Malaysia’s political quagmire: Who can we trust?

We, the people, must use this time until the general election to watch, with eyes wide open, and select the ones who stand out

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The election losers are now ruling the nation - Photograph: Bernama/Malay Mail

The Covid Delta variant numbers are so grim that there really is not much to bring levity into our lives.  

We keep hearing about the rising number of infected persons and those brought in dead at hospitals, which are already overwhelmed. Other folk are at their wits’ end figuring out how to survive. So we have nothing to smile about and nothing to look forward to either. 

But there were some moments of laughter, at least for me, in these dark days.

It was quite funny reading about who is staying on with Umno and who is standing by the coalition government (or not). Then we learned about all those statutory declarations or letters sent to the palace.

Some ministers have been offered “durians” for RM30, whatever that means – for them to start jumping from one lily pad to another?

The prime minister said he has the support of MPs. Zahid Hamidi maintains he will not back Anwar Ibrahim.

These stories gave me something to giggle about, but there was one article that left me gobsmacked: Khairy Jamaluddin saying he has “trust issues” with Zahid, the Umno president.

That comment threw me. He has trust issues with his Umno boss for whatever reason – OK, I give him that, but does it mean he has no “trust issues” with Mahiaddin Yasin, who became PM through the back door?

Has Khairy turned a blind eye to all that has happened since he was given a cushy post as “innovation minister” in the Perikatan Nasional government? Has that erased the hanky panky done by a government he is a part of? Is this what he calls trust? Or does trust come in different hues?

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Yes, politics can be dirty business, and corruption and ‘leap-frogging’ (political defections) are rife in Malaysian politics. Unfortunately, many politicians believe that to ‘survive’ and remain ‘relevant’, they need to ‘sleep with the enemy’. Apparently, It is the law of the jungle.

So how does trust come into the picture at all? Who can the people of Malaysia trust nowadays? Is there any person in the PN coalition government, in the opposition or in any of the other parties of whom we can say, “I think that person can be trusted”?

Should the PN government fall, will there be someone with enough statutory declarations to become the next prime minister? If not, the King might appoint someone who in his view can command the support of a majority.

That is a frightening prospect. The scariest part is that there is nobody that can be fully trusted. All the hype from everyone is for their own benefit. Promises will be made and promises will be broken. 

Two years ago, we gave our trust to the Pakatan Harapan coalition, and the people and the country were badly let down by what some defectors did after 22 months in power.

Some of these politicians seem to feel entitled to be in politics – not because they are good at it but because it is ‘generational’. Some think it is a legacy they want to keep in the family, and they will do anything and everything to continue to be in the political limelight, no matter their age. 

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Some use religion or race or both as tools to remain in power.

Yes, power is an amazing feeling, and once they have it and can wield it for their own benefit with nothing or nobody to stop them, it is difficult to let go.

Never mind that they are no longer trusted and the people have seen through their lies and deceptions. It all boils down to power, greed and the perks that come with getting that cushy job in government.

One would think that with age comes wisdom and the ability to discern that they, these ‘generational’ politicians and the elderly, should just leave the stage to make way for newer and younger faces. After all, this what the youth wings are for.

These newer and younger faces have an outlook similar to the younger generation of Malaysians, many of whom are more tech savvy, smarter and intelligent. Many are able to see through the politicians’ untruths and spiels. Many of these youths want a better future of themselves.

Trust can only be given at the ballot box. We, the people, must use this time now to watch, with eyes wide open, and select the ones who stand out. Maybe then and only then will we, as a nation, be able to climb out from the morass of corruption, disarray, shame and incompetent leadership we have had to endure for so long. Maybe only then will we be able to look forward to a better and brighter future. 

Impossible dream? Yes, it may seem so – but there is always hope.

READ MORE:  Political infighting hampers Malaysia’s fight against Covid

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

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