Politics of bigotry and hypocrisy

Ti Lian Ker

The Goebbels Nazi style of propaganda has been used successfully by Pakatan Harapan in its psychological war to win over fence-sitters and this was facilitated further by the easy flow and dissemination of information in the new media.

Pakatan, in particular DAP, adopted the use of catchy slogans and subliminal cues such as “UBAH”, ABU or “Asalkan Bukan Umno” to disparage and demonise Barisan Nasional and its components.

Now that Pakatan is the government of the day, the rakyat’s expectations are for them to deliver on their promises and practise the apparent virtues of what they had preached. However, it seems their many years of perfected traits and habits of political deceptions are rather hard to break.

Many peace-loving and honest Malaysians are beginning to expect more restraint and responsibility. Since the fall of Putrajaya, many are beginning to see past DAP’s ploy of crying wolf and its politics aimed at testing and undermining the interracial goodwill and harmony cultivated and promoted by the BN founders over the years.

Undoubtedly, there are some delinquent BN leaders that befit DAP’s narratives that Umno is a racist party. But in any tree, there are bound to be the odd few rotten apples. And one, however, cannot forsake the whole tree just because of these few foolhardy apples.

Ironically (karma perhaps) Pakatan’s current top leaders are either ex-Umno or ex-PAS whom DAP used to vilify. And what’s more, Pakatan is faced with an ingress of many more ‘personas’ from Umno and this migration of “frogs” to Pakatan does not seem like it is stopping anytime soon. Therefore, DAP may want to swallow the humble pie for its many years of demonising and deprecation of its now and current supreme ‘Umno’ and ‘PAS’ Pakatan bosses.

Such political propaganda can brainwash not only friends but even foes. And I would like to relate such an instance in two incidents during the dual by-elections of Balakong and Sg Kandis in August 2018.

Let me start off by relating my acquaintances to PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan. We have known each other from as far back as 1984 during varsity when I was the secretary-general of Persatuan Mahasiswa Universiti Malaya. Coincidentally, Taki as I now call him, was my president. We were both lawyers and had many things in common. Since then, we have continued to be in touch and shared and exchanged our discourses despite our political differences.

One day, my former president and university pal called me and asked me about the progress of the Balakong by-election campaign. It so happened that I was scheduled to be in Balakong for a campaign stint with then MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and I took the liberty to invite Taki over in a show of “sport” that despite our political differences, we are still fellow countrymen in a Malaysia we grew up with.

Taki took up my invitation and joined our campaign. Some photographs of us together were taken. Lo and behold, the very next day these photographs made their rounds on social media like a bush fire.

Takiyuddin with MCA leaders including Liow
Takiyuddin (right) pictured with MCA leaders including Liow (second from right) and the writer (left).

It seems that the presence of Taki – my varsity mate and president in PMUM – in Balakong became the headline issue instead of the more pressing local issues affecting the constituents. DAP leaders, including Hannah Yeoh, were quick to ‘skew’ the presence of PAS and choreographed it into a provocative political slant.

As expected, Liow bore the brunt of this political misrepresentation and was scourged for having this ‘misguided’ courage and audacity to stand shoulder to shoulder with Takiyuddin. And the angst of it all, this slew of criticisms came from a party whose leaders have since hugged and embraced leaders like PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang. It was these same DAP leaders who professed their faith in PAS with their rendition of the famous Chinese classic “Moon Represents My Heart”.

This was seen yet again at the Sg Kandis by-election. Similarly, I was invited by the local MCA division chairman Donald Lim, who was our former Deputy Finance Minister. Upon arriving, I noticed the presence of the PAS candidate as well as BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and was invited on the stage together. The rest is history.

But I, for one, cannot seem to comprehend the disparity or the contradictory standards in condemnation that come with befriending PAS. Many say a picture is worth a thousand words: standing shoulder to shoulder versus a full body embrace.

As much as DAP will, and has, worked with PAS for political expediency, others may too in the spirit of “Opposition Solidarity” and towards a stronger check and balance. In politics, there are no hard and fast rules. Alliances can be contemplated on the basis of common ground and in the interest and benefit of the people and the nation. And there is always room for engagement and space for political cooperation along universal and national values and virtues.

As such, it is absurd to continue branding PAS as religious bigots and Umno as racist fascists in a hypocritical and self-righteous manner. I do not believe in sweeping generalisations or demonisation of opponents or those who simply disagree with us. That said, it does not mean we agree to all of their doings and neither are we ignorant and turn a blind eye to the extremist workings of PAS, Umno, DAP or even Bersatu.

I cannot help but wonder, what has become of this ‘New Malaysia’?

Are we moving towards an apartheid state where PAS leaders or members are singled out as “untouchables” and MCA is despicable for engaging with Umno in working towards racial moderation, understanding and tolerance?

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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