Nothing bright, day or night…

pic by TMR FILE

BLAKE may have immortalised it, while Kipling managed to demonise it. But it took a couple of not-so-illustrious Malaysians — one a senior civil servant and the other a senior political party leader — to “urbanise” the endangered, near extinct, tiger. At least eventually.

It is funny and yet calamitous.

It merely sums up the state of affairs of the nation where leaders, it seems, are falling over each other and competing to humour the citizenry with their ineptitude and ludicrousness.

If the flood exposed their comedy of errors while they attempted to regain some ground after earlier missteps, thus far, since the new year, not much has changed and in fact, it is almost a given that a week will not pass without some tragic hilarity.

As it was, before the now widely mocked “logging for tiger”, a perceived connivance, it was about the misrepresentation of the killer orang utan. These leaders are mocked and ridiculed for these misrepresentations which serve no purposes other than justifying misdeeds and missteps.

With the Johor state polls soon to be held, more of such entertainment can be expected — not so much from being witty but rather due to being witless. Albeit that, the intelligence of the general populace is nonchalantly insulted.

From the word go, the Johor polls is obviously a court cluster’s manoeuvre. Originally, it was a threat from Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yassin (picture), leader of the Sheraton Move, who warned that at a press of a button, he could bring the Johor state government to its knees.

Either he couldn’t find the button or that the kleptocrats hid the button from him and pressed it when it suited them.

Regardless, that was the episode that has now escalated to a nonsensical situation with Mahiaddin’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia members urging all and sundry to make sure Umno or Barisan Nasional (BN) are soundly defeated in the Johor polls.

The reason is that the polls are strictly Umno’s power play in wanting to kill off Bersatu which in effect will further diminish Mahiaddin’s leadership.

Ironically, the Bersatu members, Mahiaddin included, have chosen to ignore that they had handed Johor to Umno or BN immediately after the Sheraton Move.

What Umno is doing today is exactly what Bersatu stalwarts, who opposed the Sheraton Move, had warned Mahiaddin of what the outcome was going to be.

These stalwarts, led by then Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said Mahiaddin’s Sheraton Move and collaboration with Umno is akin to riding the tiger in which he would end up being bitten by it. And true enough, after a dismal stint and earning the ignominy of being the shortest serving prime minister (PM), Mahiaddin continues to witness the alliance formed during the Sheraton Move crumble with much bitterness.

It may be too much to swallow for Mahiaddin to admit that the move literally gave Umno and in particular, the kleptocrats a lifeline and they are now the ringmaster of the nation’s political circus.

The current PM, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, is a lightweight in so far as the kleptocrats are concerned and he is likely more inclined to please them than Mahiaddin.

Mahiaddin may want to believe that he is still able to bring Ismail Sabri’s government to its knees by withdrawing Bersatu’s support but it would serve no purpose as that is what the kleptocrats want.

In the meantime, Mahiaddin cannot play victim and accuse those involved in the Sheraton Move and choose to abandon him as traitors or backstabbing him for he is accused of such when he made the move.

In short, if he calls them traitors and backstabbers, he can be assured that he would be asked to look in the mirror first.

The kleptocrats are actually running short of time as their court cases stacked against them do not seem to be in their favour.

It is not so much the confidence that they would definitely win the general election but it is still their best bet to stop their likely incarceration for the crimes they are and had been tried for.

One has already lost before one High Court and three appeals court judges and declared a national embarrassment. A former Chief Justice had described the leaders of the court cluster as liabilities to Umno as the party would continue to be unable to rid itself of being associated with corruption.

With the parties in the government in disarray and going for each other’s throats, the Opposition should be in good stead to provide the lead and take over.

Instead, after calling for collaboration among all parties from those in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact and those outside, PH leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim decided that PKR would be using its own logo instead of PH’s.

DAP and Amanah, the two other parties in PH, are left to carry the coalition’s flag.

It opens up speculations that PKR had chosen such a path because it felt the others two are only going to drag it down and that it is a premium brand that can stand on its own.

Unlike the other parties outside PH, the coalition partners had always presented itself as a united front bound by the unity of purpose. Much as PKR, or at least its leadership had always been viewed as somewhat delusional over his national influence, the PH is the closest of an alternative to the kleptocrat-led BN.

The Bersatu/PAS partnership in Perikatan Nasional is viewed as an anomaly to the equation and the Johor polls may be the beginning of its end.

However, much as they may end up being mauled, it is unlikely they will perish, become endangered or extinct, unlike the tiger.

Though, some may still be hoping for the reverse.


Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.