly changed over to kungfu in 2015. Trying to oust Najib through silat may take six years or more. So Mahathir needed to apply kungfu and fast-track the ouster of Najib.

And that was a mistake. If Mahathir had continued with his silat then Najib would be hard-pressed to act. If Najib had acted then Mahathir would be viewed as the victim. But now that Mahathir changed over to kungfu that allowed Najib to act.

So what was RUU355 all about then and how does this fit in to Hadi’s and Najib’s silat? Who won and who lost? That is precisely what I am trying to say. There is no black and white here. There are 50 shades of grey. Hadi and Najib are both grandmasters of politics. Hadi is about Islam while Najib is about Malay nationalism. So how do both interests merge into a common interest?

Yes, in time you are going to find out. Later you are going to look back to 2015-2017 and you are going to say that Hadi and Najib are superb politicians. Hadi and Najib have mastered the science of ‘menarik rambut dalam tepung’ and have turned it into an art form. So watch this space and we shall talk more later when the time is right. Then tell me whether what you think now is right after all.

It took less than six years for Mahathir to oust Abdullah Badawi and it past eight years two days ago and Najib is still in office and will still be in office past 2020