Out with the old, in with the new

By Mariam Mokhtar

Puppet shows, ‘Punch and Judy’ politics, farcical presentations, tragicomedies, drama queens, flip-flops, U-turns, dress rehearsals and of course, pornographic productions can be used to sum up current Malaysian politics.

It is amazing what the subconscious reveals. When MCA keeps asking if Hadi Awang or Anwar Ibrahim would make the better prime minister, you know what the ruling coalition are thinking – that BN is doomed.

Why would one of the main component parties in BN talk about opposition candidates for the post of prime minister? If they thought they stood any chance of winning GE13, they would be discussing which BN candidate should lead the country, rather than which opposition politician would make the best PM.

In November 2011, the Umno information chief, Ahmad Maslan, talked about a hung parliament: “If there is a hung Parliament scenario like Australia, let’s say 112 government seats to 110 opposition seats, it is the worst thing that could happen.”

This showed that Umno had no confidence of victory at the polls.

Ahmad Maslan warned the Malays of the DAP’s Christian zeal: “The Malay language will be lost, say goodbye to the Malay Sultans, the opposition DAP do not even respect the royal institution … they have never accepted royal titles even though they have been offered them.”

Last week, it was alleged that the MCA president Chua Soi Lek also talked about a hung parliament, when asked to comment about a rival in his party.

An online newspaper had reported that the blogger, Syed Akbar Ali had written: “Revisiting the issue of factionalism and lack of support, he spoke bluntly about the Ong Tee Keat faction trying to sabotage him in Melaka. Dr Chua feels that if there is a hung Parliament after the general elections, Ong Tee Keat may just pack his bags and leave. Like Chua Jui Ming.”

One year after Umno raised fears of a hung parliament, MCA has voiced the same anxieties.

There are other indications of the lack of confidence in BN.

The sporadic acts of violence against the opposition are acts of desperation by a defeated Umno which has acknowledged defeat before the election has been held.

In the past, the usual spokesperson in Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s cabinet would be quick to come to his defense, whenever someone makes serious allegations about him.

This time, they are quiet. Has Najib issued a gagging order?

Despite revelations by the carpet seller, Deepak Jaikishan about Rosmah Mansor and Nazim Razak, interfering in the investigations into the death of the Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, both the police and the attorney-general’s offices have taken no action.

Deepak also claimed to be the victim of a business deal, involving a Defence Ministry project, which had gone foul. One would have expected the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate these allegations, but they, like the police and the attorney-general’s chambers, are quiet.

When the former inspector-general of police (IGP) Musa Hassan complained of interference in the police force, by the Home Minister and other senior politicians, there was no response from Najib.

Many allege that former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad are behind these revelations. Why would he support moves that would give an advantage to Anwar Ibrahim, his arch-enemy? Mahathir has been strangely silent about Deepak and Musa’s claims. Why would he give the opposition a chance to take over Putrajaya, undo his legacy and end his dynasty?

Najib is gradually being undone by his greed and vanity. If only he had paid Altantuya her meagre commission, then none of this mess would haunt him. If only he had paid Deepak his monies from the corrupt land deal. If only he had paid Musa Hassan his dues which most former IGPs received in the past.

Luxury goods up for grabs?

Last week, the Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali arranged for the auction of thousands of luxury goods owned by Tunisia’s deposed dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family. People have been queuing-up to have a brief glimpse of the dictator and his wife’s ostentatious life. There were fast-cars, jewellery, works of art, shoes, handbags and other accessories.

For years, Malaysians have heard stories about multi-million ringgit rings, expensive handbags, fast-cars and other dizzying displays of an opulent lifestyle by our politicians, their spouses, and their children. When the time comes, will Malaysia’s new prime minister arrange an auction of goods, like the Tunisians have done?

So what would you look for if the opposition were to win and there was an auction of luxury goods formerly owned by BN politicians and their cronies?

Would it be Rosmah Mansor’s handbags and rings? Her badminton racquets? Her lycra tracksuit? Her clothes?

Or would it be Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s grand piano which allegedly belonged to Liberace? Or Taib’s selection of Rolls-Royces, gems or yachts? Or would you be interested in his son, Sulaiman’s fast cars?

Would you include the items which were ‘lent’ by their cronies, such as the Hummer 2 SUV lent by Michael Chia to the de facto Law Minister Nazri Aziz’s son, Nedim? What about Nedim’s luxury watch which would cost more than the average Malaysian could earn in several lifetimes?

The one item that I would love to see is Mahathir’s little red book, which is alleged to hold the dirty secrets and alleged crimes of his cronies, his corrupt politicians and the other people who were easily bought. Allegedly, he positively encouraged corruption and wrongdoing so he would be able to hold them to ransom at a later date.

The book should make interesting reading, but judging by the number of scandals that have rocked Malaysia over the past 30 years, it would not be a book that one could read in an evening.

Happy New Year to everyone.


MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak’, this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.

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