The season to be thankful

 By LIM TECK GHEE

COMMENT This is the season to be thankful and in our multi-religious nation, all Malaysians, and not only Christians, should be feeling this way.

And we should feel especially thankful to the list below of of good Samaritans who have made our lives in Malaysia so much richer, better and blessed.

Incidentally, it’s better to use the term “good Samaritan” rather than Father Christmas or Santa Claus. Some may object to an expression derived from a parable originating from the gospel.

But I am sure our language experts from Dewan Bahasa will be able to find appropriate nationalistic, or perhaps Arab or Islamic-inspired equivalents, to these ‘haram‘ expressions soon.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak

For collecting a payment of RM2.6 billion from an ultra-generous foreign donor for use in the country.

This gift amounts to about RM87 for each Malaysian. No doubt, Umno’s ministers, members of parliament and division leaders have been the main beneficiaries. But they have spread the monetary good cheer far and wide.

Senator and Sungei Petani Umno deputy chief, Shahanim Mohamad Yusoff, who was snapped on Facebook distributing money to Umno members sees the cash handouts as her attempt to “share her fortune with the less fortunate” members of her constituency.

Unlike her Umno boss whose big hearted and generous nature is well known but who is publicity shy so that his compassionate activities are demonstrated discreetly and out of the public eye – critics say that he is a sucker for a sob or ‘help me get rich’ story – the Wanita leader has been very vocal and open.

Shahanim said she was insulted and condemned after a photo of her distributing cash in the bus went viral.

“Let me be insulted for giving, rather than ignoring my villagers who had come to KL. Let the whole world make this viral, but I am still me. I will continue to share my fortune with the less fortunate. One has to have a big heart to be a leader. I am me and I admit that I had given … we could share this fortune, not just among the aunties but also odd job workers and poor students.”

Mohd Ali Baharom aka Ali Tinju

For his numerous unappreciated efforts to bring thunder and lighting into our boring lives.

Beginning with the infamous butt-shaking event staged in front of Ambiga’s house to the red shirt ‘Maruah Melayu’ counter demonstration, the Low Yat fracas and now the intimidation of Kota Raya traders, Ali Tinju (photo) has certainly had a greater impact than his rival, Ismail Sabri, Minister of Rural and Regional Development, in protecting Malay honour and dignity.

Minority Malaysians should understand that anything that advances Malay rights is good for the country. Those who want to put a racial slant to this constitutional ‘imperative’ should shut up or get out of the country.

Unfortunately, large sections of our society are still unable to appreciate the worth of patriots such as Ali Tinju. The latest news that the Malaysian Armed Forces Veteran Association is sacking this fighter for Malay rights is highly disappointing.

Perhaps he, Jamal Yunus and Ismail Sabri can work together – hateful rumourmongers have spread the false news that Ali Tinju has his eye on Ismail Sabri’s job and is jealous of Jamal’s chain of fish restaurants and approved permits (AP) for luxury cars – for the benefit of Malay and Malaysian society.

Begin with a Malay only ikan bakar or luxury car dealership mall where customers will not be cheated.

Attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali

For his fight to ensure the defence of basic rights and freedom in the country. The AG has been an independent voice of reason and dissent in the country especially since 2003 when he sacrificed his extremely popular and lucrative private practice to join our poorly remunerated judicial service.

Apandi’s record includes leading a Court of Appeal judgement that permitted Putajaya’s appeal on the use of the word Allah by the Roman Catholic publication, The Herald.

He also led the three-member bench in acquitting Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case as well as sat in the case where the present Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was allowed to keep his Bagan Datoh parliamentary seat in a legal challenge filed by PKR candidate Madhi Hassan.

Apandi (photo), a man of many talents, was a former Kelantan Umno treasurer.

He is undoubtedly the best replacement for the previous AG, Abdul Gani Patail, who was regarded as a paragon of judicial integrity by the establishment until the inexplicable loss of his senses, as well as good health, when investigating the 1MDB financial scandal.

Yayasan Pembangunan Ekonomi Islam Malaysia

It is difficult to find organisations consistently spreading love and happiness within the country.

One exceptional candidate this year is Yapeim, the government funded Islamic foundation, mandated to undertake Islamic charity to help the needy. Its good work now extends well beyond our national borders and covers a much larger constituency than Islamic orphans.

This low profile organisation was recently targeted by a notoriously anti-establishment whistle blowing organisation – National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW) – for conducting a marriage course in Paris.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Jamil Khir Baharom, said there was nothing wrong in using funds from the government-linked charity foundation to organise marriage courses overseas. “Is the course not beneficial if it enables students to get married abroad or in the country?”

In a reminder to Malaysians that there are enemies from within and not only from the opposition, Yapeim has now been pressured to work according to guidelines formulated by a special committee with members from the Prime Minister’s Department, Khazanah Nasional, government-linked companies and Islamic institutions.

The special committee is likely to begin its work soon by visits to Paris and other cities where Yapeim’s training courses have been held to interview the participants on the benefits of these Islamic courses.

Malaysia’s man of the season or year

Because of the limitation of space, it has not been possible to include some outstanding contenders for inclusion in this select list of Malaysians who have contributed to national well-being and prosperity.

Readers may want to send in their own choice of Malaysia’s “Man of the Season or Year” to our media. – Malaysiakini


Dr LIM TECK GHEE is former World Bank senior social scientist, whose report on bumiputera equity when he was director of Asli’s Centre for Public Policy Studies sparked controversy in 2006. He is now CEO of the Centre for Policy Initiatives.

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