Umno’s Chinese whispers — The Malaysian Insider

The Malaysian Insider

FEB 13 — Today is the day Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should learn former US president, Ronald Reagan’s favourite phrase: “Trust, but Verify”.

If he had learnt the phrase before today, the deputy prime minister would not look silly for castigating the Penang government which he alleged had cancelled the annual Maulidur Rasul procession.

He accused the Pakatan Rakyat government led by Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng of not supporting the aspirations of Muslims.

All this based on a report by the Umno-owned newspaper Utusan Malaysia.

In other words, Muhyiddin appeared irresponsible for stoking racial and religious tension when talking about the apparent cancellation of the Maulidur Rasul procession in Penang, where Malays have been complaining about being sidelined.

The responsible thing to do would have been to double check with the Penang state government and not rely on what is reported by Utusan Malaysia, which has stretched its credibility in the past when reporting about Umno’s political foes.

To paraphrase Reagan, trust, but verify.

It is no good to parrot what Utusan said without checking. Then it becomes a game of Chinese whispers, which has been an ongoing past-time in Penang where even the lawful enforcement against illegal hawkers is turned into a racial issue.

After all, Muhyiddin is a national leader, not a petty politician trying to break into the big time by grabbing attention where possible. Even former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, a Penang son himself, weighed in on the matter based on the erroneous Utusan report.

National leaders have to be statesmen and above the fray. They have to carefully consider what they say or do because even an involuntary nod of the head or the wave of hand could signify something to their followers. All the more so when it comes to matters of faith in a country treading gingerly over the ‘Allah’ ruling.

Someone who wants to lead Malaysia one day must avoid the temptation of playing the race or religious card, be it behind closed doors or out in the open, especially in issues which Umno leaders have always deemed ‘sensitive’.

Muhyiddin must know this.

His words and actions, even when slamming his political foes based on an unverified Utusan Malaysia report, will add credence to cynics who wonder if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia has the full support of his own administration.

Trust, but verify. Reagan practised it well and was a popular US president. Muhyiddin would be wise to follow the dictum.

  1. #1 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 14 February 2010 - 8:01 pm

    By itself, the phrase (“Trust, but Verify”) is not directed at the trustworthiness of what other 3rd parties say . For if one trusts what others say, one does not need to verify (and vice versa) since the the word trust already implies by definition reliability on the other’s veracity/truth.

    So “Trust, but Verify” only makes sense if it is taken as a nice way of saying (indirectly) to someone (the trusting party) not to trust his own judgment or trust of what other third parties say.

    say as regards
    vWhen I don’t trust (ie distrust) what another says or represents I try to get independent corroboration to verify what has been told to me. This is directed at 3rd parties. At that level it makes little sense to say that you trust that 3rd party and what he says and yet want to verify : Unless you cannot completely trust your own judgment including your own sense of trust of others or what they say.

    “Trust, but Verify” is one of the condensed wisdom attributed to Ronald Reagan who is telling us basically – but diplomatically/indirectly – not to trust completely our our judgment or sense of trust of others or what others say. That is why we need to verify, more to test our own judgment. Another of reagan’s gem is “It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have since learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first.”

  2. #2 by djhampa on Sunday, 14 February 2010 - 9:33 pm

    Trustworthiness and truthfulness of a person is different from the accuracy, correctness and competency of the person. You may trust a person’s integrity but what he said may be wrong or false. Verification should not be taken as a sign of distrust but rather it is prudent and due diligence.

    Utusan on the other hand is not trustworthy and it had shamelessly and openly become the chief agitator for his political master. As such, verify should be sufficient.

  3. #3 by lopez on Sunday, 14 February 2010 - 9:54 pm

    these fellas are dummies, how can these people lie in line for comparison with INTERNATIONAL STATESMEN. It is an insult to those people.

    Ours is a different league , different division, differing in values, standards, visions and objectives.

    TRying to win back hearts of people who once trusted them in any other way is pure show of desperation.
    Now someone please tell them, don’t go doing things that they never have done 50 years ago and later forcing others to do the same , just because he has done so.

  4. #4 by bennylohstocks on Sunday, 14 February 2010 - 10:26 pm

  5. #5 by limkamput on Sunday, 14 February 2010 - 11:41 pm

    It is not moohideen trusts or distrusts. It is not he believes or otherwise. It is what he has chosen to say given the opportunity. Whether it is true or not does not really matter. He is not concerned with truth. He is concerned with whatever he has said will gain political capital or not.

  6. #6 by waterfrontcoolie on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 12:05 am

    I don’t think truth is his concern; only political mileage. It may appear stupid in your eyes but for a desperate leader, nothing is irrational when political mileage is needed. By now, if rational thinking is still so far away, it can be only like a drowning man grab for straw to stay afloat! Yes, the letter ‘N’ could be the end of the story at this rate things are developing!

  7. #7 by yhsiew on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 1:41 am

    I think “verify and trust” would make a better dictum as one can be sure he makes no mistake after verifying the situation before trusting.

    “Trust, but verify” could imply a mistake has already been made since no prior verifying was done before trusting. At times, it was not possible to retract/undo the mistake upon verifying.

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 2:11 am

    The problem with “verify” first and then “trust” is that it may be argued that after verifying one already “knows” the truth and the question of “trust” coming after does not arise because “trust” means and implies believing in the honesty and reliability of the truth of certain claims and one does not need to “believe” in something that one knows is certain truth. I mean here the difference between believing something is true and knowing with certainty something is true – surely there is here a difference.
    This being the case it may still be argued that trust comes before verifying. To avert or mitigate the downside of not being able to retract/undo a “mistake” that one could commit based on misplaced trust in the absence of prior verification, it would seem a prudent course that even if one “trust” certain claims are true one does not act on such trust unless one has counter-checked and verified the claims and the facts. As I said, this is to test one’s own trust and judgment.

  9. #9 by Jeffrey on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 2:18 am

    When I say ‘after verifying one already “knows” the truth’ I mean in the commonsensical and layman sense.

    I am not making a reference to philosophical arguments that verification is always equals to truth or that truth is always something as clear and unquestionable as we may desire or that that everything may be verified : some concepts are open ended and difficult to verify.

  10. #10 by ekompute on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 6:08 am

    “After all, Muhyiddin is a national leader, not a petty politician trying to break into the big time by grabbing attention where possible. ”

    Do you guys consider Muhyiddin to be national caliber? Well, I consider him to be petty-politician level. And should he lead Malaysia one day, Malaysia is doomed. As regards Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, well, I have nothing much to say except that I think an office boy would have fared better than him as Prime Minister.

  11. #11 by Comrade on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 8:00 am

    Always better to verify the facts first
    Before saying anything out of place
    Or is it done to satisfy the thirst
    For pursuing self gain in the political race?

  12. #12 by Bigjoe on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 8:22 am

    To issue is do Muhiyiddin think he can win supporters from Chinese leaders with his Real Agenda. Its clear Muhiyiddin is a traditional UMNO hawk – the kind Chinese leaders do not trust except when they are corrupted and can be bought. Muhiyiddin is quite frequently exposed to have his facts wrong or indefensible, its doubtful the Chinese leaders would trust him even if he is corrupted. They would want to be rewarded a lot quicker given who they are dealing with – a price UMNO cannot pay anymore these days.

    In other words, Muhiyiddin cannot get strong support even traditional close Chinese allies without breaking the bank. I would not put much faith in that idea.

    The truth is Najib got UMNO’s reform agenda ll wrong. The theory behind Najib’s reform idea and Muhiyiddin even more is to seemingly tackle corruption while pandering to the religious right and racist. The problem is the ultras which the religious rights and racist belong are also the biggest hypocrite and they are most dependent on corruption and there is just that much room to manouver without incurring their opposition. Sooner or later they will find an excuse to oppose Najib and Muhiyiddin who is closer to them will have to side with them.

    PR have to realise that its not religion and race that binds UMNO moderates and ultras, its corruption and power. The more UMNO/BN tackle corruption, the easier it is to split UMNO apart.

  13. #13 by boh-liao on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 8:28 am

    MooHD Y thinks he is a Chinese Whisperer n acts recklessly on rumours

  14. #14 by Black Arrow on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 9:53 am

    Muhyiddin is just plain irresponsible. If he is the future PM, Malaysia is surely doomed.

  15. #15 by limkamput on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 10:34 am

    The sage is again engaging in intellectual diarrhoea. What is so difficult to find out from Utusan whether or not the Penang State has indeed banned the procession? What philosophical or commonsensical truth are we talking about here? I think Penang State Govt should pursue this relentlessly – Utusan lies, whatever Moohideen said was based on lies, and Perkasa is even a bigger liar. This is the only way to discredit them completely – liars, racists, rabble rousers, instigators, moronic ranting, deranged idiots, sh!ters.

  16. #16 by Jeffrey on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 12:01 pm

    Barking up wrong tree again – as usual – with constipated remarks!

  17. #17 by Jamal Malik on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 2:28 pm

    Malaysia UMNO politics has always been centred on putting the most popular Malay person up for election, never mind if he is a hare brain idiot without any proper educational.
    Anyone who profess to have a close relationship with the grassroots leaders or villagers, after carefully cultivating the doctrines of Malay supremacy and the “others” being migrants, will automatically be welcome into the rank of UMNO to act as the go between senior politicians.
    The more hates they spew, the more popular they become. Perhaps, the Malays should start to ask themselves why those hateful words and statements uttered by UMNO can confidently strike a chord amongst many in the Malay community.

    Two weeks after Nasir Safar famous – “Indians came to Malaysia as beggars and Chinese women as prostitutes”, Petronas released a classic 2010 Chinese New Year Ad.
    ( ).

    One wonders how many of Petronas employees are of Chinese origin.

    When in spite of being enshrine in the country’s constitution to protect the Malays, they still continue to feel insecure and continue to listen and believe in the lies, bile and half-truths flowing from UMNO politicians. What hope have the other races left?

    The country newspaper UTUSAN Melayu has becomes a tool for UMNO to write malicious lies and slander against the Chinese and Indians.

    The sad thing is the coalition partner in Barisan, namely MCA and MIC, are keeping a distant silence bears testimony to their subservient mentality. UMNO know they are running out of time. It is a safe bet that we would see more of these coming in the months ahead.
    Unfortunately for UMNO, we all know.

  18. #18 by johnnypok on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 10:15 pm

    Everytime the Dumb Probosis Monkey makes a remark, he only draws laughter from the people.

  19. #19 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 12:33 am

    Shoot first, confirm d fact later
    Next day when d useless racist Utusan cries wolf, d equally useless MY will immediately order attack first

  20. #20 by ChinNA on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 9:12 am

    Jeffrey :
    Barking up wrong tree again – as usual – with constipated remarks!

    What/Who are you referring to?

  21. #21 by lopez on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 1:03 pm

    No english test here…the meaning are intriSICK.


    GO be a teacher if you are so smart and help our children for their future.

  22. #22 by Winston on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 4:45 pm

    All the troubles faced by the PR are caused by them.
    Although they can’t do the job in five over decades, they are very sore that the PR can do it.
    Sour grapes in the extreme sense of the word.

  23. #23 by Yee Siew Wah on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 - 5:06 pm

    Looking at this guy, he is just, i repeat just fit to be my office boy. Amazing we have characters like this specimen running the country for that matter. Politically, he talks cock all the time. Unbelieveable!!!! He is a typical Umnoputra. (But, dont get me wrong, of course there are good and reasonable Umnoputras. They are rare species and sidelined). Never ever wrong, haughty,racialistic mind set coupled with a bird’s brain. Anyway, what do one expect from Bolehland??
    My chief clerk Asmadi can reason and utter politically better than him in all aspects.

  24. #24 by rockdaboat on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 10:12 am

    This is just unbelievable!
    A DPM of a country making a sensitive statement based on hearsay, without verifying his facts?

    He should have been more careful in view of his position and what he said.

    I gusess this can only happen in Malaysia!

  25. #25 by dagen on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 10:48 am

    Bet he did check and verify. Know wot? He was fed with wrong info by those idiots who were clearly misguided by the need to create imaginary foes. Its btn.

  26. #26 by lopez on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 - 10:56 am

    Hey don’t under estimate this clown, he may surprised you with his opinion on the missing engines or anything in that area.

    he is second in command any way or does he..?

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