The impotence of being harnessed


IN AN incredulous disparage, a Muslim consumer association handed a memo to Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak for him to pass it to the prime minister (PM). 

The memo is a request that the government disburse retirement funds to contributors who had been badly hit financially by the pandemic and the recent floods. 

But handing the plea through the convicted felon, whose infamy included accusations of having his hands in the till of another retirement fund is an irony that should not be missed. 

For the kleptocrat, the Muslim group’s recognition of him, whether perceived or otherwise, completed the cycle of his peninsular political needs. 

Prior to this, an Indian party, a peripheral one though it may be, declared him a national pride as opposed to an adjudication of him being a national embarrassment, when he was invited to address a Malaysia-China economic congress albeit an organiser in dispute. 

But Najib beefing up his political credentials is not the issue and neither is the efforts he is putting into it. 

It is the effect they have on all around — how weak the PM is and the disarray the Opposition is in. 

Whether PM Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is aware or not, the fact that these people chose to turn to Najib only proved popular sentiments that the former will only last for as long as the latter extends his support or until the election is called. 

If there is no conclusion yet to Najib’s and Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s court cases, it is unlikely that Ismail Sabri will be returned as the party’s PM candidate regardless whether Najib or Ahmad Zahid can contest. 

In other words, Ismail Sabri’s continued existence as a PM is at the mercy of Najib though the former’s predecessor Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yassin would probably want to insist that he is of equal import. 

And the Opposition Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) belief that their signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government helps keep Ismail Sabri at the helm, hence ensuring political disruptions are kept at bay is obviously misplaced. 

It has kept political power play at a reduced rate but that is only in so far as PH is concerned, but not that is not the case with Umno. And the issue of Ismail Sabri being held to ransom if the PH did not sign the MoU is actually an afterthought as Ismail Sabri’s position is never under any threat from Najib and the Umno faction.

The MoU was conjured to hide the shame of being made a novice and being played out by Umno, which PH had rendered as the anathema of a successful Malaysia, with of course PAS coming second for its dominion over piety. 

Harnessed by now, PH leaders and supporters may choose to be in denial but public opinion on their impotence as an opposition is growing rapidly and their inability to rise above it had rendered them becoming repetitive, redundant and incoherent. 

Devoid of an effective opponent, Najib and Umno turned their guns on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad whom they attempt to “expose” every time issues of wrongdoings and misdemeanours are levelled at them, regardless who raised the issues and not necessarily by Dr Mahathir. 

By any count, anyone who is not an imbecile, would have noticed that despite repeatedly declaring Dr Mahathir of being senile and irrelevant, Najib and his cohorts went at length to demonise and diminish the former. 

Unluckily, the clueless PH current favourite pastimes seem to be blaming others for their mediocrity and that includes blaming their own once highly-touted chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. 

Of course, Anwar, who is also quite adept in the blame game in the past, brought it upon himself having shared his over-bloated confidence but never delivering, had left some PH supporters devastated and red-faced. 

And not unlike the metaphorical pied piper, Anwar and the promised land are both delusive and elusive. Unhinged, the PH leaders seemed to be taking Najib and Umno’s lead, spewing vitriol on Dr Mahathir. Otherwise, they fire blanks. 

What holds is not palatable as Najib and Umno, growing in confidence, are positioning themselves as victims. 

Regardless no matter how damning what had been revealed and exposed in the courts, Najib’s supporters continue to believe that he is a victim of slander and libel. 

And that despite Najib not being as lucky as others whose brother seems to be a convenient fall back. 

Instead, Najib’s brother was the one who led the onslaught to expose his misdeeds and it is documented in damning details in an autobiography. 

If in the past, the denseness was reserved to his base of Malay supporters, it seems quite contagious and it had spread among the Chinese and Indians, regardless how insignificant their numbers may be. 

It is, after all, a game of numbers as much as perception, and for Najib, if he can’t have the former, he’ll definitely settle for the latter. 

In other words, the nation is now saddled with a self-serving, convicted leader who is juxtaposed with a leader whose ego is somewhat deflated and rendered ineffective and a PM, some in the PH had declared as the worst the nation ever had. 

It is no surprise then that some PH leaders and supporters are spending a fair bit of time on some puerile indulgences, smugly discussing the best PM the nation never had. That is probably all they can do. 

And the worst PM remains at the mercy of a convicted ex-PM. 

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.