Friday Jottings: The science of brain conservation

pic credit: Tun M’s Office

THE speed by which some politicians, academics and analysts started commenting on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s (picture) new Malay movement, some even before the press conference announcing it was over, and negatively at that, is reminiscent of a recent event.

Lest most forget, when Dr Mahathir launched the Deklarasi Rakyat (People’s Declaration), in early 2016, not many people believed that it would amount to much as the move sought to collect signatures from one million Malaysians demanding that the then Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak be removed for his role in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

While it was true that the one million signatures collected in a record time were unable to get Najib to step down or “sacked”, it sowed the seeds of the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition that brought the Umno/Barisan Nasional (BN) behemoth and Najib to their knees in the 2018 General Election.

Lest some of these pundits, including leading media editors and columnists forget, quite a number of them did not give PH a ghost of a chance, some even predicting a two-thirds majority for Najib and Umno/BN.

Some were even in denial, if not lying outright, by attempting to downplay the growing crowds at PH rallies which, as polling day grew nearer, were sending a strong and clear message that the majority of the citizenry has had enough of Najib, Umno and BN, and their shenanigans.

Video clips of media editors and columnists, sickeningly compliant and grovelling when interviewing Najib were widely shared then, adding fuel to voters who were already extremely disgruntled.

While it is not a crime to not believe in the ability or the possibility of the Opposition to bring about the end of a kleptocratic government and its plundering PM, it is the not so discreet support for the incumbent to retain power that was unpalatable.

By any measure, these intellects, analysts, academics and leading media personalities who should be more informed and more aware of the crimes committed by Najib and his cohorts in the 1MDB scandal, should be leading the charge.

Even if they were not willing to put their neck on the line to expose and denounce the kleptocratic government for whatever reasons, the least they could have done was to keep their peace and let those who dared take up the mantle pursue the cause.

Instead, they direct their energy in attempts to dumb down the populace, using what little intellect they may have gathered along the way, to promote what the rest of the world have publicly and loudly exposed as one of modern times’ greatest and vilest heists ever committed by a leader on a nation.

Luckily, despite the absence of their support for the Opposition and with some of them supporting the kleptocrats, it proved in the end to be of no consequence.

It would have been expected that these figures and personalities, who had consciously or otherwise been complicit in efforts to exonerate the kleptocrats and misled the nation would have been remorseful, or at least ashamed for their deeds.

What happened when the majority voters brought the kleptocrats tumbling down was that these individuals went silent without even a shred of dignity to admit they were wrong or at least got it wrong.

The silence was, however, temporary.

Now they’re back at it, giving opinions and analysis on all and sundry including the newly set up Malay movement Gerakan Tanah Air, flippantly dismissing it as a non-starter without much intellectual inputs.

Again, there’s nothing wrong if they think that the movement is without much hope.

But the shallow assessment without looking at the merit in the need of setting up of the movement is actually quite nauseating.

Firstly, the movement clearly spelt out that it is set up to stop Umno.

The question is whether Umno, in its current form, should be stopped from regaining power? What has changed since the last election?

Obviously, it is business as usual for Umno, despite the defeat in the 2018 polls. The kleptocrats are still leading the party and/or are pulling the strings.

Secondly, it is banking on the frustration of the voters following the Sheraton Move and its near solid 30% voters’ bank is sufficient to take it to the finishing line as proven in the Melaka and Johor polls.

Encouraged by these outcomes, Umno is pushing for an early election, believing that the voters’ sentiments of being fed-up, indifferent and blasé, and added with their zombified supporters, would secure its victory at the national polls and regain the coveted throne.

Simply put, Umno wants to return to power on the support of one-third of the electorates to allow the return of the kleptocrats to helm the nation.

That is the plan and agenda and that is the outcome they hope to achieve.

These analysts and intellectuals reacted by undermining those who, rightly or wrongly, came up with a strategy, not to allow the Umno agenda realised. True to form, they give their opinions by the dozens.

And all this sound eerily familiar.

Shamsul Akmar is the Editor of The Malaysian Reserve.