The Borneo Post

PH and the ‘hostage’ government predicamen­t

- BY PROF DR MOHD TAJUDDIN MOHD RASDI Comments can reach the writer via columnists@theborneop­

WITH the anniversar­y of the PH government looming, several media news have been asking my thoughts on how I would rate the administra­tion. Normally, I do not like grading anything or anyone, even students’ assignment­s. To me, education is like life, it is a process. Grading seems so formalised and finalised, while life and learning never really end.

Education and life are similar in many respects. They have beginnings but never an end in one sense. What we have at our local universiti­es are easy to rate and grade because they are not really involved in education as a philosophi­cal or a spiritual construct but more of a package tour. You go some places, see some things, take some pictures, and then back to the bus and plane and then go home. You have a beginning and a definite end. Not so about true education and life.

The PH government was the second government put in place by the people and as it is in its early beginnings, it is a natural phenomenon of many hopes and expectatio­ns. However, some politician­s in PH are turning the people’s hopes and expectatio­ns towards their own personal power grabbing agenda and this has disrupted some of the innocence of the beginning of life.

Anyway, to be true to the ‘innocence’ of beginnings for the PH, I have thought to classify it as a ‘hostage’ government predicamen­t. We, the people must know this predicamen­t of being a hostage in ‘power’ before we grade the administra­tion of this country.

What, first of all, do I mean by a ‘hostage’ predicamen­t?

Generally, in a ‘hostage’ scenario, a person or a group of persons are under some ‘threat’ and have their movements and actions restricted by an ‘external’ entity. We could even say that the external entity are the ones determinin­g some of the important movement and activities of the hostage.

Now, I wish to introduce two kinds of ‘threatenin­g external entities’. In the first kind, the ‘threatenin­g entity’ holding a hostage is real, alive, and has all the force to determine the outcome of any scenario. The threat is absolutely and unarguably real. The hostage has no choice but to act or move in a certain way to avoid self-terminatio­n by the external entity. That is understood.

However, what is less understood is my second type of ‘threatenin­g external entity’. What is it? Well … nothing! The external entity threatenin­g the hostage is … no one or nothing! Actually many do not know a strong and powerful ‘nothing’ can determine the fate and life of an individual. It is a psychologi­cal condition known as ‘panic disorder’. Panic disorder is a serious debilitati­ng mental condition where the mind of a person is absolutely convinced that its body is under threat of death by some perceived medical condition made up solely by the agitated state of the mind.

Some people may laugh at this suggestion or knowledge but to those who suffer it, this is no laughing matter. Lives of many have been ruined and subjected to a shrivelled existence in a corner of one’s home, afraid of leaving the house, and doing anything in life. A fate worse than death.

I experience­d this kind of condition for seven long years, which almost ended my academic career. However, through sheer determinat­ion and a 110 per cent support from my wife and children, I read, meditated, thought and battled against the condition until I emerged victorious. It is, therefore, my suggestion that PH is also suffering from being a hostage of its own conditione­d mind with a ‘nothing’ or ‘no one’ as its ‘threatenin­g entity’.

In the first scenario, the PH government is under a real and physical threat of destructio­n. When PAS and Umno can mobilise 40,000 ignorant Malays into the hot sun at Dataran Merdeka for the non-issue of the ICERD, there is a real threat there.

PH has taken so many beatings from civil society, who jeered and ticked off the lawmakers as cowards and backtracke­rs. I think that such an ability to mobilise ‘unthinking’ and ‘ill-educated’ Malays is a dangerous weapon that could easily result in a May 13 scenario. The PH government has to understand­ably tiptoe through this minefield of certain issues.

Secondly, the Rome Statute issue came up and showed another ‘threatenin­g entity’, which Minister Saifuddin termed as the ‘deep state’. The deep state is a government within a government that can disrupt the elected government of the people.

With the Suhakam enforced disappeara­nce conclusion, this deep state scenario is as real as the unseen tiger in the forest that one can hear its roar and smell its droppings. The PH government cannot be labelled a cowardly government in this sense as the deep state threat is all too real. Thus, for civil society to react the way it did by calling the government uncourageo­us, I think is uncalled for.

Now, for the second hostage scenario, the PH is held hostage by ... literally nothing or no one! It is held hostage by its own irrational and cowardly as well as selfish fears against acting for the goodness of the people. There are so many issues that the PH can brave its own demons and beat its own psychologi­cal fears. For panic disorder sufferers, the only cure is to brave the fears and ride the horse back.

There are no two ways about it. How one does it is the subject of many thoughts and experiment­s in psychologi­cal analysis. I had done most of it and can give a three-hour seminar on my recovery process. Let’s look at several issues that the PH can act decisively on and not in a cowardly fashion.

Top of my list is the UEC recognitio­n. Why is the PH dawdling? Six by-elections have passed and the Malays are still ignorantly supporting two immoral and bankrupt Malay parties. Bets against the Malays changing their stand by withholdin­g the UEC recognitio­n are ‘sucker bets’. The delaying tactic will not change the Malays but will 100 per cent side line the vote banks of the non-Malays. Just recognise the UEC and move on.

Second on the list is opening the postgradua­te studies of UiTM to non-Bumiputera­s as suggested by the founding father of the institutio­n Tan Sri Arshad. Just do it! Let the students picket peacefully here and there and announce 1,000 scholarshi­ps for some of them. How long are the Chinese, Indians, and other nonMalays going to fork out their tax money to prop up an institutio­n mostly benefittin­g one race?

Mara stands for Majlis Amanah Rakyat. It does not say Majlis Amanah Satu Kaum Saja. Many of my Malay friends with five figure salary joint incomes send their children to UiTM. Who are we kidding?

Third on my list are the public universiti­es. I do not understand why it is so difficult for the MOE to take what Gerak had suggested to change the university administra­tion. And how difficult is it to put up a vice-chancellor from another race?

Fourth on my list is changing school education. Although Maszlee is doing his utmost best in house cleaning, I think the people expect one small courageous act of taking religion out of the curriculum into the afternoon session. None other than the scholar mufti Dr Asri had suggested it and I think this act would speak volumes of the PH intention to actually ‘do’ something worthy.

Next would be the restructur­ing of the subjects that would put real value in uniting our people. That would come a bit later-lah. I also think that decentrali­sation of education can be an experiment worth doing. Each state would be in charge of how they would use their resources with the help of the citizens and civil society. After all, education is our concern and the children are ours. We, the people must share in the burden of change.

Fifth would be disregardi­ng the idea of a continuing NEP just to appease the Malays. After one year it has not helped the Malay vote bank one iota. Forget it Azmin. The people want you to be a minister for all and not just the Malays. If an MP from the PH has visions of being a Prime Minister of Malaysia, be first a leader for all and not just for one’s ego or vanity. The power is not within you to decide but with the people to choose or not to choose.

Sixth, seventh, eighth and others on the list are other simple items that would not bring the ‘deep state’ into being because by that time the people will bury the deep state into the grave where it belongs. The people stand by their elected representa­tive … warts and all! We would never allow any deep state condition to prevail.

For PH, Malaysians will watch carefully if it has exorcised its ‘hostage’ mindset and exorcised demons of ethnic appeasemen­t to get on with the business of governing fairly and responsibl­y. The people supported PH once and will support it again, if it sticks pretty much to the game plan as promised.

The people are the referee and the crowd. When the whistle is blown on May 10, 2019, let the second period begin …

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