Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak has reminded Muslims not to give their trust or hand over responsibilities to those with an evil, hypocritical image and low morality, tainted by corruption and abuse of power, and those who are untrustworthy and insincere.
Nothing good can come out of a grievous wrong until it is corrected. This backdoor government has lived up to this truth by its resort to a proclamation of a state of emergency without consent of Parliament. Is this how democracy works?
The negative qualities that the Perak sultan listed can apply to those now wielding executive power. When Members of Parliament breach their oath to uphold the Constitution and their commitment to their constituents, then such representatives have crossed the line and are untrustworthy.
They will manipulate and do all that is beneficial in their self-interest to remain in power, even at the expense of the people’s concerns. What irritates the public is that these leaders think we, the people, are as stupid as they are and are unable to discern their bad motives. There is no transparency, nor is there accountability to the will of the people.
US President-elect Joe Biden emphasised the fundamental issue in the recent presidential elections was ‘character’. Trump lacks this in more ways than one, as seen in what is now happening in the US. Likewise, is this also not happening in Malaysia?
The level of religiosity evident today sadly trumps the lack of personal character in the leadership. If you want to see ‘towering Malaysians’, visit them at civil society groups spearheading the cause of justice and human rights.
My respected Malay colleague from an interfaith fellowship shared this Hadith with me:
The Prophet (pbuh) asked his companions, “Do you know what is better than prayer and fasting?”
The companions replied only Allah and his Prophet knows.
The Prophet replied that it is in having good character. The Prophet (pbuh) then asked his companions, “Do you know what is better than fasting and good character?”
The Companions replied only Allah and his Prophet know.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “It is to be a peacemaker between people because it is bad feelings between people that will destroy humanity.”
How many in our present leadership are living up to this standard instead of espousing racism?
Would you describe all those who, by their silence and acts of commission, were complicit in establishing this backdoor government as individuals of noble character? Can such people be trusted?
All the descriptions used by Sultan Nazrin fit well with many who presently helm the politics of our nation.
The issue here is not race but character. Look at the antics of politicians and other figures who have amassed so much wealth and are now under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
Power can corrupt anyone, and the only antidote remains the virtues of moral character. Whether you are a lower-level leader or even royalty, the challenges are the same. We have politicians now who have been holding power for up to three decades.
Many are corrupt in more ways than one, and they have tainted our institutions and regulatory bodies. Consider the corruption in the police force, customs, immigration and other enforcement divisions, even at the level of local councils.
Many politicians over the last three decades have made so much money for themselves that others down the line have rationalised this as rezeki (God-given sustenance) for themselves. Many have boarded this gravy train, from religious leaders to people at all levels. The worst have been the politicians and civil servants, even those from so-called Islamic parties.
A child born in 1970 would now be 50 years old. If he or she were the child of a fisherman or of workers in the unorganised sectors of our economy, what would his or her economic position be today?
Compare this to those politicians in power. After 50 years of the New Economic Policy and its various incarnations, and with public bodies like Mara, University Technology Mara (UiTM), the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra), why are so many Malays and bumiputras still where they are?
Where have all the money and opportunities disbursed under the NEP gone? With nearly 10,000 government-linked companies in existence, not to mention the civil service, who are the drivers involved in all such activities?
Who is responsible for the state of the nation? Will these people wake up before the democratic fabric of this nation is destroyed? The time has come when we have to save the ordinary people from the corrupt among the elite. The problems are not out there but within.
Contrast this with the wealth of our politicians, especially those in Barisan Nasional. The family of a late politician is tussling over RM2bn in wealth. Other political leaders have amassed immense wealth, not to mention their families as well.
Now their children are also raking it in. Many among the Malay establishment elite have exploited the NEP to serve their own interests rather than the interests of the ordinary Malays and the other bumiputras.
Leaders have accumulated wealth, and so have their children. Najib was the best student, attaining global notoriety.
Some of our premier companies like MAS have been ravaged by special contracts given to cronies.
Look at the wealth of those who have been in politics for up to three decades and assess how much these so-called representatives of the people have amassed for themselves and their families, often at the expense of ordinary Malays.
Consider Tengku Adnan Mansor, who has the capacity to pay the Inland Revenue RM40m in unpaid taxes. Witness the sheer audacity of having a drive-through wedding reception with a stage set up in front of the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya.
The credibility of major institutions has been tarred after corruption and other scandals over the last two decades.
The authorities appear keen to sweep things under the carpet.
What is happening is not unique to the Malays. However, when you have a predominantly race-oriented leadership at the helm, it is sad. Many have no idea how to bring about change for the better.
Malaysia must use its diversity, for this gives us strength.
Today, you have a government where no one speaks out. It is this same syndrome that gave free rein to Najib to gain the notoriety he did.
Had we had greater diversity at the helm, many would have been more cautious. Thankfully, there are many Malays who speak out but their numbers must increase.
It is character that provides moral strength and the will to stand up for what is right, irrespective of race.