Friday, 26 October 2018

Unite with the Masses and Persist in True Democratic Reform! Abandon Illusion and Stop the Restoration of “Mahathirism”! —— Views on the political situation in Malaysia after GE14

Unite with the Masses and Persist in True Democratic Reform!
Abandon Illusion and Stop the Restoration of “Mahathirism”!
— Views on the political situation in Malaysia after GE14

◆Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee◆




【Text below is translated from original version in the Chinese language published on 9 September 2018. In the case of any discrepancy between the English rendition and the original Chinese version, the Chinese version shall prevail.】



[Sahabat Rakyat Editor's Note] On 1 September, Mahathir made a speech at The Future of the Bumiputra and Nation Congress 2018 with around 2,500 attendees, emphasizing on two key points: (1) He wanted Malays and Bumiputras to give up crutches, stop relying on the government, find their own way out, he criticised the bad tendency of selling off approved permits (APs) and contracts awarded to them; (2) However, he also said that the Malays and the Bumiputera would not be able to compete if Malaysia welcomes a flood of traders and entrepreneurs from China, and in the end they will have to live next to the jungle.

After giving Malays the above mentioned ‘advice’ in the congress, Mahathir then turned to the businessmen from China who come to invest in Malaysia. In the past (within the period when he first wielded political power), he condemned the Malaysian Chinese that their domination in economy had resulted in “Malays’ poverty”, and emphasised that the government should “help the Malays”. The consequence that the people of various ethnic communities were able to see was: Mahathir successfully propped up a massive Mahathir family, cronies as well as Malay bureaucratic capitalist cliques who control the economy of our nation. Now, after he regains political power, he anxiously created psychological fear amongst the Malays that “If Malaysia welcomes a flood of people from China to trade or reside in Malaysia, the Malays will ultimately lose their place and have to live next to the jungle”. It is not hard for discerning person to tell what Mahathir’s motive is.

We remember that a year ago (in October 2017), insight people pointed out that: Mahathir is the chief culprit causing Malaysia’s economic cake today firmly controlled by UMNO and their bumiputra cronies, there is a serious imbalanced in the distribution of resources, and the Chinese leaders are tamed like dogs. The so-called "Mahathirism" is nothing more than a popular and vivid description of "Malay supremacy" and "Anti-Chinese."

Mahathir’s words and deeds, be it in Malaysia or abroad, upon his completion of structuring the cabinet, the entire government and the heads of different governmental departments , made many Malaysians feel that “Mahathirism is in restoration’. Leaders, grassroots members of the original 3 founding parties in Pakatan Harapan (PH) and the broad masses of all ethnic groups who pursue democratic reform in Malaysia, should be vigilant about Mahathir’s scheme and stop the restoration of Mahathirism before it is too late!

Sahabat Rakyat was established on 9 September 2001, hoping to play a small part in promoting democratic human rights movement in Malaysia. This article reflects our views on the political situation of the present phase in Malaysia (when PH comes to power after the "509" general election) as a gift of the 17th anniversary of Sahabat Rakyat, wishing to share with like minders who are striving for the democratic human rights movement in Malaysia and internationally.

The title of this article is  “Unite with the masses and persist in true democratic reform! Abandon illusion and stop the restoration of “Mahathirism”.It is divided into 5 chapters below:

  1. "509" is the heavy storm of democratic reform reflecting the will of the people to bury UMNO-dominated (BN) hegemonic rule
  2. The results of the election show that voters are inclined to the original three founding parties of the PH (namely Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), Parti Amanah Negara (PAN)) or Parti Islam Se Malaysia (PAS)
  3. The 3 founding parties of the PH (namely PKR, DAP and PAN) and the people of all ethnic groups must be vigilant about Mahathir’s scheme and the restoration of Mahathirism
  4. The reformist and conservative dual nature of PH is the main determinant of the progressive or reactionary tendency of the PH regime
  5. NGOs to unite with the leaders, cadres and masses in the 3 founding parties of PH who persist in the “real democratic reform” to stop the restoration of “Mahathirism”
The following is the full text of the article-

(Ⅰ)"509" is the heavy storm of democratic reform reflecting the will of the people to bury UMNO-dominated (BN) hegemonic rule

With regard to the 14th General Election (GE14) held on 9 May 2018, the key points of Sahabat Rakyat’s views published on 6 May prior to the polling day are as follows:

▲ Propaganda poster of Sahabat Rakyat on "509" General Election. Mahathir and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) are circled in yellow. (Source of image: Sahabat Rakyat views on how to vote in 509 election)

(1) On May 9 polling day, all people together not to vote for candidates from UMNO as well as UMNO-dominated MCA, MIC and other component parties of BN, and also not to vote for Mahathir and candidates of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) (contesting under the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) banner) [which also means: reject Mahathir to become “twice-cooked Prime Minister” (direct translation from the Chinese phrase “huiguoshouxiang”(回锅首相), which means return to power as the Prime Minister); prevent Mahathir from returning to power].

(2) On May 9 polling day, all people vote for candidates of the original 3 founding parties (namely PKR, DAP and PAN) of Pakatan Harapan contesting under the PKR banner; or for those in the constituencies contested by more than one democratic parties (herein mainly refers to Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) which has a 20-year struggle record), choose to vote for candidates who have the courage to hold a clear-cut and firm position in opposing UMNO hegemonic rule and Malay supremacy (Ketuanan Melayu).

We also emphasised that “To the people of all ethnic groups, Mahathir is an overbearing and ambitious Malay politician who has carried out racist rule with enormous deceptiveness and harm and thus has the highest danger. If you vote for Mahathir, it is like being tricked to board on a pirate ship and leave yourself at the mercy of Mahathir, which you will ultimately suffer from it!”


Comparing with the previous general elections, the results of this election have proven that: regardless in the urban or rural areas, the national voters expressed greater resentment against UMNO-dominated BN hegemonic rule (hereinafter referred to as "UMNO hegemonic rule"). More voters from all ethnic groups refused to vote for candidates from UMNO, and from UMNO-controlled MCA, MIC and other BN component parties, resulting the Parliamentary seats and the votes won by BN decreased from 133 to 79 seats and from 47.38% to 35.6% respectively compared to GE13. [1].

Nevertheless, UMNO still gained around 35-40% of the Malay votes, although losing its federal power, it still retained Pahang and Perlis states, still having major political influence as the opposition party in several state assemblies, and still possesses a huge party assets and resources accumulated from its long-term ruling. We believe that although the UMNO hegemonic rule in power for 61 years has fallen, the existence of UMNO and its future development has an impact on the political situation of our country, it is still an important factor that cannot be ignored especially for the shaping of the new government (at current stage refers to the PH government) and its ruling strategy.

UMNO will adopt an aggressive racist political line to regain a foothold in the new phase of political struggle upon losing the Malay votes in the east coast, northern suburbs and most of the west-coast cities of peninsular Malaysia. The results of UMNO party elections held after the election shows that: UMNO currently lacks the ability to self-innovate, the party delegates still opted Zahid-led leadership who represents the vested interests group to lead UMNO. Therefore, it can be expected that the newly elected leadership team headed by Zahid will eventually resort to the more aggressive Malay racist political line to reinvigorate the image and prestige of UMNO to safeguard the sovereignty and interests of the Malays. However, UMNO, which lost its federal power, is not only facing competition from PAS which all the while propagates Islamic ideology in winning the Malay political influence, it now also has to suffer the extrusion from the 2 main political parties namely PPBM and PKR which are in power and have more resources. It is not easy to reinvigorate its former prestige unless PH leaders commit to very serious political mistakes.

In east Malaysia, this heavy storm of reformation had also overthrown the BN state regime in Sabah led by UMNO Sabah, left with the Sarawak state regime dominated by Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) surviving from this storm for the time being as Sarawak state election and the general election did not take place simultaneously. The Parliamentary seats they won in GE14 reduced from 25 seats to 19 sets, this is the only state that BN won more than half of the Parliamentary seats. Nevertheless, in order to consolidate their position and interests in Sarawak, leaders of the four former BN component parties of Sarawak announced their withdrawal from the BN on 12 June to form Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

All in all, after GE14, from the federal (central) to state governments are no longer dominated by UMNO-led hegemonic clique except Pahang and Perlis (more precisely still dominated by UMNO). This means that the political rule which so-called sharing power amongst different ethnic groups but UMNO dominated rule in actual have been dissolved, the broad masses have successfully dumped the 61-year old racist hegemonic rule that UMNO implemented nationally into the dustbin of history. Bravo!


(Ⅱ) The results of the election show that voters are inclined to the original three founding parties of the PH (namely Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), Parti Amanah Negara (PAN)) or Parti Islam Se Malaysia (PAS)

PH formed a new federal government with the support for 122 Members of Parliament (out of 222 MPs in total), formed PH state government in 7 of the states in peninsular Malaysia, and formed a pro-PH state government in Sabah headed by Parti Warisan Sabah. The original 3 founding parties of PH (PKR, DAP, PAN) won 101 Parliamentary seats in total, mainly from the west coast of the peninsular, especially the constituencies to the south of Kedah. Last year (2017), we pointed out that at the current phase, these 3 parties of PH are comparatively in accord with the reform aspiration of people of all ethnic groups and belong to the peoples’ camp. Therefore, it is understandable that people of all ethnic groups in the country will vote in support to the candidates from DAP, PKR and PAN in the upcoming GE.

Comparing with the GE13, the original 3 founding parties of PH gained more popular votes from the non-Malay (non-Muslim) groups in GE14, fully reflects the determination of the people of all ethnic groups to get rid of UMNO hegemony which had been ruling for 61 years that had slowed down and even stagnating the social development, increasing the economic hardship of the people living at the bottom level of the society, worsening ethnic and religious oppression, depriving the political rights of the oppressed ethnic groups and other dilemmas. Non-Malay voters are indeed worried about the restoration of Mahathir, but in the propaganda campaign where some DAP leaders actively promoted that the only way to “save the country” is by “making use of Mahathir to bring Najib down”, voters who have been longing to ‘change government’ had generally voted for candidates from PH (including PPBM led by Mahathir), to varying degrees hoping that the Mahathir-led PH will seize the federal power to improve people’s lives, and thus they did not consider other options at all resulting all other small parties completely annihilated in this election, especially in the constituencies in Peninsular Malaysia.

We appreciate and welcome the fact that the original 3 parties of PH have achieved breakthrough results in this election, but we wish to remind the original 3 parties of PH: Do not breach their own promise (especially those made before GE14) to promote democratic reform and improve people’s lives, do not allow PH government returning to the old path of UMNO which promotes Malay racist hegemonic rule; if the leaders in power change from being the representatives and defenders of people's interests to the tool of the new ruling clique to oppress the people, then the people will spurn these 3 parties which have degenerated using the same determination they showed in this GE in spurning BN rule.

The leaders and supporters of the PH camp and some masses generally believed that PAS would be defeated in this election and came to dead end, the election results however had surprised them. The Parliamentary seats won by PAS slightly reduced from 21 seats to 18 seats [1], compared to the previous general election. However, they obtained more Malay votes while losing a large number of non-Malay votes, they won circa 30% Malay votes, increasing their Parliamentary votes from 1.85% to 16.64%, and won a strong state power in Kelantan and Terengganu. This shows that in the East Coast constituencies, where the ethnic structure is relatively unitary with Malays as the majority, Malay voters who rejected UMNO had mostly chosen PAS. If using Kelantan and Terengganu as the starting point, the votes for PAS in other regions decreased as the distance from the origin goes further. In Perlis, Kedah and Pahang, PAS won a total of 22.9-31.4% of the votes. In Perak and Selangor, they only got about 15.2-16.3% of the votes [1]. As for other states, they received less than 10% of the votes.

We are of the view that the long-term and in-depth mass work of PAS in the Malay society in the East Coast of the peninsular has established its image as a more reliable alternative to UMNO. It can be said that the Malay voters who supported PAS did not care at all whether PAS stood a chance to capture Putrajaya in this election. After this election, PAS verified that their current political line and strategy against PH could expand and consolidate their political foundation. They will make great strides along the road against PH which they took before GE14. They will promote the agenda of state Islamisation more radically in order to compete with the other Malay parties. It is foreseeable that PAS will turn from defence to offense and adopt the strategy of uniting UMNO and splitting PH, so as to obtain more Malay votes, aiming to achieve better results in the next general election.


(III) The 3 founding parties of the PH (namely PKR, DAP and PAN) and the people of all ethnic groups must be vigilant about Mahathir’s scheme and the restoration of Mahathirism

PPBM headed by Mahathir is a political party formed in September 2017 that calls for the defence of Malay supremacy so that Mahathir can participate in the GE14 to defend the interests of his family, his cronies and his faction after he was removed from the UMNO by Najib’s clique after the intensifying internal contradictions of UMNO ruling clique. It is the least experienced component party in PH. Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of Reformasi could not become the “chief commander” in PH election campaign as he was still caught up in prison fetter (according to the law, even if he is released, he is still not allowed to participate in the general election), PH was not able to nominate any other suitable candidate as their commander to "overthrow Najib".

At the same time, as Mahathir’s goal was to "overthrow Najib, re-seize political power" which was in accord with the goal of PH to "overthrow Najib, capture Putrajaya", Mahathir was then welcomed by the PH leadership with open arms to assume the role of the "chief commander" in the election campaign. During the campaign period, PH leaders and related media deliberately exaggerated Mahathir's role, including propagated that his important partners, Daim Zainuddin and Rafidah Aziz who stepped forward to campaign for PH, they also direct broadcasted Mahathir's speech a day before the polling day. Leaders of the PH seemed to portray Mahathir as a "noble leader" who can "save Malaysia from the kleptocracy government".

Although the PPBM led by Mahathir only won 13 parliamentary seats and less than 6% of the nation’s total votes in GE14, but in the attempt to allow Mahathir to become Prime Minister without question, PH leaders and advisors with the help of propagandists had launched a massive propaganda to deify Mahathir, attempting to deceive the people that Mahathir is no longer the Mahathir who was still being accused by Lim Kit Siang as "the main culprit of the corruption and abuse of power of our country " in 2015.

Excerpt from Lim Kit Siang's speech at the DAP Puchong election fund-raising dinner on 1 Jan 2015. His speech emphasised that the people should reject the restoration of Mahathirism in the upcoming election. (Source: orientaldaily.com.my/s/20260#)

In fact, Mahathir’s main role in this election was to accomplish the “making use of Mahathir to get rid of Najib” strategy planned by DAP leadership, to bring back the enthusiasm of the voters to vote for PH after they lost enthusiasm for political reform upon the disintegration of Pakatan Rakyat.

Facts have proven that, the number of votes obtained by PH led by Mahathir and Parti Warisan Sabah only reached 45.56%.[1] This achievement is actually worse than 51.09% of the votes obtained by Pakatan Rakyat in the previous GE. Furthermore, as mentioned above, "this shows that in the East Coast constituencies, where the ethnic structure is relatively unitary with Malays as the majority, Malay voters who rejected UMNO have mostly chosen PAS ", PAS won circa 30% Malay votes, increasing their Parliamentary votes from 1.85% to 16.64%, and won a strong state power in Kelantan and Terengganu.” PH's victory is mainly based on the people's determination to end the UMNO hegemony. This is an objective fact that is independent of any individual’s will (including Mahathir). "The change of the government is unlikely to happen without Mahathir" is just a propaganda slogan of some parties to deify Mahathir!

After "509", the future of the new regime of PH should be decided by the will of the people rather than the will of those in power. Do the masses insist on the implementation of democratic reform by PH, or indulge the powers that be in PH to act according to their own will? This is a major choice that the people must make now. If the people are left to the mercy of those in power (referring to the leaders of PH, especially Mahathir), it will eventually prove our previous statement about “’strategy’ of ‘making use of Mahathir to bring Najib down’ that is vigorously advocated by the leaders of the democratic parties and organisations is actually harmful to the democratic reform struggle of the people of all ethnic groups” is a judgment that has realistic significance and value of alert.

We have emphasised before that "Mahathir has been the representative of Malay bureaucrat-capitalist class in Malaysia since he took power in 1980s. After stepping down, as he was unwillingly pushed out by the UMNO clique in power, he wanted to contest in the GE14 hoping to become “twice-cooked Prime Minister”, by hook or by crook. Mahathir is not to “repent his sins, and to save Malaysia”, but to protect the interests and consolidate the position of himself, his family and the cliques of his cronies.” The fact shows that after Mahathir’s return in becoming the Prime Minister, he remains the Prime Minister who had ruled our country for 22 years, and has not turned into the one who supports reform from his resistance to UMNO. Before the cabinet was set up, on 12 May, he appointed Daim Zainuddin, the former Finance Minister to lead the The Council of Eminent Persons (CEP). Daim in this capacity represented Mahathir to examine some of the country's key development projects including the East Coast Rail Network (ECRL) project. The two of them worked together to decide that the ECRL was either halted or negotiable, and visited China one after another to hold negotiation. The allegation that "the conditions in the contracts hurt the people and the country" is simply a political language to deceive the people. All their words and actions are nothing but to show to China that all resolutions made by Najib must be cancelled. If China wants to continue cooperation, all plans need to be re-negotiated and re-arrange by them (which is the new government).

Mahathir, after returning to power as the Prime Minister, in order to use his power to dominate wealth distribution amongst different interest groups according to his individual will in an effective manner, Mahathir denounced Khazanah Nasional Berhad (KNB) dominated by Najib's government had been deviating from its original objective of increasing Bumiputra’s shares holding, PH government would relook into Khazanah’s role. Hence, without any hesitation, he appointed himself as the chairman of Khazanah's new board of directors, and his followers as member of the board of directors. He just dominated Khazanah operation so blatantly to continue implementing policies that “prioritise Bumiputras” in the name of increasing the shares of Bumiputra entrepreneurs which in actual “fertilising” his cronies.

Similar motives were also exposed by Mahathir's insistence to revive his "dream of national car". Due to poor management, 49.9% stake of Proton, the first national car founded by Mahathir, was acquired by Geely Automotive Co. Ltd. from ZheJiang, China and agreed to be managed by Geely. Mahathir once expressed this made him felt like "losing his child". Although DRB-HICOM still owns 50.1% stake of Proton Holding Bhd, Mahathir no longer considers Geely-managed Proton as the "national car". Mahathir insists to develop a "third national car" despite opposition from various parties, casting doubts on the public that this is in fact to safeguard the interests of his many crony companies in the Proton supply chain which now face pressure to reform and improve their quality.

Since the announcement of "The Future of the Bumiputra and Nation Congress 2018" by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Bumiputra entrepreneurs who have been getting the assistance from the government were looking forward to it whereas many of the non-Bumiputra small and medium-scale entrepreneurs who have been living independently for survival were getting worried. According to media reports, on 1 September, Mahathir made a speech at this congress attended by about 2,500 people, focusing on two key points: (1) He wanted Malays and Bumiputras to give up crutches, stop relying on the government, find their own way out, he criticised the bad tendency of selling off approved permits (APs) and contracts awarded to them; (2) However, he also said that the Malays and the Bumiputera would not be able to compete if Malaysia welcomes a flood of traders and entrepreneurs from China, and in the end they will have to live next to the jungle (see video clip below). Mahathir's words nowadays are often ambiguous, and often contain double implications, which is unpredictable. He often twists his words and has his own rationale. He sometimes even has hidden plot to destroy someone which is terrifying.


  ▲ Video of Mahathir delivering speech in "The Future of the Bumiputra and Nation Congress 2018 "

Many scholars and political analysts expressed concern over Mahathir's words and behavior. Some even argue that Mahathir's ultimate goal is to turn PH into BN 2.0. They have their points. Most of them are of the view that: Mahathir’s current style, words and deeds are not much different compared to before when we was the Prime Minister under BN government. He remains an incomparable arrogant and overbearing person. The only difference is his current style has a better "democracy" facade.

In addition, some people even naively think that: Mahathir is already 93 years old and he has not much time left to give command. Don’t they realise that, Mahathir is the representative of the ruling clique, he does not act alone, there are a lot more "Mahathirs" who will follow Mahathir's order or act in compliance with "Mahathirism".

When the Cabinet of PH, ministers and heads of government departments all act in accordance to Mahathir's order and adhere to "Mahathirism", that is the time when "Mahathirism" is restored. By that time, whether Mahathir is alive or dead, whether or not he is still in power is no longer important. The outcome of the democratic reform of the people of all nations and the 3 founding parties of PH will be completely destructed when "Mahathirism" has fully restored.

Leaders of different levels and grassroots members of the original 3 founding parties of PH and the people of all ethnic groups pursuing nation democratic reforms must be vigilant about Mahathir's scheme and unite to prevent the restoration of Mahathirism before it's too late!


(Ⅳ)The reformist and conservative dual nature of PH is the main determinant of the progressive or reactionary tendency of PH regime

From the political struggle perspective, PH has dual nature, i.e. the reformist nature and the conservative nature due to the following reasons:

1. The original 3 founding parties of PH, namely DAP, PKR and PAN are basically product from the political struggle of the people of all ethnic groups against UMNO-dominated hegemonic rule (referring to the Alliance Party (Parti Perikatan) government in 1957 – 1969; which is known as BN government in 1969 – 2018) at different phase of the history. In general, these parties represent and struggle for the interest of the petty bourgeoisie and broad masses in the urban areas, they then formed a political coalition (the main opposition parties) PH after GE13 to fight for common goals of overthrowing UMNO hegemonic rule.

This political coalition can be deemed as the combination of two important forces, namely the people's movement promoting nation democracy and "reformasi". There is no doubt that PH has a significant reform feature. Meanwhile, it is also understandable that PH has a conservative feature contributed by the class, racial and religious factors. However, its reformation feature is more pronounced than its conservative feature.

2. While GE14 loomed, the 3 founding parties of PH had yet to develop into a powerful force capable of overthrowing the UMNO hegemonic rule because the history of their struggle was relatively short and constrained by the social conditions. In addition, Anwar, the leader of “Reformasi”, was still detained in jail, and PH was unable to name a public-backed "authoritative leader" to lead the election campaign. Thus, this situation provided a timely opportunity for Mahathir to use the power of the opposition party's camp.

The wily Mahathir gained trust and support among PH leaders just within a short period of time. Leaders of PH swiftly accepted PPBM that defends the interests of the Malays to join PH and chose Mahathir as the "chief commander" of PH. Furthermore, the contents of the PH election manifesto clearly compromise to the stand of the PPBM which defends Malay supremacy. Participation and role of Mahathir and PPBM in PH have clearly reinforced the conservative nature of PH.

3. After GE14, Mahathir, who holds the power of government, understands the need to prevent two forces in PH, namely "democratic movement" and "Reformasi" from curbing and damaging his intentions and plans to seek the interests of his cronies. Since PPBM is still a small new party, Mahathir has deployed the following approaches to strengthen the position of PPBM’s domination in PH as soon as possible to contend with these two internal forces:

(i) He used his exclusive power as Prime Minister, by appointing PPBM MPs whom he recognised the most and other PH component parties MPs whom he thinks will follow his directive or act in accordance with "Mahathirism" to most of the Cabinet minister positions;

(ii) He utilised the convenience of distributing interests in his capacity as Prime Minister, as how UMNO dominated MCA and MIC leaders in the past, he would split the leaders from the 3 founding parties of PH and try to offer appeasement. He would try to attract and recruit leaders who can accept "Mahathirism" to continue to play the role as the secret agent on behalf of PPBM in the PH line;

(iii) He would take a clear-cut stand and adopt more cunning tactic to deceive the support of Malay voters. This is because PH only received support of about 30% among Malay voters in GE14, he must attract the support of Malay voters who supported UMNO and PAS to strengthen his and PPBM’s political position.

▲ Daim (right) is the most indispensable partner of Mahathir while in power (Click: youtube.com/watch?v=DtuLJWqWC6A)

In the next five years, the dual nature of PH will definitely be reflected in the continuous conflict between the original force of "democratic movement" and "Reformasi" within PH with the force of Mahathir, PPBM and Mahathirism. This can be discerned in the upcoming PKR election. After appointing Azmin as Economic Affairs Minister which was emptied out of the Finance Ministry, Mahathir then appointed him to be one of the Board of Directors of Khazanah Nasional Berhad before the election of PKR. The discerning person will easily understand that:

On the surface, it appears that the competition of PKR deputy chairman between Azmin and Rafizi is a fight for Anwar's succession; in actual, this is a rivalry between pro-Mahathir faction who are in power with the "Reformasi" faction and the reform faction which upholds "democratisation". Due to Mahathir’s conduct, this PKR election has the significance of the competition of influence towards the largest component party in PH between the reformist faction and the conservation faction within PH. This competition will eventually have a profound and deep impact on the tendency of the PH regime to be more progressive ("with the people") or more reactionary ("against the people").

The dual nature of PH reflects the internal contradiction of PH. The internal contradiction of PH differs from the internal contradiction of PR in the past: PR was formed by DAP, PKR and PAS and it was a camp of opposition. The main contradiction of PR was on the stance of whether or not supported Islamic state policies. Therefore, the internal contradiction of PR is an internal contradiction of the people. At present, PH consists of DAP, PKR, PAN and PPBM and is the ruling camp. Internal contradictions in PH may be reflected in either oppose or advocate important policies such as Malay hegemonic rule and the Islamic governance.

To date, PH component parties have not had consensus on approaches to resolve critical issues including Malay racism and state Islamisation. All parties in PH are avoiding these two critical issues at this stage to defend their regime. When PH can no longer avoid these critical issues and the conflict between the Mahathir-led new ruling clique and the united forces of "democratisation" and "Reformasi" in PH which firmly pursue democratic reform intensifies till not reconcilable, the conflict will then turn into the conflict with the enemy (the government). By then, PH may be split into two camps: one against the people and another one with the people, in which both will continue to fight against each other.

Before PPBM is strong enough, it will not be surprised for the PH government to implement some populist reform policies, for example the abolition of the GST in May, as Mahathir is attempting to avoid intensification of internal conflicts in order to hold power for a longer period to implement his plans and to offer appeasement to some reformist forces. However, the characteristic of PH regime is not determined by these policies but depending on the change in the dual nature of PH. This is firstly demonstrated in the way how PH government deals with the problems faced by ethnic communities who have been long suppressed under the racist hegemonic rule, as well as which classes and which groups of people will eventually enjoy the greatest benefits from the government policies.

We are of the view that there is a basis for the comments from commentators that "the PH government ultimately will not implement true democratic reform, the PH regime may turn out to be BN 2.0 or eventually split in the next 5 years". It may not require 5 years for the people to learn who actually controls PH by observing how Mahathir or PH government treat the world-wide known infamous Taib Mahmud, who has been ruling Sarawak for a long time, who plundered state’s resources for self-fertilisation, and the PBB-dominated Sarawak ruling clique that he propped up.


(V)NGOs to unite with the leaders, cadres and masses in the 3 founding parties of PH who persist in “true democratic reform” to stop the restoration of “Mahathirism”

Before the previous general election (GE13) was held, 34 relatively active NGOs put forward the “20-point Declaration GE13 Demands”. But in this general election, NGOs did not centralise and comprehensively put forward reform demands that reflect the aspirations of the people of all ethnic groups. The potential factors might be: (1) Many NGO leaders and cadres were actively involved in election campaigns for PH (some became candidates and some campaigned for PH candidates); (2) There might be diverging opinions among NGOs on the stance towards the general election or other main issues that led to the separation of NGOs and each heading towards different path.

NGOs did not put forward reform demands that could represent the interests of the people of all ethnic groups before GE14 resulting PH government taking the advantage of manipulating the interpretation of the public opinion after the election. Furthermore some former NGO leaders and cadres seem to have changed their brain after assuming position in PH (be it the government position or the party position), increasing the difficulties for NGOs to put forward various demands independently and autonomously. This is the experience that NGOs must learn from. Even if there is a democratic reform political party that can truly represent the people's struggle participating in the parliamentary election, NGOs have no reason to give up the opportunity of putting forward people’s demands independently and autonomously to the political parties before the election.

After the defeat in the election, BN entered a state of disintegration. Only the political situation in Sarawak is not clear yet because its state election was not held in parallel with the national election. The leaders of the two main opposition parties in the country, UMNO and PAS, in order to consolidate their position, and perhaps to further expand their influence, contend to emphasise Malay supremacy, strongly advocate state Islamisation and promote Malay racist ideas to win Malay votes, they oppose the true integration of all ethnic groups built on the basis of equality, they will not change the inherent racist nature in them. Therefore, NGOs must be obliged to express the voices of the people of all ethnic groups, especially the marginalised minority groups, and carry out the democratic reform struggle against racist rule.

In our view, "non-governmental organizations (NGOs)" should not be limited to more radical organizations that pursue the Western concept of "freedom, democracy, and human rights," but should be extended to what we usually call "civil/community organisations" (which are community groups formed by the people according to the provision of the existing laws of country in accordance to their needs and aspirations, rather than serving the political needs and policy of the government). It should include the existing associations, chambers of commerce, trade unions, guilds, and various community groups of culture, education, and religion and so on – the rank of the people fighting for people’s rights will only thrive we get out of the small coterie and move into a broader space.

Ten years ago, on 12 July 2008, our representative Nyam Kee Han, the then Executive Secretary of the Working Committee and the incumbent member of the Presidium, was invited to attend and deliver a speech in the dinner with a thousand of attendees commemorating the 30th anniversary of DAP’s landing in Sarawak. Nyam expressed in his speech that: (1) civil society needs political parties that fight for the interests of the people, and also needs NGOs that work for the interests of the people; (2) NGOs struggle for democracy, human rights and social justice, whereas political parties struggle to grasp or seize state power; (3) The nature and status of NGOs will not change or be different despite the change of the ruling party, NGOs are always with the people and work for the interests of the people; (4) For any pro-people political party that upholds and promotes human rights, NGOs will give their support and cooperation; and once any political party moves toward the path of hegemonic dictatorship that are against the people upon grasping the power, NGOs will stand by the broad masses to oppose and stop it.

We hope that large scales of NGOs (civil/community groups) will unite and promote the work on the basis of the “20-point Declaration GE13 Demands”. We propose this based on the reasons that: the “20-point Demands” can be deemed as a relatively perfect guiding principle officially proposed by our NGOs - it is a non-partisan, non-religious guiding principle that prioritises the “elimination of institutionalised racism”; it is a guiding principle that proposes reasonable and feasible solution to the unfairness, injustice and corruption in our society according to the concrete situation in our country.

▲ Excerpt from Lim Kit Siang’s speech delivered at DAP Puchong election fundraising dinner on 1 Jan 2015 entitled “Reject Mahathirism”) (Source: orientaldaily.com.my/s/20260#)

When NGOs are mobilised on a large scale, NGOs will then have the basis to unite with leaders, cadres, party members, and grassroots from the original 3 founding parties of PH who wish to push for “true democratic reform”, seek for common ground while reserving differences in this alliance to democratically discuss about various democratic reform issues that all care about, support PH government to implement reform agenda that are to the people’s benefit, criticise PH government policies that tend to safeguard the Malay racist rule, resist the restoration of “Mahathirism”, on the basis of non-partisan, mutual inclusive, equality and respect.

We hope that PH government will put the abolition of the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 in the agenda of the Parliament and is prepared to abolish other draconian laws. In addition, the non-Malays and the Malays who recognise equal rights within ethnic groups have also applauded the decision of the PH government in abolishing the National Civics Bureau which promotes Malay sovereignty to Malay civil servants. NGOs must urge the PH government to ensure that various evil laws abolished and the institutions that undermine national unity will not revive in the future.

We hope that the PH government will match words with deeds in supporting China's "the Belt and Road”, cooperate with China to develop a bilateral economy, complete soonest possible infrastructure projects that will help to improve national productivity and logistics efficiency, restore and drive economic development of our country. In the cooperation, we must maximise the interests of the state and the people, and prevent anyone (including Mahathir and Daim) to make use of these projects to safeguard the interests of few minor crony groups, and sacrifice the economic development opportunities of the country and the people.

We hope that the PH government will promptly investigate, review and terminate extreme huge real estate development projects which the local people can hardly afford that target at buyers from China, i.e. Forest City development which the Chinese real estate developers collude with the dignitaries who have taken the smashing measures to obtain huge quick profits and adopt a sloppy business approach. This project has now become soaring and disturbing.

We call upon the people of all ethnic groups to unite and support PH in promoting a comprehensive democratic reform and stop the restoration of "Mahathirism"!


Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee
25 October 2018
(The original version in Chinese was released on 9 September 2018)

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通告 Notification


成立18周年纪念,9月21日举办论坛

我们决定举办“‘509改朝换代’马哈迪当政,民主改革运动前进抑或倒退?”论坛与自由餐会,作为我们今年(2019年)纪念人民之友成立18周年的活动内容。以下4名专人欣然接受作为论坛的主讲人:
  • 兴权会2.0领导乌达雅古玛 (P. Uthayakumar)
  • 人权律师西蒂卡欣 (Siti Kasim)
  • 自由撰稿人及评论人唐南发(Josh Hong)
  • 媒体工作者及评论人蓝志锋(Lum Chih Feng)
4名主讲人将针对论坛主题分别出具论文,发表讲话,并回答现场问题。我们会在论坛过后,将主讲人的专题文章和讲话视频,上载到人民之友部落格(sahabatrakyatmy.blogspot.com),供公众阅览。我们希望通过此论坛激发更多的民主党团领导、学者、各阶层人士,共同为我国民主改革运动做出更大的努力和贡献。

论坛举办日期:2019年9月21日(星期六),时间:下午2:00—5:30时分,地点:柔佛古来,新国泰餐馆。论坛结束后才进行简单的自由餐会,同时进行互相交流。我们欢迎关心我国政治发展的公众人士前来聆听论坛主讲人的演讲并参加自由餐会(入场免费,但请事先报名参加,以便准备食物。有意参加者请填上表格https://forms.gle/SWbjEaiwNikEUiKF6或联系以下负责人)。

9月9日张贴一篇具参考价值英译文章

我们已在今年9月9日(成立纪念日)这天,发表人民之友秘书处委派人员翻译的一篇新加坡前工会领袖庄明湖2013年所撰写的《廿世纪六十年代新加坡左派工运遭遇问题探索(续篇)》(原是华文版)的英文译稿,作为人民之友18周年纪念的一个献礼——提供一个新马人民反殖独立运动遭遇敌人从内部破坏的历史殷鉴,为在9月21日举行的论坛所探索的现实课题,增添一份具有启示意义的参考材料。

“人民之友”是一个着重促进我国民主人权运动的思想交流平台。人民之友工委会都是义务的自愿工作者,我们坚持独立自主的立场,我们采取自力更生、节约苦干的方针,为推动我国民主人权运动朝向正确方向发展而奋斗。我们欢迎“有心人”赞助我们的这项活动及其他工作,有意赞助者请联系:

(1)朱信杰 017-7721511
(2)钟立薇 012-7177187
(3)吴振宇 013-7778320


Forum to be held on 21 September in commemoration of 18th anniversary

We will be organising “Mahathir returns to power after regime change in the 14th General Election, A progression or regression of the democratic reform movement?” forum cum buffet in commemoration of our 18th Anniversary. The following 4 experts have accepted the invitation to become our panel speakers:
  • P. Uthayakumar – Leader of Hindraf 2.0
  • Siti Kasim – Human rights lawyer
  • Josh Hong - Freelance writer and commentator
  • Lum Chih Feng – Media worker and commentator
All 4 panel speakers will present papers, deliver speeches and answer questions on the theme of the forum. After the event, we will also be uploading the paper and video of the speeches of the panel speakers to Sahabat Rakyat blog(sahabatrakyatmy.blogspot.com)as reference material for the public. Through this forum, we hope to inspire more leaders of democratic parties, organisations, scholars and peoples of all walks of life to make more contribution to the democratic reform movement of our country.

Particulars of the event are as follows:
Date: 21 September 2019 (Saturday)
Time: 2:00pm – 5:30pm
Venue: Cathay Restaurant Kulai, Johor
Buffet will start upon the completion of the forum, concurrent with the sharing session
. We welcome all who are concerned with the political developments in Malaysia to attend this event and join the buffet meal. (Admission is free, but please register in advance so that we can make necessary arrangement for food. If you are interested, please fill in https://forms.gle/SWbjEaiwNikEUiKF6or contact person in charge below)

9 September - Published the English rendition of an article of value for reference

On 9 September this year (the actual day of our anniversary), we had published an English rendition of the "Probing into the sufferings of Singapore's left-wing labour movement in the 1960s (Part II)" originally written in Chinese by Chng Min Oh, a former trade union leader in Singapore on Sahabat Rakyat blog, as a gift of our anniversary. This English rendition was translated by personnel delegated by the Secretariat of Sahabat Rakyat. This article provides a historical lesson learned about the destruction bore from within of the anti-colonial independence movement of the people of Malaya and Singapore plotted by the enemy, and constitutes revelatory reference material to the realistic issues that this coming forum is probing into.

Sahabat Rakyat is an ideological exchange platform that focuses on promoting democratic human rights movement in our country. All committee members of Sahabat Rakyat are volunteers. We adhere to the stance of being independent and autonomous, we adopt the principle of being self-reliant, thrifty and hard work, and strive to promote the development of the democratic human rights movement toward the right direction.
We welcome those who are generous hearted to sponsor this event and other work that we carry out. For those who are interested to sponsor, please contact:

(1)Choo Shinn Chei 017-7721511
(2)Cheng Lee Whee 012-7177187
(3)Ngo Jian Yee 013-7778320


此外,现居新加坡的庄明湖已将他在《人民之友》发表的《20世纪60年代新加坡左派工运问题探索》(正篇)一文的英文译稿传送到编辑部,因原文中所述人物的姓名或者是党团工会组织的全称或简称,在译文中尚未解决或有待查证,需要一些时日来完成——人民之友工委都是自愿挤出时间来进行工作的,因而无法很快完成。经过一番努力,我们终于在9月30日刊出,为我们的17周年纪念增添光彩!

值得在此一提的是,庄文所述的20世纪60年代新加坡工运遭遇问题(除了遭受来自外部的镇压,还要遭遇来自内部的破坏)的见解,或许能为一些读者(特别是不谙华文和不懂新马历史的读者)思考马来西亚民主改革运动在当前阶段面临马哈迪主义复辟的问题,提供一个历史殷鉴,或者是一个新的启示。


Malaysia Time (GMT+8)