Caveat Emptor

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By Multatuli Murtadi

Multatuli says that whatever we do, let’s not be so gullible that we buy from the next jammu seller who promises us a quick fix.

Sued Saddiq Syed Abdul Razhman

Malaysians are so disillusioned with this lot of politicians that they are prepared to embrace anyone with a veneer of decency. They don’t ask inconvenient questions – Malaysians mostly don’t out of this idea of ‘sopan’ .

We have Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman in the guise of a “White Knight” calling for a united Malaysia (among other reforms). He is definitely saying all the right things and many  are lapping it up.

Sopan or not, let’s look at Syed Saddiq‘s track record.

1. Syed Saddiq’s Stand on ICERD.

He rejected The International Convention on the Elimination  of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).He said that his stand was based on a consensus reached by PH components to champion the country’s progress through existing policies. By existing policies I take it he means the continuation of institutional racism.

I have my doubts that DAP and PKR both championed the continuation of racial discrimination and policies which disadvantage the Nons even if they lost their nerve about Bangsa Malaysia when in government.

In other words Syed Saddiq agrees with his mentor Mahathir’s policy of Ketuanan Melayu which is the clarion call of almost all Malay politicians.

Armada – the youth wing of PPBM of which Saddiq was the head couched its rejection of ICERD in the terms that it contravenes our constituion; in particular Article 153.

Tell me where in Article 153 did it condone racial discrimination and the disadvantage of a section of Malaysians in almost every field and it seems, in perpetuity? Article 153 was largely meant to bring the Malays up to the living standard and professions of the other Malaysians. It was quite specific on the areas where Malays would be given an advantage and initially this “special privilege” (not a right) was only for 15 years.

We can say that all that was when Saddiq was in PPBM and he had to toe the line called by Mahathir. Even so, it shows a lack of moral courage in sticking to his stand on non-racial discrimination that is, IF indeed his position is different from Mahathir’s.

We can excuse him for that as it was in the past when he was not calling the shots. Now he is the head of MUDA and he is asking for our support. We need to know what is his stand on ICERD now. What  we want to know is: IS MUDA AGAINST ALL FORMS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION?

To be clear, we are not talking about “affirmative action”; something UMNO claims its racist policies are. Affirmative Action and Racial Discrimination are different as chalk is from cheese. One is colour blind and the other blinded by colour.

Malaysians are all for giving the B40 a hand up. The Nons have tolerated 60 years of racial discrimination which is longer than the Apartheid Era in South Africa. Two generations have been disadvantaged. We do this because we felt it is worth it to help the Malay B40 to come up. But what has happened is that the Malay elite and politicians have exploited this “special privilege” to enrich themselves while the Malay masses remain poor.

When you have institutional racism it is the elite and the upper middle class who can exploit their racial position who benefit most. The Malay B40 are left behind. Needless to say the Nons B40 and M40 are also left behind or disadvantaged.

Let me ask it another way: Is Syed Saddiq for a Bangsa Malaysia of EQUAL CITIZENSHIP?  Where a Malaysian whatever ethnicity or religion is entitled to the same rights as the next Malaysian? Where qualifications and not kulitfication determines the best person for the job. In other words where meritocracy overrides race or religion.

Syed Saddiq should stop his waffling and come right out with an unambiguous statement on  Bangsa Malaysia and  Equal Citizenship. 

2. The other thing which should worry Malaysians is Syed Saddiq’s stand on religion.

In this respect I refer to his U-turn on Zakir Naik.

Following the incendiary remarks by Zakir Naik the fugitive preacher from India on Chinese Malaysians and questioning the loyalty of Hindu Malaysians, Syed Saddiq called for the deportation of the preacher from India.

However, within days Syed Saddiq did a U-turn.  After a dinner and a cosy chat with the fugitive preacher Saddiq called for Malaysians to “forget the whole matter and move on”. He said that Zakir Naik had apologised for his speech, which he never did. What Zakir did was apologise to those who “misnterpreted’’ his speech.

In other words what Zakir Naik in fact said was “I am sorry you are too dumb to understand my speech hence your misinterpretation.”

A genuine apology should be unambiguous – a simple “I am sorry for making such stupid and uncalled for remarks” would suffice.

3. Saddiq’s record as Minister for Youth and Sport is not exactly glowing.

There were issues on funding, and political patronage. He appoined people from Armada (PPBM’s youth wing) to be state sports coordinators and appointed Penang PPBM Information Chief as head of his ministry’s corporate communications. Did he pick the best people for the job?

One can only surmise that he put race and political cronyism above meritocracy.

But we are less  concerned with the fugitive preacher or his performance as a minister now. We are more concerned with his stand on racism and religion by a man who aspires to lead the country.

He cannot have it both ways.

Syed Saddiq says the right things to the right people at the right place and time. Mahathir did the same. I recall it was Mahathir who came up with ‘Bangsa Malaysia’. He needed the Nons to save  him from a rebellious UMNO that time.

Is Syed Saddiq taking a leaf from his old boss’ book on Machiavelism?

Will the real Syed Saddiq stand up!

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A friend sent me a petition to sign – it called for Muhyddin to step down. I said NO! Needless to say she was upset.

The point is, when Muhyddin steps down who will be prime minister in his place? To replace one racist and dummy with another is not progress is it?

Know who you are going to fill the vacuum with before creating a vacuum.

Malaysians are reeling from Covid19 and they are willing to embrace anyone who seems like a nice guy. We are too sopan to ask awkward questions of him.

To use an anology, we are like a person who has been jilted many times. So now we open our hearts to the next person who whispers sweet nothings to us. We bounce from one bad experience to another – a racist, a thief and now what next? Love on the rebound is fraught with danger.

Yes we want ‘new politics’, yes we want a white knight to save us from decades of misrule.

Malaysians deserve better.

Yes it is time to give the Millenniels a chance but that does not mean that everyone that is young, glib and gung ho is suitable. God knows, our system has produced a huge number of racists among the young. We just have to be careful with who we support.

For my money, there are better young politicians than Syed Saddiq.

Nurul can be a viable potential leader if only she will come out of her father’s shadow. Bee Yin and Hannah, if you subscribe to the dictum that the colour of the cat does not matter as long as it catches mice.

And I wished Siti Kassim would offer herself – even as an independent.

There are many credible horses we can back in GE15; just beware of the Trojan Horse is all I will say.

Whatever we do, let’s not be so gullible that we buy from the next jammu seller who promises us a quick fix.

CAVEAT EMPTOR.

(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)

5 September 2021

Multatuli Murtadi,

Kelantan

Rebuilding Malaysia

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