Friday Jottings: A celebration of triumph without success

IT IS quite baffling, how a government, led by self-righteous people wearing reform on their sleeves, can even imagine celebrating their one year in office, let alone actually holding such an event.

Unless, the celebration is strictly aimed at the ability to commit Machiavellian political manoeuvres with the ultimate aim of getting to the seat of power at whatever cost and compromises.

Otherwise, if it is to reflect on their performance and achievements, reformists and those riding the moral high horse should get off them, mourn at one corner and if they need to get out and use the toilet, walk with their heads down and tail between the legs.

Even the holding of the celebration at the Bukit Jalil stadium, whose pitch is utterly devastated by leaders not knowing what priorities are, underscores how pathetic the government has been in managing the nation, not to mention the incompetence of those appointed to be guardians of the realm.

Not too long ago, when criticisms mounted on the government and its leaders for underwhelming management, they whined – declaring the extensive damage caused by previous administrations and leaders.

Surprisingly, members of the Cabinet included those from previous and previous administrations.

Not only the “destroyers” were roped in, but those they declared as epitomes of corruption and abuse of power were also incorporated into the new “Madani” administration.

These appointments were not confined to political figures, justified by their hypocritical followers as an evil necessity if a government were to be realised, a top civil servant they wanted to “lynch” for financial impropriety was kept in the equation.

And, not only was he retained, he was entrusted to go after those who were corrupt and indulging in financial shenanigans.

It seems the strategy is to use a thief to catch a thief.

Somehow, for the less easily impressed, it is actually more of a case of the fox guarding the chicken coop.

Ultimately, it pays to be a crook under the present administration – one is transformed from being a plunderer to a Cabinet member or a power abuser back to his lofty position as long as there is a “bro” to carry the weight.

By comparison, when the first Pakatan Harapan Government took office, yes, the one that the present Government and Prime Minister try very hard to be disassociated with, efforts were immediately undertaken to take to task those identified of committing financial wrongdoings and abuse of power.

After all, that was what the PH had promised in the run-up to the 2018 polls, to rid the nation of kleptocrats.

And when they took over the Government, it did just that – going after the kleptocrats, charging them and then for the courts to decide.

Simply put, the then PH’s main objective was to make sure that those who had indulged in corrupt practices and abused their powers while in office would be made to face the music.

They achieved it and fulfilled what they set out to be. 

The same cannot be said about this current PH. It keeps hiding behind the skirt of the unity government, that it had to make compromises if it wanted to realise the government and that the government it forms was important to thwart the green wave or rather monster, going by the manner they paint it.

But there is only so much compromise and volte-face that can be stomached.

Apart from that, it becomes more nauseating when those declared corrupt suddenly become the wingman of a leader who had self-styled himself to be an anti-corruption champion.

If such a major cause has been twisted for political expediency, it is no surprise that the inability to bring down the price of fuel, the inability to check the slide of the ringgit, rising cost of living and declining purchasing power are left unattended.

When questioned, if no explanation is available, lie through the teeth and there are ample cheerleaders to go around to prop it up.

It is incapable of fulfilling a straightforward promise of ridding the nation of draconian laws. It instead twisted and turned and left the nation wondering whether the laws are only draconian if the PH said so and if they don’t, then they aren’t.

That concept applies to all the other aspects. The corrupt is no more corrupt if brought into the midst. The fuel price is not high if compared with other nations.

The ringgit is not depreciating if other currencies are depreciating. The cost of living is actually low when compared with the price paid in London, Paris or New York. And so are the high prices of goods when comparisons are made.

Yet, the Government is committed to combat poverty. It is quite surprising why should it be putting itself in such a bind when Malaysians are actually rich, especially when compared with foreigners who were willing to risk life and limb just to work in Malaysia.

Then there are complaints about the Government’s growing intolerance for dissent. That too sounds petty and surely there are numerous nations for comparison to debunk such concerns.

Considering all these, the Madani Government has every reason to celebrate as they had managed to remain in power despite how dismal their reforms fared. They should celebrate than whine and blame others for their failures.

That would have been more pathetic. – pic BERNAMA

  • Shamsul Akmar is an editor at The Malaysian Reserve.