Sunday, July 31, 2016

After Turkey military coup, Malaysia's turn?

An argument broke out over teh tarik one night at Wangsa Maju's NZ mamak shop. A friendly one between old chums.

It started out when one of the attendee passed a remark that if a military coup were to happen in Malaysia, one will not find a situation of people coming out to defend Dato' Najib as happened in Turkey.

The discussion eventually developed into a debate with the preposition: After the Turkey military coup, it will be Malaysia's turn for a military coup. An electronic engineer, mathametics professor, and a building contractor on the affirmative (or pencadang as known in school) side. A retired banker, on-vacation diplomat and architect on the negative (or pembangkang).

Losing side pay for the bill. Except that the debate was already started before a judge could be selected.

Using his deductive ability, the mathematics professor viewed that the only option left for Tun Dr Mahathir to bring Dato Najib down fast enough is through a military coup.

He failed to topple Najib via UMNO General Assembly, vote of no confidence in Parliament, and allegedly through illegally formed "Special Taskforce". He couldn't amass the million signature for his Citizens' Declaration. In fact, CD has faded and the formation of a new political party was a new story to keep his cause burning.

His call for a million political rally to call Najib's resignation will not happen. Thanks or no thanks to the red shirt, last weekend's call for rally did not happen. The referendum he called too will not even begin. There is no constitutional provision for such.

Mahathir will never get an audience to see Agong. PM does not need to block. The Malay rulers aren't interested. They cannot forget the two constitutional crises Mahathir orchestrated to curb rulers power.

If he has no patience to wait for the general election, then he will pursue a military coup. That is if he still has the cloud in the military.

The diplomat, who has some understanding of military, argued that the Malaysian military establishment is not tuned for military coup. Malaysia emulated the British system in which the military is not an independent entity.

Unlike modern Turkey that was established by a military coup led by Mustapha Kemal, Malaysian military has a constitutional leadership as symbolic head of the various military branches. The Raja-Raja Melayu are insistent on the continuity of constitutional monarchy and rakyat self-rule. A republic will end their existence anyway.

Turkish military has a history of coups because it is inscribed in their establishment to uphold a secular system of government. This give them justification to bring back order (they pereived disorder) in government.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan have been on an Islamist path since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power. And, the Kemalian secularist ideology military have been against it. When Erdogan was *Mayor, he was removed through a "military"-backed coup.
* Correction

Malaysia has no such precedent thus it will not happen. This invited the electronic engineer to interject.

He said past Malaysian Prime Ministers which stayed long had family members to lead the military to prevent any form of military coup from developing.

The active opposition campaign worker claimed Tunku Abdul Rahman had his nephew, Tunku Osman Tunku Mohamed Jewa as the first Malaysian Armed Forces Chief of Staff. While, Mahathir had brother-in-law, General Tan Sri Mohamed Hashim bin Mohd Ali as Chief of the Defence Forces.

Another observation he highlighted was Tun Abdul Razak never did the same but he was no example to show he cannot sustain without his man or family heading the military. But, Pak Lah and Najib were better examples.

With the Department of Justice filing and despite attempts to raise issues against DOJ and the AG, public opinion is getting more and more overwhelming, Najib's is presumed guilty in the court of public opinion, and dedak eaters' back are against the wall.

If other avenues have been exhausted, then a military coup is ripe for the taking. The engineer with years of experience in telecommunication and electronic research felt there are indications the lower ranks are no more pro-government.

Lumut parliament seat fell to opposition albeit a retired Navy Admiral. A senior lecturer at the National Defense University, Prof Dr Ariffin Omar joined DAP and is now their Vice Chairman. It is bewildering as to how a former Aliran activist could join such establishment.

Even a controversial character like Dr Ridhuan Tee is a lecturer there. Do they vet the trainers and curriculum to train future military officers?

There was silence for a while.

The contractor seek permission to add on to what was raised by the telco man. He said it will be good to have our colonel friend in the discussion so that he can give the military insight.

He said Malaysia and Turkey always get mentioned as the two most progressive Islamic countries. Would this not attract interference from outside to destabilise an Islamic country and superpowers would want to put their puppet?

Bear in mind, both Malaysia and Turkey have geo-strategic value. Malaysia is in middle of the trade route of Straits of Malacca and South China Sea. While, Turkey is the gate of Europe and Asia, the gate of Mediterranean and Black Sea, the gate of Mediterranean and Red Sea.

All the food, oil, product and navy ships of the world pass through them. For a basic idea, read this 1998 paper here on Turkey's strategic value to build on with later years political, military, trade and financial developments.

The architect disagree. Malaysia and Turkey are different. Having been there on many occasions, he said the Islamic profile of Malaysia and Turkey vastly differ.

Islam has a constitutional position in Malaysia and the Muslims are generally still practising. Turkey is only a country of Muslims but only certain part of the country practise Islam. Generally they tend to start praying in their old age.

The idea being bandied about by Malaysian Islamic activist to promote the idea of Erdogan as a new caliphates for Islam is delusional. The sentiment that brought out supporters to come out in support of Erdogan and willing to risk their life was not Islamic sentiment but Turkish nationalism.  

The Western media depicted it as fight for democrasy but that it not quite true. The role of the west is more complicated. But, this notion of rise of Islam and caliphate in Turkey as promoted by our Malaysian Islamist are hogwash.

The caliphate idea are influenced by Ikhwanul Muslimin and now being championed by ISIS is hogwash. Maybe it arise because Anwar was close with Erdogan and Anwarinas' ABIM and IKRAM could be taksub for Erdogan. The rivalry between Mahathir and Anwar may have stemmed from him being jealous of this relationship. Mahathir was never heard to acknowledged Erdogan.  

The rise of caliphate and Ottoman empire is a dreamy romanticism of the past. Brexit is too early an indication to claim the end of regional grouping of nations and the return to the individual modern nation state. Still, it is far cry from the Medievel and Renaissance era of city state which were the backbone of empires!

Lastly, Turks are secular and for all practical purposes, they are Europeans. They have not joined EU but is an important member in Nato. They have the largest armed forces in Nato. They are with Nato including US to fight ISIS.

The retired banker and now regular contributor to a media chipped in. The recent geo-political conflicts in the region has to be understood to understand the military coup. Turkey is in a perfect storm of crises, as Global Research summarised their crises are in Syria, and with EU, US, Kurds, Nato and Russia.

There are conflicting interest by siding or being together with any party. To cut it short, there is that possibility that the US could be behind the military coup. The hint lies in is how Fox News attacked Erdogan and also his supporters for reacting to the coup.

It is not so much for the French and EU reaction to call on Erdogan to respect for law and human rights in restoring order. They have always been finding reasons to prevent Turkey from joining Europe. More so with many ISIS attacks on French soil.

The electronic engineer interjected to highlight the accusation of Erdogan of breaching human rights had always been Western media propaganda.

The banker replied true or maybe not. Erdogan will need to fortify himself. That is understandable but the purge on the military could get carried away. It has happened in the past in the Middle East, where suspension of democrasy is in perpetuity and throws the country into dictatorship.

Nevertheless, there are reasons to believe the US is behind it. They have not been happy with Erdogan for taking a blind eye on ISIS. Erdogan had allegedly used ISIS to attack on Kurds and Syiah factions in Syria while at the same time cooperated with US to see Bashar Assad defeated. However Erdogan did not support the US-backed rebel fighting against Assad.

Since Russian came into Syria in the war against ISIS, they had taken a pro-Assad stance. The US got uncomfortable with Erdogan when he became friendly with Russian. The Kemalian military are pro-US. The airbase commander where US launch their attack on ISIS was taken in for participating in the coup.

A recent report from Russia Today accused a former American NATO commander was behind the coup. Macedonian Online claim Erdogan was saved by Russian.

The electronic engineer interjected again. This was a people uprising against the military. Unless there were covert operation behind, can't see how Russians are involved.

The diplomat stepped in. There was a report by BBC that claimed Erdogan had been purging the military of staunch secularist ideologists to fortify himself. He used to be overthrown by the military thus it could be pre-emptive move by him.

The BBC report did mention that the military expected another round of purging in August and a certain faction of the military felt they were affected thus reacted.

However, it is preposterous the US is involved. It was badly planned and executed. Some reports described it as amateurish. The higher hierarchy in the army was not involved.

The electronic engineer stepped in. How about the case of the Turkish dissident being protected by the Americans? He was capable of pulling a military coup from inside. He has influence with people inside police, army and government.

Banker interjected. The person we are talking about is Fethullah Gulen, the exiled liberal-inclined cleric in asylum in Pennsylvania. Gulen was together with Erdogan. So there could be internal political struggle that led to this coup.

The architect spoke to ask to return to the subject of a possible military coup in Malaysia.

Mathematics professor stepped in. By comparing the situation in Malaysia and Turkey, it can be concluded that it differs vastly. Our military people would not have collaborated with foreigners to pursue their domestic agenda.

Furthermore, the Malaysian military have no domestic political agenda. They may have personal opinion on local issues but the chain of command would not interfere in political affair.

Contractor asked: how about the possibility that US tried to interfere in our internal affair because of  our position on the 9-dash line issue with China? Maybe they wanted us to take on China like the Phillipines so they set-up a coup?

The architect replied, "Then, if that is the case, the DOJ was more a political coup or psy-op to assist Mahathir to topple Najib. Already there are questions as to how Mahathir could do it other than wait out the general election?"

Math prof pondered to ask: is it possible for Mahathir to collaborate in an American covert op? Boy, it is an upside down world. 

Consequently, there was a consensus that the connections and situation does not add up for a military coup. There is a general law that applies on military personnel as well as civilian for waging a war on the Yang Dipertuan Agong.

It is treason and if found guilty, they should be hanged. But how come the nine Lahad Datu intruders escaped with life sentence? At least, four of them should be hanged. Some judges are getting wishy washy. 

One of us shared something on several new military appointments. It strengthen further the argument a coup won't happen in the near future.

By the time the new subject to argue over, as to which side should pay, came up, the mamak waiter came over to inform that someone paid for all. A friend was waving from afar with a thumbs up sign.

* Edited 1/8 10:00 AM


Ted Manoff said...

Berebut kuasa sampai nak ada military coup menang idea yg sangat Bahlol

IT.Scheiss said...

I can't recall where I read the opinion that the coup in Turkey was by a pro-US faction of the generally secular military but a larger Turkey-loyalist secular faction did not support them but supported Erdogan instead, not because they necessarily agreed with his Islamic direction but for the sovereignty of Turkey. So resistance to the coup was by the Islamists in alliance with a larger part of the secular military.

As for Malaysia, I certainly do not see Mahathir being able to forment any military coup, though if the country descends into a prolonged period of political uncertainty due to continuous politicking which has an adverse effect on the economy, then something outside of a dysfunctional parliamentary rule can happen which eventually leads to a kind of state of emergency being declared and politics as usual suspended.

In Thailand, this took the form of a military coup to restore order but in Malaysia, dunno what form it will take.

My Say