NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Dear Prime Minister,
You have become so powerful, both by virtue of your office and by popular acclaim, that UMNO has become subservient to you. UMNO is being held together, not because the members share your ideas on politics, but through a system of patronage and disguised coercion based on Government rather than party authority.
A feeling of power normally grips those who wield patronage, a feeling that they can mould and shape people and opinions any way they please. The leaders of UMNO, the senior partners of the Alliance Government, have succumbed to this disease and, believing that they no longer need to heed the opinions of their supporters, they disregard them at every turn.
Laws have been hurriedly passed without prior consultation with the representatives who have had to "sell" these laws to the people. Tax innovations have been made and discarded with complete disregard for the disrupting effect on the public. In the main, Parliamentary sittings are regarded as a pleasant formality which afford members an opportunity to be heard and quoted, but which have absolutely no effect on the course of the Government. The sittings are a concession to a superfluous democratic practice. Off and on, this strength is used to change the constitution. The manner, the frequency, and the trivial reasons for altering the constitution have reduced this supreme law of the nation to a useless scrap of paper.
Your Ministers and the Cabinet are vested with this decision-making authority. It is obvious that only the most capable and experienced should be made Ministers and be in the Cabinet. But independent Malaysia has chosen to treat membership of the Cabinet as a reward for loyalty to party chiefs and acceptability to the Prime Minister. Once appointed, no amount of dereliction of duty could affect the position of a Minister. On the other hand, even if the Minister performs well, failure to remain on good terms with the Prime Minister means removal from the Ministry.
Your Government of mediocre people is bereft of ideas, is unable to understand the limits of their authority, and is generally unable to rule. All the while, however, your Government is busy on devices to perpetuate itself. These devices are so transparent and so lacking in subtlety that they achieve just the opposite effect.
May I remind you, Merdeka has brought power and wealth to the new Malay elite. Politics is found to be the panacea. It provides a shortcut to everything. It makes possible the attainment of positions of immense power. These Malays are in a position to acquire riches.
At first, this might seem grossly unfair. These few Malays - for they are still only a very few - have waxed riches not because of themselves, but because of the policy of a Government supported by a huge majority of poor Malays. It would seem that the efforts of the poor Malays have gone to enrich a select few of their own people. The poor Malays themselves have not gained one iota. With the existence of the few rich Malays, at least the poor Malays can say that their fate is not entirely to serve the rich non-Malays. From their point of view of racial ego, and this ego is still strong, the unseemly existence of Malay tycoons is essential.
The various races in Malaysia are differentiated not merely by ethnic origin, but also by many other characteristics. These characteristics are important. How these characteristics develop is another matter, but when races compete in a given field, these characteristics play an extremely important role. The Jews, for example are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively.
The possession of these characteristics means little until different races come into contact with each other. Jewish stinginess and financial wizardry gained them the commercial control of Europe and provoked an anti-Semitism, which waxed and waned throughout Europe through the ages.
The first thing that comes to mind is that the vast majority of Malays are feudalistic and wish to remain so. A revolution, which starts off by preaching the destruction of the established monarchical order, will therefore fail. It will not win the support of the majority of orthodox Malays. In any case, the monarch has done no real harm to the Malays or to anyone else. The maintenance of the system is no doubt costly, but being separated from power, the ruler cannot constitute a tyranny. Besides, a Malaysia without rulers would mean the complete eclipse of the Malays. It is the rulers who have in the past furnished and continued to present the Malay character of Malaysia. Remove them, and the last vestige of traditional Malaysia would disappear. It is essential therefore that the monarchy remains.
To take on an adversary when it seems to be beyond one's capacity is courageous. To calculate and assess one's chances first is to exhibit cowardice. Time and again this inability or unwillingness to measure the odds against them has led to defeat and disaster for the Malays. The courageous or brave Malay is usually foolhardy, and because he is likely to do things without thinking of the consequences, the average Malay treats him with fear and respect. The ordinary man knows that it is not worthwhile to incur his displeasure and that it is safer to let him have his own way. The ordinary man therefore represents the other extreme when principle is easily set aside for the sake of safety.
Even feudalism can be beneficial if it facilitates changes. The political Rajas of today can, therefore, institute change if they themselves are willing to change. Such a change would spread rapidly. If the indications are that there should be a change in the value system and ethical code, then the leaders can lead the way with the certainty that they will be followed by the masses. In a feudal society, if the leaders fail, then there is little hope for the masses.
In a Press Statement released by UMNO's Secretary General, Senu Abdul Rahman, reported by the Utusan Melayu on 6 June 1969, he said:
"Mahathir Mohamad ceases to be a member of the UMNO Supreme Council with effect from today, 12 July 1969.
This decision was taken following the wide distribution to the public of Mahathir's letter (above) to Tunku Abdul Rahman, President of UMNO Malaysia.
Letters containing important matters should first be discussed by UMNO's Supreme Council, especially in view of the present situation in the country.
The action taken by Mahathir is seen to be in breach of the party's etiquette and is capable of damaging party solidarity and the government which the party supports."
The impression I got was that RPK is suggesting that TDM may get expelled once again ..............
Anyway, this is what I wrote:-