Sunday, December 11, 2005

Boycott divide-and-rule game now

In responding to Dr. Mahathir Mohamad's statement that the Opposition is too weak, Parliamentary Opposition Leader and my ex-boss Lim Kit Siang again described the New Straits Times as " Umno-owned". I think Kit Siang is right.

But what I don't understand is that, given the correct understanding that the New Straits Times is " Umno-owned", why should some DAP leaders seem to be taking pride in having their press statements, writings, letters and photographs published by the mouthpiece.

Lim Guan Eng, the secretary-general and Kit Siang's son, for example, wrote a long piece on PAS for the New Straits Times' op-ed page not too long ago. Why lend 'democratic' legitimacy to an illiberal mouthpiece of Umno after they had been de-legitimised by the Reformasi , and lend it at the expense of another opposition party?

The New Straits Times is not stupid although many people have become even smarter now. It only promotes DAP as a "non-Muslim voice" to discredit PAS and KeADILan on certain issues when the two parties threaten the Malay/Muslim raison d'etat of Umno's power-that-be of the day but when it has achieved that purpose, it would certainly rebrand DAP as "Chinese chauvinists" to frighten the Malays/Muslims, Indians and some 'identity-phobic' Chinese as its editorial on the ear-squat scandal testifies.

The essence of the trick is nothing new. Doesn't Kit Siang remember how, in the 1980s, these mouthpieces promoted certain " moderate doers" among some DAP top leaders (and in MCA, of course) to contrast them with the " radical rabble-rousers" like Kit Siang himself? Seen from a longer and historical perspective, the little trick of the little men becomes clear.

The 'grand strategy' of these mouthpieces now is to promote 'advisorial' opposition and NGOs to window-show to the West (especially the Anglosphere) that it is 'democratic' while preventing the emergence of a mass-based and organic alternative force that can effectively change policies in critical areas like the laws governing the national security, media and insitutions of higher learning.

Given the mushrooming of alternative media and advance of information technology now, surely DAP can afford to cease playing 'engagement' game with Umno's mouthpieces and allow itself to be used as cheap strike-breakers or scabs its divide-and-rule strategy.

I think my feedback to DAP equally applies to some well-meaning but a bit vainglorious small "l" liberals in PAS, some NGOs and also individual intellectuals in the civil society.