Events in the first ten days of the new year have given both hope and dejection about the future of Malaysia.
Standing head and shoulders above all other events in the first 10 days is undoubtedly Penang footballer Mohd Faiz Subri’s clinching of the Fifa Puskas Award for the most beautiful goal of 2016, putting his name on the same list as past winners such as famed football stars Christiano Ronaldo and Neymar.
The 29-year-old Penang striker has indeed brought joy to millions of Malaysians thousands of kilometres away when Mohd Faiz was handed the award for his spellbinding free kick at a glittering ceremony in Zurich yesterday.
Mohd Faiz created history as the first Asian to be bestowed the gong named after Ferenc Puskas, the Hungarian football legend who enjoyed huge success with Real Madrid during the 1950s and 60s as well as his national team.
Last year Harith Iskander won the Funniest Person in the World competition in Finland while Malaysia won two gold medals in the Rio Paralympics, one by Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi in men’s 100m T36 and the other by Ziyad Zolkefli in the men’s F20 shot putt.
On the dark side, Malaysia ascended the world chart to become a “global kleptocracy”.
Mohd Faiz’s success is an inspiration to all Malaysians to regain confidence in themselves and the nation to aim to be among the best in the world – not to be mediocre or worse, heading towards a failed and a rogue state.
Let Mohd Faiz, Harith Iskander, Mohd Ridzuan and Ziyad Zolkein be exemplars of world-beaters for Malaysians.
Let me mention two other events in the past ten days, but both do not uplift Malaysia to new heights, but should serve as warning as to the depths Malaysia can fall to if we do not continue to be honest and honourable in our intentions and actions.
The first is the speech by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Prime Minister’s Department monthly assembly yesterday.
I would be surprised if 99% of the civil servants at the Prime Minister’s Department monthly assembly were not thinking of three things, Malaysia’s ill-repute as global kleptocracy, 1MDB and “MO1” when they heard Najib’s speech about the recent arrests made by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) saying that they are a reminder to civil servants against wastage.
Najib said wastage “is equal to taking away what belongs to the people,” and he reminded those in government that they cannot take away the people’s rights.
If Najib was sincere, he should lead by example by first explaining the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million from SRC International Sdn. Bhd, the former subsidiary of 1MDB, found in his personal bank account and what he did with the money.
No wonder the Economist has come out with a very scathing article which said that “any typical leader of a typical democracy, when with nearly US$700 million of ill-explained money from an unnamed foreign donor in his account, would experience a swift and fatal fall”, with the bizarre spectacle of Najib seeming on “top of his game” after two-years of “high-wire” act, but warning that “If he (Najib) can’t keep the money flowing, his seemingly loyal allies would abandon him in a jiffy”.
The third episode I want to mention is the depth of dishonesty and dishonor some Malaysian leaders are prepared to descend to advance their own interests.
This is illustrated by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, who made a ferocious but baseless attack against me last Friday for visiting his constituency in Pensiangan some ten days ago.
I had challenged Kurup to prove his baseless allegations against me that I had been guilty of the “politics of hatred” and “political extremism” when visiting Pensiangan, and his silence and inability to quote chapter and verse to substantiate his allegations is the most eloquent testimony as to who is speaking the truth.
The Prime Minister had kicked off the new year warning about “fake news” and “false stories” but UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders, propagandists and cybertroopers including the country’s mainstream media like New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia are the worst culprits in concocting and disseminating fake news and false stories about critics and the Opposition.
Truth, honesty and honour seem to be scarce commodities in present-day Malaysia.
The news report that police are still investigating claims that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s son (my grandson) had sexually assaulted a schoolmate, almost six years since the allegations circulated on pro-Umno blogs, proves this point.
Police received six complaints alleging that the then 16-year-old boy had committed the crime, and that money was paid to ensure the matter was not circulated online – when in fact the allegations were pack of lies.
Have police taken action against anyone for lodging false police reports or circulating false news?
Would the police fail to take action for six long years if such false, malicious and despicable lies are told about Najib’s children?
The latest handiwork of such Nazi-style “Big Lie” peddled in particular by two UMNO poodles is the fairy tale that I had met Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on Dec. 3 and “sealed a deal that Mukhriz would become prime minister with Kit Siang as his deputy”.
This “false story” is in the class of the “false story” about my grandson molesting a Hong Kong girl when they had never even met.
I hope Mohd Faiz’s world achievement, like those of Harith Iskander, Mohd Ridzuan and Ziyad Zolkefli, will inspire the misguided UMNO/BN leaders, propagandists and cybertroopers to repent and return to the right path to turn Malaysia away from a global kleptocracy to become shining example of a tolerant, progressive, democratic, harmonious, multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation.