pic by BERNAMA
A COMMON malady afflicting politicians when elections are held is verbal diarrhoea and in the Malacca polls, it seems to be contagious and widespread.
Such is the infection that one politician, who went on an almost vow-like silence for 17 months, particularly with the media, seemed to have found his tongue and more.
But what comes out is loose talk bordering on rants, stemming from delusions of grandeur or drools of gibbers spurting from insecurity and insolence.
The Malacca polls, which otherwise is a sheer waste of taxpayers’ money, is murkier still because the leading personalities involved are those who have been variously labelled as a kleptocrat, a traitor and a prime minister (PM)-in-waiting-in-perpetuity, are pitting their egos.
It is also an election without context because two are from the same side of the fence despite trying to pull each other down, they are propping each other up at the federal level. The third is of course a signatory to an agreement to work with the federal government intended at prolonging the lifespan of the PM.
The narrative of Malay-Muslim unity, which was used to justify the Sheraton Move, has long gone down the drain and all that is left are two bitter Malay parties whose rivalry has nothing to do with pursuing the interest of their race or religion, but strictly about the quest for power.
And PAS, which portrays itself as the glue to bind the Malay/Muslim entities, is losing its lustre as an Islamist and is instead rapidly being perceived as a penunggang agama or “rider of the religion”, a local urban lexicon to denote it is using Islam for its political end.
For a bit of context, the poll was called after Idris Haron, an Umno assemblyman, decided to lead another Umno colleague plus two others to withdraw their support from the Umno-led state government, which included getting the support of assemblymen from Perikatan Nasional (PN).
Basically, it was Umno, with the assistance of a PN and an independent, that brought down the Umno/Barisan Nasional (BN) state government.
PN has expressed its displeasure with the situation and its chairman Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yasin said the same could happen in Johor if a couple of assemblymen from his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia were to withdraw their support.
An Umno veteran Tan Sri Shahrir Samad reacted and challenged Mahiaddin to do just that, to which Mahiaddin responded by describing Shahrir as stupid and that Bersatu would not resort to that as it would not be in the interest of the people.
The last few paragraphs are actually inconsequential, but only serve to show how comical and nonsensical these political leaders are in their incoherent narratives and agenda.
Lest people forget, Mahiaddin was instrumental in bringing down the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, which then saw the fall of Bersatu-led Johor and Kedah state governments, the former taken over by Umno and the latter by PAS. Melaka too, which was Amanah-led, fell to Umno until its assemblyman Idris decided to do a number on his own party.
Subsequently, Bersatu lost Perak to Umno as well.
In other words, Mahiaddin’s ascension to PM saw Bersatu having to pay the price with three state governments and finally with his own post, making him the shortest-serving PM thus far.
After suffering from such ignominy, Mahiaddin’s threat on Johor is indeed hollow and Shahrir basically called his bluff. Mahiaddin’s harsh name calling of Shahrir and bravado that at a press of a button Johor will fall, are only reactions from one suffering from a dented ego.
The squirts didn’t end there. It turned into gushes of remarks that he was the one who was responsible to establish Bersatu and not Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Adding to his vitriols, Mahiaddin said he was unlike Dr Mahathir who didn’t fulfil his promises to the people.
His remarks didn’t go down well with Dr Mahathir’s supporters who pointed out that Dr Mahathir had picked him up when he was discarded by Umno and Mahiaddin’s claim to be the one who built Bersatu is only true in so far as his role being akin to that of a building contractor when Dr Mahathir was the architect.
And his contention that Dr Mahathir did not fulfil his promises to the people (when he was the seventh PM) only reflected his desperation as Mahiaddin, for all intents and purposes, was a member of the Cabinet and a senior member of it for that matter.
While Mahiaddin is on his trip of newly rediscovered tongue, BN and PH are not too convincing either in their campaign.
For BN, with Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak seemingly spearheading the campaign, it has no moral ground to speak about corruption or abuse of power. In fact, any attempt to promise a commitment to combat the two malaises is mocked and draws derisive comments.
One particular episode, when PH’s chief ministerial candidate decided to raise issue over a RM33 million compensation for fishermen along the Melaka coast was already spent when PH took over after the 2018 polls, Najib was quick to point out that the question should be directed at Idris who was BN’s chief minister.
It was then rebutted that Najib was then the PM, and Idris and Melaka was under his watch. And round and round it goes as Idris is now a PH candidate.
And that leads to the unhappiness of a number of PH supporters who opposed the coalition’s decision to accept Idris and make him its candidate in the polls.
PH leadership, in particular Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, contended that Idris is not a frog as he had been sacked by Umno and that he is not given any position in joining the coalition, unlike the political frogs sought by PN to take over the federal government from PH.
While in the case of Idris, Anwar and PH may believe that they still command the moral high ground, but their detractors insist they have no right to the perch.
After all, the very first move to take over Putrajaya via the backdoor in a full-scale froggish was initiated by Anwar and then Pakatan Rakyat way back in 2008. The only thing is that, unlike the Sheraton Move, it failed.
And they have been salivating since.
Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.