Ismail Sabri on the world stage: What did he hope to achieve?

Was the PM trying to score brownie points within Umno-BN?

Ismail Sabri Yaakob - WIKIPEDIA

By jem

Last week Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob made his first speech at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Ismail Sabri, wearing the baju Melayu (traditional Malay attire), created history as the first Malaysian Prime Minister to address the assembly in the national language, Malay. Indeed, the entire Malaysian delegation wore the traditional attire and batik, providing good exposure for the batik and songket industry in Malaysia.

Actually, the first ‘first’ was Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, the first Malaysian envoy to the US and representative to the UN. He wore the traditional baju Melayu and a keris when he delivered a speech at the UN General Assembly in September 1957, a few weeks after Malaya gained independence. It was likely that despite wearing the baju Melayu, he spoke in English rather than Malay.

Ismail Sabri spoke in Malay and ‘walked the talk’, to use that over-used cliche. He didn’t have much of a choice, did he? The prime minister had been propagating from a while back that all government departments, semi-government agencies, the private sector and international schools should do likewise. There was also talk of a hefty fine of RM50,000 if these ‘orders’ were ignored, remember? If he had spoken in English at the UN, he would have gone against his own words.

What did the PM hope to achieve? Nothing of what he said would have made an iota of difference on the world stage. So basically his 25 minutes was all for nothing.

But a couple of local press reports had local university experts commenting about what the prime minister was wearing, his use of the national language and his promotion of Malaysia’s identity on the world stage.

READ MORE:  Mind your national language

By the way, speaking in Malay or any other foreign language is really not a big deal because there would have been leaders from other countries who would have done the same thing – plus there are translators and smartphone apps that can translate in real time. That is why it is called the United Nations.

But what did the prime minister speak about? What was the substance of his speech?

Global equality was one point he brought up.

But we do not even have racial equality in Malaysia; so what was the point of talking about global equality? Isn’t Malaysia one of the 18 countries that have not ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination?

Ismail Sabri spoke about veto powers and how they can be abused. He has a point there.

But some of our leaders have abused their power for years, enabling rampant corruption that Malaysia has become infamous for.

The PM also spoke about the promotion of democracy in the UN – yet his own government is not democratically elected by the people of Malaysia.

Ismail Sabri championed the rights of Palestinians, but what about the rights of the minorities here in Malaysia who have to endure religious and race-based extremism, which has become the norm here?

The PM and whoever wrote that speech for him should be ashamed of themselves.

Then again, what is so surprising about this kind of attitude coming from Malaysian politicians. It is like ‘Bossku’ (Najib Razak) saying, “Malu apa?” (What’s there to be ashamed of?). That should be the slogan for this government. Apt for the occasion, wouldn’t you say?

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After being on the world stage at the UN, the question is, what exactly was Ismail Sabri’s promotion of himself all about? Is the prime minister trying to score some brownie points within Umno-Barisan Nasional?

Maybe Zahid Hamidi’s star has brightened a little with his acquittal in the foreign visa system (VLN) case. But there is still another corruption and money-laundering case hanging over the Umno president.

So has the PM gained some breathing space, and will he now become the new poster boy for the party in the run-up to the general election?

Does Ismail Sabri think that all the corruption cases going on in the party might affect the people’s choices in the coming general election and that Umno-BN image needs a bit of a whitewash – and he is in the right place at the right time?

Umno’s top five leaders have just met at the party headquarters this afternoon, ahead of the party’s supreme council meeting tonight.

The Umno president is breathing down the PM’s neck, insisting that the general election should be held before the monsoon rains descend upon the nation.

The PM will be hard-pressed to come up with plausible and imaginative reasons when and when not to hold the general election. Surely he must also know that, should Umno-BN win, he might not be the prime minister again. I would hate to be in his shoes.

Finally, why did the prime minister need 30 people to accompany him to the UN in New York? Why did all these people have to be there? Was it an ‘educational’ trip for those “guests” from Terengganu, Malacca, Cameron Highlands, Kedah, Tanjung Piai and Rompin?

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A government source reportedly said the prime minister’s “guests” paid for their own travel. But what about hotel accommodation, food and the other ancillary expenses of these guests? Inquiring minds have the right to know, but like everything else this government does, this question will be ignored or just swept under the carpet.

jem, an Aliran reader, still cares deeply about Sabah, despite having lived in the peninsula for some time

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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2 Oct 2022 12.21pm

He Had to speak in Bahasa because his English is below par, just like Zahid Hamidi, whose every second word is an action like he wants to vomit.

1 Oct 2022 8.53am

“The PM and whoever wrote that speech for him should be ashamed of themselves.”

Comment: What boggles the mind is that turtle egg (Sabri) flagrantly gave the speech extolling democracy and equality without an iota of shame.

What it shows is the pure hypocrisy of this “Keluarga” Malaysia government.

Tris W.
Tris W.
30 Sep 2022 6.56pm

The PM should be fighting corruption as his first priority, not so much of making BM as the mandatory this and that. As usual, he is clueless of his job. In fact, he has the chance to right the wrongs of Umno all these years but he chooses not to do anything! He will not be remembered as a PM who reforms…sad truth why he bothers to be PM in the first place and not doing much for the country but take instructions from his party mates! He will never be PM for Malaysia but for Umno only!