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Friday, December 31, 2010

Selangor’s 1-Depair Scenario

by Tunku Abdul Aziz @ Sin Chew Daily

The banning of the 1Malaysia logo is an act of mindlessness. It is an exercise in absurdity of the kind becoming all too common in Malaysian politics.

The real Idiot is in the Red

The decision to proscribe the display of the 1Malaysia logo within the jurisdiction of the state of Selangor is childish to say the least, and that is putting it as charitably as I can. It reflects particularly badly on the maturity of the Pakatan Rakyat state government of Selangor.

It was clearly a decision made without reference to the top Pakatan Rakyat national leadership whom I know would not have countenanced such action.

This one rash, potentially suicidal, political decision is bound to reinforce, and lend credence to, the growing conviction among many Malaysians that some Pakatan Rakyat politicians are totally incapable of shaking off their doctrinaire attitudes, including that of opposing anything and everything for its own sake. Even as they now don the mantle of the ruling elite in the Pakatan Rakyat governed states, they continue to behave in much the same way as they used to under less favourable circumstances.

The logical question to ask is whether the Pakatan Rakyat, with its politically imbecilic camp followers in tow, could really be trusted to do a proper job of taking on a bigger and more demanding show – that of administering the Government of Malaysia.

On current showing, I should be less than honest if I did not say that they would have to be more savvy and sensible before they would get my vote of confidence. I should be careless in the extreme if I did not consider hedging my bets. The Pakatan Rakyat leaders have their job cut out for them – like knocking a modicum of common sense into some of their colleagues in the Selangor state executive council.

There is, to me, nothing fundamentally wrong with the express aim of 1Malaysia. Surely it is not a bad thing to want to unite all Malaysians. My quarrel with 1Malaysia, as articulated by Najib, with or without APCO’s hidden hand, is in its shallow, barely scratching the surface superficiality. It lacks focus, with the result that its true potential for serving the public good has been severely crimped, making 1Malaysia sound like one gigantic con job.

Najib would do well to remember, before throwing more good millions after bad, that the first syllable of the word “consultant” including APCO, is CON. But I digress. I am on record as being a fierce critic of 1Malaysia but I have not allowed my personal distaste for Najib’s cheap, hollow slogan to turn me into a foaming at the mouth, saliva dripping, bulging eyed, raving demagogue.

There are surely more important issues that the Pakatan Rakyat politicians can think of doing for the benefit of the people of Selangor. Instead they chose to fall over themselves to indulge in petty, immature grandstanding. The timing could not have been worse.

Their supporters and sympathisers, who had hoped for more sober and responsible behaviour after the very ugly public exhibition of unremitting internal squabbles in the recent PKR leadership elections, were, in the event, enormously disappointed.

While the crusade against the display of the 1Malaysia logo in Selangor is being justified on the ground that it is all part of the BN political propaganda, a message has arrived, via my mobile, as if on cue, as follows: “DAP cannot have double standards. The bylaws should apply to ALL.”

The sender alludes to the fact that DAP has used its party logo to publicise its Rocket Cafe in Petaling Jaya. Why, asks the gentleman, was no action taken by the local council? A fair point that requires an official response in the interest of transparency and accountability.

Pakatan Rakyat politicians have no business to claim the moral high ground and portray themselves as ethically and morally superior if they do not renounce hypocrisy and act strictly in accordance with the high ethical standards of behaviour expected of them by their supporters.

Putrajaya is many things to many people, but it is more than a shiny political trophy to be won by hook or by crook.

On balance, I daresay BN has made a reasonable go of it given the internal weaknesses inherent in a system of patronage with its infernal attendant preoccupation with rent seeking and cronyism. That system is set in a solid bed of unbridled corruption.

I understand the Pakatan Rakyat has its demolition team in the wings ready to smash the very foundation of corruption in our society. The Pakatan Rakyat has every right to set its sights on that glittering prize, but it first has to review and change, as appropriate, its whole range of attitudes before it can change Malaysia for the better. Otherwise Putrajaya will be a destination too far. It will merely be aspirational, a gleam in the eye, and a forlorn dream.

Lim Kit Siang’s “one-term wonder” should be taken to heart and reflected upon. It is a sobering thought and the best advice there is for the Pakatan Rakyat to act on.

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