Thumbs up for gentlemen in politics

By Lisa J. Ariffin

Political scientist Farish A Noor praises Umno’s Saifuddin Abdullah and PAS’ Dzulkefly Ahmad as ‘genuine politicians’ and not ‘populists’.

PETALING JAYA: Umno’s Saifuddin Abdullah and PAS’ Dzulkefly Ahmad have been praised as genuine politicians who uphold the highest standards of behaviour by public representatives.

Well-known political scientist and historian Farish A Noor hailed both Saifuddin and Dzulkefly as “model politicians” for urging their camps to “play by the rules” during their respective election campaigns in Temerloh and Kuala Selangor.

Speaking of Dzulkefly, Farish said he was “touched” when the former, during his campaign, spoke well of his opponent Irmohizam Ibrahim, who is the special officer to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and president of the Selangor Youth Council.

“He spoke well of his opponent – who is a young, first time politician – and commended his opponent by saying he (Irmohizam) has a bright future … and that he was young and genuine up and coming politician. He also wished him well,” Farish said when contacted by FMT.

“I find this very gentlemanly,” he added.

Farish then praised Saifuddin, who is also deputy higher education minister, for having “genuine respect for the opponent”.

“I was present during his meeting with party members on their conduct over the next two weeks and he specifically stated that they had to play by the rules.

“He told them to be courteous and polite to the opponent as they were all friends, and all Malaysians.

“He also hoped there were no untoward events and said no opposition flags must be pulled down in the spirit of happy competition and that it would add diversity to the constituency by competing in a healthy and friendly manner,” he added.

Role models

Farish said both Saifuddin and Dzulkefly “stand out” because “despite belonging to parties, they have taken such positions”.

“These are their own private principles. It is very forthcoming for civil society,” he said, adding that change did not stem from parties but through individuals.

“It is very refreshing because we are so used to divisive politics and leaders calling their opponents the ‘enemy’,” he said.

“Saifuddin and Dzulkefly don’t use words like that. In fact, the word ‘enemy’ is not in their political dictionary. It is the language that determines conduct,” he added.

Farish reiterated his praise that both leaders were “genuine” and are ideal role models for politicians on both sides of the political divide.

“Saifuddin and Dzulkefly are genuine politicians, rather than populists. They uphold the highest standards of behavior by public representatives,” he added.

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