pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN
IT IS quite pitiful to see an academic, from a university in the north, being repeatedly reminded of the time when the cat seemed to have gotten his tongue after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) turned up at a forum some three years ago when the same academic was one of the panellists.
He had, prior to Dr Mahathir’s arrival, been caught on camera roundly critical of the statesman, who at the time was the choice for prime minister for the unregistered Pakatan Harapan, but seemed to have lost steam, sitting uncomfortably if not nervously, after.
To paraphrase the Bard; the shame that men suffer lives after them — may sound just about right, especially when his detractors are again regurgitating the story after the academic decided to join the chorus accusing Dr Mahathir of instigating the Malays in particular against the King.
The academic is not the only one with such a narrative.
It all came about after Dr Mahathir went to the palace alongside members of the Tamat Darurat (End Emergency) Committee, who are basically seeking the King’s intervention to bring an end to the current state of Emergency which is scheduled to end in August.
When meeting the media later, Dr Mahathir, among others, was quoted by some of the press as saying that the Malays were angry with the King over the Emergency.
It was this remark and news headlines that led to the accusation of sedition and instigation, and reportedly some personalities had urged the authorities to arrest Dr Mahathir.
Of course, none of these personalities, including the academic, even attempted to look beyond the headlines.
Anyone who had taken time to listen to the recording of Dr Mahathir’s press conference would have discovered that he had clearly said he had taken the opportunity when speaking to the King’s private secretary to urge him to inform the King of what was the sentiment on the ground.
Dr Mahathir had said everything relating to the Emergency was placed on the shoulder of the King, and the Malays, who usually revered their Rulers, had started to feel angry as the Emergency had caused them a lot of problems.
He pointed out that not all Malays were angry but there were a considerable number who were angry and that could be seen on social media.
It has to be noted that for the past few days, the King and his Queen had been a target of unprecedented criticisms following an article in a foreign news portal.
Dr Mahathir was obviously referring to the development and he pointed out that it was very unusual for the Malays to go against their own rulers.
He added that it was quite clear that a very large number of Malays were now angry that they were suffering because of this Emergency and the proclamation made it appear that everything was done on the instruction of the King.
Dr Mahathir said he doubted that the government would inform the King about the feelings of the Malays.
He also added that though many knew that all the actions were done by the government, specifically PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, but it was all done in the name of the King and any attempt to criticise the decision would be construed as treason.
In conclusion, Dr Mahathir said it was important that these were conveyed to the Malay rulers, particularly to the King.
There is, however, no basic honesty, let alone intellectual honesty among these commenters as those who wanted to vilify Dr Mahathir refused to acknowledge that what he had said was true.
Unless they are truly detached, social media was extremely critical of the King and Queen so much so that the latter decided to deactivate one of her platforms, at least temporarily.
If they are indifferent or rather ignorant to what had been trending on social media, surely, if there’s any honesty in them, they would realise how much anger there is towards Muhyiddin, the government and those dubbed as the “kayangan” (heavenly) cluster or simply the elites, both in the government and otherwise.
Issues of double standards, selective persecution, incomprehensible policies, their flip-flops, unemployment, rising costs and the controlled movements’ fatigue are all culminating to an extreme point.
What else could it be other than anger and frustrations if the hashtag #KerajaanGagal, a Failed Government, is trending on social media. And yet, they picked and chose newspapers headlines to make themselves heard and relevant.
Lest the people forget, when the nation was scandalised by the kleptocrats and then robbed by them blind, it was Dr Mahathir who took the brunt for taking the lead in exposing their shenanigans.
What were these personalities criticising him now doing then? Criticising him and nary a word against the kleptocrats. In fact, a few of them were rooting for the kleptocrats.
Today, they are again blissful with their heads buried in the sand, enjoying whatever pickings that come their way, only to lift their heads up every now and then, to pick on those rooting for the people. It is nothing new and in fact, cyclical and recycled.
After what had happened prior to 2018, some would have thought that they would have been ashamed for not standing up to the kleptocrats. But shamelessness is a prerequisite for some to join the kayangan.
Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.