Najib and gang say the darndest things

By Kee Thuan Chye | July 7, 2011
Free Malaysia Today

The Bersih 2.0 episode has taught us a few important things. About the officials who are supposed to serve us, the rakyat.

First, it has taught us that our prime minister, Najib Tun Razak, is a coward, a passer-of-the-buck, and a man with a slippery tongue.

Although he has now offered the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) a stadium to hold its rally on July 9, he refuses to say if the government no longer considers it an illegal organisation.

“This is a point whereby we consider them illegal, they don’t consider themselves as illegal but what’s important is public interest, I’m concerned with public interest,” he says. What kind of waffle is that?

Because he is wishy-washy about this matter, he appears utterly contradictory in allowing an illegal organisation to hold a public rally in a stadium that his government will provide.

Related to this, when asked by the media whether the police would continue to clamp down on Bersih 2.0 supporters nationwide, he said, “You have to ask the police.”

Asked if supporters would be arrested for wearing Bersih T-shirts at the rally at the stadium, he again said, “That is up to the police to decide.”

He doesn’t know? He doesn’t have a say? Who is the boss? The prime minister, who is the chief executive of the country, or the police?

He dared not even answer the media’s question about whether he was called to see the King on the morning of July 5 before the latter was to meet with Bersih 2.0. His lame and characteristically evasive reply was: “When I meet the King is my right, and as the prime minister, I am the chief adviser to the King.” He wasn’t man enough to be honest and transparent.

Same old trick

Now let’s look at Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. A few days ago, on the Bersih 2.0 rally, he warned that it could lead to chaos and invite “interference from major powers”. Where did he pull this out from?

“Based on the experience in the Middle East, we know that foreign powers are all too eager to send their troops on the pretext of helping to solve the crisis,” he said. What a hoot!

How ridiculous it is to draw from the Middle East experience (is the United Nations about to authorise the bombing of Malaysia?), and how convenient to blame it on some phantom foreign powers. It’s the same old trick the government used on Hindraf in 2007, linking it to the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka. In the end, not a shred of evidence was ever produced. Once bitten, twice shy.

Sure enough, what Muhyiddin said was to provide justification for six Parti Sosialis Rakyat (PSM) members who were pro-Bersih 2.0 to be detained under the Emergency Ordinance (EO), on suspicion of being involved with “foreign elements” and having “subversive tendencies”.

One of them is Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj. If you knew him for the soft-spoken, humble and dedicated helper of the poor that he is, you would laugh in Muhyiddin’s face. Jeyakumar would not be so stupid as to align himself with foreign elements to subvert the state.

Let’s turn now to Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim, who disparaged “desperate parties” for making use of Communism to drum up support for the Bersih 2.0 rally.

“They see this as an opportunity to stir up dissent and seize power,” he said. “Spreading Communism is against the law. It is evil and illegal.”

What wild words would these ministers not use against a rally that was aimed at nothing more sinister than asking for electoral reform, for the good of democracy? Do they not realise we can gauge from their words the level of their intellect?

How did Rais get his PhD?

PM’s undignified talk

Malacca Chief Minister Ali Rustam called on the government to strip Bersih 2.0 chairperson S Ambiga of her citizenship. “If she thinks that we should have democracy by going on demonstrations like the way other countries do, then let her be the citizen of another country,” he said.

He also said she was against the tenets of Islam for previously defending Lina Joy in her apostasy case.

Alamak! What has the Lina Joy case got to do with the Bersih 2.0 rally? But then, that’s the Umno-BN dirty tactic, isn’t it? Turn a non-religious issue into a religious one. Never mind if it’s irrelevant. Never mind if it’s divisive.

Najib was worse in making a similar personal attack: “We know who this Ambiga is. She is the one who threatened the position of Islam.”

He must have known it was totally uncalled-for and outrageously irresponsible, but his audience was in Kelantan, comprising mostly Muslims, reportedly about 20,000 of them there.

When Ali Rustam said that sort of thing, it was inexcusable. But when Najib, the advocate of so-called 1Malaysia, said it, it was unforgivable.

More than that, he warned, “Ambiga should not think herself so strong. We will not bow down to her at all, we will fight for the truth. We will simpan kuku kita.” This is menacing; the threat is in “simpan kuku kita”, implying Najib and his supporters will hide their claws for now and use them when the time comes.

This is undignified talk unbecoming of a prime minister. He sounds like a street brawler.

Let’s save the best for last. And who else might that be but the Home Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, already famous for the numerous bloopers he has made in the past?

When the police started arresting people for wearing the Bersih T-shirts, without any apparent law to back them up, Hishammuddin justified it thus: “If the Bersih T-shirt is related to an illegal activity, then whatever they are wearing is illegal.”

But the rally had not happened yet, so how could it have been an illegal activity? By the same logic, how then could the Bersih T-shirts be related to an illegal activity?

Caught in a corner, Hishammuddin then resorted to declaring Bersih 2.0 illegal. One of the reasons cited was that Bersih 2.0 had been spreading propaganda with the aim of toppling the government.

What propaganda? Its eight demands for electoral reform constitute government-toppling material? Which school did this minister go to?

And now that the King has met with Bersih 2.0 and the coalition has agreed to hold its rally in a stadium provided by the government, Hishammuddin is still clamouring: “They are banned. They are still banned… just because Tuanku met them doesn’t mean they are no longer illegal.”

One would have thought that the King, in showing respect to Bersih 2.0 in granting it an audience, would have legitimised the coalition, but Hishammuddin seems to have a different view. He must have felt the egg all over his face when the King granted the audience.

His reaction is therefore understandably defensive. He has screwed up big-time, but he won’t admit his mistakes. If he has been doing his job like he should have, he would not be vilifying Bersih 2.0; he would be going after Perkasa instead.

The real troublemaker

No matter how you look at it, there’s no denying that the real trouble-maker is Perkasa. It never had a real cause to rally for on July 9 except to disrupt Bersih 2.0’s serious purpose.

And now it wants to create further trouble by applying for the same stadium that Bersih 2.0 is applying for and hold its own rally there. And the reason for it? Merely to show that “there are others who feel differently”.

Perkasa is obviously envious that the King acknowledged Bersih 2.0 by granting it an audience, so it too is applying for an audience with His Majesty. Perkasa is nothing but an envious bulldog that won’t let go until it gets to spite Bersih 2.0. And all for what? Do its members even know?

If there were one organisation Hishammuddin should act on, it would have to be Perkasa. And yet for all its antics and for all the veiled threats of violence its president, Ibrahim Ali, has been issuing since the whole episode started, the minister has said or done nothing.

Hishammuddin is plainly inept in his handling of the entire mess. And for that, he should resign or be kicked out of the Cabinet by his cousin, Najib.

In fact, both of them have clearly shown in the past two weeks that the government has two laws for Malaysians – one for itself and those it favours, and one for the rest of the people. You can guess for yourself which side is the worse off for it.

But not to worry. What we the rakyat have learned, we can use to good effect. Taking the wisdom from Najib, we can simpan our kuku for now and reveal them when the time is right.

Dramatist and journalist Kee Thuan Chye is the author of ‘March 8: Time for Real Change‘. He is a contributor to FMT.

  1. #1 by Cinapek on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 3:51 pm

    In an earlier post I had predicted that the “Prime Sneak” would renege on his promise. It is so typical of him. Enough has been said of him and his administration. Whatever the outcome, the people have won. The Govt and thier insitutional thugs and “third line of defence” can do their worse and may even succeed to thwart the rally to some extent. But they may win the battle but they have lost the war. This whole episode has shown up the hypocritical and total lack of principles and integrity of this group of idiots. They have confirmed and proven to the whole world that they do not keep their words and you can bet your life they will do this again and again. And this revelation also cast serious doubts on the honesty of those mosque swearings denying involvement in the murder of some Mongolian lady . In short, the people could not and should not believe a single promise this Govt made anymore. Period.

  2. #2 by limkamput on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 4:13 pm

    All these you highlighted are just like those tormentors we met while in school. They made rules and they changed them so long as they get what they want. If we extend this kind of mentality to a country, it is called third world tribalism. They may wear suites and ties, but right in each of them, they are no more than cavemen (sorry I don’t mean to insult some men living in caves).

  3. #3 by bruno on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 5:08 pm

    PM Najib,stop mumbling and jumbling.Don’t get nervous and stutter like a broken engine ready to break down.Speak slowly,loudly and clearly so that the rakyat can understand what you are saying.Now the rakyat are second guessing what you are saying.You are the PM of Malaysia.You should act like what a true statesman should.Put yourself on record and no buck passing.

  4. #4 by isahbiazhar on Thursday, 7 July 2011 - 7:37 pm

    If Najib thinks he can go scot free after creating all the problems for Bersih , he is mistaken.His thuggish behaviour had shown his true colours.To make sure all the thuggish behaviour can be implemented ,he had put his cousin Hishamuddin,home minister, there, who had been once an eduation minister.One can see the havoc he had created when he was the education minister.Muhayyudin is having a tough time dismantling his policies and the Hishamuddin stooges who are giving all kinds of problem in the education ministry.We just do not know why these elected people doing without considering the nation and the beloved people.Their speeches at the UMNO meeting are just to people who cannot think.Rais was a wrong choice and he is irrelevant.The next election he wont be there unless he joins PAS after admitting his mistakes! The time is ripe for the government to decide whether they want to listen to the people who have shown the right example to the government.

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