The small step before the leap

By the look of things, naiveté is definitely not a defence for the PH. After all, Ismail Sabri is cut from the same Umno cloth and even if he is not part of the kleptocrats, he stood by them in the last election and until today, he has not once denounced them.

(The Malaysian Reserve) – IF THERE’S any one rationale given by Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders to justify the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the federal government that has come back to bite them in the rear, it would be the one where they said that it would strengthen the position of the prime minister (PM) to reject demands from the kleptocrats.

This justification had been widely mocked on social media mainly after former PM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, as well as Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, had their passports returned.

The former first couple can now travel to Singapore to be by the side of their daughter, who is an expectant mother, and for Ahmad Zahid to fly to Germany for treatment of the pain in his neck and back.

The return of the passports to the trio drew much flak since between them they face dozens of court cases and being allowed to travel is indeed an insult to Malaysians who had been blacklisted and barred from travelling for trivial offences by comparison, including the failure to service their study loans.

There is no justification whatsoever for them to be allowed to travel when their cases involve billions of ringgit. It is beyond double standards. It mocks the law, the citizenry, the nation and whatever little values that are left that Malaysians still hold on to.

It put paid to efforts put up by Najib and his image builders to re-brand him as a people’s leader, as the travelling right he has now secured reminds all and sundry of him being part of the “kayangan” (the privileged) cluster that has epitomised Malaysia’s double standard of late.

While PM Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his supporters may argue that the decisions to return the passports were made by the courts, the fact that the attorney general (AG) did not put up a protest or Ismail Sabri himself expressing his opposition, proved that it was a decision that they had consented to, be it by chance or design.

That also put paid to the justification by the PH leaders that the MoU would strengthen the PM to reject demands from the kleptocrats.

By now, a mild way of putting the issue to rest would be that the PH leaders were naïve to believe that the PM would stand up to the kleptocrats since he had secured the Opposition’s support vis-à-vis the MoU. That will take away the brunt of anger towards the PH and direct it solely at Ismail Sabri, a convenient escape clause for the PH leaders from being questioned over their wisdom in signing the MoU.

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