Danger of shamelessness in Malaysian politics
Malaysian politicians continue to shrug off allegations while urging accountability, transparency
There is an emerging culture of shamelessness.
Najib Razak may have been slapped with countless charges of corruption and money laundering, but his campaign, Malu apa, bossku (Why the shame, boss? in Bahasa Malaysia), has surprisingly attracted millions of likes on social media.
The former prime minister has traded in his suits, impeccable English and political elite-aristocratic crowd for the mat rempit (motorcycle gangs) and Malay working class.
He is also showing off a Yamaha Y15ZR 150cc moped that is all the rage with the youth.And the registration plate on his bike is 8055KU, which references BOSSKU, and to these newfound supporters, Najib is called Boss kita (our boss).
While many learned Malaysians are cringing over this new culture, the embattled politician is basking in it.
But it does not end there.
One Pakatan Harapan leader after another is having his or her dubious education credentials exposed after Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya was questioned over his.
There are allegations that Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian did not get a degree from Universiti Putra Malaysia, as claimed.
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin's social science degree from the National University of Singapore, as reported when she became a minister, has come into question. Now, she says she never said she had one.
Democratic Action Party assemblyman Paul Yong Choo Kiong claimed to have a master's in business administration from Akamai University - an alleged degree mill in Hawaii.
None of these politicians have apologised for not correcting these errors when they were revealed and have shrugged off the news reports, claiming no knowledge of such revelations.
Should we put our trust in anyone who lies to themselves?
If some of these individuals buy dubious online diplomas, they are fooling themselves. The electorate has also fallen for this charade.
Are we expected to believe them when they talk about accountability and integrity from now on?
What is worse is, most Pakatan leaders have chosen to look the other way or have lamely justified these dishonest transgressions. If they were in the private sector, the sack would be a foregone conclusion.
That is not the end. Parti Islam SeMalaysia leaders have found themselves in unfamiliar waters. With their turbans and goatees, they like to appear pious.
However, they are now seeing their names and those of their children and spouses on social media, associated with a taste for sports cars and bikes.
A report filed with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission over allegations of PAS leaders getting RM90 million (S$30 million) from Umno under the previous administration involved "a list of expensive cars", properties, high-powered motorcycles and "the purchase of number plates at exorbitant prices".
PAS Mursyidul Am (spiritual leader) Hashim Jasin has admitted to owning a Porsche Cayman but said his son was the real owner.
Every one of them has branded these accusations as part of a political conspiracy, pleading innocence and insisting they are pure. We are sure they will be okay, and they will continue to preach accountability and transparency. - THE STAR
The writer was chief executive of Star Media Group.