The expansion of PAS is another huge step backwards for a nation already falling further and further behind democratically, economically and intellectually.

The kampung mentality is strong; it's a bit like the redneck extremists in the USA having a say in policy, when they come from a background of poor education and antediluvian "morality" that has little or nothing to do with the modern world.

Expect things to get worse if PAS wield more influence. Singapore must be laughing, having come from basically the same base to soar past both its erstwhile neighbours *and* its colonial progenitor, in all metrics.

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It's hard to imagine, let alone accept, that the post-2022 elections in Malaysia will produce a new political landscape in Malaysia. It's just as difficult to accept that UMNO's corrupt tendencies, much less corruption in Malaysia, particularly within Malaysia Inc, is just about over. To think that the two will result, as Murray Hunter is suggesting, is at best wishful thinking; at worst, fantasy.

People said the same thing in 2018 with Pakatan Harapan taking power from Umno, who until than had dominated Malaysian politics but in the worst ways imaginable. It led to the embedding of the racist Malay state, entrenching political Islam in the worst ways imaginable via the Islamist PAS and its hangup on inserting Islamic theocracy a la the Khomeini-Iranian dictum, and cementing not just money politics within Umno but corruption writ large between the Malay political elite, the Malay-dominated bureaucracy, and the "Malaysian" capitalist class including Chinese and Indian capital. It led to the development of an incestuous dependent capitalism in the form of Malaysia Inc. Through Malaysia Inc, large Malay conglomerates mushroomed, and almost all were spawned and protected by the Malay-nationalist state. In essence, Yoshihara Kunio thesis on the rise of ersatz capitalism in Malaysia was seminal, and remains seminal to this day despite critiques or criticisms by political economists masquerading as neo-Marxists. Take a close look at the perennial loss-making proton car maker, Proton, which would have been bankrupt aeons ago had it not been for wasteful taxpayer-funded subsidies and then hived off to mainland Chinese capitalist interests who, coincidentally, were the business arm of the Chinese Communist Party state.

Corruption within Umno will remain becuase it's the blood that runs through its corrupt veins. It's how its politics works, mostly of buying and selling patronage, clientelism, favors, and of its individuals, if not ripping off state finances, enriching themselves criminally. One could extend this argument to Chinese and Indian Malaysian business interests, of their conglomerates, especially, who rely on state patronage and the greasing of Malay palms, and their SMEs. This is no accident; it's constructed corruption and UMNO was the heart of this nefarious, criminally-minded organization of Malaysia's industrial policy.

Harapan pretended to be a reformist regime but in its short 22-month rein, backed right away from real reforms except in proffering more of its hype and hubris. And to think that it could be reformist when the father of Malaysian corruption Mahathir Mohamad was leader of Harapan, that was forever jockeying to kiss Mahathir's feet, including leaders of the Chinese-chauvinistic Democratic Action Party (DAP), only sowed seeds of doubt about its genuineness for reforms but also bred infighting to the point that it torpedoes Harapan and sunk it like the Bismarck.

What you have now are Malays in Perikatan Nasional who, in case you've forgotten, were bred of their politics in UMNO. And as long as the structures and institutions of Malay (and Malaysian) politics remain connected to irresolvable tendencies for corruption, precisely because that is the Malay and Malaysian mentality, nothing in Malaysia is ever -- ever -- likely to change, much less its political landscape. The "democracy" it boasts is only ever mentioned at elections but the practice of which is closer to Malay authoritarianism and Malay feudal fascism, especially if PAS had a greater say in national policymaking since it has garnered more seats, on a party-to-party basis than any other party that contested the 2022 polls. And if this does materialize of PAS, you can be sure that the pariah political and economic status of Malaysia will be far worse across the spectrum. It'll create a new nervousness among foreign investors and for capital flows. It'll cement more brain-drain haemorrhage. It'll lead to more people migrating out of Malaysia. It'll lead, as PAS and Perikatan Nasional, and even UMNO would want it, the near-total Malay-ization of Malaysia. There would not be any reason, then, to call Malaysia "Malaysia" as it becomes an Islamic rather than a historically falsely secular state.

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