“Maruah” is a Malay word which bursts with meaning. Perhaps in English its meaning is best captured by the words “honour” and “self-respect.”
“Do you have no honour or self-respect” is the stinging rebuke Syed Saddiq hurled at those who long to get contracts and other rewards for being leaders in PPBM (Pribumi). Siddiq is the youth leader in Pribumi. He is also Minister for Sports.
Siddiq was responding to many, but probably mostly to Tan Sri Abdul Rashid, the man whom Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad appointed to lead the Electoral Reform Committee which is supposed to ensure that GE15 is free and fair.
Rashid was Chairman of the notoriously biased Election Commission which made Malaysia top the world rankings for malapportionment and gerrymandering of electoral boundaries. Rashid is also the Chairman who, on the eve of the 2008 general election, failed to implement indelible ink.
When Mahathir announced the appointment of Rashid, a chorus of protest erupted from civil society. Pakatan Harapan groupies responded to the protest with “work with him; It takes a thief to catch a thief.” Those supporters have yet to respond to what Rashid said last week.
Last week, Rashid, a Vice President of Pribumi, spoke from the podium at Pribumi’s Annual General Meeting. In his speech, he said the government would be “stupid” if it does not enrich the leaders of its branches by giving them government contracts. Rashid, also said that the government must win in elections “by hook or by crook.”
Mahathir, the chairman of Pribumi, commented that Rashid had highlighted an important feature of the past. In the past, while the BN government was in office, the leaders of Pribumi were deprived of contracts. Therefore a “correction” may be warranted. The “correction” is to give contracts to those who are leaders in the current coalition. He said what Rashid said had to be weighed carefully.
Well, the Prime Minister added to the pile of poo emitted by Rashid.
Maruah is a powerful idea.
The lack of maruah in BN is what led Malaysians to vote out the Barisan Nasional government.
The lack of maruah in BN is what causes Malaysians to laugh at BN’s criticisms of the current regime.
The lack of maruah in BN members is what causes Malaysians to cringe at reports of PH parties welcoming defectors from Umno.
It is heartening that the youth of Malaysia, both in Pribumi and in DAP, have spoken against the avarice which gleams in the eyes of many Pribumi leaders. Indeed, the standing ovation Rashid received at the AGM indicates that a large majority of Pribumi leaders approved of Rashid’s shameless public display of lack of maruah. (The silence of Amanah, is striking and shameful.)
In the run-up to GE14, many PH leaders who are now Cabinet Ministers said “Mahathir listens to us and he acts on our feedback.”
Well, I’ll be watching to see whether the Cabinet members have steel in their spines. I’ll be watching to see whether they call for Rashid to be sacked as Chairman of the Electoral Reform Committee. I’ll be watching to see whether Rashid is sacked.
As for the PH groupies who said “work with Rashid; it takes a thief to catch a thief,” I say “you lack maruah; keep your poo to yourself.”
As for the members of the Electoral Reform Committee, I ask “how can you work under such a shameless crook?”
First published in Rest Stop Thoughts