What’s important, and what’s not

By Hafiz Noor Shams

MARCH 31 —
I am tired of politics revolving around personality. With it comes excessive feudal culture and ugly mudslinging all too frequently. One can never truly escape it but there are other issues of actual importance if one wants to escape the ugliness of it all. These other issues are the ones that truly affect our livelihood. These issues involve our jobs, our savings and our taxes, among others.

Until very recently, Malaysian politics was grazing at the level that makes politics a worthy field to match its name. From military procurement to the mass rail transit system and to nuclear power, things that matter took the limelight.

For a period, there was nuance in the political debate held in the public sphere. It was a breath of fresh air from the stale old stuff of race and religion.

One example that took public debates to the next level was Pakatan Rakyat’s Buku Jingga. Although I do not necessarily agree with some points, I can definitely appreciate how the Buku Jingga forced both sides of the divide to raise the level of debates beyond name-calling. That is the greatest contribution of Buku Jingga.

There were other matters running parallel to this. One was the sodomy trial involving Anwar Ibrahim and Saiful Bukhari Azlan, which is still ongoing of course. Ongoing or not, the issue is dead to me. I have lost interest in it.

What made it even more forgettable were the outrageous details. Listening or reading graphic descriptions associated with the trial created a sensation that I call sodomy fatigue.

Yes, there is a feeling that the system is being manipulated at Anwar’s expense. Yes, there is a feeling of injustice committed against Anwar. Yes, he is important. Yes, he has a significant role to play in instituting a competitive democratic system in the country.

Yet, the country is not about Anwar Ibrahim. Too much energy is being invested in defending and discrediting him.

That energy invested towards Anwar can better be harnessed in other areas that affect our livelihood. For a country that censors the slightest hint of two persons kissing each other on television, there has to be something more than sex — in one way or another — to think about.

The issues of MRT, defence and others that involve billions of ringgit of taxpayers’ money are vying for primetime spots. Rather than reading about someone else’s private parts made public, I would rather focus on public goods treated as private property by the paternalistic few who think they can spend my money better than me.

Imagine my disappointment when morality becomes the centre of attention yet again, as a certain somebody with a lion’s courage alleged that a certain politician is involved in a sex scandal.

In scandal-crazed Malaysia with a sense of morality littered with hypocrisy, many simply drop the things that matter to moralize or hypothesize about others’ lifestyles. The same many are probably rushing to the Internet searching for the video of the scandal, and looking for a cheap thrill along the way.

I am sorry if that is crass. Still, is there anything that is not crass in this country anymore? Parliament is full of it. The courthouse is full of it. The boardrooms of some government-linked companies are so full of it. What is crass anyway? The word by its very self has been diluted by a pool of mud, and something else.

Sarawak is having an important election very soon. In the meantime, what does Malaysia have on its mind?


Lim Guan Eng sent out the right message recently. He said ignore the scandal.

Ignore it indeed.

Focus on things that matter instead. Do not take your eyes off your public money, either that belonging to Sarawak, or to Malaysia at large.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 3:15 pm

    There is this argument especially among the Malays that morality especially of a leader is a legitimate and important issue because they are Muslim and Islam is the official religion in this country.

    To those who waver or believe that argument, Muslim or not, I say no. We lost the luxury of rights of such personal morality issue when we let Mahathir destroyed the institutions and constitutions that could afford us the luxury of such personal issues. Particular the judicial crises of 1988 and other instances, we simply have more important issues to focus on than such distractions true of not.. Those ‘trio’ even if they are patriotic is irrelevant because they have their priorities all wrong for themselves and the nations. The trio are already public interest perverts and we cannot allow ourselves to follow.

  2. #2 by Godfather on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 4:10 pm

    The Trio are patriotic to UMNO – that much we know. We also know they are trying to divert attention from the Sarawak elections. They know that a little tsunami from Sarawak could end up being a big tsunami in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.

    So let’s start the tsunami rolling by creating one in Sarawak….and ignore the rest of the trash.

  3. #3 by DAP man on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 4:28 pm

    Raping an underaged girl and amassing wealth illegally and then escaping jail is patriotism.
    Ya, patriots are protected by the AG. Only patriots relinquish all government post.

  4. #4 by monsterball on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 4:54 pm

    Tami Chik is suing Anwar and all bloggers for insulting him……hahahahahahaha

  5. #5 by monsterball on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 4:59 pm

    What’s important…vote UMNO B Govt. out.
    What’s not..is not to be fooled year after year.

  6. #6 by dagen on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 6:22 pm

    In 308 we have good reasons to vote anyone but barisan. Now it seems we have more and better reasons to vote anyone but barisan. And on top of that we now do have valid reasons to vote pakatan, esp DAP.

  7. #7 by Loh on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 6:51 pm

    Hishamuddin was quick to suggest that the police take action against the person said to look like the actor in the video, rather than taking action against the persons who arranged for filming the sex act as well as screening the video. Najib said as much for wanting to know the identity of the person filmed, and he hoped very much that the person was indeed Anwar Ibrahim.

    Malaysia would not dare to claim that there is no prostitution in the country, if it does not want to be contradicted. So there are thousands of actors doing what were filmed in the video, everyday. What action would the police and Hishamuddin take if some one chose to make it a business to video tape such acts and show them in public. Would taping and screening such videos be acceptable by the government if viewers do not have to buy a ticket as suggested by Nazri? Then accordingly Ng Yen Yen can make it as part of the campaign to attract tourists. If not, why then it was alright when viewers might form the impression that the actor in the video was Anwar Ibrahim?

    UMNO ministers beginning with the prime Minister are not fit to be in their respective positions.

  8. #8 by Loh on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 6:57 pm

    ///Former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will be called to testify in the trial against his then Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy, who is facing graft charges over the scandal-ridden Port Klang Free Zone…///–Malaysiakini

    Having earned the reputation of sleeping on the job, AAB will have the freedom to say ‘I can’t remember’. If he was asleep while seen to be listening, how can anybody blame him for not remembering?

  9. #9 by Loh on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 7:48 pm

    ///KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein called today for Christian groups to be “fair and reasonable” in the ongoing Alkitab row after the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) rejected the government’s latest overture which it said failed to address the erosion of religious rights.///–Malaysiainsider

    The Christian groups are only responding to the actions of the Home Ministry. The actions by the Ministry of Home Affairs were certainly unfair and unreasonable. Yet Kerisman had the nerve to call others to be fair, when he did not even understand the words he used; fair and reasonable actions would get the same reaction. The Christian groups only reacted to the action started by the Ministry. Can the Ministry be said to be fair when it chose to ensure Muslims have the monopoly in the use of an English word Allah, and then deface the holy-book of Christians?

    Kerismuddin said that the government was trying to determine ‘the integrity of the video’. Whoever was the real identity in the video, and whether or not it was manipulated, the video is pornography. The three persons who claimed that they created and screened the video are violating the laws in the country, and their actions are headlines in newspaper for days. Why have they not been arrested yet? The answer is they are UMNO members and are therefore above the law.

  10. #10 by yhsiew on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 8:06 pm

    Sarawakians should start thinking who they should cast their votes to and how their lives will be affected if BN or PR wins the general election, instead of wasting time thinking about who was the person in the Carcosa sex video.

  11. #11 by Loh on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 8:27 pm

    ///Nazri was referring to the legal precedent established in the case involving the Pengkalan Kota by-election between Teoh Teik Huat and Lim Kean Siew.

    The case revolved around a statement by then-finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who had said he would personally give more money for the improvement of Pengkalan Kota if Barisan Nasional (BN) won.

    The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department had also told Parliament that handouts and goodies in the form of financial assistance to voters during elections was not a form of corruption because it was the federal government’s way of “fulfilling its promises” and manifestos.///– MalaysiaInsider

    Legal precedent has lost its meaning in Malaysia when the Federal court chose to ignore legal precedent set in 1966 by the High Court in Sarawak, which ruled that the Governor of Sawarak had acted unconstitutionally in dismissing the then Chief Minister Kalong Ningkan. Under similar circumstances the then MB Nizar of Perak was dismissed by the Sultan of Peral and yet even though the High court followed legal precedent, the higher court chose to differ. So what is the price by ounce of legal precedent?

    It may be the UMNO government’s way of fulfilling what it thinks is the legal way of fulfilling it promises by giving handouts prior to election, which does not say that the government’s action was legal. The promises the government made should be to the country as a whole, and not to any particular constituency. In using funds which are shared by the country to benefit only a selected group of persons, the government is enticing them to perform what its wants for the party which contests in the election. Thus the government was not fulfilling its duties, but buying votes indirectly using government funds for the benefit of the political parties which formed the government. The government leaders who made use of government resources for the benefit of their political parties are involved in corruption.

    The Election Commission of Malaysia is just an extension of UMNO and so it would not know about what constitute free and fair election, which it has the responsibility to ensure. To have a fair election, political parties should not be allowed to have unfair advantage in using government funds to induce voters to vote for the party that forms the government. Clearly dispensing goodies before election is unfair to the opponents contesting the election. Yet instead of fulfilling its duties Election Commission chose to act otherwise; it even went to the extent of ignoring the decision of the Speaker of State Assembly, when the Election Commission had not the authority to do so. Malaysia is a failed state because the institutions such as the Election Commission have failed in its duties. Yet Nasri was proud to announce that the government has been doing corrupt acts as its usual ways of fulfilling its promise and manifestos. How low can UMNO government go?

  12. #12 by Taxidriver on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 9:14 pm

    Hafiz Noor Shams: What’s important, and what’s not?

    UMNOputras: Staying in power at whatever price and becoming billionairs by hook or by crook is IMPORTANT. AS for credibility, integrity, transparency, fairness, democracy, human rights,decency, honesty, self-principles,trustworthiness, religious piety and all other darn things that cannot bring in MONEY, they are NOT IMPORTANT. (”Do you have a problem with that”? )

  13. #13 by lee wee tak_ on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 9:32 pm

    I have a simple question here, if you found out that the branch manager of the bank you have you fixed deposits in is bonking women all over town, would you withdraw the money from the bank?

    BN is resorting to voyeurism politics (think Eli Wong) is because, when it comes (pun intended) dirty sex talk, they have no equals in Malaysia.

    To ask them to debate on policy matters and public interest which requires primary school level logic and decency, they shrink. That is why hitherto, not many BN men dare to face up opposition people for a debate – those that did, come up second best by a long distance.

    So sniping with piss and shit bullets is the only recourse.

    Malaysian should focus on ability to provide good governance. If BN set such high sexuality standards, can BN order EC to include a box for detailed description of sex life for election candidates to be filled up?

  14. #14 by Taxidriver on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 9:40 pm

    Loh #6

    That is why I always say they are morons. They talk without first thinking. And they are not even fit to wash my car tyres!

  15. #15 by undertaker888 on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 9:52 pm

    Retards, prostitutes and beggars.

  16. #16 by monsterball on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 9:55 pm

    Free meals…free “rides”…free tours…they are worst than beggars.
    They are leeches.

  17. #18 by monsterball on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 10:02 pm

    ‘This is not a place for a Prime Minister to come..but I am here”….yet he said he is People’s PM.
    He thought by talked like that…voters will apprecate him.
    So left that place ..and Sibu Miracle materialised.. and talk some more sheeeet…Sarawak Miracle in the making.

  18. #19 by tak tahan on Thursday, 31 March 2011 - 11:13 pm

    I find malays like Hafiz Noor Shams,Zairil,Nurul Izzah and many other more are really patriotic and full of self principal,integrity and intelectual.I hope many more will follow their footsteps to make them and whole Malaysian proud.Then we all will be so proud to call ourselves True Malaysian.Don’t be like the nut rambutan fellow.I guess he is busy campaigning in Sarawak now cause he has a big stake in the extintion(deforestation effect) hornbill land.If and hope BN lose in the state election next month,he will possibly masuk amotan(slang for Tanjung Rambutan).Sarawakian,please send this kind of amotan people to TR before they do more damage to our nation.

  19. #20 by boh-liao on Friday, 1 April 2011 - 2:55 am

    UmnoB/BN guys watched too much 007 James B movies mah
    They loved From Russia with Love etc n learnt how 2 secretly film ppl making love
    Illegally filming ppl poky poke in order 2 blackmail them is not illegal 2 UmnoB/BN
    Welcome 2 1M’sia where U can hv sex in a hotel room n get secretly/illegally filmed
    Welcome 2 1M’sia where blue film is screened n enjoyed openly in hotels, no problemo 1

  20. #21 by boh-liao on Friday, 1 April 2011 - 3:36 am

    PORN is d well accepted culture here
    An MACC officer had downloaded n watched porn in between torturing/grilling witness
    It’s an open secret dat lots of civil servants download and watch porn during office hrs
    Lots of them too chat dirty during office hrs – all generously paid 4 by taxpayers leh
    After work, go home, sexcited, can’t tahan, bonk boink bonk n breed like rabbits lor
    MMK very happy mah – dis is d sure fast way 2 achieve his 70 million population target lah

  21. #22 by Jeffrey on Friday, 1 April 2011 - 7:21 am

    On the Question of what’s important & what’s not (in M’sian politics), how could sex & scandal ever not be important – or gt public attention more than governance issues?

    One has to get real. We’re dealing with (realistically) what is the case & not what (ideally) ought not to be the case.

    Firstly we’re not a secular society no matter how much we argue the constitution is. In fact some section of populace think that “secular” (that draws a clear line between public & private morality) is a dirty word! The first tenet of RukuNegara is belief in God. When religion is important so are family values. Family unit is extolled as the fundamental pillar of society. Can a society whose God fearing and family orientated members ever treat as inconsequential their political leaders’ alleged extra marital activities, whether actual or fabricated?

    I think not.

  22. #23 by k1980 on Friday, 1 April 2011 - 7:26 am


    Reason why Chua SL is so afraid of pas coming to power. He wouch be screaming “Oouch! So painful one! I promise not to see angela again! Ouch! Mama come rescue me ! Ouch! “

  23. #24 by Jeffrey on Friday, 1 April 2011 - 7:46 am

    But even in so called societies that extol secular principles people are no less obsessed, and sex scandals sell!

    In 1960s, British Macmillan Govt was nearly brought down by Secretary of State for War (John Profomu)’s liaison with prostitute Christine Keeler. Today another set to fall is Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

    To be sure there won’t be shortage of scandals. Sex is a biological and physiological imperative but people deny it so and otherwise vest it with hallowed mystique of something justified only on love marriage and life time commitment.

    Straining against this glorified idea of sex is the reality that for so long as there are powerful men and politicians ( with their raging testosterone level in part responsible for their aggression and political success) there will be willing sexual partners attracted by power as an aphrodisiac and marital infidelities! In 1976 Elizabeth Ray (Miss Virginia 1975) who couldn’t type or file slept with and ended the career of U.S. Rep. Wayne Hays (D-Ohio). Thereafter she wrote the book “Washington Fringe Benefit” and didn’t have to learn how to type or fiule anymore.

  24. #25 by Jeffrey on Friday, 1 April 2011 - 7:57 am

    Sex will not go way, here or anywhere else. The obsession with it, hypocritical or honest, is as old as human history.

    Who that is powerful is above this crass biological drive? American presidents Clinton, Kennedy, Eisenhower, or black leaders, Martin Luther King or Jesse Jackson etc? In Asia, Sukarno, Mao or the saintly Mahatma Ghandi who allegedly slept with naked nubile teenagers (according to him) doing nothing to strengthen his spiritual resolve? I don’t think so. We shouldn’t flatter ourselves that our CSL is unique. The offence is not doing it: it is getting caught, and if caught whether there’s political protection to cover it up.

  25. #26 by boh-liao on Friday, 1 April 2011 - 9:23 am

    Basically we r animals driven by our basic instinct n excited by irresistible pheromones
    When blood leaves d brain n rushes 2 d groin 2 make d flaccid organ tumescent
    Consumed by blind basic desire 2 consummate, nothing matters anymore
    CSL will certainly confirm d above, seks rules, just do it, video or no video, no care lah

  26. #27 by limkamput on Friday, 1 April 2011 - 9:34 am

    Shameless Hopeless

    Nuclear plants and Rare Earth are good
    Who care we could not fix a leaking roof nor build a proper MRR2

    Surely it is okay to show porno
    When government servants in between tasks can watch too

    Interlock and its depravity must stay put
    Because the Malay first DPM doesn’t give a hoot

    We upgrade an agency to a commission
    Never mind we ended up with endemic corruption

    It was only RM2000 right
    But TBH must be interrogated overnight, TBH must die

    Pemandu, pemudah, and transformation
    We know these are pomps and great pretension

    The police and the army must collaborate to save cost
    But for a spendthrift government, this is never the real cause

    Rela and Askar Wataniah too
    To each parliamentary constituency they must attach to

    Anwar must be brought down by all means
    Never mind they are frivolous, humiliating and demeaning

    This nation is obsessed with god and divinity
    But what we meant are hypocrisy and religiosity

    Ever wonder why there was no impetus against corruption and tyranny
    This is when the leadership has lost its moral decency

    To the power they must cling
    For this is the only way to save their skin

    When leadership lost its dignity
    There is nothing much to salvage really

    So the people of Sarawak, tins of Milo, cheap biscuits and meehoon are ready
    But are they good enough to buy your continuous trust and loyalty?

    How you decide will determine our destiny
    How you decide will determine how we live

  27. #28 by limkamput on Friday, 1 April 2011 - 11:29 am

    Great Sir Jeffrey, so are you justifying it?

  28. #29 by Loh on Friday, 1 April 2011 - 10:33 pm

    ///UPDATED 4.20PM IGP Ismail Omar says experts have concluded the Carcosa sex video is authentic and the investigation papers will be sent to the AG soon.///–Malaysiakini

    So the pornography is a real one. Has any arrest been made yet?

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