Once, twice, thrice bitten but never shy

By Jeswan Kaur, FMT

Once bitten twice shy is a phrase alien to Barisan Nasional. The three-party coalition’s shocking defeat in the 2008 General Election has failed to teach it any lesson in humility.

Take the high-handed show of power by Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who stubbornly declared that the teaching of Maths and Science in English be reverted to Bahasa Malaysia – this despite pleas by parents for their children to have the option of choosing between either.

Muhyiddin, however, remained adamant of completing his mission of making the Malay agenda his top most priority. It was a pleasant end to this controversy when Muhyiddin failed to fulfill his wish, one which served more of a personal agenda instead of the nation’s.

Prior to this, the DPM was just as unwilling to step in and end the controversy surrounding the Malay novel Interlok which was made the literature textbook for Form Five students starting this year.

Muhyiddin could not care less whether Indians in Interlok were called pariah or the Chinese were depicted as cheats and heartless parents. What he did deem important was that the author of this novel, national laureate Abdullah Hussain, not be chided for labelling the non Malays in a racist and discrimninatory way.

It seems that BN is back to its old modus operandi of taking the rakyat for granted. Hoodwinking the people under the tagline “people first performance now” BN chief and prime minister, Najib Tun Razak, has turned complacent, misguided by the notion that the mega bucks splashed on mega projects are certain to earn him mega votes come the 13th General Election.

But both Najib and Muyhiddin have got it all wrong. In fact, they have decided that the rakyat has no other choice but to come crying to BN for help. Perhaps that is why Muyhiddin so confidently remarked on Halloween Day that the rakyat has no better choice than the BN government – harrowing indeed.
Post-2008, there has been little consolation that BN has come to its senses and would turn over a new leaf. The ineffective leadership plus the bullying tactic applied by Najib and company have left the rakyat certain that BN has yet to bury its massive ego.

This display of “leadership by example” has now taken a turn for the worse. The antics of MCA president Chua Soi Lek and Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil have confirmed the rakyat’s worst nightmare that politics in Malaysia is all about serving personal interests, never the people’s.

When BN censors the truth

Chua, the former health minister whose political career was destroyed after he was exposed having an extramarital affair, has yet to learn his lesson, as far as dispensing advice goes.

Reacting to the police’s move to ban the Seksualiti Merdeka festival, an event aimed at empowering the LGBTIQ community, Chua said police interference could have been avoided had the festival organiser held it in a “hush hush” manner.

Chua was quoted in The Star as saying that “the festival organiser must be sensitive as there are certain segments of the community that might not be able to accept such an event”.
“If they want to organise it like a festival that runs for days, it may provoke people who may not agree with it,” Chua had said.

Looks like Chua was speaking from experience, but then as the Malay saying goes, “berani kerana benar, takut kerana salah” (one is brave when right and afraid when in the wrong), there was no reason for the festival organiser to cower in fear.

If dispensing that uncalled for advice was not enough, MCA earned the condemnation of Malaysians living abroad when MCA central committee member Ei Kim Hock told the Parliamentary Select Committee panel on Nov 11 that Malaysians living abroad were unqualified to vote as they were “out of touch” with the country’s current affairs.

Backing his claim, Ei said MCA’s research showed that most of these Malaysians only received information from dubious sources which may not paint a true picture of the situation here.

Needless to say, Malaysians living abroad wasted no time in taking MCA to task, forcing Chua to immediately chastise Ei for his improper explanation. Chua clarified that MCA opposed overseas voting because of the “logistical nightmare” and resources needed for its success.

Such a comedy of errors! If indeed Malaysians abroad gained information from unreliable sources, what then are the roles played by the Malaysian embassies located overseas? Do we take it as that the Tourism Ministry, mired in a never-ending controversy of extravagance, has failed to do its job as the agent of information for Malaysians in other parts of the world?

If the truth cannot reach Malaysians staying abroad, it is because BN as the federal ruling government chooses not to tell the truth and not because the former does not know how to get hold of information pertaining to their motherland.

Embezzlement of funds – rakyat never forgets

2011 seems to be one of controversies. The most recent involves seasoned politician, Shahrizat.

Shahrizat seems to have joined the bandwagon of corrupt and nepotism-practising politicians and has come under fire over claims that the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) paid for a RM10 million condominium belonging to National Meat and Livestocks Corporation, a company wholly-owned by her family.