A Problematic Past and a Pitiful Present

Tarak Singh

As I sit here, scrolling through the news, I am hit by headline after headline concerning Najib Razak.  Our former Prime Minister and his defense makes one hell of a talking point in Malaysia it seems.

To me, his defense tactic so far has been to wave a patchwork of stories that defect the blame and give one excuse after another.

He has tried to paint multiple people as the mastermind, from Jho Low to Nik Faisal, he has highlighted SRC’s director Tan Sri Ismee’s ignorance and he has pointed to Ahmad Husni as a revenge-seeker.

Most recently when questioned about his exorbitant spending, Najib wove the tale of the US$130,635 Chanel watch he just had to buy to appease his family who were unhappy that he cut their vacation short to resume work. On and on go the name dropping and excuses.

Now, I know many will argue with this assessment, stating that I ought to leave the whole 1MDB saga to investigators and the judiciary and get on with business of present-day problems. However, that suggestion is debatably even more of a depressing reality to face.

Our present-day prime minister, who we put our hope and trust in when we voted for him and his coalition, have done nothing but disappoint and stir up trouble. The Pakatan Harapan coalition were emblematic of a ‘New Malaysia’. Of change, equality, unity and transparency. What a joke it all is to us now.

Over the last year we have seen worse race relations than ever – Prime Minister Mahathir has been pandering to the Malay majority with his appearance at the Malay Dignity Conference, with his total protection of Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, with the Khat calligraphy debacle, and with his call for Malay politicians to join his superior Malay party.

Pakatan Harapan has backed out on majority of their pre-election pledges- they pledged to repeal the Sedition Act and failed. They pledged to ratify the UN treaty against racial discrimination and failed. They promised to repeal the Anti-Fake News act and failed. I could go on and on. In fact, a couple of months ago Mahathir even admitted to making empty promises to vulnerable people when he claimed “We (PH) thought we were going to lose. We put in tough things in the manifesto so that if we lose, the (BN) government would be in a quandary (after winning the polls).”

Economically, our country is in stagnation with an economic a GDP growth that is currently the weakest it has been all year, and people feel it. The recent National Worry Index found that the top three worries keeping Malaysians up at night was cost of basic needs (86 per cent), unaffordable homes (86 per cent), and lack of job opportunities (77 per cent)

Human Rights issues is a whole other depressing situation. The LGBT community is under siege as the government not only ignores, but allows rare jail terms, violent attacks, and total un-acceptance of LGBT members, all in order to appease conservative Muslim voters. Last month five men were convicted on charges of attempts to engage in sex with four of them already having been caned.

All in all, PH has put backpaddled on us economically, socially, and politically

Focusing on present day problems that we face in Malaysia is not exactly a mood lifter. So, what is worse- indulging in the ridiculousness of Najib’s trial and wallowing in the past, or indulging in the never-ending disappointment that is Pakatan Harapan and worrying about our future?