Be humble, Rafizi told after labelling critics ‘bahlol’

Two political analysts say PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli must adopt a humbler approach to regain public trust.

(FMT) – Two political analysts have urged Rafizi Ramli to practice humility after the PKR deputy president was caught on camera reacting condescendingly to his critics while campaigning ahead of the Sungai Bakap by-election on Saturday.

They said Rafizi, the economy minister, should adopt a humbler approach to regain public trust

Wong Chin Huat, a political scientist at Sunway University said Rafizi must, as a minister, show respect to the public, whom he serves, and refrain from using derogatory terms.

“A commentator, analyst, entrepreneur, or any private citizen has greater freedom to use terms like ‘bahlol’. Not a minister. The public are your employers,” he told FMT.

Wong said that even if Rafizi felt any of his 30 million “employers” were not smart, it was not his place to call them out for it.

Rafizi had on the final day of the campaign lashed out at critics who had questioned him about his “formulas”.

The PKR election director labelled them “bahlol” (moron) and “bodoh” (idiot).

Wong also said Rafizi should apologise for his conduct and change his behaviour, not only during campaigns but in his daily interactions.

“He needs to remember that some of his 30 million ‘employers’ can be unforgiving.”

Meanwhile, Azmil Tayeb of Universiti Sains Malaysia said Rafizi’s comments were inappropriate especially when addressing people in the Malay heartlands.

“Humility is crucial when campaigning in the Malay heartlands,” he said.

“There is already significant distrust of the Madani government among the Malays. Making condescending remarks will not help bridge the trust gap.”

It was reported over the weekend that Malay votes played a vital role in ensuring the opposition retained the state seat with a bigger majority. According to Perikatan Nasional’s data the coalition managed to secure 12,776 Malay votes at the polls on Saturday.

Despite the controversy, James Chin from the University of Tasmania said Rafizi’s behaviour, which critics labelled as arrogant, did not impact the outcome of the by-election.

Chin said that many were aware of how Rafizi carried himself.

PN retained the state seat after its candidate Abidin Ismail defeated PH’s Joohari Ariffin, of PKR, with a majority of 4,267 votes, an increase of 1,563 votes from the previous election.

The by-election was necessitated by the death of incumbent Nor Zamri Latiff from PAS on May 24 due to illness.