Why don’t these politicians’ children just shut up?

by Mariam Mokhtar

QUICK TAKE: Nurulhidayah Ahmad Zahid, daughter of the deputy prime minister, put her foot in it again, when she called Malaysia Airlines Bhd’s stewardesses “old”.

The posting on “Instagram” caused fury among MAS crew, but also among the rakyat.

She said, “Malaysia Airlines is super expensive and the stewardesses are mostly old. I hope my harsh views would not be seen as trying to intervene in government policy.”

Alas, her words have now boomeranged, and her remarks don’t just reflect on her, but her father, too.

Given the precarious state of Malaysian politics, where everyone in the upper echelons of Umno Baru must watch their backs, one wonders why Ahmad Zahid has not told his daughter to “zip-it”.

Of course, his headstrong daughter will argue that she has as much right as the next Malaysian citizen to exercise her right to free speech.

She can speak up, but her experience is not shared by countless Malaysians, whom the home minister, aka “papa”, and the police haul up, for criticising the government’s laid back response to GST, corruption, cronyism, the high cost of living, injustice, and the many other ills which plague the nation.

Yes, Nurulhidayah has a right to express herself, but let us pick some points she made.

First. Who is she calling “old”? She was insulting and insensitive. Nurulhidayah is both sexist and ageist.

Just as in the very superficial realm of Umno Baru, a person can be decked-out in expensive designer garb, but be thick as two planks, and as compassionate as a rock.

She wouldn’t have dared to fly Aeroflot and remark upon poor service and “old” stewardesses. The withering looks from the flight attendants would immediately put her in her place.

Second. Nurulhidayah, who is the head of Corporate Communications at Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd, claimed that her company was affected by the economic downturn and she was forced to fly with AirAsia. In her posting, she said MAS was “super expensive”.

There must be more important things to worry about than flying a national carrier, or a budget airline. For example, many families have more immediate issues concerning their families. Does she read the papers? Did she know two parents were recently forced to steal, to feed their children?

Lastly, Nurulhidayah is the daughter of an Umno Baru official. Has she read the history of MAS? Successive generations of Umno Baru big-wigs, have crippled MAS and allowed it to become the sick bird of Asia.

MAS chairmen are hand-picked political appointees. Khazanah ignores the interests of MAS staff, because they are linked to Umno Baru via their political umbilical cord.

Nurulhidayah wrote about others who moaned about MAS’ poor service. She needs to understand that an employee is only as good as his tools.

The staff of MAS are trying their best, despite limited resources. She only has to talk to MAS employees. Many are suffering. They are demotivated. The work environment is toxic.

The cure is simple. Remove the company’s toxic cocktail of business, politics, cronyism, nepotism, waste and corruption. Only then will MAS be the pride of Asia, once again.

So, will she convince “papa” to get rid of political interference in the running of MAS?

  • The Ant Daily

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