Ex-PM a product of culture of entitlement, dynastic politics

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Photograph: The Star

An exclusive sense of entitlement provided the opportunity to exploit the politics of race and religion with the hope of retaining power in perpetuity, writes Dominic Damian.

The ex-prime minister is an enigma and a dilemma unto himself.

He claims that his conscience is clear but the majority of Malaysians and many in the global community know that he is cleared of virtually any kind of conscience! There is little left of it, and that much is the truth. In an intriguing, intricate and complex way, this may be his only truth.
 
His stewardship of the nation appears to have been conducted in collusion with those close to him who are complicit. When the deck of cards fall, the head of this clique has little option but to take the fall and in the process stoutly place a defence to ensure all is not lost.
 
In a sense, his immediate family, friends and political allies have been of little or no help. Their actions have not at all been helpful in saving him; instead they appear counterproductive.

The party has been reduced to a group of jesters. The serious court proceedings have drawn whining and complaints. The theatrical drama of collecting funds for his bail, the extravagant promotional antics, the fiasco of the son’s frolicking in Taiwan, the wining and dining, and the frothing expletives from a party MP have exposed the entire rotten structure.

The sordid relationship mechanism to horde treasures reminds me of a termite colony: each character’s sole existence is dedicated to consume the structures, while the leader is fattened, indulged and pampered. There is a specific discipline: the worker or soldier will do everything possible for the leader.

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But in real life, they are doing nothing right to save a father, friend or political ally. It is a matter of time before Umno discards and disowns its former leader.
 
That said, he is doing nothing right either, swaggering around with this bloated ego and gloating about glories that do not register on the weighing scales of public perception or opinion. He managed to get a lot of folk burdened with problems. He curbed the reach of almost every institution that matters. He allowed inter-ethnic and inter-religious goodwill to take a battering as his deafening silence gave those disturbing the peace a free rein.

He ignored his conscience and his principles. The clumsiness in the corruption scandals under his watch is legendary – and he has not been forthcoming with the entire truth. Instead, he is still in delusional denial, perhaps believing himself untouchable. Consider that only a soulless, empty person will defend the indefensible and believe that cash is king.

Clueless, he is widely reviled, yet shows little sign of remorse or repentance. Mountains of evidence are met with insensible denial.

Meanwhile, the looting during his tenure has earned him international notoriety, and he is seen as a nightmare. When he was in power, the judiciary, the police, the attorney general, the previous parliamentary speaker and many more were emasculated. They were reduced to little more than blithering, babbling shadows of what they should have been.

He may now think he is going through martyrdom. But that would be a grave miscalculation – the way he miscalculated voters’ sentiments on 9 May. Few would want to touch him with a bargepole. If one reads comments on online articles, the depth of dislike for this person is revealed.

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Yet he is obstinate and obsessed about defending the indefensible. Even with just a fraction of the charges coming out, he could be heading for obliteration.

Only one factor and one factor alone may save him – the truth. But how is this possible with him?
 
Ultimately, we must reflect on what created this destructive juggernaut. Scientific theses or brilliant intellectual analyses are not required. The plain simple fact is that the intoxicating culture of nurturing those born into class and privilege and pandering to their needs for them to assume positions of power with few qualifications has been a dismal failure.
 
But this dynastic mentality of politics in our environment can be a double-edged sword – good or bad. Those who have suffered incarceration, turmoil and struggle will grow into real characters of value. Those born with a silver spoon habitually churn out crumbs without humility.
 
The exclusive sense of entitlement provided the opportunity to exploit the politics of race and religion with the hope of retaining power in perpetuity. Betrayals, marginalisation of justice, cruelty against the most vulnerable and other unthinkable travesties were unleashed with a vengeance.

The ex-prime minister and his cohorts were the creation of a culture of entitlement that conferred on them an aura of invincibility. This sense of entitlement was spawned by illustrious leaders of the past who had unquestionable intellectual ability. But the illumination of these past leaders may have been so bright that many could not see what the ensuing culture of entitlement would bring forth in the future.

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The wood of this nation is not entirely destroyed; it is burned on the surface. From ashes one can construct nothing, but from rubble and ruin, the possibilities live on. Political leadership now entails steering the nation away from the present turbulent times into a more tranquil future.

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Dr. SNaidu
Dr. SNaidu
1 Oct 2018 2.17pm

A good piece Damien.God bless. Affirmative actions and efforts for all the needy are fine. There has to be, towards the future, a clear nurturance in the larger society- an educative process, to establsh a clear understanding of its need. This clearly was totally insufficient in the last sixty years.Then, the ‘entitlement’ mindset can be checked. A true and essential Rukun Negara oriented Malaysian ethos can well grow in our young and the general society.

Nair
Nair
30 Sep 2018 7.10am

Super salute to the biggest kleptocracy champion

IT.Scheiss
3 Oct 2018 2.48pm
Reply to  Dominic Damian

Yes the initiative lies with the citizens but there is no certainty that the current government and elected representatives will not do what they want, whilst allowing citizens to speak up, demonstrate and protest but ignore our demands, just as happens in many western liberal “democracies”. After all, have the leaders in these western liberal democracies conceded to their citizens’ demands of their countries’ involvement in imperialist wars on the Middle East and so forth? Residents and civil societies in Penang have been protesting against the PIL 1 highway but is the Pakatan state government listening? Did they listen to environmentalists’ protests against allowing property development on Penang’s hillslopes. The Pakatan state government of Selangor did not listed to protests by residents of Damnasara Perdana and Mutiara Damansara that the Damansara-Shah Alam Highway (elevated) be re-routed away from running smack bang above the main roads in ther neighbourhood but construction of the DASH highway thorugh their neighbourhood has already begun. I have described this approach as to let the citizens “bark”, then f… in our faces and we already can see some of that happening right… Read more »

IT.Scheiss
6 Oct 2018 12.13am
Reply to  IT.Scheiss

And may I add a video tour. DASH through Damansara Perdana video DASH elevated highway under construction in Damansara Perdana despite residents’ protests https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEOmsC24EB8&feature=youtu.be My friend commented via WhatsApp:- “DASH began works even before approval was given. It wasn’t in the Master Plan then. The have been working through the night and enforcing diversions that pose risk and inconveniences. Another example of a government that allows you to speak but knowing they will not listen.” I replied:- “I call this letting the people speak freely,demonstrate and protest but proverbialy f… in our faces, much like happens in the liberal democracies of the west.” As background on my earlier video posted on 3 October 2018 entitled “DASH elevated highway under construction in Damansara Perdana despite residents’ protests” – on the 20th of March 2016, residents of Damansara Perdana and Mutiara Damansara residential areas of Petaling Jaya, plus supporters from the anti-SUKE Highway through their area in Ampang, as well as supporters and sympathisers from elsewhere, together in solidarity protested against the routing of the Damansara-Shah Alam Highway (DASH), an elevated highway which would run above the only… Read more »

IT.Scheiss
28 Sep 2018 1.31am

All this will be the in the past if this happens:-

“NEW YORK: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has predicted that Umno will collapse, saying that there is no future for the party.

“Umno is fragmented now, it is going to collapse. There is no future for Umno anymore because the people detest Umno.”

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/09/27/umno-will-collapse-says-dr-mahathir/

And then some expect UMNO member will move to Pribumi and we’ll have “UMNO Caru 2.0” and “Barisan Nasional 2.0” and the “song” will remain the same.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtVKz0rv4cg

J. D. Lovrenciear
27 Sep 2018 8.21am

Indeed so beautifully written. It is time to go for the roots of evil. Thank you Damian for your effort.

IT.Scheiss
27 Sep 2018 3.09am

Aw! Come, come! A culture of entitlement and dynastic politics did not exist under Mahathir’s 22 years as prime minister and now since the 9th May GE?

Just wait and see.