IF any one of us still believes that joining politics is about serving the people and not for party or personal interests, then your idealism must be burning very strong.
Most likely, you are plain naive and gullible. It doesn’t matter what your political allegiances are, but many such loyalists believe their leaders can do no wrong.
Just a week ago, Perak DAP stunned its hardcore supporters by declaring that it was ready to work with its long-time enemy Umno to form the state government.
State party chairman Nga Kor Ming, who has spent his entire political career attacking Umno and its Barisan Nasional allies, justified that it was doing so because “it prioritises the people’s prosperity as its main agenda”.
That’s his exact words, as reported, unless he now turns around and denies it, and blames the press for purportedly misquoting him.
He said DAP decided to form a multiracial, stable and strong state government with Umno for the people.
“Considering that no parties have the majority to form a stable state government, DAP has decided to work with Umno, ” he said.
As always, it is about the people’s interest and never about their selfish interest.
On Dec 4, the Perak political crisis began after Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu lost his majority in the confidence motion during the assembly sitting. He tendered his resignation the next day.
Nga, who loves to ridicule MCA and MIC as “running dogs”, was actually ready to run to Umno.
Just as well, Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also said Umno was prepared to work with DAP, its nemesis.
If Nga’s announcement was incredulous, the mostly silent reaction from the top party leaders was just as astonishing. Always quick to jump on any issue, they did not admonish Nga.
Attempts by the media to reach other DAP leaders failed to elicit any response. It means two things – either they wanted to play safe by waiting for the reaction of their other party members or they were just too angry to even give a response. Or they were also silently supportive.
In the 59-seat Perak state assembly, Umno holds 25 seats, Bersatu five, PAS three, Gerakan one and Independent one. The opposition holds 24 seats – DAP 16, PKR three and Amanah five.
The reality is that Nga could not have proceeded with the negotiations with Umno without the go-ahead from the top DAP leadership.
Power is addictive and toxic. Having experienced the perks of power, at the state and federal level, many DAP leaders craved for the kind of authority they once enjoyed.
Business leaders, especially property developers, would run to them and pander to them as they had much clout. For that matter, holding positions in some powerful ministerial posts at the federal level also allowed the party to punish those who had earned their wrath.
A few became infamously arrogant, and they were supposed to be the smart ones, with many Putrajaya officials still sharing anecdotes of how they suffered working under them.
The collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government was a very rude shock to many of its leaders.
Suddenly, everything was lost when the rug was pulled from under their feet by what is now dubbed the Sheraton Move.
Perak DAP leaders must have still dreamed of wanting to be back in power under whatever circumstances – even if it means working with Umno. After all, DAP has also worked with PAS before and PAS – another long-time enemy of Umno – is now working with Umno.
Political principles flew out the window in Malaysia. To put it plainly, political parties are now ready to do deals with anyone as long as they are rewarded.
All the DAP lofty talk of upholding political principles has gone to tatters.
Finally, on Friday, Nga let the cat out of the bag – the attempt to form the Perak state government with Umno failed “because the party refused to offer state exco positions to DAP”. The word is that Perak DAP insisted on at least three exco positions.
Nga revealed that “after a series of negotiations between DAP and Umno, the latter had made many offers but only offered the exco posts to PKR and Amanah.
“There was a series of negotiations carried out between us (DAP) with Umno shortly after our (respective) audience with Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.
> See page 12“Although Umno made many offers to Pakatan Harapan parties, they excluded DAP. Had we (Pakatan) accepted the offers, Pakatan in Perak will break up.
“Pakatan took a stand and told Umno that we only stand together as a bloc or there will be no deal, ” he said in a statement on Friday.
After the debacle of trying to work out a deal with Umno, it was back to the empty talk of serving the people.
“The people will be able to see that Perikatan Nasional and Umno only focus on their personal interest rather than the people’s welfare, ” Nga said.
Yes, we believe you, of course, it was all about serving the people and not about sharing the loot.
What has happened in Malaysia is the “new normal”, which is the politics of working around political arrangements to be in power, at all costs.
Ideologies no longer matter. Parties which used to cross swords over ideologies are now ready to sleep with each other.
Politicians openly use the cliche that in politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies. But in Malaysia, it has developed into a disgusting turn, where principles have been discarded and loyal supporters who have fought for their parties have been blatantly ignored as they cut deals at the table.
Worse, the people have been used to justify their quests for power and positions. Please stop talking about the people’s interest when it is ultimately all about your selfish interests.
In the book Promised Land by Barack Obama, the former US president lamented about fulfilling his ambition where he had to make personal and family sacrifices.
“I recognised that in running for Congress I’d been driven not by some selfless dream of changing the world, but rather by the need to justify the choices I had already made, or to satisfy my ego, or to quell my envy of those who had achieved what I had not.
“In other words, I had become the very thing that, as a younger man, I had warned myself against. I had become a politician – and not a very good one at that.”
What has transpired in Perak is a classic case of a power grab and an attempt by parties wanting to share the spoils of war like vultures where principles are blatantly ignored.
“Inilah politik meluat. Jangan memperbodohkan rakyat” as the Malays correctly say.
It’s lost in translation, but it basically means “this is politics that disgusts, don’t make a fool of the people”.