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Friday, August 28, 2015

Kadir: ‘Orang Besar’ character spells Najib’s downfall

The Prime Minister, despite many years in politics, has gotten no closer to the people as his "Orang Besar" character stands in the way.
kadir-najib
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, despite having been an MP for so many decades, has not gotten any closer to the masses. Indeed, the decades in politics seemed to have reinforced the “Orang Besar” character in him i.e. demanding loyalty while he freely exercises his prerogative.
Incidentally, reminded a veteran newsman in his latest blog posting, Najib is one of the four “Orang Besar Berempat” (The Four Chieftains) of Pahang, carrying the title “Yang Dihormat Orang Kaya Indera Shahbandar”. “Little wonder, therefore, that he enjoys the singular support of the Sultan of Pahang,” said former New Straits Times Group Editor-in-Chief Kadir Jasin.
As a result of the “orang besar” character, combined with Najib’s desperation even as that (desperation) of the people grows, the Prime Minister has been reduced to haranguing the rakyat, he added. “Again, in doing so, it shows just how distant he’s from the people going about their everyday lives.”
Najib, in his desperation to be seen to be close to the people, has become “celupar” (inappropriate) in his public utterances, continued Kadir. “He likes to harangue the people and launch tirades against his opponents.”
So, he said, it wasn’t a big deal when a woman delegate to the recent Langkawi Umno annual general meeting accused the Prime Minister of ‘kencing’ on the people. “In contemporary Malay street parlance, ‘kencing’ was to tell a lie.”
In the latest attack, reminded the veteran newsman, the Prime Minister warned the Malays that they would be “bangsat” if Umno loses power. “Some English media had erroneously translated it as bastard.”
Depending on geographical area and usage, bangsat, according to Dewan Bahasa, can mean a type of foul-smelling bug (pepijat), a bad person, like a thief, or a very poor person, cited Kadir. “The Dewan gives its English synonyms as rascal, knave, ill-bred and despicable person.”
“Bangsat is hardly used these days. Like pariah, it’s considered offensive. In the old northern slang, a poor person who left his place of birth to seek fortune elsewhere was said to have gone ‘membangsat’.”
Kadir recalled that in his village in Kedah back in the 1950’s and 60’s, many Kelantanese came “membangsat” during the rice harvesting season to work as farm hands while many local people left for the towns to earn a living. “Bangsat is already applicable to the Malays where it connotes poverty and destitution. Najib should know because he is responsible for it.”
Since he became Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Umno president in 2009, charged Kadir, the situation of many Malays and Orang Asal had worsened compared to other Malaysians. “Never in the history of the country has the income gap between Malays, for example, and the Chinese, widened so drastically than between 2009 and 2012.”
“The last time this happened was in 1970.”
There was no improvement whatsoever in the monthly income of the Malay households from the time Najib became the Prime Minister in 2009 to last year, said Kadir. “This is on a comparative basis with the Chinese.”
In fact, he said in ringing alarm bells, the nominal income gap between the Malays and the Chinese had widened by as much as 53 per cent. “So, economically the Malays are already ‘bangsat’”.
Najib had also been reported to label Felda settlers who were not supportive of Umno as “haram jadah” which in English was something like bloody bastard, explained Kadir.
Less frequently heard these days, lamented Kadir, are the high-sounding words and phrases like “keterangkuman” (inclusiveness), “rakyat didahulukan” (people first), “Perdana Menteri untuk semua” (Prime Minister for all), “kesederhanaan” and “wasatiyyah” (moderate), all marking the early days of the Najib administration.
Najib tries to sound like one of the rakyat, concedes Kadir, but his “Orang Besar” character and his disconnect with the people has become obvious.
First, he said, there was the infamous “bangang” label he bestowed upon his own Umno-sponsored bloggers during last year’s Umno General Assembly.
He accused them of being stupid (numskulls, fat-headed, nincompoop) for allegedly attacking the party, instead of the enemies. “Bangang is worse than ‘bodoh’ (stupid) in Malay. In proper Malay households, ‘bodoh’ was already a no-no word,” said Kadir. “In substance, however, he was not altogether wrong.”
“There are Umno-sponsored bloggers who deserve that label (bangang).”
Bangang was followed by “jemuan” when opening the Kedah Umno Convention last March. In Kedah slang, jemuan refers to a very bad person, explained Kadir. “He said Umno should rid itself of jemuan, acknowledging that there are such people in his own party.”

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