法国作家阿尔冯斯卡尔（Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Kar）的名言“plus ca change, plus c’est la meme selected”，翻译过来就是：“事物变化越多，它就越保持不变”。这可能适用于当前的政治发展。虽然我们有了新首相，但权力中心仍然是国盟/巫统/土团/伊党的阵营。马来人支配论述依然主导著马来西亚的政治体系。尽管，之前倒慕尤丁的动作不断，但马来人支配地位从未受到怀疑或挑战。
林德宜《慕尤丁下台但未出局》原文：PM Muhyiddin: Down But Is He Out
Recent events may have indicated that Tan Sri Muhyiddin was knocked out of Malaysia’s political fight ring when he resigned as the Prime Minister. However the latest development shows that he only suffered a TKO.
Members of the Cabinet, in its meeting on Sept 1, agreed to appoint Muhyiddin as the National Recovery Council (MPN) chairman with ministerial status. According to the official statement:
“This appointment is made based on the government’s confidence in Muhyiddin’s ability to lead the country’s recovery strategy, in order to achieve the best economic impact and restore the livelihood of the people severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”
Public response to this news in the non-Malay social media has been mainly negative. And predictably the opposition has jumped in to denounce the appointment with the most prominent – not reported in the mainstream printed media – being that of Mukhriz Mahathir, President of Pejuang, who came out with this Twitter comment :
“Yet another logic defying decision. The failed PM Muhyiddin they butted out because #kerajaangagal in handling Covid they now appoint to chair National Recovery Council. When will this stupidity end?”
UMNO allied observers have pointed out that Muhyiddin’s new position has led to frustrations in ex-PM Najib’s camp as the MPN may be the most powerful entity within the current government. This implies that the new PM Ismail Sabri may in fact be under the thumb of the ex PM.
What can the independent and non-politically aligned public take away from these recent political developments?
The More Things Change The More They Remain The Same
There is a famous phrase coined by French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Kar – “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” translated as “the more things change, the more they remain the same”.
This may be applied to current political developments. Although we have a new Prime Minister, the center of power is still in the PN/UMNO/Bersatu/PAS camp. Malay dominance of Malaysia’s political system continues. Despite all the hype in trying to oust Muhyiddin from the Prime Ministership, this dominance was never in doubt or challenged.
The big question is whether Malay dominance has been further reinforced by this encounter. In the lawan arena. For now – as with most publicized spectacles – the victor has been gracious and provided soothing reassurances on the fight outcome.
Does Malaysian Family Apply to All
In the new champion’s words:
“We realise the existence of inter-marriage families with various races and religions which possess strong family bonds.”
“As such the concept of the Malaysian Family is akin to the strength of a nation bound together by such values”.
“Let us open our minds and hearts to forget our differences and find common grounds. We need to move towards building consensus for the security and safety of our family, The Malaysian Family.
“We are like parts of a single body which need one another.”
(quotable quotes from Prime Minister Dato Seri Ismail Sabri’s maiden speech to nation, 22 August 2021)
Fight spectators in Malaysia are aware though that, as with all fight speeches, promises made are quickly lost in Malay translation and forgotten in follow up or thrown away in the garbage bin.
Malaysians also know how game changing the new Prime Minister has been in the past. In arising from UMNO’s ranks, critical analysts point to his tendency in hitting below the belt. Many continue to remember his prowess in winning lower rung ‘game changing’ bouts in the neighbourhood of Malaysian family friendly venues such as Low Yat and in his efforts to racialize consumer behavior. They also know the ‘satu keluarga’ ‘ and ‘ketuanan’ quality of his handlers who have trained him. And many predict that his entourage will undoubtedly want to share the glory and especially the treasure that comes with victory.
What is Muhyiddin’s Legacy
As for ex PM Muhyiddin, it is too early to count him as down and out. But even if he does not survive in the political arena or perhaps decides to leave politics for health reasons, he should be thinking about the legacy that he is leaving the country.
Previously criticized for his statement that “I am a Malay first”, history will judge him more kindly if he can now prove that he is both truly a Malaysian at heart as well as in policy and action.