Giving credit where credit is due is a very rewarding habit to form. Its rewards are inestimable. – Loretta Young, American actress
COMMENT Those of us following political development on social media will readily agree that the majority who bother to post or respond are anti-establishment.
I would consider this majority group as among the more affluent and most likely, not aligned to any political party. The brave and courageous respond with their real names while the timid and cowardly hide behind pseudonyms.
The pro-establishment respondents are usually in the minority, and are either members of political parties or personally aligned with government leaders and elected representatives.
Then, there are also the paid cybertroopers — from both sides. These are people who are dependent on politics for a living. Although what they do may be immoral, it is also understandable — they need to survive. So, let us not curse them.
I believe this assessment is correct for the most part.
As a political commentator, I have often been misunderstood by readers from both these two categories. I have been branded an oppositionist as well as a “loose cannon” or the demeaning “government sycophant”.
Well, as a writer, I know I can never win, not when you are being attacked from both sides. When the flavour presented is not in their favour, they will unleash their poison. In most cases, cowardly anonymously.
Let me relate an example which is relevant here as I am about to give credit yet again to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.
In an article titled “I salute the ‘fighter’ in Najib”, published in Malaysiakini (more than two years ago) on Oct 29, 2018 in which I wrote a feel-good piece about Najib and complimented him for his indomitable fighting spirit, the brickbats against me were numerous and furious.
No prize for guessing where the attacks originated. Correct, mainly from supporters of Pakatan Harapan. They expect all political writers to write favourably of the leaders and coalition they support. Nothing good must be said about BN/Umno leaders.
It is as if I am not permitted (by them) to compliment Najib, even if the former prime minister had made public statements favourable to the rakyat. As Najib/Umno are their sworn enemies, so they must be mine too — this is what their shallow and pea-sized brains tell them.
At times, I choose to look at Najib the man, and not the former prime minister accused of heading the previous kleptocratic government which brought Malaysia to its knees.
Last Friday, Najib joined the chorus of voices against the Chinese New Year rules drawn up by the National Security Council (MKN), stating they do not accurately reflect the celebration.
I have noted that Najib is one of the most senior Malay politicians who spoke up on the issue. From his remarks, it is clear he understands Chinese traditions associated with CNY.
For instance, Najib said, the reunion dinner was one of the most important aspects of CNY. It involves immediate family members, grandparents, uncles, aunties and cousins getting together.
“But the SOP (standard operating procedure), only allowing those from the same home to hold a reunion dinner does not mean anything … it will be just a normal dinner,” he said in a Facebook post.
Najib sensibly added that it would have been more meaningful if the SOP just touched on the ban on visitors.
Last month, Najib also ticked off the PAS menteri besar of Kedah for taking out Thaipusam as a public holiday in the state, saying that the MB was insensitive to the religious observation of the Hindus.
On these two occasions, wasn’t Najib speaking up for the rakyat, in this case, the Chinese and Hindus? Isn’t it fair then that we give credit where it is due, even if we do not support him or Umno politically?
That is my point.
For CNY this week, Sarawakians must be glad that the SOPs are different from those in Malaya.
SUPP secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting announced that the SOPs drawn up by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) allows up to 20 people at the dinner but it cannot be held in hotels or restaurants.
“SDMC’s SOP for reunion dinner is different as it takes into account the families of brothers and sisters, with nephews and nieces, who are living in the same town or city and it would be illogical not to allow them to practise this age-old tradition,” said Ting, who is the Assistant Minister for Tourism.
Following a backlash, the National Security Council (NSC) updated its Chinese New Year SOPs last Sunday, relaxing some rules including on family reunion.
To sum up my main pointer here, can we all be less emotional and think aloud before we go bashing up every politician we don’t like to look in the eye? Let’s exercise tact and decorum in political debates.
When our opponents had done or said something right and proper, be magnanimous and give credit too.
A wise person once said: “When you give credit where it is due, it shows your character and class”
So, remember to show some class, folks, when partaking in political debates.
– New Sarawak Tribune
The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune. Feedback can reach the writer at email@example.com