Bogeyman politics

Campaigning in the PKR elections seems to have reached fevered pitch with the Kapar MP Abdullah Sani publicly accusing Daim of conspiring to stop Anwar from becoming Prime Minister. The PKR MP, who is campaigning for Rafizi’s bid to be elected deputy president promised to show proof at a later stage.

In a strange twist, one key claim that Rafizi has made for his bid is that a loyal deputy president, meaning himself (and by implication, his opponent, the incumbent Azmin, is disloyal) is vital to ensure that Anwar will succeed to be PM in the future. The rumoured story is that Mahathir is grooming Azmin to overtake Anwar, and the proof is Mahathir’s appointment of Azmin to the powerful Economic Affairs Ministry.

No one can know for certain what Mahathir really intends or thinks with respect to Anwar. And any claim in that respect must be dismissed as speculation. As I have mentioned in another article, you can claim anything with respect to anyone’s intentions and motivations. No one can prove you wrong. But neither can you prove it. You can feel Mahathir’s disgust over such tactics with his terse response: Show proof I want to block Anwar.

“I am not interested and stay away from interfering in the affairs of other parties,” he added.

But if you turn a deaf ear to the speculation and just look at the facts, Mahathir had appointed the PKR President to be his DPM and the PKR Deputy President to what is said to be a very powerful ministry, when previously no less than Rafizi had complained that Mahathir had not given due consideration to PKR’s dominant position as the party with the most number of MPs by rewarding it with ministries of greater significance. Who else should he have appointed to that ministry?

It just seems to me that a desperate Rafizi is resorting to “bogeyman” politics.

The bogeyman “is a common allusion to a mythical creature in many cultures used by adults to frighten children into good behaviour.”

“You need me to defend you and your loved ones against the bogeyman.”

UMNO has used this tactic for decades, casting the Chinese, the Christians as the bogeyman, ever ready to enslave the Malays and Christianise the Muslims. In more recent times, DAP is cast as both Chinese and Christian.

The harm of such tactics is that you make monsters out of innocent parties or communities and you create an unreasonable fear and paranoia about them, causing a breakdown in relationships. Not to mention that you are slandering in order to advance your own cause.

To see bogeyman politics being practised so early in PH’s history is a little alarming. If it works for Rafizi it could encourage others with similar ambitions to try such tactics and when they come into positions of power and influence they may start to demonise persons or communities, just as UMNO did.

What Rafizi does not realize, or perhaps does not care, is the harm he is causing to the relationship between Anwar and Mahathir, and by implication, between PKR and PPBM. And, I must say, the harm to Anwar in the eyes of the public. There is nothing more ugly than the sight of a man who feels entitled and who strikes out to defend that entitlement. I am not saying that this is Anwar, because I think he is a far better politician than this. But Rafizi is doing him no favours and linking Nurul Izzah with himself taints him even further.

Bogeyman politics is another relic of old Malaysia we should do away with.

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