Ahoy, one too many Brutus at the helm


BY any measure, the Johore polls has indeed taken the phrase insulting the intelligence of the public to a different level – one, that for others to attain, probably requires smoking something rare and exotic that’s not easily gotten from the friendly neighbourhood peddler.

Only that can explain all the narratives they shove, fast and thick, down the public’s throat, weeks before the campaign officially kicks off on 26 February, immediately after nomination.

Polling is set on 12 March while early voting is fixed on 8 March.

One of the most repelling insults is the barbs traded between Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and Umno leaders as to who between them is the real traitor.

Actually, if there was a little shred of honesty between them, the debate should be on who is the better traitor since, whether they believe it or not, there’s widespread opinion that they both are.

The former for abandoning Pakatan Harapan in pursuit of fulfilling their president’s ambition of becoming Prime Minister.

The latter for betraying public’s trust for continuing to support their then president and now de facto leader despite international expose of his hand being caught in the 1MDB cookie jar and these were then backed by decisions by the High Court and Court of Appeals which concluded likewise.

It can be argued that Bersatu’s sins are lesser as it only betrayed the PH. Indeed, it would have been if its president Tan Sri Mahiaddin Yassin stopped there.

Instead, in wanting to fulfil his ambition to become the Prime Minister, he accepted the support of Umno, including that of its former president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

For him such support then, traitor or not, was much needed and better than good.

Whether Mahiaddin likes it or not, given his disputed majority, his 17 months in office, though the shortest in the history of Malaysian PMs, was only possible with the support of the kleptocrats.

And that cannot be denied as Mahiaddin survived several attempts to vote him out of office but they were unsuccessful because the Opposition did not have sufficient votes to deny him the majority.

It can also be argued that he had remained in office because the Opposition is led by someone delusional who kept his supporters on a high that he had the numbers, formidable and convincing to boot, when he wasn’t actually quite good with numbers.

Of course, at the tail-end of Mahiaddin’s tenure, it can be further argued that he had remained in office by virtue of the Emergency but that would definitely not be something he would want to use as a counterpoint.

Another point that makes Mahiaddin’s position unsavoury is the fact that his pursuit of becoming the PM saw him resuscitating otherwise drowning kleptocrats.

Despite being warned that the path he was about to take would end up with the kleptocrats overwhelming him, Mahiaddin was adamant and today, a “told you so” counts for nothing as the kleptocrats are emboldened, alive and kicking.

And they did him in the minute they realised that Mahiaddin had served his purpose.

While Mahiaddin is left nursing his wounded ego and the bitter taste of betrayal, he could probably seek some comfort that he got to take the ride of what goes around comes around.

For the kleptocrats, their narrative of Mahiaddin being a traitor to the Malays for being involved in the formation of Bersatu, deemed an Umno splinter, reeks of deceit.

Their betrayal of the Malays began with their refusal to first address the 1MDB elephant in the room and then going on with defending and making the kleptocrat their election poster boy.

They are still doing it now and expecting the Malays and the rest of the voters in Johor to give them their votes in favour of the kleptocrat-led Umno.

If to them Mahiaddin is a traitor, weren’t they the one who gave him the opportunity to helm the nation, regardless of how short his stint was.

Of course, they could argue that they needed Mahiaddin to regain their lost political ground. Then they had again betrayed the public for preferring their political end at the expense of people by putting up the person they now declare a traitor.

And if Mahiaddin had benefitted from those he declared as traitors, these traitors too had then benefitted from Mahiaddin whom they now declare as a traitor.

The only thing the nation got their exercise was a traitor square albeit more.

The more is that the nation now needs to decipher these traitors’ doublespeak, because their trading barbs doesn’t change the fact that they are both propping up a clueless and hopeless Government, helmed by an Umno man with Ministers from Bersatu.

By whatever logic, if either couldn’t stand nor trust the other, they should abandon each other at the Federal level as they did in Johor.

How do they justify continuing propping up each other after all the vitriols, exposing the other’s weaknesses and shortcomings?

If their claims of having the people close to their heart how could they allow the other whom they had tarnished in the worst light to continue to be in the Government and running the nation.

Based on their contentions of each other and their track records, neither should be anywhere close to the power structure, now and for that natter, never.

Because one congeals helplessness, while the other, utter hopelessness.

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.