NOV 4 — Every day a layer of deception is peeled away from the men and women who govern this country and who have a choke grip on our fate. The ongoing Parliament session and the reaction to the Auditor-General’s Report and the campaign of lies against Lim Guan Eng’s son have led me to think more deeply about Umno and what motivates them to behave and think and speak in the manner they do.
For ease of reference, I will list out the characteristics of Umno (and here I mean the leaders of the party) and will call them the deadly sins of Umno.
1) Pride. This characteristic flows through Muhyiddin Yassin to Khairy Jamaluddin. The Umno leader has no or little humility, he believes that he is a self-made person and is entitled to every position, privilege he has, not for a moment stopping to accept that it is through God’s grace that he is an elected representative.
Pride is manifested in this party where NO ONE owns up to a mistake and says sorry. Did Muhyiddin or Khairy say sorry for jumping on the wrong bandwagon and perpetuating an untruth against a 16-year-old boy?
2) Avarice. It isn’t a coincidence that billions of ringgit have been squandered and looted in the last 25 years. This is the period in which the sense of entitlement, inflated contracts and the culture off easy money has kicked in with party members. It is no more enough to siphon off a million or two, now it runs into hundreds of millions.
Ever wonder how even second-rung Umno politicians don’t have a steady job but drive Porsche Cayennes, live in bungalows and have a string of aides, etc. There was not even any surprise detected in the speech of government ministers and MPs at the mismanagement and excesses detailed in the Auditor-General’s Report. But why should they be surprised: they know why this is happening year in, year out.
3) Stupidity. Did Nazri Aziz really go to law school? I ask this question because his explanation on the Court of Appeal’s ruling that a law prohibiting student involvement in politics as unconstitutional defies logic. He dismissed the epochal decision, saying that the law is still valid as the court was only stating an opinion. No, this was the nub of the case before the court and the court’s ruling invalidates the law.
Unless the Federal Court disagrees that the law in unconstitutional, undergraduates can go ahead and get involved in politics. And to think that Nazri is one of the smarter ministers!!! Noh Omar gave us a glimpse of the quality of the Cabinet with his mindless explanation of the National Feedlot Centre project. (Even cows would have indigestion making sense of his numbers.)
4) Symbolism. The Umno politician is in love with symbolic acts and public relations. He likes to be photographed having nasi lemak with the masses, donating money to vernacular schools and making a trip to the Vatican. But this is skin deep only because when the crunch comes, his real self emerges, the self where his own racial and beliefs take precedence over everything.
The best recent example is the fairytale about Christians taking over the country and the equally entertaining story of 250,000 Muslims leaving Islam. Instead of setting the record straight and guarding the fabric of this country, Najib Razak and his comrades played dumb. Maybe it is tough being real leaders and much easier making symbolic acts.
5) Dishonesty. There was a time, maybe a long, long time ago, when the word of the Umno leader was good. He told Malaysians about the challenges and problems. Now there is only good news. Despite a global meltdown which is going to make 2008 financial crisis small, we are going to have better growth next year than this year and Idris Jala keeps mouthing some astronomical numbers and GNI and other stuff.
How about some honesty on what is the short-term and medium-term prognosis for this country? We expect our leaders to be honest and truthful about something as important as the economy. You know you have been found out as liars when most private economists want to know what air you have been breathing.
6) Desperation. Desperate people do desperate things and allow bad things to happen. Allowing non-citizens to obtain documents to vote is an act of treachery and a breach of trust between government and citizens. Allowing hate to be nurtured and promoted against a community (Christians or Chinese or both) is bad for the country.
But everything seems kosher these days because some people want to stay in power forever.
* Jacob Sinnathamby reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.