In search of sense and sensibility, of passion and reason

pic by BERNAMA

IF THE behaviour of some MPs in the august house is any measure, they obviously do not represent what they professed to be representing — the Malay Muslim political nexus.

The boorish, crass, obnoxious and condescending nature of their utterances would make even the insensitive cringe. Expressions of disgust towards their mannerisms could be assessed extensively on many social media platforms, though there were attempts to defend them.

One ex-minister of the Barisan Nasional (BN) era in defending them argued that their target, in particular Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture), should not expect any special treatment.

That comment too drew another round of expressions of disgust as the issue was not about expectations of special treatment, but rather an issue of proper manners and dignified behaviour, consistent with one of the five pillars of Rukunegara, the national creed — courtesy and morality.

While these criticisms should be taken as a public demand for better standards among the elected representatives, their supporters obviously believed that their leaders, right or wrong, must be defended.

An obvious example is the “Bossku” phenomenon — no matter that it is now pointed out that not one but two luxury yachts were bought using 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd) monies ie public funds, the leader, a Malay Muslim, must be supported regardless.

Such is the power of the Malay Islam political nexus that right and wrong are determined by the race and religion of the person, and not the deed or rather the misdeeds.

Hence, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that attempts to point out that the current government was formed against the nation’s democratic conventions and that it served to undermine if not usurp the electoral processes had not pinched their conscience much.

Indeed, for the advocates, the formation of what is dubbed as the backdoor government had been heralded as the saviour of the Malay Muslim population, who were in danger of being displaced under the previous Pakatan Harapan government.

While the nation is not holding its breath in waiting to see how the Malay Muslim population would be saved and propelled to greater heights, the defenders of the self-styled Perikatan Nasional (PN) government seemed to have embraced the Machiavellian doctrine of the end justifying the means.

In fact, the oft-repeated quote of Shakespeare’s Brutus when justifying the stabbing of Caesar had been regurgitated in localised context — that it is not that they love Dr Mahathir less, but that they love Malay and Islam more.

Simply put, the issue of how they got to power is of no consequence. What matters is how their power is wielded.

That brings back the issue of whether the tenets of Islam and the Malay customs accept such manoeuvres or whether they are abhorred.

And if these supporters who had been spouting that Islam is “ad deen”— a way of life— and that politics should not be separated from religion — a secular notion that is frowned upon if not condemned outright — then obviously such manoeuvres should not have any place in PN’s pursuits of nation-building.

Even if confined within the context of a secular set up, the manoeuvres would not have been taken positively as the setting up of a government that is not voted in by the people is not only against the conventions, but also bereft of values, creed and have neither philosophical nor ideological justifications.

The end result would be that no matter what is achieved, since the premise is wrong, the outcome would never reach the objective and forever slandered.

But given the divide and the partisan nature of the nation, it is doubtful such thoughts would gain much traction as closing the mind from criticisms, especially if they originated from the opposing side, would be easier and less strenuous on the grey matter.

By now, as the nation watches in horror those who were the cause of the fall of the BN government through corrupt practices and abuses of power come out of the woodworks, a sense of helplessness permeates.

For two years, they were silenced because the wish of the people in the last general election told them so.

But with the formation of the new government and that their party enjoys a big say in it, directly or otherwise, they seemed to have re-discovered their sense of power and invincibility and their behaviour reflected as such.

If the previous election saw the people taking it to the last mile to ensure that such politicians would never again be entrusted with positions of power, it all seems to have been an exercise in futility.

Of course, it should be pointed out that such struggles are never conclusive and a victory is only for the battle and not the war.

Yet, it was a gargantuan effort on the part of the nation to have scaled what was in the past regarded as an impossibility, only to be thwarted by Machiavellian manoeuvres cloaked by the Malay Islam nexus.

It is not Sisyphean. But cry, the beloved country.

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.