How many Ministers like Muhyiddin and Tee Keat who cannot pass UPSR as they do not know the meaning of “membalas budi”?

What Malaysians want to know is how many Ministers in the 29-strong Najib Cabinet are like Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat who cannot pass UPSR (Ujian Penilian Sekolah Rendah) as they do not know the meaning of “membalas budi”.

Any ordinary Std. 3 or 4 primary school student would know the meaning of “membalas budi” or “mengenang budi” which would have been discussed in their moral education classes and it is inconceivable that a primary school student could pass the UPSR if he or she does not understand the meaning of this term.

It is most shocking therefore that the new Deputy Prime Minister who is also the new Education Minister is so “challenged” as to be unable to properly understand the meaning of this term. Even more shocking, the MCA President who is wont to flaunt his literary skills, also finds it difficult to fully understand this term and its implications which any primary student should know.

To avoid being accused of distorting what he said or taking his words out of context, let me reproduce the New Straits Times report of what Muhyiddin said yesterday:

DPM: It is not what I said
By : Hamidah Atan

PUTRAJAYA: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin took several Chinese newspapers to task for allegedly misquoting him as having said in a recent interview that the Chinese were ungrateful.

“I have spoken to Tee Keat and he said there was nothing wrong with my statement,” Muhyiddin said, referring to MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

“It was twisted by the Chinese dailies. My Bahasa Melayu is straight and clear. I was just making an assessment of Bukit Gantang. There is nothing to be concerned about, but when you twist the whole thing and put me in bad light among the Chinese community, that is serious.

“You have to read the whole context, do not pick up like that. I think I am good in my Bahasa but some people did not understand my language. Do not distort my statement to make the people angry as if I do not appreciate the Chinese community.”

Muhyiddin was speaking to reporters after taking over the Education Ministry portfolio yesterday.

The Umno deputy president said he mentioned in the interview that the Bukit Gantang by-election results seemed to show that “what we have done to overcome issues was not appreciated”.

“It was in that context and it did not apply to all. We conducted a post-mortem of all by-elections and we analysed. Sometimes, we are frank as we do not want to hide things.”

“I said in the interview that we must understand why this (lack of non-Malay support) happened, why the Chinese are like that, why the Malays are like that, but not saying the Chinese are good or bad.

“I was talking about the issues in Bukit Gantang. In other places, the context may be different.”

Muhyiddin said the BN had yet to establish whether the lack of non-Malay support in Bukit Gantang reflected overall sentiment in the country.

“This has yet to be seen as we have not made any assessment of the overall situation.”

Muhyiddin is defending the indefensible as anyone who reads his Mingguan Malaysia interview can only draw one conclusion, that the Chinese press had given a fair and accurate translation of what Muhyiddin actually said, and that Muhyiddin’s denial that he had not described the Chinese as “ungrateful” cannot be supported by any independent or fair-minded person.

This is why I find the endorsement given by the MCA President stating that “there is nothing wrong” with Muhyiddin’s Mingguan Malaysia interview most unbelievable.

In defending his position, Tee Keat said that to “uphold the spirit of democracy, we should respect differing views, even if we cannot concur with.”

He said: “The Deputy Prime Minister can voice his views on the results of the Bukit Gantang by-election, and so can I.

“I see nothing wrong for him to express his observations and views.”

Tee Keat is deliberately avoiding the real issue – which is not about Muhyiddin’s views, however perverse and retrogressive about the results of the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections, but Muhyiddin’s statement “I have spoken to Tee Keat and he said there was nothing wrong with my statement”.

As Tee Keat did not deny that he had made such a statement as claimed by Muhyiddin, we can take it that Muhyiddin was telling the truth.

Can Tee Keat explain why as MCA President, he had told Muhyiddin that “there was nothing wrong” with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Mingguan Malaysia interview criticising the Chinese for being “ungrateful” and “unappreciative” in the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections?

If there is total silence on this issue after the first Najib Cabinet meeting, then Malaysians are entitled to wonder whether they have a Cabinet of 29 Ministers who have problems like Muhyiddin and Tee Keat in passing the UPSR!

  1. #1 by swee_ann_tweety on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 10:14 am

    I hope the Malaysian Chinese knows what to do for the next Election

  2. #2 by LG on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 10:15 am

    The DPM who is also the Minister of Education and Ong TK both need to go to school again to study especially on moral studies. DPM need to study the Malay language again.

    They both failed badly. I gave them F. They told (and still are telling) lies, twisting words and self-justifying themselves. They are not honest, corrupt, consenting to money politics, egoistic, proud with no humility, no courage, their master’s shoe polisher, etc.

    How can such BN leaders, top Government officials be good pattern for the people? They talked about change but that at best merely an outward change like changing clothes for a leper.

    Outwardly they are trying to be Mister Clean Good Compassionate Guy but inwardly full of dirt, hypocrisy, corruption, deceits, selfish interest, arrogant, etc.

    PM please send your Cabinet MInisters (if not all, most of them) to \school again to study UPSR\.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 10:19 am

    Forget the truth,this thing has moved to the excuses stage and now they are keeping their finger cross it goes away. What is foremost in OTK mind is that he is taking a hit for Muhiyiddin so that he can collect on the favour later down the road. The question is what can OTK collect later? Its not worth much frankly and he need a few more stupidity on Muhiyiddin and others in order for him to collect anything real.

    In the meantime, Najib is going to be a teacher to him and his Cabinet on the meaning of 1Malaysia. The real question is after he gives his lesson, what will come out of it? More accurately after his lesson, and they they still say different things, what will they do? If they don’t get it that Najib don’t want any more hits on his personal image, Najib will be forced to do something.

    So really we need Muhiyiddin and OTK to keep doing these stuff in public and proof Najib ideas are pretty much crap. Keep it going and Najib will be forced to act in his ‘cloak and dagger’ ways that he typically resort to when backed against the wall. Sooner or later, it will blow up in his face like Altantuya, Perak fiasco etc.

  4. #4 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 10:28 am

    Can somebody TEACH this EDUCATION Minister how to use Microsoft Word and its embedded Thesaurus?

    Open a Word document, type in the word “ungrateful”, put the cursor over that word and press “Shift F7” (er Mr DPM, that means holding the Shift button with your left finger and pressing F7 with your right finger).

    Ungrateful =
    Showing no gratitude

    Now try the same thing and type in the word “unappreciative”.

    Unappreciative =
    Showing no gratitude

    Looks like me, sounds like me, walks like me – but I can assure you that it is not me.
    Company rousing

  5. #5 by Godfather on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 10:35 am

    Ong Ta Kut is now rushing to the defence of his UMNO master. This is the problem with the minority parties within the Barang Naik coalition – when UMNO says “jump”, they ask “how high?”.

  6. #6 by HJ Angus on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 10:37 am

    Perhaps the new Education Minister is not too happy with this new post – it seems a step down from MITI where one gets more international exposure and education seems to be a major minefield in Malaysia.

  7. #7 by Jong on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 11:09 am

    Why should Muhyiddin speak to Ong Tee Keat when he no longer represents the Chinese community’s interest except his own? It’s so obvious OTK needs to shoe-shine to stay in office!

    If “Unappreciative” is not “ungrateful”, then what is it?

  8. #8 by taiking on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 11:44 am

    There are two known damage control measures. Apologise and if apology cannot work then accept responsibility and resign. Taking the press to war for alledged misreporting will not work. That will only mess things up further like what muhideen did the day after he had uttered the infamous words “chinese are ungrateful”. Similarly any attempt at diluting the effect of stupidly uttered words by assigning to them a lesser meaning will only inflame the already hurt feelings of the people. Tee Keat is now doing his best to deepen the political grave for muhideen. There was only one wrong to begin with. It would have remained as one-wrong had muhideen immediately apologise. Now its three wrongs and the possibility of he getting away with what he had done now appears to be remote. It all boils down to one point: Umno government’s (-)meritocracy system can only produce people of certain quality and capability I am afraid.

  9. #9 by drago2008 on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 12:16 pm

    Wonder whether Muhyiddin is really “up to it” as the Education Minister, not to mention the DPM post. So soon taking office, he has conducted himself, in the public eye, as someone who is just not cut out to be in the position he’s in. He still goes around yakking away like an Umno warlord and that won’t go down well with the PM who, as we are made to believe, is trying his best to turn over a new leaf – change and reform.

    What these Umnoputras don’t understand is that our intelligence cannot be insulted. If they can’t talk and discuss issues in a civil manner instead of slipping in racial issues in statements like they usually do, then they deserve to be what they are – to be disposed of eventually.

    It’s not only Muhyiddin, there are many others in the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) who are also practising the same art of racism. Some more so than others in the party. Now, with the new government installed, sooner or later, some of them will surface again with some statements that continue to justify our suspicion of them. Hopefully, they will stop wielding the keris whenever they feel the angst and imagined that they are being threatened by some outside forces.

    As for the other component parties in the BN, their leaders are becoming a disgrace in the eyes of the public. It’s most appropriate that someone has labelled OTK as Ong Ta Kut and that Samy Vellu is a classic joke.

    It may be too early to prejudge the cabinet members as to their calibre in carrying out their jobs, but some of them are suspected of carrying baggage. And some will show up that they don’t have what it takes to do the job. But what they are capable of doing is twisting words to suit themselves. And some minor ones in the hierarchy have no compunction to even point a gun at a security man just because he was told to remove his car from blocking others. Arrogance and deceit are things they understand.

  10. #10 by Toyol on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 1:30 pm

    Another reason why MCA is UMNO lapdog…good boy, now SIT!!!

  11. #11 by Jong on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 1:36 pm

    What the heck was he(Muhyiddin) trying to say that the Chinese community should be appreciative? Appreciative of what? To him and his umno for dishing out our money – the tax-payers’ money, to bribe Chinese villages of Bukit Gantang?

    This geek and his Team UMNO/BN should instead be appreciative, thankful and count their blessings that there are some idiots among us who got them elected to office, to manage our money and they better do a good job of it, damnit!!

  12. #12 by the reds on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 1:38 pm

    Tee Kiat, Tee Kiat, memang memalukan kaum Cina. Go back and study your UPSR…. You are not qualified to be our Chinese representative…Is this what you mean “dare to say”? Funny, isn’t it? You still owe us a PKFZ scandal explanation!!!!

  13. #13 by PureMalaysian on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 1:38 pm

    If u read today’s Utusan headline “Bangkitlah Melayu”, then u will realise the “true” meaning of “1 Malaysia”.

  14. #14 by k1980 on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 3:02 pm

    “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” – Ayn Rand

    REMEMBER? “First They Came for the Jews”

    First they blamed the Pendatangs and I did not speak out because I was not a Pendatang.

    Then they blamed the Ungratefuls and I did not speak out because I was not an Ungrateful.

    Then they blame me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  15. #15 by imranj78 on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 3:11 pm

    I agree that the Chinese papers have used their own intepretation of `membalas budi’. And as expected, DAP and LKS are making this a political issue and blowing it out of proportion just for the sake of getting brownie points.

    `Membalas budi’ means that a person did reciprocate to a deed done upon him. This may be due to several reasons. It could be due that the deed was not good enough for the receiver, it could be that there is animosity between the receiver and the giver or it could also mean that the receiver was not grateful etc.. So there are various reasons why a person would not `membalas budi’ and it is WRONG to automatically translate it as ungrateful!

    If you translate `membalas budi’ to English; it is definitely WRONG to say it means ungrateful as such translation includes a high level of assumption by the translator on the true meaning the speaker was trying to actually communicate. A more accurate and correct translation of `membalas budi’ would be `reciprocation of a good deed’.

    LKS, probably it is time you go back to school as well :) Oh yes, I suggest some of the readers and posters of this forum to join you in this class. I can help to organize a BM and English class especially for if you wish :)

  16. #16 by ktteokt on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 3:19 pm

    A case of res ipsa loquitar – the thing speaks for itself when Muhyiddin said “we have poured millions into Chinese education”, it amounts to a self-admission and confession of “money politics” which UMNO itself has made it ILLEGAL!

  17. #17 by AntiSUPP on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 4:08 pm

    1. BN promises $X millions (X) to Hill No1
    2. BN wins Hill No1
    3. BN ignore Hill No1 Rakyat for 5 years
    4. BN recoup $Y millions (Y) by hook & by crook
    5. BN scores big in dirty KPI by achieving excellent +ve %ROI (Y/X) shared by elitists only
    6. BN repeats Step 1-5 in next GE/By Election

    Sorry monkeys, that formulae is long obselete and you all dinosaurs still worship this formula like Da Vinci Code. Bye bye in GE13!

  18. #18 by Godfather on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 4:21 pm

    “reciprocation of a good deed” says imranj78. Do you know what good deeds Barang Naik have done for Bolehland ? Do you call stealing from the rakyat a good deed ? Do you call lies and deceit as good deeds ? The rakyat has reciprocated. We want the liars, the cheats and the thieves out. This is the correct definition of “membalas budi”.

  19. #19 by Godfather on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 4:23 pm


    Do you know why we go to BN ceramahs, eat the free food and drinks, take the free gifts, clap loudly at the speeches of the BN reps, and then proceed to vote the Opposition ?

    It’s because the “free” food and drinks and the “free” gifts are actually paid by us, the taxpayers.

  20. #20 by imranj78 on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 4:38 pm

    The issue here is not about what sort of `good deeds’ have been offered. That topic can be a big debate on its own and I wouldn’t want to unnecessarily divert from the topic of this particular post even though I myself do agree that some of these deeds can be rather dubious.

    The item in question here is the translation of `membalas budi’. As I have justified and articulated in my previous posts, `ungrateful’ and `unappreciated’ are definitely wrong and manipulated translations of `membalas budi’!

  21. #21 by limkamput on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 4:58 pm

    It is easy to judge whether a leader is reform minded. A reformed minded leader must have “servant leadership” characteristics. You do things for and on behalf of the people you lead. If you have such an attitude, you would not say whether the people you have served are grateful to you or otherwise. If fact, the resources at your command are merely entrusted to you. The resources are not yours in the fact place – we call this stewardship.

    President Obama said his bowling score was like those attained at the Special Olympics and the next day he was made to apologize to the handicapped. To me this was trivial but he apologized anyway.

    One more thing: if we want to apologise, please do so sincerely. We will know it is sincere or not, like the Kris thing in the recent UMNO general assembly. I think no one is preventing the Malays from having special attachment to the Kris. It is how the Kris was banished and what was being uttered when the Kris was banished.

  22. #22 by ryan123 on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 5:12 pm

    Hi Imraj78,

    However, the newly-non-elected DPM has clarified that what he meant is that chinese are “unappreciative” but not “ungrateful”. That was what he said.


  23. #23 by Outcasts on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 5:56 pm

    Saudara Imraj78,

    The problem here is not about translation. After 12 years of education in Malay, you think we do not understand what is the meaning of “membalas budi” without translating into Chinese or English?

    Come on. All of us can read and understand the original text in Malay.

  24. #24 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 6:04 pm

    OTK wants promotion mah! Hence he tried to be sycophantic.

  25. #25 by ktteokt on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 6:12 pm

    I think Muhyiddin is talking reverse language. Shouldn’t it be the ministers and MPs who should show their gratitude to the people who voted for them and placed them where they are today and not the other way around? Such low mentality for a MINISTER OF EDUCATION! No wonder sons of ministers had to go overseas to further their studies! MALAYSIA BETUL BETUL BOLEH (mati)!!!

  26. #26 by Outcasts on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 6:18 pm

    Hmm, wiki don’t have education record of our DPM. Anyone know where to find out whether our education minister had any formal education before huh?

    I’m very very curious now.

  27. #27 by Editor on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 6:21 pm

    Obviously I think Tan Sri Muhyiddin needs to go back to school himself either to take Malay language or English. Either he does not understand the words he used or he does not understand the meaning in English.

    It is not the first time an UMNO leader denied what they had said and blamed it on other people for twisting their words. The same thing happened in March this year with Datuk Seri Hishammuddin.

    This is a post I did on the two cases:
    Hishammuddin & Muhyiddin: It Wasn’t Me
    Hishammuddin: Oops!… I did it again.

  28. #28 by ekans on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 7:10 pm

    Dalam Bahasa Malaysia:

    Q – Tetapi bukankah setiap kali pilihan raya kecil, permintaan kaum bukan Melayu dipenuhi, malah di Bukit Gantang walaupun peruntukan RM1juta diberikan tetapi kaum Cina tidak juga menyokong BN?

    MUHYIDDIN: Ya, kadang-kadang kita berasa terpedaya juga kerana zahirnya nampak macam ‘ok’, sambutan dengan tepukan gemuruh tetapi mungkin sudah ada tertanam dalam hati iaitu sesuatu tidak mudah hendak berubah, pokoknya masalah isu Perak terutamanya di kalangan masyarakat Cina yang mungkin telah dipengaruhi dengan sentimen simpati kepada Datuk Seri Ir.Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin, kononnya dia ‘dijatuhkan’, lepas itu kononnya dasar memberi pegangan tanah selama 99 tahun dilihat dasar yang menguntungkan.

    Ini yang mungkin menyebabkan sukar BN mendapat sokongan walaupun kita fikir bila mereka hendak sekolah Cina dibantu, kita bantu, sepatutnya mereka membalas budi. Pada waktu itu, kita pun tidak berharap sokongan kaum Cina akan meningkat 40 peratus dan sebagainya cuma kita berharap ada peningkatan sedikit tetapi apa yang berlaku ia mencatatkan penurunan, macam tidak ada penghargaan terhadap apa yang kita lakukan.

    In English:

    Q – But isn’t it that in every by-election, the requests of the non-Malay community have been fulfilled, and yet, at Bukit Gantang, in spite of RM1 million being allocated, the Chinese community still did not support the BN?

    MUHYIDDIN: Yes, at times we still feel deceived because from the outside, everything looked okay, responding with a thunderous applause, but probably there are already feelings taken to heart which are hard to change, mainly over the Perak issue, especially amongst the Chinese community whom could have been influenced by sympathetic sentiments towards Datuk Seri Ir.Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin, as if he’s been overthrown, as if the 99 year land ownership policy is being seen as beneficial.

    This has probably made it difficult for BN to get support although we know that when they want assistance for Chinese schools, we shall help, therefore they should return the favour. At that time, we were not even hoping for the support from the Chinese community to rise by 40 percent and so forth, as we were only expecting a slight increase, but what happened was that it has instead dropped, as if there is no appreciation for what we have done.

  29. #29 by ekans on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 7:27 pm

    On 15/4/2009 at 17:12.45, ryan123 said:
    However, the newly-non-elected DPM has clarified that what he meant is that chinese are “unappreciative” but not “ungrateful”. That was what he said.

    I think that ‘unappreciative’ and ‘ungrateful’ have the same meaning.

  30. #30 by novice101 on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 8:17 pm

    Today We see another BN leaders trying to wriggle his way out of an awkward position where his BIG MOUTH has placed him.

    In his haste to please his new No.2, he assured the boss that he saw nothing wrong in what he (Muhyddin) had said. Now he finds himself in the hot soup, he is putting on his usual act, trying to wriggle his way out. It would be better if he were to come out straight and apologise to the constituents he claims he is representing, instead trying to wriggle his way out of the hot earth.

    Better to lose face and the respect of one man than to lose the respect of millions of Malaysian Chinese. Or is the man’s respect meant more to him???

  31. #31 by Ramesh Laxman on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 8:36 pm

    This will delay the appoinment of a DPM from MCA.

  32. #32 by Onlooker Politics on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 - 10:46 pm

    The core of the current disputable issue on Muhyiddin’s accusing the Chinese Community for being ungrateful and not knowing how to be appreciative to Barisan Nasional actually lies in the false theology which is often preached by Umno politicians for purpose of making Umno leaders adorable by the people.

    In fact, the attempt to deify and to idolize a mortal human being such as the Umno political leader who practises corruption is not much different from trying to preach an occultic belief.

    The true theology only teaches the followers to be thankful to God and to worship only God and no someone else. Why should Muhyiddin as an Umno leader expect appreciation or thanksgiving from the Chinese community when indeed Umno has done many disservices to the Chinese Community and does not deserve any love from the Chinese Community of Malaysia? What is there so great for the Malaysians of Chinese origin to express their appreciation or thankfulness when Umno has proven itself to be a hardcore and stiffnecked practiser of despicable behaviours of Money Politics and Bribe-taking?

  33. #33 by pwcheng on Thursday, 16 April 2009 - 3:36 am

    A true good leader will not ask for a favor done for a favor return. And the same for a good father who will not ask the children to return what he had spent on them.
    The rakyat or your children will know how to repay you if you deserve it.

  34. #34 by pwcheng on Thursday, 16 April 2009 - 3:47 am

    The pertinent question is does UMNO deserves the gratitude from us? ( leaving aside that the money spent is the rakyat’s money and definitely not UMNO’s money). Sincerely I think if UMNO were to tupuk their dada, they know why they are not having the Chinese support anymore. For me any Chinese who still support UMNO are either not in their right frame of mind or senile or loves corruption which can go hand in hand with UMNO.

  35. #35 by tupai on Thursday, 16 April 2009 - 4:01 am

    The hokkiens express it best. They call it LPPL (Lam Par Par Lan)!

  36. #36 by taiking on Thursday, 16 April 2009 - 9:09 am

    More than being ungrateful I would say thank you for the money and report you for practising corruption at the same time. Vote a corrupt party? Never. It tantamounts to endorsing corruption. Cant they see that the nation dislike and disapprove of corruption and illegal power grab.

  37. #37 by Taxidriver on Thursday, 16 April 2009 - 6:10 pm

    Hmmmm! I just realized my dictionaries are out-dated. Been having them for almost 20 years. Can somebody please tell me where I can get a goog Advanced UMNO English- Malay Dictionary with the up-dated definition of such words like ‘grateful’, ‘appreciate’, ‘money politics’, 1Malaysia ……….

    And…..imranj78, let’s say if somebody did me a big favour, should I say ‘I am not not grateful to you or I am not ungrateful to you’?

  38. #38 by Taxidriver on Thursday, 16 April 2009 - 6:13 pm

    Typo error: ‘Good’ to replace ‘goog’

  39. #39 by Taxidriver on Thursday, 16 April 2009 - 6:56 pm

    Hey! Din,

    Macam mana kau ni? Kalau nak cakap bohong bukan tak boleh, boleh tetapi mau pandai-pandai macam che det dulu. Waktu itu Vietnam Selatan/AS berperang dengan Vietcong. Ramai pelarian cuba nak masuk Malaysia dan che det mengarahkan TLDM “Shoot them on sight”. Apabila menerima bantahan negara-negara lain, che det ( memang mamak,memang bijak ) kata wartawan salah dengar, Akbar salah cetak. che det kata ‘shoo’ ( halaukan ); bukannya ‘Shoot’ ( mamak memang mamak )

    Kau pun ada peluang melepaskan diri. Misalnya kau boleh bohong macam che det. Boleh cakap kau tidak cakap ‘membalas budi’ Sebenarnya kau cakap ‘membalas kasih’. Wartawan salah dengar, akbar salah cetak. Kenapa tak buat begitu? Bodoh kau ni.

You must be logged in to post a comment.