The earnestness of being important


RM10,000 richer: If you got a ringgit for every time the modesty – or lack thereof – of airline stewardesses was brought up in Parliament since the inception of MAS, you might be RM10,000 richer by now.

Reader, suppose you were an idiot,

And suppose you were in Parliament

But I repeat myself

– Mark Twain (rephrased slightly)

AFTER the excitement, the eventful happenings of May 9, the New Parliament turned out to be, as usual, a drag. After all was said and done in the august house, more was said than done.

It is widely known that light travels faster than sound which is another way of saying that a person may appear bright until he opens his mouth to speak. In the case of the honourable member from Kinabatangan, it was more shouted than spoken.

In short, he was profane in the House which is a no-no in Parliament, Actually, he sort of said “be fruitful and multiply” to another MP but not in those words exactly.

To compound matters, the opposition parliamentarian from Sabah challenged his opponent to a fight. Worse still, for him at least, his younger opponent from Sarawak has accepted. And quite cheerfully too, which should concern the honourable Kinabatangan member in no small measure.

In politics, apparently, absurdity isn’t a handicap. And the right to be heard does not automatically come with the right to be taken seriously.

To a person born a year before independence and as a journalist who’s covered Parliament often, it took some getting used to, seeing Barisan Nasional representatives in opposition.

It used to be that local democracy was not unlike three wolves and one lamb voting on what to have for lunch.

Not any more, apparently. Opposition leader Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the fact that the Pakatan Harapan government won the day showed that the Election Commission was fair and impartial.

Perhaps. But it is to be hoped that the new government will still go ahead and revamp the commission to bulletproof its impartiality. “In democracy, it’s not the voting that matters,” said playwright Tom Stoppard famously. “It’s the counting.”

The lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LGBT) issue continues to be something of a sensitive subject in Malaysia. This is quite ridiculous as almost everyone in Malaysia knows someone who’s in the community.

Let’s leave well enough alone. So what if one’s a little overweight? All she wants to do is eat, drink and be Mary.

If you got a ringgit for every time the modesty – or lack thereof – of airline stewardesses was brought up in Parliament since the inception of Malaysia Airlines, you might be RM10,000 richer by now.

That topic has been so hopelessly belaboured that it is a wonder that it continues to be brought up. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “one track minds”.

The recent parliamentary proceedings were also notable for former premier Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s maiden speech as a member of the opposition. Indeed, you could say it was exceptional.

It made reference to everything else except the 800-pound gorilla in the room: that shadowy, super-secret organisation now called I M Dead Broke or IMDB. In its glory days, it used to be called One Malaysia Development Bhd.

You have to hand it to NR and I don’t mean natural rubber. The man remains very cool under pressure. And he seems sanguine enough, with the sort of certitude that says “If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.”

Finally, a word to the wise. At the beginning, it used to be slightly amusing, After almost a 100 days in power, this combative, as-if-still-in-opposition, attitude on the part of some government ministers is becoming tiresome.

Like it or not, Pakatan Harapan is the government of the day. It should act the part.

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