Who does the Kedah Mentri Besar (MB), Muhammad Sanusi Mohd Nor, think he is?
The Emperor of Kedah?
Does Sanusi think he can insult the rakyat with impunity and not expect a backlash? What’s with his insecurity?
When he gets a dose of his own medicine, he sends the police to punish his critics.
Do daft people like him, think that the rakyat are stupid and insensitive to their remarks? We’re not made of clay. We’re not puppets. We’re not to be kicked around like football.
Last May, Zunar, was questioned for several hours because his cartoon of Sanusi destroying the peace and tranquility of Kedah, was deemed offensive by Sanusi and his court jesters.
In the past few days, four more people were dragged to Alor Setar for interrogation by the police for their comments about Sanusi and his crass joke about morgues..
We may think that the authorities are angry with the rakyat for insulting their leaders. The truth is more sinister. They want to discourage the rakyat from censuring their leaders. They do this by harassing, arresting, questioning, and making the critics’ lives a living hell.
On 7 August, the Kedah Mentri Besar (MB), Muhammad Sanusi Mohd Nor, joked that people could reserve a place in the steel containers that are being used as temporary morgues in Sungei Petani. Few Malaysians thought he was funny. Instead, they thought he was crass, insensitive and arrogant.
Malaysians reacted with outrage and posted comments on social media.
Sanusi’s crass reply was in response to a reporter’s question about hospitals in the area being overwhelmed with Coronavirus cases and mounting deaths. The reporter wanted to know if mortuaries were coping.
The MB may have thought his reply was funny, but it was not. It was rude, crude and highly unbecoming of a leader. At least one other person was heard laughing in the video clip of the press conference. What sort of example is Sanusi setting?
- The leader of Kedah lacks leadership. He was insensitive and vacuous. He is supposedly a man of religion, but failed to show any compassion towards the thousands of people who have lost loved ones during this pandemic. Several young children have been orphaned. Many others have lost their mothers, or the breadwinners.
- Like a pachyderm, Sanusi appears to be immunised against the feelings of the hundreds of thousands of Malaysian whose family members have been infected, or whose lives have been disrupted by the disease. He should have shown empathy for the victims’ family members and tried to comfort them, instead of making jokes about them.
- The other shocking feature of this sorry episode was that Sanusi’s special officer lodged a police report about a 61-year-old man who had made a 9-minute video clip, which he uploaded on Facebook, criticising Sanusi’s lack of sensitivity. The police traced the man to Negri Sembilan, which is hundreds of miles from Kedah, raided his home at 3.57 am and seized his mobile phone. He was taken to Sungei Petani, questioned, remanded and later released on police bail.
- Two more people were arrested in Alor Setar, for mocking Sanusi. A fourth person, from Taiping was arrested on the night of 9 August and also taken to Sungei Petani for questioning.
- Are these arrests necessary? The men were furious with Sanusi. Could the police not exercise their judgement and refuse to be Sanusi’s lapdogs? The waste of police resources could have been better spent on apprehending real criminals, instead of sucking up to the MB.
- Criticism does not appear to be a two way-flow in Malaysia. Leaders can insult and belittle the rakyat, with impunity, especially when they attack communities from non-Muslim and non-Malay backgrounds.
- Sanusi claimed that his joke was taken out of context? How? If he can insult the rakyat, then why can’t the rakyat respond his crassness?
- The police, Sanusi’s aide and Sanusi appear to have abused their authority. The Kuala Muda police chief has sullied his badge by allowing himself to be used to protect the “maruah” of the MB.
- The MB claimed that his joke was intended for the group of reporters at the press conference, and was not meant for public consumption. Sanusi must think he’s half MB and half wit. Does he think it is acceptable to insult the reporters?He said, “I was joking with journalists who are part of my family but the joke was taken to be directed to everyone and made viral.”
Is he daft or naïve or both? A good reporter writes without fear or favour and writes what he hears or sees.
- In June, a woman who had spotted the MB test driving a car, uploaded a film of his failure to observe the Coronavirus SOP guidelines. Sanusi had failed to adhere to the strict rules of lockdown and had been caught red-handed. Thugs and cybertroopers who support the MB then targeted the woman and her family members, issuing various threats. Photos of her family members and her husband’s business profile were made public. Why was no stern action taken against these thugs?
If the MB had exercised more self discipline during lockdown, and behaved with civility at other times, the rakyat would not react to his aggression and arrogance.
He only apologised for his morgue joke, after the rakyat reacted with outrage. Otherwise, he would have thought nothing of it. His apology is insincere.