June 18, 2006
Clash of the Leaders
Malaysian politics is getting rather clannish. This reminds me of "The Lexus and The Olive Tree", where Friedman writes the first chapter and tells his readers it is impossible to understand the Middle East conflict without first recognising that it isn't as simple as the Israelis against the Palestinians. Like Lebanon, which has been divided for decades based on internal tribal conflicts (tribes against the other, palestinian christians, palestinian jews, palestinian muslims, israeli jews, israeli christians… it get complicated), Malaysia too has multiple players in its hot and brewing political soup.
The two major conflicts are these: First we had Dr M versus Pak Lah in the recent verbal spewing of sorts, played up by the media. Then we have Dr M versus Anwar, the old fairytale being retold in the courts.
However, beyond these three main players you find the little ones scurrying beneath them, forming gangs of their own, clans within clans, and don't be surprised at the way individuals act for their own interests. After all, the very term politician in itself means smiling whilst twisting the words being spoken. A good politician is one whom you cannot tell is lying.
Under each of the players, Dr M, Pak Lah and Anwar, you have these junior politicians who are either controlling by pulling the strings that are tied to their hands, or trying their level best to gain favour. One can rather amusedly imagine the wheels turning in each of their heads, attempting to predict the outcomes over the next few months so they select the right player to pander to. According to RRK's recent article in Malaysia-today, other main players include Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Musa Hitam, Najib, Khairy, the State Umno chiefs, and the Umno Supreme Council Members. Of course, he uses a more vulgar term to explain this all.. nobody really knows who is out to get whom.
With all of this political war going on in our country, is it any wonder to us all, that our leaders have NO time to carry out their duties as Ministers and Leaders? How about real responsibilities like caring for the people's welfare, education, economy, and rights? No, nothing of the sort! Just fight to cover your back and you're safe. Quoting RPK again (he's rather humorous), it's like Abdullah tending to goats while Malaysia burns, and a twisted version of Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burnt.
There is a Malay saying: Gajah sama gajah berjuang, pelanduk mati di tengah-tengah. This means that the elephants fight, but the mousedeer get caught and die in the middle. While our leaders clash on a number of issues, the real running of the country, for the sake of the citizens, gets little attention.
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