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There are Reds under the bed

Communist prisoners are held during the Malayan emergency of the late 1940s. Photograph: Jack Birns/Time & Life Pictures - Guardian

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We should be able to sleep (and live) well once we’ve put the spectre of communism to bed, writes Mustafa K Anuar.

There seems to be a certain outmoded mentality that at times accompanies criticism and accusation levelled against particularly the DAP, now a component of the ruling Pakatan Harapan.

Even after the peace treaty between the Malaysian government and the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) was inked and subsequently the party disbanded, the Berlin Wall collapsed and the Cold War ended, there still lurks the spectre of communism in the minds of those critical of the DAP.

The phrase “Reds under the bed” is lifted from the era of McCarthyism in the United States when there was intense anti-communism suspicion from the late 1940s until the late 1950s.

While there is no witch-hunt of such magnitude in the Malaysian context, it suffices to give some inkling of its ridiculous paranoia. Of course, there are other labels that are pinned on the Chinese-dominated party by its detractors, which will not be dealt here.

The latest spiel from former police Inspector General Musa Hassan only reminds us that the old record, ie communism, is still being played when the entire world has moved on.

Communism has been eclipsed by various other challenges, namely terrorism, religious radicalism, corruption, climate change, environmental degradation, racism, human trafficking, predatory capitalism and economic disparity, among others.

These things have wreaked havoc to the world and human dignity in various degrees over the years. They demand our collective concentration and resolve to address them within our means.

And yet, Musa and others of similar ilk insist that the DAP is bent on reviving communism in the country, an accusation that would have been taken very seriously and appropriate form of punishment considered a few decades ago.

As observers of world affairs would tell you, the communist ideology is declining if what is happening in the remaining communist countries is of any guide. Capitalism has overshadowed the communist ideology in these countries.

That said, a section of the Malay community is still averse to communism given its bitter experience during the previous communist insurgency.

Hence, the Musa accusation, although laughable to others, may have acquired some degree of traction among some Malays, thereby enhancing their hatred or suspicion towards the DAP.

Besides, labelling as a modus operandi generally has a way of short-circuiting sober arguments and oversimplifying things. It discourages people from civilised intellectual engagement in an effort to find the truth.

In other words, labelling is a short-hand way of demonising people.

Instead of being haunted by the ghost of bygone era, we should focus on challenges that require our urgent attention and action.

For example, we should mobilise our energies to help foster good ethnic relations at a time when the politics of race and religion tends to dominate and divide us for the benefit of none except the perpetrators.

It is crucial that we are united against such a divisive factor, which is capable of corrupting our sense of justice, compromising the rule of law and, in turn, preventing our country from achieving a higher level of socioeconomic progress and democracy.

A political culture that promotes and celebrates inclusivity would go a long way towards uniting a diverse society such as ours for a higher purpose of our existence.

We should also, for instance, put our heads together to plan and execute medium and long-term programmes aimed at addressing the issue of climate change at various levels of our society.

This could make a concern about communism look like unnecessary chatter. We should be able to sleep (and live) well once we’ve put the spectre of communism to bed.

Source: themalaysianinsight.com

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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Dr Mustafa K Anuar, a longtime executive committee member and former honorary secretary of Aliran, is, co-editor of our newsletter. He obtained his PhD from City, University of London and is particularly interested in press freedom and freedom of expression issues. These days, he is a a senior journalist with an online media portal
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