pic by BERNAMA
AT THE World Economic Forum — where the rich and powerful arrived in Davos in private jets and converged to discuss strategies to combat climate change — the hypocrisy was not missed. They were actually the ones with the largest carbon footprints.
In the alternate sphere, where the angelic turns horribilis, such sanctimony is rarely missed, though at times wrong targets, context and misrepresentations are quite commonplace.
Closer to home, Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s preference for an RM5,000 Italian-crafted, British-branded shirt, purportedly worn in a recent meeting with his Singapore counterpart, was also not overlooked in the alternate sphere.
While the less antagonistic gave the PM the benefit of the doubt, which they argued that he may have obtained the shirt before he took office and that it may have been bought during a massive price-slash galore, cynics and critics were unrelenting.
Questioning why the Malaysian batik was not a preferred choice, others wondered how could a leader — who wears a shirt worth thousands of ringgit — can be empathetic to a large segment of populace suffering from massive price hikes in basic needs.
But for one, it should not be viewed as the case of the poor being anti those who are wealthy and neither should it be framed as a class divide. If by now, Ismail Sabri is still not aware that being PM means that he represents the nation and the populace, his minders should remind him of it regardless of whether he is a product of a backdoor government or otherwise.
And indeed, there is the need to distinguish between being big-headed from wearing the crown to realising heavy is the head that wears the crown.
Such sentiments may in the end be dismissed as emotional outbursts cast on leaders without them being the true measure of a man. And yet, such thoughts actually cast a long shadow over domestic politics.
One regularly raised issue is over the insult the nation has to stomach is the frequent economic and financial opinions and advise from convicted ex-PM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.
Simply put, how can a leader who has been found guilty by the High Court and Court of Appeal for plundering the nation, be giving opinion, unsolicited most times, on how to remedy the precarious position of the nation’s wealth.
Worst when the opinion is solicited and him being given national platforms to express them.
The least, those who had given him the platform, no matter how eager and desperate they are for his financial “genius”, could do is to wait until his final appeal at the Federal Court.
Unless, they needed his expertise in weeding and smoking out present-day plunderers ie in observation of the precept that it takes a thief to catch a thief.
It is, however, only acceptable when the thief admits he is a thief and seeking redemption by helping catch other thieves.
Otherwise, it will be seen as an act of glorifying a national plunderer, especially when he is royally feted which in effect put paid to values and ethics upheld and defended since time immemorial.
Not to be ignored is that the Malay Rulers’ institution is supposed to be the last bastion in defending these values and ignoring it is a dereliction of their raison d’etre.
In other words, the institution is entrusted to uphold trust and to ensure those who were entrusted to uphold trust, uphold it.
While a segment of the populace struggles to reconcile with the developments involving the kleptocrats, the shortest-serving PM Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yassin has recently too upped the ante on sanctimony.
Widely viewed as the architect as well as the main beneficiary of the Sheraton Move — which led to the downfall of the Pakatan Harapan government and in turn his ascension to the coveted PM’s post — Mahiaddin’s call for unity among political parties to thwart the return of the kleptocrats is indeed hollow if not outright humbug.
He is frequently reminded on the alternate sphere that his rise to power is without doubt with the support of the kleptocrats and their ilk for without which, he would not have the numbers to claim the throne.
In fact, his wafer-thin majority was disputed from the very start, making it beyond dispute that he became PM on the charity of the kleptocrats.
If there are any doubts whatsoever that it was the kleptocrats that had ensured Mahiaddin’s rise to the highest office, his fall, when the kleptocrats withdrew their support, should put the debate beyond dispute.
As such, though almost all are in unison, except the supporters of the kleptocrats, are all for stopping the return of the kleptocrats, Mahiaddin is not acceptable as the rallying point.
He can, however, return his support to those who oppose and want to stop the rise of the kleptocrats, as a matter of remorse and redemption for his role being in giving them the lifeline.
Mahiaddin was warned of the impending treachery of the kleptocrats when he decided to form an alliance with them. But finally, Mahiaddin discovered the hard way that there was no honour among the plunderers.
By then, the crown was already knocked off his head.
Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.