A former deputy MB of Pahang was seen kissing Najib’s hand in an embarrassingly servile manner. He was among the ‘thousands’ waiting on Najib at the KLIA. Like others, he wants to be selected as a winnable candidate in Rompin. The UMNO president has just come back from Davos and from Gaza where he committed a diplomatic blunder. Najib promptly said he had not expected the welcoming crowd but was pleased and therefore endorsed the gathering. He must have been through a serious drought recently in terms of people waiting on him.
I hope somebody has given him a report of the outcome of a by-election in super rich Singapore. For his reading pleasure while going back home in Putrajaya. A seemingly unassailable government, superior than Najib’s government in so many ways , was humbled by the Workers Party. UMNO and BN, riddled with so many crippling issues, should be circumspect instead of bragging about getting 2/3 parliamentary seats.
Across the causeway, the ruling PAP of Singapore suffered a shock. It lost in a crucial by-election in a recently created electoral seat known as Punggol East. The seat was vacated when the incumbent, Mr Palmer the former speaker of the Singapore parliament resigned. The reason for the resignation is perhaps lost on so many of us- an allegation of extramarital affairs with a party worker. Mr Palmer owned up and resigned.
In wasathiyah Malaysia, a current senior minister in Malaysia was alleged to have something close to that involving an Indonesian maid. Instead of doing the honourable thing, the minister used his powers- money and the bullying tactic of the government to pummel a blogger who raised the issue. Even though the blogger is pro-government, we defend his right to expose such unbecoming conduct of an office bearer. The maid who has returned to Indonesia has since earned the honorific title of Datin Sri Utama Robengah. She is living a comfortably wealthy life somewhere in a village in Indonesia. Now, that is what we call practical wealth distribution.
The loss by PAP is also a shock to us over here in Malaysia. The PAP has ruled Singapore since the 1950s and it alone has been responsible for creating what Singapore is today. Singapore has a per capita of S$70,000. It is the wealthiest country in the world and is expected to stay as the richest country in terms of per capita up to 2015. On almost all counts and measures, the PAP was expected to get unqualified support from Singaporeans in Punggol East.
But the Singaporeans in Punggol East chose to differ. With all the signs of wealth, progress and efficient government machinery, the Punggol Easters showed that other things matter. These include such intangibles like honour, dignity, the right to partake in the progress of the nation without surrendering the right to affirm and assert personal choice. We don’t go around demanding people to show gratitude by giving us unqualified support do we? The material and resources you build up this country do not belonged to you but us collectively, the people.
It showed that a government that has lost touch with the basic aspirations of people, can lose elections. And a most crucial element in basic aspirations is the desire to affirm one’s personal freedom and a corresponding refusal to let others run their lives in a paternalistic manner. This is a bitter lesson for the PAP government. Achieving and accomplishing so many things have desensitized the PAP leadership. Success and so much of it, does not confer absolute license to do what it pleases without taking into account the basic and fundamental claim of the individual.