Friday, 11 December 2009

Power Is Intoxicating... Even For A Tok Guru

If one is in need of evidence why no one, absolutely no one should stay in power for too long, no matter how great his/her past achievements were, and no matter how capable and pious the person is; search no further than Malaysia's very own Tuan Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat.

When he appointed his son-in-law as the CEO of Kelantan Chief Minister Inc., he was reported to have said, "I appointed him because he is qualified, not because he is my son-in-law". He defended his decision then but now, facing with a mountain of allegations of misconduct against his son-in-law, rather than apologising for his mistakes, Nik Aziz said: "I did not ask him to resign, I just give him the advise. It is up to him. It is not his mistake, neither is mine. It is the State Legal Adviser’s fault". This is of course after what many thought he had done the right thing in asking his son-in-law to resign. Well, apparently he did not. How could the state legal adviser possibly advised him back then when he was so adamant about his decision?

No one in his right mind would want to accuse the saintly Nik Aziz as corrupt or power-crazy. But the man is a mere mortal. He has weaknesses. He has now become so accustomed to and comfortable with his position that he seems incapable to understand things the way others understand them. It seem like it's not that easy anymore for him to agree to a view different from his own, and to see things from an objective point-of-view. To appoint your own son-in-law to the highest position in a state government agency is wrong, period! Yes, he may be capable but was he the only capable person around at that moment? Was no one else, absolutely no one else who could take up the job other than him?

And on the infamous haj sponsorship issue, we find further evidence of how even a pious man like Nik Aziz can be intoxicated by power. He was reported to have said he isn't greedy to accept the sponsorship (RM65k per person package for he and his wife, and his daughter and the infamous son-in-law) but merely wanted to fulfill the wishes of his sponsors. Well, if Nik Aziz is just a religious teacher and not a state chief minister, the sponsorship wouldn't be an issue. But since he is still the chief minister and the sponsor is someone who helms private companies with business dealings with the Kelantan state government, OBVIOUSLY it is a problem. How can anyone not see that?! Nik Aziz's loyalists have argued, people in UMNO have done worst. Of course, but two wrongs do not make a right. If UMNO people do that, they are wrong, and you are wrong too if you do the same.

It is indeed very sad that the illustrious political career and legendary status of Tuan Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat will be forever tarnished by these issues. And for this to happen at the tail end (assumingly) of his tenure after almost 20 years as Kelantan Chief Minister, and at the time when support for PAS is gaining momentum in other states in the peninsular is most, most unfortunate.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The way I see it, I think it is rather his fatherly instinct to protect the member of his family.
When somebody from one's family got under siege,it is natural the whole family rallied and became protective.It is no different to Nik Aziz, eventhough he is an Ulama'.
It is the same what Mahathir did way back in 1998 when he used Petronas fund to bail out his son shipping company.From one perspective, this was blatant abuse of power or nepotism. But if you see from another angle,it was just a father,like any other father who just wanted to save his children.
It is hard for me to perceive Nik Aziz as corrupt guy.From what I had read from Farish Noor's old piece,nothing from his visits potrayed him as such.
Farish had visited him twice. The first meeting took place many many years ago while he was still a lecturer at UM, and the second one a few years back when he got a second chance to interview him.And according to him, the guy is unusually modest and hasn't change a bit from the first time he met Nik Aziz.He took notice of Nik Aziz fondness of using the light blue Kilomettricco pen to write anything, the same type of pen that he used when he first met him many-many years ago.There is no sign of lavish and extravagance lifestyle.

bubu said...


I once (when the time where I only read one type of newspaper and thinks it says all truth) thought that Tuan Guru is a radical religious person. After having to went through programs and meeting people who actually met him, I began to be more interested in Tuan Guru.

Although I am fascinated with what I hear, I was intrigued on how ppl who know him frantically defended him when asked about hot issues about Tuan Guru. I probably cannot say much since I don't know him personally as compared to the others that I met. I do think that to actually not show/admitting something wrong is not good too. As mentioned by the author, he is still a mortal, however pious he may be, he is not maksum (protected from wrong-doings, only given to prophet).

I am well aware that he is a person of high wisdom and I respect him. Just that when I see people view him as if he is free from faults is too good to be true.

I stand to be corrected :)

Zaki Samsudin said...

My sincere thanks to all three commentators above. Really appreciate your input.

I wish to reiterate that I did not accuse Tok Guru as corrupt. My humble take on this is, anyone who has been in a certain position for so long would eventually get complacent. Complacence here does not necessarily refer to deterioration of ability or corruption of behaviour but more in terms of making fair and equitable judgments. Dr.Mahathir fell for this during his tenure as PM, and Nik Aziz has sadly fell for the same as well. Yes, a father's instinct would always be to protect his family but as a leader of a country or a state, if you have to choose between saving your people or your own flesh and blood, the answer I think is pretty obvious. I know this is easier said than done. In such a situation, I know I won't be strong enough. That is why I will never want to be a PM or a MB :)