This photograph provides a snapshot of Malaysian politics from Mahathir’s vantage point.

This banner was put up outside the USM perimeter wall in Penang to promote the Perkasa forum ‘Transformasi Ekonomi dan Pelajaran Melayu Pulau Pinang’ held at the UiTM campus in Permatang Pauh on the mainland.

Someone then stuck a few ABU (Anything but Umno) stickers at strategic points on the banner.

Mahathir sees ABU
Mahathir sees ABU

If I was to interpret this, I would say Mahathir (and by extension Umno) has his back against the wall, stung by recent revelations such as the RCI testimonies about the granting of citizenship papers just before the Sabah elections in 1995.

As more and more scandals implicating Umno personalities are revealed, Mahathir can see the writing on the wall, especially the wave of ABU sentiment. This sentiment was especially evident in the huge turnout at #KL112, which must have given him even more cause for alarm.

He then uses racial and religious rhetoric to whip up communal support, in the process falling deeper into Perkasa’s embrace, as this banner eloquently illustrates. In this way, he hopes to keep Umno in power by continuing with the BN’s divide-and-rule rule tactics, thus securing his (and his former cronies’) rotten ‘legacy’.

Mahathir at Perkasa forum

In this instance, he uses the occasion of the Perkasa event to divert attention from Sabah by suggesting that people should look at how Tunku granted citizenship to those already in the country before Independence.

A classic case of comparing apples (a transparent, above board arrangement that was part of the negotiations for Independence) and oranges (a covert clandestine operation apparently aimed at undermining the democratic process). A classic Mahathir tactic.

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Unfortunately for him, more and more people can see through this sort of diversionary tactic.

Ibrahim Ali sees ABU

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  1. Please watch this excellent video (first shown at Freedom Film Festival 2012) about the role of Project IC in the state election of Sabah. Directed by Nadira Ilana.

    Rusuhan Tersembunyi/The Silent Riot
    Now on Youtube.

    What happens after the end of a political reign? After serving two terms as Sabah’s government, Barisan Nasional led Parti Berjaya is unexpectedly toppled by newcomers Parti Bersatu Sabah, with the cooperation of the United Sabah National Organisation. On the night the 1985 state election results are announced, the secret coalition between PBS and USNO falls apart at the seams, leading to an overnight power struggle that takes place at the State Palace. This coup would become the precursor to dramatic demonstrations the following year. An incident that is rarely talked about today — making this — The Silent Riot.

  2. 20 years ago, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, was systematically granting of citizenship to illegal immigrants by giving them identity documents in Sabah.

    This so called Project IC a.k.a Project M is to alter the demographic pattern of Sabah to make it more favorable to the ruling government, namely Barisan National. There are at least 1,500,000 “Project IC citizens” in Malaysia by 2012.

    In other words, our fate is now decided by someone who does not belong to here. Our government “help” them to gain citizenship, and they “help” the ruling party to win the election.

    Najib is (allegedly) doing the same thing now! What is the point to have election then? Where is our right to choose our future? How can we accept all these unscrupulous actions of BN government that would destroy democracy?

    Change now, save Malaysia. Please Share this video to your family members and friends:

  3. If Tunku Abdul Rahman did not grant citizenships to non-Malays during Merdeka, Dr Mahathir Mohamad would not have been a Malaysian, claimed an NGO.

    Malaysian Indian Progressive Association (Mipas) chairman A Rajaretinam made this known during a protest in Brickfields today against Mahathir’s call to probe citizenships given during Independence.


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