The Second Tsunami : When the waters flush in and out — Rais Hussin

DECEMBER 14 — Malaysians are generally familiar with the phenomenon of tsunami. It involves the high wall of waves — essentially as high as 10 metres to 15 metres crashing in — enveloping the whole landscape. But there are three related events, which Malaysians don’t understand about Tsunami.

Since the word is used often enough in Malaysian politics, it is important to understand the actual event. Then doubling back to understand how it correlates with the politics of the Malaysian Tsunami.

First of all, tsunami can rush in as gargantuan waves. But the force at which it recedes, having first washed ashore, is no less tenacious. Tens of thousands of debris would swirl and twirl in a mix of water, as they come rolling back to the sea. The volume and tonnage of the waste would be nothing less than shocking.

Second, tsunami kills not by drowning everyone in a sea of humanity. It is just as lethal when the sea water seeps deep into the land, the wells, the rivers, and the riverbed too, elevating the salinity of the land skyward. As the soil’s saltiness fails to relent, the area will not be able to bear any fruits, or sustain any life form. Unless fresh water is piped in, an area affected by tsunami is literally worthless, and lifeless.

Third, tsunami not merely shocks and awes, it transforms the intricate memories of the people almost totally and permanently. 

Areas or signage that were once recognisable would be gone, forever. The local residents would be left disoriented, and directionless: to whom do we pin our hopes and where do we belong?

The post May 9 Tsunami had those three effects above. First, the People’s Revolution attacked every corrupt politicians who were in bed with the corruption spawned by 1MDB and many mini 1MDBs. 

But as the Tsunami delivered it's most devastating effect, defeating many politicians and incumbents, there were some members of parliament (MPs) and state assemblymen and senators who were shocked by the magnitude of the popular will. 

After seven months, just when 2018 is drawing to a close, more than four dozen office bearers in Sabah have decided to call it quits in Umno — as they should — as Umno has been totally destroyed. What else is there to redeem? 

By joining Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), one of the few credible vehicles available, the politicians may yet be saving their careers way ahead of the interest of the voters. 

But this is precisely why these aspiring PPBM members are asked to declare themselves as independents first. If MACC has given them an all clear, they would then be given the second life line to return to political life.

Secondly, it is not in the position of PPBM to remain perpetually vindictive. 

The salinity of the landscape in Sabah after May 9, 2018 has shot up. Many ruling politicians in Sabah know that they cannot survive another term without clinging on to PPBM. 

To be sure, they can join Warisan too, which is a local Sabah party, that enjoys a strategic alliance with PPBM and Pakatan Harapan. 

But if the MPs and state assemblymen in Sabah prefer PPBM over other vehicles, it is strictly due to the respect they give to the authority of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, by extension, the Minister of Home Affairs, Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin. 

They know for a fact that both leaders are fair and staunchly pro-Bumiputeras and Pribumis. They lose nothing by joining PPBM. If anything, they now risk everything, as these politicians would be subject to an asset declaration test to make sure they didn’t gain from the kleptocracy of then past. Those who don’t pass this basic test would not be considered kosher to join PPBM.

If anything, they gain everything by becoming new Malays in New Malaysia — where they know the rule of law must apply. In this sense, the Sabahans’ relocation to PPBM is but a form of “hijrah” into an area where hopes remain, and the landscape not destroyed by the salty remains of the tsunami.

Thirdly, not unlike the actual tsunami that wipes out the memories of the actual victims, Umno Sabah knows that it has become rudderless, leaderless and devoid of all sense of directions and orientations. Dato Seri Zahid Hamidi, the president of Umno, is of Javanese descent and ethnic stock. Yet, under Sabah for Sabahans, they could join Warisan. But Warisan appears to be stronger in the east coast of Sabah, which is Tawau and Sandakan. 

The MPs, assemblymen and senators of Sabah are mainly of the Kadazan, Murut and Dayak (KDZ) stocks, which are in the mountains and the lands. Had Musa Aman and his son been in Sabah during the first six months, perhaps the politicians and members belonging to Umno would still endure the unthinkable of the post May 9th results. Yet Musa Aman and his son were suddenly gone for a prolonged period. 

How can the 500,000 Sabah Umno members, of which about 100,000 are non Muslims, remain confident ? When leaders run, as did the British during the Japanese invasion of Malaya in 1941, even if the British returned to Malaya, no one respects them anymore: they ran. 

Musa Aman and his son ran. And Sabahans will never forgive them. Thus out of their seven month turpor and confusion, the politicians in Sabah have begun to see the light. They know how to shepherd themselves in and through PPBM in Sabah.

In all, there is nothing wrong with MPs and their members joining PPBM, potentially by the hundreds of thousands too. 

These members were betrayed by their leaders, and they now feel the longing and the need to find a strong institutional attachment. If PPBM is the right platform, they are welcome to join. But these must be law abiding members of the Parliament, state assembly, and Senators, unsullied and untouched by the previous corruption.

* Rais Hussin is PPBM’s strategist.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.