Saying ‘sorry’ is BN’s new ‘winning’ strategy

There’s a new game on the board for Malaysians, it’s called the ‘Apology Game’ and leading the flock is Umno’s president Najib Tun Razak and his Wanita chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

Sorry is a game-plan

by Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz, FMT

To the Barisan Nasional (BN) people, saying sorry is just a game. The game starts when someone on the “other side” says or does something that might conceivably offend.

Umno and BN people have everything except honour and scruples.

The apologiser-in-chief is of course Najib Tun Razak. He has said sorry for those undefined Umno wrongs.

Maybe he is sorry he couldn’t plug the gaping hole that allowed RM1.3 trillion to leave the country.

Maybe he is sorry for the endless list of financial scandals caused by Umno. Maybe he is sorry for dismembering the iconic MAS airline. Maybe he is sorry for destroying the future of Felda.

That means what the opposition has been telling is the truth – that Umno is indeed a real rogue.

Now we have a ‘deputy’ apologiser-in-chief. Enter Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, Women Family and Community Development Minister- cum-Wanita Umno leader.

She is also sorry but her regret takes a different form.

‘Art of steal’

Her apology is acted out in the form of sacrificing herself by announcing her ‘resignation’ from the cabinet.

That will make her out as a victim of some nebulous plot hatched by the opposition led by PKR strategy chief Rafizi Ramli and the party’s woman leader, Zuraidah Kamaruddin.

Two months ago, the Oracle (of Syed Putra who is an alter ego of Daim Zainuddin) told me that Najib had a written note that Shahrizat will go.

Maybe Najib secured a promise from Shahrizat to quit and he jotted down her promise in writing.

In the meantime, for public consumption a little drama for the desired political effects is good. Shahrizat was not actually planning to resign.

Why should she, when her colleagues are also plundering the nation? Her mistake was not being clever enough to disguise the thievery that took place within NFC.

Her colleagues demanded her head not because RM50 million or so was siphoned or how the RM250 million grant was used- t hey wanted her kicked out for not being clever enough at concealing the plundering.

Shahrizat had simply not paid attention in classroom, when they were taught the ‘Art of the Steal’.

‘Mortally wounded’

Rafizi and his gang had unearthed the many shenanigans that took place in National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal.

The NFC was granted a RM250 million grant at 2% interest to import cattle and beef up the cattle rearing industry.

Instead, Shahrizat’s family used the funds for non-related businesses such as buying high end condominiums, office buildings, expensive cars and paying astronomical salaries to directors.

About these condominiums, Shahrizat claimed ignorance and innocence- though the interior designers whom she engaged will tell you, every minute detail such as what bulbs and curtains to use was screened by her.

Yet, she says, she has nothing to do with the extra mural activities of NFC.

She showed affront and felt ‘mortally wounded’ by the accusations, saying that she is nothing except the woman to the man (her husband Mohamad Salleh Ismail who is NFC chairman) she goes to bed with.

She has nothing to do with his business dealings.

This shameless response secures her position as a victim and then very publicly demands sympathy.

Shahrizat’s all drama

At the recent Umno general assembly in PWTC Shahrizat said she will resign her post if Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR president) resigned hers, though how Wan Azizah is connected to the case in point baffled everyone except the Umno herds grazing the pastures of PWTC.

At the assembly Shahrizat feigned anger and took a combative stance. She issued challenges and threats.

She even tried to widen her defence by alluding to the real possibilities that her colleagues in the party are guilty of even bigger financial thievery.

She did all that not because she was offended. She played the game because demanding an apology and feigning the victim, generates extensive media coverage.

Why? Because if the offending party caves in and public sympathy swells as a result of media massaging, the whole melodrama will prove you are stronger and more powerful than your opponent.

You see, that is already happening. Umno leaders line-up like peons, praising Shahrizat.