Najib @ Umno’s arrogance on display

There for us all to see was a classic moment of Umno’s arrogance on display. He did not see the need to actually make the case of why his candidate was better qualified, more suited and capable of serving the public. Rather, like a master talking down to his subjects (or pets), he stood before them and reminded them of their subservient position: they would get help but they had to first show allegiance to the master.

“Can we have a deal, can we have an understanding or not?”“The understanding is quite simple…you help me I help you”“Ini bukan tipu…if you deliver me Robert Lau on Sunday, on Monday I will ask the cheque to be prepared.”“This is our deal tonight…I don’t know how much it cost…okay lah, Robert Lau menang, I ask the 5 million to be prepared Monday.”

These were some of the words uttered by our prime minster in Sibu recently. Our very Najib Abdul Razak, who is, incidentally, most interested in a so-called ‘1Malaysia.’ I have to say, I have been very confused since the beginning about this ‘1Malaysia’ idea of his. Quite frankly, it really struck me as very empty and shallow. I just did not get it how there could be so many policies of this government that were deliberately divisive and discriminatory, but yet he tries to sell us this slogan of ‘1Malaysia.’

But his speech in Rejang Park during the Sibu by-election campaign, where he was unambiguous in his choice of words, clearly captured and encapsulated for me what this government – and his ‘1Malaysia’ slogan - is all about. In his ‘1Malaysia’ we the people and his party are one (meaning together), only when we vote for his party. Apparently, we give him what he wants, and then we are eligible for retribution in the form of a cheque. Alas, he gets the one candidate of his picking, and we get one cheque! Could this be what his ‘1Malaysia’ is all about?

Well, this is about as close as I can get to seeing what his slogan translates into in practice. This got me wondering: under our laws, can a politician actually indulge in such political horse-trading for votes? I know we’ve seen numerous previous instances of enticements and monies distributed on behalf of certain political camps to influence voters. But this blatant, shameless and unadulterated bargaining for votes is truly shocking.

Beyond the mockery that this makes of the election law, it also reveals the extent to which Zaid Ibrahim’s remarks, that the various enforcement agencies are nothing but mere facilitators of the prime minster’s agenda, ring so true.

But closer scrutiny of the prime minster’s horse-trading that day in Rejang Park actually provides more evidence of the frequently heard charge of Umno arrogance. Rather than appealing to voters for why his candidate is deserving of the voters’ trust, like a master teasing his pet, Najib toyed with and mocked the desperation and vulnerability of the voters.
Sarcastically asking the crowd if they badly needed funds for dealing with the flooding problem, he dangled them some meat, if they would only roll over, so to speak.

By G. Krishnan
19/05/10

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