M Bakri Musa. His thoughts require a response from the leaders of the Malaysian Nation
- From: "wan zaid" <wan zaid@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 27 Dec 2008 00:27:34 +1100
M Bakri Musa
Dec 11, 08 4:57pm
It is disheartening to note that while world leaders from Gordon Brown
to Barack Obama are consumed with the evolving global economic crisis - the
worse since the Great Depression - Malaysian leaders are obsessed with such
trivialities as whether yoga would undermine our faith in Islam, and on such
silly issues as Malay special privileges.
This is not just my observation. The Sultan of Selangor recently took
the unprecedented step of publicly upbraiding our elected leaders for
harping on such trivial matters. His Highness was right; he went further.
For the first time he will not be awarding Datukships to politicians on the
occasion of his birthday.
That is as public a humiliation as it gets. Now if only the other
rulers and the Agong would follow this sultan's fine example, it might just
shame our political leaders to take their responsibilities seriously.
As for these politicians "concerns" with the fate of Islam, consider
this. If brutal dictators like Stalin and Mao Zeedong could not suppress the
faith, rest assured that a little bit of calisthenics in the park would not
erode our faith in Islam.
Nonetheless I am 'touched' by the concerns of these self-professed
defenders of our faith. I would have more confidence if they were the
paragon of all things Islamic, like advocating a fatwa against corruption
and having some respect for basic human rights.
As for the special status of Malay customs, institutions and language,
this is also the favorite cause for these Hang Tuah wannabes. Never mind
that those rights are enshrined in our constitution; only those Malays who
are pathologically paranoid or inherently insecure would need to be
incessantly reassured of this fact.
To alter it would require amending the constitution, a process
requiring a two-third majority vote in Parliament. It is beyond me why we
Malays have to worry about this.
The crux of the issue is not with the fact of the 'special privilege'
clause in the constitution, but rather how to execute it to benefit the
Malay masses. That is a challenge beyond the capacity of current Malay
leaders; hence their preoccupation with these distracting trivialities.
Malays are not the only ones in need of constant reassurance. There
are those who, despite having their ancestors born in this country, go
ballistic whenever an idiot makes references to their foreign origin. They
too are plagued by their persistent paranoia and incessant insecurity as to
their rightful status in this country.
My sense of disappointment is more keenly felt as I am currently
witnessing president-elect Obama unveiling his new leadership team. To a
person, his nominees are all accomplished individuals, having made their
mark in academia, the professions, public service, or the corporate world.
They not only look competent but also speak with confidence and
considerable authority. Most of all they talk sense. That is very
reassuring, at a time when the public needs it badly.
Then there are the assorted characters now vying for leadership
positions in Umno and thus aspiring to lead our nation. To begin with, there
is Najib Abdul Razak, unopposed to be the next leader of Umno and thus the
next prime minister. With the country afflicted by rampant crime, the best
that he could offer was for citizens to change our perception of it!
As for his supposed knowledge of economics, his major as an
undergraduate at a provincial British university decades ago, he is
nonchalant about the threatening global economic crisis. Even Felda farmers
have a better grasp of threat of this global crisis, having seen their
livelihood destroyed with the plummeting price of palm oil.
Then there are the three candidates for Umno deputy leader.
Muhyiddin Yassin is upset with his former cabinet colleague Zaid
Ibrahim attending Pakatan Rakyat's party convention. I would have expected
as the international trade minister, Muhyiddin would be consumed with the
ongoing free trade negotiations with America rather than be bothered with
what Zaid is doing in his spare time. At the very least Muhyyiddin should be
busy drumming up foreign investments or finding new markets for our palm
oil, especially during these trying economic times.
The second candidate, Malacca Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam, is too
enthralled with Bollywood studs, having just awarded one of them a
Datukship. The song and dance of the Hindi movie is more his style. What a
contrast in values between that state and Selangor!
The third aspirant, the double-Muhammad Taib, was the fellow who was
arrested at an Australian airport a few years back with literally millions
in cash in his back-pocket. Nobody, least of all Prime Minister Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi, has ever asked this former school teacher how he acquired his
In a display of courage borne of stupidity, Muhammad Taib publicly
took on Raja Petra Kamarudin of Malaysia Today accusing him of insulting
Islam. Raja Petra mercilessly humiliated him into silence by exposing this
politician's sordid past.
These are the best of Malay leadership that we could offer for the
world to preview. Obviously what Malays need most in the constitution is not
the 'special privileges' provision, but a clause to protect us from these
inept and corrupt leaders.
The veteran political observer David Broder observed that Americans
have a lot to be thankful for at this Thanksgiving. At a time of severe
economic crisis they have as a leader someone as brilliant, capable and
inspiring as Obama. He has thus far lived up to his promise by picking a
team to match his considerable talent.
All this talent and experience will not guarantee success, of course.
Kennedy's "best and brightest" gave America its Bay of Pigs debacle and near
nuclear confrontation with Russia at the height of the Cold War. Later they
bequeathed the Vietnam War.
There is one certainty however; corrupt and incompetent leaders are a
sure recipe for the destruction of a society. Unfortunately that is what
Malaysia has in abundance today. That thought is enough to depress me, as
well as many Malaysians.
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