Saturday, November 19, 2011

Empty Vessels sound out other Hollow Ships

This letter was written in response to an e-mail sent by an FMT reader, commenting on my article "Empty Vessels make the most noise", my critique on the MCA. This was my reply:

Empty vessels sound out other hollow ships

November 19, 2011

FMT LETTER: From Douglas Tan, via e-mail
I refer to the letter entitled “Not an empty vessel if one accepts the noise it makes” from Zakay A Rehman which was written in response to my article on the MCA.
Zakay appears to be under the impression that I live by ironic principles, therefore implying that I am a hypocrite. Although I appreciate that a lot of thought went into the letter and it was very well written, it was just as absent of proper reasoning due to the fact that he jumped into conclusions, not so much on the basis of fact or the context of the article, but by his own prejudices.
Why did I defend DAP’s stance on Hudud whereas criticise the MCA for being subservient to Umno? Simple. It is because the DAP are equal partners in Pakatan Rakyat, along with PKR and PAS. Of course this would be an extremely difficult concept to grasp for Zakay as unity does not permit dissent.
The MCA do not dare question Umno in public, as Umno still holds on to the reigns of power in Barisan Nasional. DAP, PKR and PAS are still sufficiently competent and accommodating of one another in order to thrash out a common framework policy and the Buku Jingga. All this would not be possible without a consensus.
Does being in a coalition mean that all parties have to want and believe exactly the same thing? Absolutely not. In Australia, Labor govern along with the Green party and in the United Kingdom, the Conservatives and the Liberals have formed an unlikely partnership. Nevertheless, they are still capable of being effective governments, and in fact are subject to more accountability as opposing views within the coalition have to be given due consideration.
So is the DAP and PAS an unlikely partnership? For people who have watched the political scene in Malaysia, it is quite astounding the two parties can agree about anything. But they have, and they have continually done so since 2008. They may not agree on hudud, but they agree about stamping out corruption, being accountable and practicing transparency. Is this not better than the MCA staying silent in the face of abuse of power by Umno?
The last point I want to highlight is the issue of the DAP representing the minority and PAS going forth to amend the constitution. The fact he implies that the DAP is a minority party is pain insulting. Leaders such as Zairil Khir Johari, Hannah Yeoh and M Kulasegaran have come together to say that the DAP is a Malaysian party for Malaysians.
The modus operandi of Pakatan Rakyat was never about ethnicity, so please do not mention defence of the rights of the ‘minority’. We are all Malaysian. If you have learnt the Rukun Negara, you would know about upholding the constitution (Keluhuran Pelembagaan). Do yourself a favour and study it before you make anymore silly remarks.

Original Letter:

Not an empty vessel if one accepts the noise it makes

November 18, 2011
FMT LETTER: From Zakay A Rehman, via e-mail
Douglas Tan seems to live by some very ironic principles; on the one hand he sees MCA’s alleged subservience (spirit of negotiation) to Umno as an abhorrence, but without batting a single breath, justifies DAP’s capitulation (agree to disagree) to PAS as negotiated settlement among equals.
Douglas Tan is walking a slippery slope if he reckons that there is such a thing a an alternative middle ground to the status quo. Conservative parties like PAS is riding on a neo-conservatism wave amongst Muslims in Malaysia; not one of their creation but more of a blow-back to the global clash of civilisation.
And he can dream on of a middle left party such as DAP finding any lasting power sharing with a right leaning conservative PAS unless the neo-conservatism movement loses its momentum to become more liberal conservative leaning, which is Umno’s territory.
It’s a lose lose propositon; DAP like MCA will always represent the minority, it’s the question of minority right and minority protection that should be at the top of the likes of Douglas Tans’ agenda; where shall it be, off with the heads of MCA because of their ‘negotiated’ deal with Umno, lest it be staring at a greater social and constitutional Islamic revisionism under PAS.

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