GE15 and the ‘dark forces’ in Malaysian politics

Kua Kia Soong, Free Malaysia Today

The gathering of the Pakatan Harapan faithful over the weekend to discuss the “dark forces” in Malaysian politics makes me wonder if “demonisation” of their opponent, Barisan Nasional, is going to be their strategy in the coming general election and if it will work in generating support from the electorate.

In GE14, PH carried out a successful campaign based on personification of “kleptocracy”, namely, pinning kleptocracy squarely on Najib Razak and the 1MDB scandal.

It worked even though the great leader of the PH coalition portrayed as the “saviour of the nation” was none other than the man who had established the rot in Malaysian governance since 1981.

That man, according to Lim Kit Siang of DAP, was Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was then rebranded as a “born-again democrat” in GE14.

In fact, kleptocracy under Mahathir was amply documented by Barry Wain in his book “Malaysian Maverick”, who estimated that his first reign from 1981 to 2003 cost the Malaysian taxpayers some RM100 billion. Thus, for PH to personify “kleptocracy” in the way they did in 2018 was disingenuous and patently opportunistic.

So, what will be the new tagline for PH in GE15?

They cannot “refry cold rice” by drumming up 1MDB again since Najib is already in cold storage. Will they try to demonise their opponents as the “dark forces” lurking in the shadows to drag the country to further damnation?

Firstly, they must be precise as to what they are referring to when they raise the question of “dark forces”. For example, are they just talking about corruption, or are they referring to even darker scenarios such as the unleashing of racist bile that could lead to another pogrom, or darker still, to a possible coup attempt by the “deep state”?

However they spin this demonisation, Malaysian voters will want to know their specific focus, who and what these “dark forces” are in Malaysian politics.

Now, without a doubt, Umno is the dominant partner in the BN coalition. It has been the “ruling party” since 1957, and the Umno DNA was still imprinted in PH prime minister Mahathir from 2018 to 2020. If Anwar Ibrahim ever becomes prime minister, maybe he too should take a DNA test to see if he still has any remnants of Umno in his political blood.

Umno has not only been the party that has dominated the economy since independence, but especially after May 13 in 1969 when the NEP was implemented. And every time Umno has faced an internal crisis, we have witnessed the darkest episodes in Malaysian history, for example Ops Lalang in 1987 and others. So, who else could represent the “dark forces” in Malaysian politics?

DAP now willing to work with Umno

Despite their lack of clarity as to what these “dark forces” are, DAP secretary-general Loke Siew Fook has recently stated that DAP is now willing to work even with Umno (“there are no permanent enemies in politics”, etc).

From the foregoing discussion, he may not realise that this has totally shattered any possibility of trying to demonise Umno and BN in GE15.