Dean Johns

Whether or not there’s wisdom in the old political adage that ‘oppositions don’t win elections; governments lose them’, Umno/BN seems on a mission to make it come true.

It is blatantly waging a campaign for an election it hasn’t dared call yet, and seemingly hell-bent on alienating as many Malaysians as possible by the time it has no choice but to face their wrath at the polls.

Not that the regime is aware of the dreadful damage it’s doing itself, or likely to wake up to itself any time soon.

NONEAs Mariam Mokhtar writes in her excellent Malaysiakini column this week, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his minions are apparently blissfully unaware that the sight of the leader’s self-satisfied smirk evoke not love but loathing.

And it makes Malaysia look for all the world like one of those simultaneously ridiculous and hideous dictatorships like Syria or North Korea.

You’d imagine that Najib and his advisers would have learned by now, from such bad, sad cases as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gadafi, Hosni Mubarak and other defunct poster-boys, that self-adoration is by no means the key to survival.

But no, to the delight of all those of us who dream of an end to the Umno/BN kleptocracy. In fact when it comes to offending more and more people, this rotten regime just can’t seem to help itself.

Aside, that is, for its helping itself to whatever corrupt cash it can get its grubby hands on. And it keeps right on with its robbery and jobbery, even compounding the felony as in the recent fake ‘water-supply crisis’ in Selangor as if in a strenuous attempt to lose even more votes.

NONEUsing crony company Syabas to shut off water supply to parts of the Klang Valley must have seemed like a master-stroke to the Umno/BN political strategists, in that it could make the Selangor government look bad and at the same time provide justification for construction of a classic regime plunder-project, the RM8.65 bil. Langat 2 purification plant.

But rather than a master stroke, it appears to have resulted in a self-inflicted body-blow, having turned off countless voters along with the water and exposed Syabas and its vastly-overpaid management as yet another example of Umno/BN arrogance, greed and incompetence.

And, like the Lynas rare earths processing plant in Pahang, it is yet another example of the regime putting its own political and financial interests before the safety and well being of the Malaysian people.

Preparations for emergency rule
But in case corruption, theft and threats of public endangerment haven’t cost the government enough support by now, it is out there whipping up even more opposition to itself with the same weary old fear campaign it has been waging for decades.

With Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin telling a youth assembly that the younger generation “has to be united in order to ensure the country remains atable and peaceful and to avoid a repeating [sic] of the May 13, 1969 tragedy.”

NONEMuhyiddin, who, I have to keep reminding myself, is incredibly also the education minister, then went on to treat his youthful audience to a false history lesson, claiming that the May 13 riots didn’t spread through the country “because then Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak announced a state of emergency for Kuala Lumpur and controlled the situation”.

Having praised Razak for controlling the situation, when in fact there is considerable evidence that Razak fomented the riots in a successful bid to replace Tunku Abdul Rahman as prime minister, he further lied that they were “instigated by the opposition”.

“We don’t want a repeat of May 13,” Muhyiddin added, thus signalling that he and his accomplices in Umno/BN would actually love a repeat of May 13, or at least of the state of emergency that followed, in the event that it loses the forthcoming general election.

Preparations for this eventuality have long been in progress. First there was Najib’s call to the 2010 Umno general assembly: “ ...even if our bodies are crushed and our lives lost, brothers and sisters, whatever happens, we must defend Putrajaya.”

Then came the attempt by the regime, shocked to the core by massive popular support for the Bersih 3.0 rally for clean and fair elections in April, to portray it as violent by mounting unprovoked attacks by the police and trying to convince the gullible that it was an attempted coup.

And last week, even as Muhyiddin was claiming that “we don’t want a repeat of May 13”, assistant director of the E2(M) national social extremist threat division, Mohd Sofian Md Makinuddin, was stirring up strife with the ludicrous allegation that Jemaah Islamiah terrorists and former communists are infiltrating opposition parties and trying to be fielded as candidates in the coming general election.

“The result of this is that ideas related to new politics that can potentially affect the core values of the country are on the rise,” Mohd Sofian said, adding that “this movement is actually getting support from foreign NGOs in the form of funding, training domestically and abroad and exposure to certain expertise to face the elections”.

bersih in meccaMeanwhile, poster boy Najib was trying to put the fear of God into Malays with his message to imams and mosque committee members that Bersih gatherings in Mecca and Medina had tarnished Malaysia’s image and may cause the country’s haj quota to be withdrawn.

But my only fear is that Najib and the gang haven’t yet cost themselves so much support with such self-destructive nonsense that they’re capable of losing the looming election.

An election that, despite all the Bersih protests, is still stacked disgracefully in their favour, and thus against a long-awaited win for Malaysia and Malaysians.

DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he coaches and mentors writers and authors and practises as a writing therapist. Published books of his columns for Malaysiakini include ‘Mad about Malaysia', ‘Even Madder about Malaysia', ‘Missing Malaysia' and ‘1Malaysia.con'.