All the ongoing and newly emerging scandals leading up to the 13th general election make commenting on dirty Malaysian politics as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, observes Zaharom Nain.
When it comes to public figures, mainly BN politicians and their families, making a quick and dirty buck or two in this blessed land of 1Malaysia Boleh, evidently nothing, absolutely nothing, is sacred.
Sure, we could go back to the decades of pillage and plunder of the 1980s and 1990s for illustrations, for examples of ‘corruption’, ‘cronyism’ and ‘nepotism’ that appalled and galvanised civil society not only across the sea, in Indonesia, but also closer to home, leading to many thousands marching on the streets of Kuala Lumpur demanding reformasi.
But, really, we don’t have to go that far.
Recent history quite simply is full of such disgraceful tales of greed and the betrayal of the rakyat.
Indeed, even before judgment has been delivered on the billion ringgit PFKZ scandal – where, amazingly, one senior ex-minister has denied knowledge of the documents signed by him and has reportedly “admitted that he normally did not read the annexes to letters addressed to him” – we have had one new astounding revelation after another.
All illustrating in one way or another not only a total lack of accountability but also a total absence of shame by these public figures.
First, much as the BN parties, especially Umno, might wish us to, we haven’t forgotten, of course, the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) fiasco. Often dubbed the ‘Cows, Cars and Condos’ scandal which thus far has cost the taxpayer RM250m, this has seen one minister quit her post, one of her family members initially coming up with comments that demonstrated inanity and arrogance and, predictably, much foot-dragging since by the authorities.
Of course, as always, the scoundrels have felt the need to distract the people’s attention, to make them look elsewhere.
Hence, a quite old, pathetic script is dragged out. One that recycles all the equally wretched scripts that have been the stock in trade of a once-proud but now quite dismal coalition.
It is a script that invariably contains sex, more sex, dollops of potential racial conflict (propagated by the other side, of course), religious extremism and, of course, given that the scriptwriters are still stuck in the era of the Cold War, the threat of the dreaded reds under our beds.
So, we are urged to believe that the opposition leaders (and even their young ones) are, at one and the the same time, religious fundamentalists and sexual deviants, fornicators and, of course, serial adulterers.
All fine and good, of course.
Lowest group of ‘lanun’
But it would really, really help, though, if those pointing their fingers, even those coming up with the cheap, grainy videos from a bygone age, were themselves even half-upright citizens rather than the motley crew of paedophiles, exposed adulterers and, basically, the lowest group of lanun this side of Somalia.
All that these stupid, brainless schemes illustrate is the existence of a desperate pack devoid of ideas, devoid of culture. And devoid of class.
But even if they and their lackeys in the mainstream media think that all this silly, irritating distractions could help hush up all their wrongdoings long enough to become yesterday’s news, new disclosures have helped the people to remember and reiterate how truly rotten they – and the system they have created – are.
Like, second, the underhanded tactics now being employed to ‘create’ a water crisis in Selangor when there’s evidently ‘water, water everywhere’ … and certainly more than a drop to drink.
Again, the underhanded tactic being employed to undermine the Selangor state government is one that is so obvious, base and shallow that, really, it’s only managed to rebound on the dolts who’d created this ‘water crisis’.
One is tempted to turn around to them and say, “Syabas indeed for yet again making utter ninnies of yourselves.”
But, evidently, there’s no escaping the ‘nature’ theme with these guys (and gals) and their outrageous schemes. So, following from their water fight, their latest escapade sees them harnessing the sun.
Where ‘National Feedlot Corporation’ or simply NFC seemed to be the swear word a couple months back, and Syabas is still the one on the lips of many Selangorians, it would appear that a new one, Seda, has been added to our lexicon of cuss words.
Seda is the acronym for the Sustainable Energy Development Authority. The outfit has now got itself embroiled in a controversy that, really, sounds all-too familiar.
The opposition claims that the daughter of the recently retired chief secretary to the government, Mohd Sidek Hassan, has the “lion’s share” in the newly-introduced renewable alternative energy scheme. Indeed, the allegation is that a large chunk of the allocation for solar energy via Seda’s Feed-in Tariff (FiT) mechanism went to companies without “a proven track record” in the energy field and owned by Mohd Sidek’s daughter Suzi Suliana.
Two things have been highlighted; first, that there seems to have been an unfair award of contracts by Seda, ‘laced with human manipulation/intervention’. Second, that the solar licences were awarded to companies that have no solar experiences.
Comebacks not convincing
Thus far, the comebacks from Seda have not really been convincing. And it does sound very much like another case of the song remaining the same.
Meanwhile, up in Penang, dear mother nature appears once again to be in the limelight. While the allegations of illegal hill clearing remain, two Penang Umno leaders accused of selling a plot of land in Balik Pulau and profiting from it have admitted they did so.
But they claim they were forced to do this because their company was ‘blacklisted’ by the state government. And don’t we just love these ‘claims’ which could be seen both as ‘valid’ and ‘lame’?
Of course there’s more. Indeed, it would seem that these exposes merely scratch the surface. There’s still Scorpene and the ongoing saga of Bersih, of course. And Talam certainly looks set to blow up in an ambitious young MCA politician’s face.
As aptly put by my English colleague, Dr Matthews, all these ongoing and newly-emerging scandals leading up to the 13th general election make commenting on dirty Malaysian politics as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.
This commentary first appeared in Malaysiakini.