Our nonagenarian former prime minister strikes again.
This week he said that Malays are losing political influence and the country may become like neighbouring Singapore, with a non-Malay prime minister in charge.
He said this, after he joined Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra). In the past seven years, he has left Umno, formed Bersatu, left them, formed Pejuang, then left them too, and now joined Putra. He has taken party hopping to an artform.
Every time he speaks, it leads to a national discourse and a dissection of his intent, his historical relevance, and discussions about his place in modern Malaysia.
It is sometimes inconceivable that at a time when he should be an elder statesman working towards national unity, he continues to thrive by simply stirring the hornets’ nest, and making racially charged statements.
Isn’t it time that Malaysia realises that ultimately, this former strongman is just a consummate politician who says and does whatever that is politically expedient for his own personal agenda? And, more importantly, haven’t we also understood that this habit is not unique to him?
It is an affliction that all politicians in our country seem to have.
We have a strange unity government which includes a deputy prime minister we never thought we would see again in our national leadership. We have an opposition that is ultra-nationalistic and continues to stoke divisive fires. And, our economy is in the doldrums, and people are still struggling to put food on the table.
Malaysia has a new slogan, “Malaysia Madani.” It is supposed to be a robust new national philosophy coined by the prime minister with six core values. The values are sustainability, prosperity, innovation, respect, trust, and compassion.
At a cursory glance, this framework focuses on problem-solving and meeting the current needs of the nation. At the same time, the emphasis is on creating a peaceful and prosperous future which will fulfil the potential of the people and of the country.
On paper, it seems like a decent new philosophy for the country to embark on, and kudos to our three-month-old unity government for the initiative. But ultimately, it is just another slogan.
How can this objective of a progressive and inclusive nation be realised when we have a former prime minister, who despite losing his deposit at the last election, still stirs up national debates with his nonsensical comments? This coupled with an opposition that openly declares that they have no qualms about strategising a coup d’état to overthrow this unity government.
As a nation, we really must stop believing in politicians. Politicians just do not know when to stop. They never really leave of their own volition. And even if they are forced to leave, they still want to be part of the political landscape by being puppet masters. When they do not get their own way, they scheme and plot from behind the scenes, to usurp power again.
It is incumbent upon us Malaysians to not get attached to any politician. We need to stop being deferential to these people. Haven’t we learnt that they will potentially fleece us for everything, if we continue to treat them as demigods and saviours?
They are not our liberators. They are self-serving. Do not get devoted to any one of them. Do not fall for their charismatic overtures and rhetoric. With their repeated actions, they have all made it abundantly clear that they are in it for themselves.
Parliamentary sittings descend into a farce with garbage and bile being thrown about. I do not know if anything useful ever gets debated or discussed without some slanging match starting up.
The main coalition in this unity government is Pakatan Harapan, and they were voted in on a platform of reform. But how can they even begin to reform if they must walk on eggshells to placate their partners in government.
The home minister just invoked Section 70 of the Societies Act, which gives him special powers to exempt any society from complying with any section of the Act. He used this to release Umno, a vital unity government partner, from the need to contest their top two posts. The Umno president sits precariously in his own party but the unity government needs his benevolence to remain in power.
The man has a slew of corruption charges against him, yet for political expediency, he gets aways with a “no-contest” verbal resolution at his party conference. The home minister, naturally with the blessings of the prime minister, stepped in and said it’s okay for Umno not to contest its top two positions.
Isn’t this political chicanery? Clearly, for Pakatan Harapan, the next five years are about retaining power, and not rocking the boat.
In a few months, we will have six state elections. The circus will be back in town. The national opposition will focus on an ultra-nationalistic, jingoistic, and racist propaganda. They have already started with fear-mongering, and they now have an ally in Mahathir Mohamad.
There is no doubt that their clarion call will be “…vote for us, if not the ‘pendatang’ will take over.”
Is there hope for us, especially the minority communities, in Malaysia?
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.