RSS Subscription

THERE were compelling reasons 53% of Malaysians voted against Umno/Barisan Nasional in 2013.

There were compelling reasons more Malaysians were willing to give the only set of leaders and government they ever knew the boot in 2013, acutely aware that uncertainty and messiness could follow.

Corruption. Incompetence. Racism. Hubris.

But more than any of the above, the sheer arrogance of Umno leaders finally became too much to stomach even for an incredibly tolerant people. And so, droves of Malaysians voted against Najib Razak and Umno in 2013.

Today, we learnt that nothing has changed.

Arrogance is still the calling card of an Umno politician.

It was arrogance that drove Pasir Salak Umno chief Tajuddin Rahman to dismiss the theft of billions of ringgit from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) as a small matter. He likened the losses chalked by the government-owned entity to the expensive privatisation failures during the Mahathir era.

“His mega projects like Proton and others suffered losses, yet we did not ask him to step down but continue to solve the problem. It is just money,” said the deputy agriculture and agro-based industry minister.

What arrogance to try and pass off the biggest theft in Malaysian history as a commercial venture gone bad. Yes, Proton was an ill-conceived project but the venture did produce a tangible product: millions of cars.  

In contrast, billions of taxpayers’ funds from 1MDB were used to buy a super yacht, palatial homes in the US and UK and jewellery and fund a couple of movies. The beneficiaries were Najib’s son and inner circle.

Until today, no one has been charged in a Malaysian court. Not the 1MDB management. Not the board of directors. Not the chairman of the board.

Tajuddin compounded his arrogance with another self-serving observation.

‎He said the 1MDB probe was ongoing and the government was still chasing the culprit.

What arrogance to believe that Malaysians should embrace such a cavalier statement.

But Tajuddin is in good company.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi never misses an opportunity to talk about embracing diversity in Malaysia.

His advisers must be telling him that he has to sound prime ministerial in public so that his jarring statements when he was the Umno Youth chief are nudged into the distant memory.

But he reverted to his usual self before his own party members at the Kelana Jaya Umno division meeting. He attacked Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Indian heritage and then had the temerity to say that it wasn’t a personal attack.

Here’s the thing: please attack Dr Mahathir on his track record as PM or his decades of doublespeak as the Umno president.

But don’t pretend to be an inclusive Malaysian leader when you address Malaysians as the DPM and then play the insidious race card when you speak from the rostrum as an Umno leader.

It is this kind of rhetoric by politicians that drives the wedge between Malaysians of different races and makes talk of national unity hollow. – July 31, 2017.

Comments are closed.