MGG: A fascist society in the making, if it is not already
By M.G.G. Pillai
23/1/2002 5:55 pm Wed
Civil servants are required to sign "Aku Janji" ("I agree")
declarations before they could continue in office; UMNO Youth
encourages undergraduates to report those of their lecturers who
they deem to be anti-government; anyone who brings to public
notice government shortcomings and its political chicanery, even
if by the opposition, is treachery. The list goes on. The Prime
Minister, Dato' Seri Mahathir Mohamed, thinks it a good idea so
his 21 year governance would carry on for ever. But this reveals
not strength but weakness. And a rebellion in the making
against a decaying monolithic collossus which remains in
office by threats and wose.
The "Aku Janji" does not have the force of law; Dr Mahathir
thinks this would make it all but impossible for them to defy him
and his administration. It would not. The civil servants signed
something more severe under the Government Orders when they took
their jobs, which has a section so strict and so pervasive, and
with penal sanctions for its breach. So, why does the government
make it an issue which only reveals the divisions in society that
it fights against? Because civil servants, collectively, are
disinclined to back the UMNO-led government in power than at any
time in the past.
Their actions reflect not treachery or a deliberate move to
confront but of the schisms in Malay society which Dr Mahathir
encouraged -- the deliberate split which made UMNO illegal forced
the first fissure; the humiliation of Dato' Seri Anwar the
second, and more dangerous, since it questioned Dr Mahathir's
leadership for humiliating a chief. Instead of resolving this,
UMNO insists its view is the only one. But the Malay challenges
it, and reveals the schism UMNO cannot handle on its own.
The more UMNO -- more than the National Front (BN) it
controls -- insists upon it, the more fascist Malaysia becomes.
There is only one view allowed for civil servants and all who are
paid by the government. This is enforced in schools, colleges
and universities. There is nothing but anecdotal evidence to
prove that teachers and lecturers spout anti-government
propaganda. There is no inquiry or investigation to suggest it.
But the evidence the government accepts usually comes from UMNO
Youth, whose word is accepted as the gospel by the authorities.
Now it has compiled a list of anti-government lecturers who,
according to the UMNO Youth education bureau head, Dr Adham Baba,
"spead anti-Government messages and campaigns to influence staff
and students". And the insidious assumption, which is clear from
his statement, that university lecturers are allowed to be
members of political parties only if in BN parties. There are
several in government -- at the centre and in the states -- who
went by this route. I know of several who were lobbying for
parliament and state seats while lecturing at universities.
On the principle that the only political view allowed is to
back the government, UMNO Youth is shocked at these displays of
political independence and the candour which reveals to
undergraduates the importance of critical thinking; that this is
impossible when students are encouraged to censure their
lecturers anonymously for not being politically correct. This
was rife in Nazi Germany and Communist Russia and China, and
parents sent their parents to their deaths on these complaints.
So how did Dr Adham and his men investigate this breach of
political correctness? They got undergraduates to inform them of
"deviations" from the norm amongst lecturers. Since
undergraduates are not allowed to be involved in politics, why is
this allowed? The education ministry, he says, would
investigations, but his quislings would not come forth until they
are protected from harm, possibly by their lecturers. How could
it when it should look at this breach of the undergraduate
undertaking not to be involved in politics?
In any case, why did the ministry agree to investigate
complaints from the youth wing of a political party? What
standing does it have to go off on its own and demand redress,
when it should first have directed their complaints to the UMNO
supreme council for further action. Or is it now the norm t can?
If so, then one can understand why the civil servant is fed up
with this attempt to bring them under UMNO. There are already
dangerous signs: scholarships are, in practice, given only to
those who can furnish proof their parents are members of a BN
It reveals a dangerous trend which divides the country
between those who support UMNO and BN, to whom go the perks of
government, and those who do not who should be treated as harshly
as possible, and their children damned for their parents' less
than enthusiastic support of the government or who, in principle,
would not join a political party or would rather remain neutral.
These decisions are made so casually and callously that it
reflects not just the fascism this suggests, but a breakdown of
what we know, and honour, as Malaysia.