There shall be no Wu Sangui (吳三桂) among us

A long winded ‘cheong hei’ article by me:

One of the most infamous acts of betrayal in Chinese history was committed by Wu Sangui (吳三桂), a Ming dynasty general who opened the gates of the Great Wall to let in the Manchu invaders in 1644. Wu Sangui’s decision was motivated by his personal grudge which resulted to collapse of Ming dynasty. The story had been retold in many versions of TV dramas and film – my favourite version is 1981 Hong Kong TVB production “武侠帝女花” staring Michelle Yim and Damian Lau. The full historical chronicle of Wu Sangui can be found here:

Wu Sangui’s story can be seen as a cautionary tale for modern politics in Malaysia, where betrayal and defection are common phenomena. Malaysia has experienced political crises since its independence in 1957, often triggered by politicians switching sides or forming new coalitions for their own interests. The most classical example was in 2020 in a scheme named Sheraton Move, when a group of MPs led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin withdrew their support from the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition and formed a new government with the opposition parties. This move was widely seen as a betrayal of the people’s mandate and a coup against the democratically elected government. The Abah government faced many criticisms, especially for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and its crackdown on dissent. It eventually collapsed in 2021, after losing majority in parliament which put Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri as Prime Minister, whom also short lived.

Malaysia embraced new hope in GE15, but lately general Malaysian public is already experiencing political fatigue. Malaysia in turmoil since 2020 – having 4 Prime Ministers in 5 years. The only difference between Malaysia and a banana republic is that, Malaysia has not resorted into civil wars, … yet. Even though Malaysia Madani as united front, there had been persistent efforts from the opposition to weaken and damage credibility of Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim leadership. While it is seen that the Prime Minister is able to hold the fort, there are hearsays of possible-government collapse with withdrawal of 10 or 15 traitorous MPs in near future. The propaganda is deceiving the public with the aim of causing mayhem in the forthcoming 6 states election.

Social media and messaging apps greatly empowered the public with information but BEWARE of quack doctor and snake oil salesman going around to preach about an alternative (or apocalyptic) Malaysia. Malay Proclamation raised eyebrows and average Joes among rakyat start bellowing “here they go again”. I suppose, we presently have the ideal Prime Minister ever and each of our wakil rakyat is well qualified with outstanding credentials. Yes, I see each of them as superhero with their own superiority but yet, have not shown any teamwork like the Justice League.

Mind you, the vessel has but one captain, never two. Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister helming this vessel. In this period of uncertainty, provides the best opportunity for lawmakers to uphold their fidelity and build rapport with stakeholders (a.k.a the voters in their respected constituency). But have they, the ‘wakil rakyat’ been overwhelmed with their mission to reach the sun and stars, while the most crucial are just petty community issues at their own front yard? Failure of ‘turun padang’ clearly erode the confidence to respected political parties in unity government and would only end up in public criticism. Today’s voters are growing more cynical, and they always know (when, how, where) to question, with more questions and keep questioning.

Back to the story, Wu Sangui did not fare well after his betrayal to Ming Dynasty. It was recorded that Wu sacrificed many comrades during his allegiance to Qing administration, and ironically later he himself launched a failed-coup against the dynasty. Wu Sangui’s is notoriously remembered in China as the traitor who paved ways for outsiders Manchu invaders (non-Han) to rule over ethnic Chinese Han people. They were ‘allowed’ in, they stayed for over 250 years, but their dynasty did not last forever. Qing government were overthrown in 1911 in the famous Wuchang uprising. Ironically, Wuchang uprising were a ‘reformasi’ movement initiated by students and railway workers.

It’s proven since beginning of time – political opportunism backfired. The hidden truth of this lessons – History always foretells the same destiny. For those Wu Sangui and those who were sneaked in, there shall be no legacy left for them. The recent mammoth gathering of ‘Kerajaan Perpaduan Malaysia’ on 14th May is a stern warning to all political opportunists – Reformasi and Madani will stay as one entity for a long time.

Part of this article had been translated into Bahasa Malaysia at MalaysiaKini:

Find out more about Wu Sangui in this documentary: