We are the heroes, they are the zeroes

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We hope that corruption will one day be a thing of the distant past.

Apart from remaining zeroes, many of our national `leaders’ have no concern for maruah; only we, the citizens of Malaysia, can save our country, writes Rom Nain.

For cynics and sceptics, a country’s general election is often – and often quite rightly – called the silly season.

It is no different here at home, although as we have seen over numerous general elections, we can outdo every other country’s silliness, living up to our great mantra, `Malaysia Boleh’.

Perhaps more than before, this time around, we see old and new zeroes crawling out of the woodwork, desperately wishing to be heroes. And failing dismally.

The Tourism and Culture Minister, Nazri Abdul Aziz, always wishing to move out of the zero zone and not succeeding, illustrated why when he attacked Robert Kuok for allegedly supporting the opposition.

It was not so much Nazri’s criticism, but the language he used that annoyed and offended many. Aliran’s irrepressible P Ramakrishnan came up with a brilliant, hard-hitting critique of Nazri, berating him for being uncouth and uncultured.

Reading Rama’s piece, one could visualise a wise and strict earlier-generation teacher telling off a schoolyard bully.

But arrogant, bullying behaviour of this nature evidently has become a trademark of the parties in this regime.

READ MORE:  Drop proposed ‘fake news’ law

And much of it is linked to 1MDB and a desire to prop up one man, the one the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has called “MO1” (or Malaysian Official One).

MO1 has become the brunt of jokes and even the subject of at least one T-shirt by Malaysia’s premier political cartoonist, Zunar.

MO1, of course, has been fingered by his own minister, Abdul Rahman Dahlan. Abdul Rahman, despite trying to `tai chi’ his way around his statement, is perhaps destined to remain a zero for his declaration.

But even with the mounting evidence, even with critical reports by national and international news media, there is predictable denial of the wrongdoings related to 1MDB.

Minister after minister has either refused to acknowledge the shame this caper has brought to the country or has treated this major act of kleptocracy, of money laundering, of daylight robbery as just business as usual.

In his latest piece for Aliran, JD Lovrenciear raises the issue of 1MDB and national pride. He asks, “Are we going to take on much of the global media to regain our maruah? Or do we sit back and cry that the entire world is attacking our leadership? Do we make-believe that our own opposition political parties have diabolically influenced an entire world of media practitioners and owners?”

It would seem that, apart from remaining zeroes, many of our national `leaders’ have no concern for maruah, for shame, for dignity. That, indeed, seems to be the state this green and pleasant land of ours has drifted to.

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And for those of us who are angry and wish to speak out and ask questions that need answers, this regime, it would appear, is ready to try to shut us up even more, in the weeks leading up to the general election.

Taking a leaf out of the despicable Donald Trump’s book, the Najib regime is set to draft and pass a new law related to what it calls `fake news’. Without multi-stakeholder consultations, they are deciding virtually on their own what constitutes `fake news’.

And Aliran has been at the forefront of critiquing this approach: see here, here and here.

Hence, it may be the silly season for some and maybe, more zeros are out there than heroes.

So perhaps just laughing meekly – or even cynically – at these developments and deciding to spoil their votes may be the option for some.

But Aliran’s unequivocal stand is that, come the general election in a few weeks, we must stand up, head to the ballot boxes and make our choices. Indeed, only we, the citizens of Malaysia, can save our country.

Rom Nain
Co-editor, Aliran newsletter
21 March 2018

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Hakimi bin Abdul Jabar

Malaysians better wake up :

By World Bank Estimate, Malaysia is Worse than South Sudan, Malawi, Bolivia, Mozambique, Comoros, Dominican Republic, Peru, Djibouti, Chad, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Togo, Angola etc.

In this list of 149 countries and territories, the World Bank estimates income inequality around the world. On a scale of 0 to 100, 0 represents total equality.

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/04/02/598864666/the-country-with-the-worlds-worst-inequality-is?utm_source=quora