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On Malay Heroes and Traitors
Written by M. Bakri Musa Aug 13, 0911:14am
It is truly beyond belief that the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) of a supposedly civilized nation like Malaysia would see fit to label the leader of its loyal opposition a traitor, as Muhiyyuddin Yassin did recently in referring to Anwar Ibrahim. I expect such infantile name calling and boorish behaviour from the likes of Umno Youth leaders and mainstream media editors, not from a DPM.
Muhiyyuddin has yet to learn that as DPM he is leader of all Malaysians, not just of Umno and Barisan supporters. He has yet to grasp the reality that he is no longer a parochial party politician but now a national leader. This transition to the second highest office in the land, and literally a heartbeat away from being prime minister, appears to be beyond him.
Muhiyyuddin as DPM does not necessarily alarm me except that our recent history has shown that even those less than top class as DPMs do ascend to the highest post in the land. Were he to succeed likewise, it would truly be hard the country. As he has so clearly demonstrated, his character does raise questions about his ability to lead the country.
In calling Anwar a traitor to Malays, and presumably also to Malaysia, Muhiyyuddin is treating the millions of Anwar supporters, Malays and non-Malays alike, also as traitors. In so doing Muhiyyuddin exacerbates the already deepening and increasingly dangerous polarization of Malaysians, especially Malays.
This is no way to further the aspirations of "1Malaysia". With the economy tanking and the escalating health threat from the H1N1 influenza, I would have thought he would have his hands full helping Prime Minister Najib Razak.
More specifically, as Education Minister he has enough on his plate in rescuing our pathetic national schools. As such he would have little time to indulge in such behaviour. As DPM and also the minister in charge of education Muhyyuddin has all the opportunities to prove himself a hero. If Muhiyyuddin truly believes that Anwar is a traitor, and thus a threat to the nation, then he should act on his conviction.
There are enough statutes on the books to deal with traitors. That Muhiyyuddin is satisfied only with name calling reveals certain negative traits of character. Part of A Greater Problem Alas Muhiyyuddin is only part of a much greater problem, and that is the pathetic lack of talent in Umno, and thus the government. As non-Malays still see Umno as representing the Malays, many would not unreasonably conclude that the Malay race itself lacks talent.
Consequently no amount of special privileges, enhanced opportunities, and molly coddling would or could change that reality. That is the scary and destructive assumption. More pertinently, that hurts - deeply. One cannot really fault these non-Malays for their erroneous conclusion.
After all, hardly a day goes by without us hearing something silly coming from these senior Umno leaders. A few days ago there was Information Minister Rais Yatim wanting to censor the Internet.
A few months back there was his predecessor Zainuddin Maidin foaming at the mouth eager to demonstrate his utter stupidity in front of a worldwide Al-Jazeera audience by complaining about those 'traitorous' Hindraf demonstrators and defending the abusive behaviour of the police.
I yearn to hear something sensible emanating from these top Umno leaders. In my earlier book The Malay Dilemma Revisited, I suggested that then Prime Minister Mahathir revamp Umno's top leadership by totally bypassing the next (now the current) generation of leaders as represented by Muhiyyuddin Yassin, Rais Yatim, and Zainuddin Maidin. Mahathir then was (and perhaps still is) the only Umno leader capable of undertaking such a massive transformation of his party.
Had he done that, he would have spared the nation the agony of half a decade of wasted opportunities under Abdullah Badawi, Mahathir's chosen successor. Mahathir is today pathetically reduced to a cranky old man continually bitching on the sidelines. And if I may add, ineffectually too!
Mahathir's recent passionate calls for not abandoning the teaching of science and mathematics in English were essentially ignored by Muhiyyuddin and the Cabinet.
Mahathir's success in bringing down Abdullah was an aberration, contributed greatly by Abdullah's own ineptness. With Najib and Muhyyuddin however, we have a pair of politicians not at all shy in abusing the powers of the state to silence their critics.
The only difference between the two is that Najib is more polished and thus presents a seemingly more sophisticated image, while Muhiyyuddin is the direct opposite. With Muhyyddin set to succeed Najib, and tired characters like Rais Yatim, Hishamuddin and Nazri Aziz permanently ensconced in the Cabinet, the future for Malaysia is bleak. Umno is incapable of self-renewal. The party's upcoming October General Assembly purportedly to revamp its Constitution will not alter anything.
Increasing the number of delegates to select the top leaders, one of the proposed changes, will only result in more sharing the loot.
As they all have the same insatiable appetite for avarice, 'money politics,' Umno's notorious euphemism for corruption, would only expand. There is no reason for Malaysians to remain fatalistic and meekly accept such a fate.
We are a democracy; citizens have the power the change their government, and thus alter the fate of our nation. So come the next election throw them out, the whole lot of them. Once these characters are out of power, watch them resort to ugly name calling.
At least then those tirades would be directed at their fellow Umno leaders. They deserve that, and each other.
Comment by Ahmad Nidzamuddin: Politically DPM is looking for trouble I am afraid. In most by election campaigns from Permatang Pauh to Bukit Gantang, Anwar seldom touch on the DPM.., instead issues of Altantuya and PM were more often mentioned. DPM was not in his target list. The DPM should be thankful for that since if he is in the list, that means trouble since that chap is opening 'his closet exposing all the skeleton'. Thus why declare the war..? Once this starts.. the public is going to know more and more. Knowing the crowd that he can pull I think all 'skeleton' that have been hidden all this while will emerge. When this happen, the public will start thinking.., the pot is calling the kettle black... you know some of the stories I guess..
My comment : In politics, what is correct does not necessary is what you should do. Gaining public support is what a politician should do. PM and DPM are not ordinary leaders. They are leaders who are going to portray the image and direction of the government and country. They should be calm and show their professionalism. Our PM, Najib Razak has shown his ability to fulfil the criteria of a good political leader (a good political leader does not refers to leader who is good in personality but it refers to a leader who knows what should and should not be done in political fields. (Good leaders such as Hitler in German and Shi Huang Ti in China or even George W Bush in America have shown their capability in leading a political institution even there are a lot of critics towards the way they rule their countries). For me, our fifth PM is a good leader with good personality. I respect him for that and also for his effort to combat corruption, upholding democracy, justice etc. But as I said before, a good leader is not the same as a good political leader. In politics, the equation is not correct equal to correct and wrong equal to wrong. It can go the other way. A minister can easily retract their negative remarks but a PM or a DPM can’t. That is why I do respect Muhyiddin when he was a minister as a minister just focus more on working performance, rather than political performance.