Tripping over each other’s ego


LOOKING at the long list of acts of double standards and non observation of the laws by the haves, it can probably be surmised that it is a not-so-subtle strategy to desensitise the haves-not from overly scrutinising these deeds and being overly sensitive about them.

However, desensitise should not be malapropped with de-sanitise as the latter is what the haves had done to the rule of law, justice and humanity.

And they are still at it. And it didn’t stop with the return of their passports despite facing charges of billions in unpaid taxes and as much, if not more, in alleged financial shenanigans.

And despite juxtaposing their position to that of students being blacklisted and barred from travelling for failure to pay or missing instalments of their study loans, these personalities, unperturbed, seemed adamant in their sense of entitlement.

In fact, since news of their “liberation”, numerous quarters pointed out that ordinary members of the public had been hounded and forced to settle their taxes or face incarceration.

But to expect them to somewhat feel ashamed seems near impossible and in fact, they continue to style themselves as the champion of the people and in return heralded by their own groupies who, ironically are not from the haves caste.

If in their previous venture it concerns their personal gratification, the latest, involving some of the same personalities, seems to tap on the collective sense of entitlement.

Against the national standard operating procedures (SOPs), ban on gathering vis-à-vis the run up to the Melaka polls and social distancing, these personalities were central in a political gathering to launch their campaign.

They may yet to hold positions in the government, but they are part of the props. The prime minister (PM) is from their party and the ban on such gatherings was issued by the health minister, who is also from their party.

In other words, there is no excuse for them to blatantly disregard the SOPs and the ban and neither can they feign ignorance. The only reason for them to display such arrogance is the sense of entitlement — that they have every right to do what they want when others can’t.

Their party is then slapped with a RM10,000 fine, a pittance given the haves caste to which they belong.

Juxtaposed that to the fine imposed on the Opposition who held a protest about three months ago. Individuals identified participating in the protests were each fined individually for breaking SOPs.

Obviously the fine for the former is merely for appearance sake.

But more of concern is the blatant disregard by these political leaders of the SOPs and regulations introduced to stop the soon to be held Melaka polls from turning into a nucleus for a new Covid-19 wave.

Even before the public participated in the polls, the political players, in particular the ones from the government’s side, have already shown that they have no regard for the laws and that they are not going to be inconvenienced by them in pursuit of their quest.

It then takes the issue as to why there is any need to hold the polls when Malaysia, Melaka included, is in the stage of finding its footing in dealing with the pandemic after the majority of the populace had been vaccinated.

Whether herd immunity had been achieved or otherwise, reports had shown that even those fully vaccinated are not spared from being infected.

Furthermore, in allowing the democratic process to proceed, the government is expecting the voters to turn out in full force, take their elders to the polling booths and risk being infected, regardless whether the SOPs are followed to the tee.

If the anticipation that the turnout is going to be low, which means that the democratic process is hindered, why can’t the polls be postponed as in the case of Sarawak.

Sarawak can hold back its election until February next year by virtue that it has been placed under statewide Emergency as decreed by the King.

Surely, the uncontrollable outbreak of the pandemic when the Sabah polls were held should provide the PM enough reasons to push for the postponement of the Melaka polls.

Of all people, the PM, who was responsible for the SOPS and containment of the pandemic when the Sabah polls were held, would have been wiser since and opposed the Melaka polls, at least until the pandemic situation is comfortably more manageable.

Furthermore, the Melaka polls change nothing. It was brought about by disgruntled assemblymen from the same ruling party who attempted to set up a new state government by changing allegiance.

Whether such a move is palatable or not is of no consequence during the pandemic and especially when the PM, who is a beneficiary from such a manoeuvre, should not be too opposed to it.

The polls will not lead to anything other than providing a platform for accommodating two political parties, that had a falling out, to preen and pit their egos.

On the other hand, another party had roped in its allies with the hope that the polls may yet nurse its leader’s bruised ego.

All these beg the question of where do the voters and ordinary people fit into these politicians’ scheme of things. The only thing obvious is a parade of personalities on an ego trip.

Peculiarly some, from the haves-not caste, grovel to stroke them.

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.