Thursday, 5 February 2009

Politics, Accountability and The Crisis in Perak

One of the common principles in all the great world religions is the principle of accountability. In cyclical religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, the nature of your next life will be determined by your deeds in this current life. In linear religions like Islam and Christianity, all your deeds; known and unknown to others in this world, will be accounted for in judgment day during which according to the Islamic tradition, our limbs and sense organs will testify for all our actions.

With my limited knowledge of Malaysia's constitutional law, it is beyond me to make sense of the legality of the collapse of the Perak state government today. But as a social scientist, I should try to make sense of why and how three members of the Pakatan Rakyat state government made the switch of allegiance to Barisan Nasional. Try as I might, understand I do not.

Some have alleged 'Godfather-like' scenarios where offers that can't be refused were made. These are extrinsic factors that I have no doubt occurred to some extent but without any direct knowledge, I dare not add any details and speculate. But surely, these three PR chaps; who all held executive positions in the PR state government, are adult enough to have reached Piaget's formal operations and Kohlberg's post-conventional stages to comprehend between what is right and wrong, ethical and non-ethical behaviours, and understand the sacred meanings of the words honesty, trust and justice.

It is beyond me to understand how these poor souls can look at themselves in the mirror, and how can they possibly defend their honour and dignity in front of their family members, party supporters and friends. Do they not understand shame, or have they become incapable of shame?

The two PKR state assemblymen or political clowns par excellence, who were previously too ill to come to work and to return home to their families, and had to seek 'specialist treatment' in Pekan, Pahang, were seen smiling from ear-to-ear during the press conference yesterday announcing their defection. And why were they smiling? Could it be that they were proud of their frog-like political stunt, or have they become lunatics who smile for no apparent reasons?

Surely they must know what they've done is wrong. They have betrayed their party leaders and members, colleagues in the state government and legislature, members of their constituents, and more importantly their own conscience (whatever that is left of it). But such is the dual nature of human beings that we are able to, not only perform physical gymnastics but also mental and moral gymnastics.

Defecting is by itself wrong but perhaps to this two clowns it is right when done for a noble cause (for example, to preserve Malay-Muslim dominance on state governance, or to ensure a life-long financial security). To betray your colleagues and voters is obviously wrong too but these sins can surely be extinguished by going for umrah and hajj every year. After all, a prayer performed in masjid-ul haram is equal to 100,000 rewards. Staying for a week in Mecca and performing all the five daily prayers at the sacred mosque will bring a massive total of 3.5 million rewards. Surely that must be enough to 'pay back' for this one tiny act of betrayal. And so they may think. Allahu’alam.

What happened today will forever remain a black mark in Malaysia's political history. Never will we forget, never will we forgive, and never will we want it to happen again. And that goes to you too Brother Anwar Ibrahim. Admit and bear some responsibility for what happened today to salvage your own dignity and credibility.

Those who were wronged today, most notably the honourable and respectable YAB Dato’ Seri Ir. Muhammad Nizar Jamaluddin, will someday have their vengeance and justice served, if not in this world, in the hereafter!

No comments: