“A fanatic is a man that does what he thinks the Lord would do if He knew the facts of the case.” Finlay Donne, 19th century American writer
Finally, a leader from the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) who makes sense.
No, it isn’t an oxymoron. You heard right. Nur Jazlan Mohamad, the party’s deputy head in Johor, has called for Umno to reconsider its ties with Islamist party Pas, in a pact first proposed in 2019. The pact was proposed after the then ruling BN coalition lost the 2018 general election to the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition. An Umno-Pas coalition was then proposed as a sure-fire winning formula.
Now the cracks are showing. “Umno has always been suspicious of PAS leaders as they now seem to be more interested in power and position and, in some cases, money, too. And in the current episode involving the Malaysian Rubber Board (MRB), there are some serious allegations,” said Mr Nur.
The latest episode involves the planned sale of prime property belonging to cash-rich MRB, currently under the jurisdiction of PAS minister Khairuddin Aman Razali. The board’s former chairman Umno MP Ahmad Nazlan Idris alleged recently that Mr Khairuddin was attempting to influence the sale’s outcome.
Pointing at the episode., Mr Nur said PAS was likely to be a liability in the next general election if the parties cooperated.
Be that as it may, the matter is now under investigation. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has reportedly called up Mr Nazlan for a statement in connection with the MRB allegations.
That is as it should be.
But back to Pas. All those who think they’re squarely to the right of Attila, raise your hands. Just ask yourself: what have they done for this country in terms of direction: in terms of sound policy, in terms of adding to the gross national good?
The party has ruled Kelantan for over three decades and what have they got to show for it? It’s a state with a lower life expectancy than other states, except Terengganu (ruled by Pas, unsurprisingly). It also reports the highest number of AIDS cases in the country and has the dubious distinction of being the most dirty.
Moreover, they assert claims that are downright stupid. Last year, Mr Khairuddin – the same MRB chap – led a three day mission to Turkey to drum up foreign investment. In his words it was very “successful.”
How successful? In the words of another bona fide rocket scientist, Abdul Azzez, the MP from Baling, it was so successful, it brought in RM82 billion in FDI!
What’s wrong with these people? They can’t even lie convincingly. Turkey isn’t doing very well at all. Its lira is half the value of the ringgit and the total amount of FDI Turkey got for the whole of 2019 was a paltry RM32 odd billion. Meanwhile, Mr Azeez is awaiting trial on corruption charges himself. #Justsaying.
From my observations of Pas over 30 years of journalism, a few consistent themes have emerged.
One is an obsessive preoccupation with the attire of Mas stewardesses. Indeed, it appears behavioural, frequently manifesting in distasteful parliamentary questions that demean women and insult the intelligence of male listeners.
Others include frowning upon anything that might, in moderation, improve the quality of the human spirit, to wit, wine, beer or tuak.
Finally, there is Pas’ long- standing desire to impose sharia law over the country, the better that we rapidly harken back to a medieval future.
But, why, oh why, don’t they denounce corruption? Better still, issue a fatwa against it.