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Saturday, October 30, 2021

Timah and Malaysia’s low-quality MPs

 

The PKR MP for Tangga Batu, Rusnah Aluai, earned her masters in Political Science from the London School of Economics (LSE) and not from a sekolah attap. This is why some of us are puzzled that she is confused by the Timah whisky debacle.

She said the Timah brand of whisky and the imagery used are “too confusing” and should be changed. Her comments are both offensive and embarrassing.

Confusing to whom? One doubts if Malays and Muslims are confused by the Timah brand of whisky or the photo on the bottle. Practising Muslims will not drink whisky whether or not they believe the name, Timah, to be confusing.

Rusnah wants the photo of Captain Tristram Speedy, who is shown with a thick beard and skullcap, to be replaced with one of him wearing a hat. Have Malays ownership of the skull cap? What about people of the Jewish faith who also sport the skull cap?

She likened drinking the controversial Timah brand whisky to “drinking a Malay woman”. Why is she insulting the intelligence of the Malay woman? No one in their right minds would even suggest that drinking Timah whisky is like “drinking a Malay woman”.

A similar controversy erupted in 2016 when someone complained that eating hot dogs would confuse Muslims, and tourists might think Malaysians happily consumed toasted dogs in buns. Normal Malays are not that daft, but some Malay politicians exhibit disturbing traits of being intellectually challenged.

Rusnah suggested that Timah be given a different name. She said to call it “The Mines”. Then again, someone else in government, or conservative Muslim circles, might accuse “The Mines” of producing weapons of war.

Why should Timah’s manufacturers consider a name change? Most companies would have spent a lot of money with a public relations company to produce and market a product. The advertising agency who had been given this task would have done extensive research on the product before deciding on a suitable name and image for their brand of whisky.

So, why should the manufacturers be bullied into changing the name of the whisky, just to suit the whims and fancies of a few?

Do we want our MPs to debate this trivial issue in Parliament? There are more important concerns that could be discussed, and changing the brand name and imagery of a whisky bottle is not one of them.

Rusnah should be sacked for being easily confused by Timah. We did not pay our MPs to be easily misled and to be time-wasters.

Each time our MPs discuss at great length issues of race or religion, the whole nation takes several steps backwards.

The issue is not the whisky brand name or label. The issue is not that many Malays, or Muslims, will become confused. They won’t, but the real issue is the low quality of some MPs.

Why is the rakyat saddled with such MPs from across the political divide? Why do MPs continue to insult the intelligence of the electorate?

We are swamped by political frogs; drowned out by jaguh kampung who think they can get their point across much better if they shout louder across the Dewan Rakyat. Career politicians appear clueless about sexual abuse or the rising cost of living. Incompetent MPs are dependent on promotion that they will not rock the boat, lest they lose their position within the party.

Then, there are the wannabe clerics who masquerade as MPs and who make our lives a living hell because they are easily confused. Why won’t they do the rakyat a favour, leave Parliament and start courses on how to prepare for the afterlife?

It is time the government of the day deals firmly with its MPs. These never-ending sagas of race and religion prevent MPs from doing real constituency work. We also waste a lot of time in Parliament discussing trivia. Some of our MPs have lost their sense of priorities.

If the leader of PKR and the senior politicians in Pakatan Harapan want to make important inroads in GE15, they should overhaul their selection process for MPs and kick out those who have the capacity to be easily confused. - FMT

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

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