CNN reported Thursday that an Australian musk-duck had been recorded saying quite clearly; “You bloody fool.” The network said it was the “first documented instance of the species mimicking human speech.”
Consider it a latter-day miracle, even some celestial advice. When ducks are given tongue, man should listen, none more so than Malaysia’s timid Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The guy is Malaysia’s 9th premier and, by all accounts, a secure one: he’s even got a cooperation agreement with the opposition, a move that vaults him into near-political impregnability.
And what does he do, this most timorous of leaders? He tries to placate everyone, to the detriment of societal mores and the rule of law.
Last week, the government proposed Ahmad Maslan, an MP from Johor and Umno’s secretary-general, as deputy speaker for Parliament.
Never mind that Mr Ahmad could always be counted on as a reliable sounding board on policy matters: he wasn’t known as Mat “Good Idea Boss” Maslan for nothing.
No, it’s the fact that he was, and remains, charged for money laundering by the country’s corruption agency and is awaiting trial.
What kind of message does Putrajaya think it sends the Malaysian people or the world at large by such appointments? That crime pays: a deputy speaker’s salary is not to be sneezed at.
It trivialises corruption at best and, at worst, it implies a foregone conclusion on his matter.
It might get worse. Singapore’s Straits Times reported that Ismail was considering appointing former premier Najib Razak as a government Economic Advisor. It was clearly a trial balloon. And as if to provide ballast to the attempt, Umno’s Nazri Aziz said it would be a waste not to do so “given his experience.”
Najib is many times removed from Ahmad Maslan. He is a criminal convicted of the world’s biggest theft and we are now asked to believe the government “needs” his advice? Are we that bankrupt of talent?
Quick! Let’s get Jho Low back to advise the central bank how to plug money laundering holes in the banking system.
Whatever happened to shame as a concept?
And while Ismail’s insecurity is displayed for the world to see, former diplomat Dennis Ignatius warns that the country is sliding faster into Islamic-type statehood than anyone realises. This is, of course, due to Pas’ current control of the federal religious agencies like Jakim.
Pas should give thanks to the former PH government. It could never dream of making it into the federal government on its own. But by preying on Malay fears of losing political dominance – aided and abetted by the ever-reliable Dr M – it’s managed to sneak into the Malay coalition now governing Malaysia.
Never mind it’s a weak party with far less popular support than, say, the DAP or PKR, it still controls the most influential lever over the country’s majority people – Islam. Indirectly, that translates into enormous influence over the whole country – unless there is check and balance.
That’s why Pas is the most committed to ensure the permanence of the three-party Malay coalition now in power. It’s never had it so good.
If history is any judge, everyone should worry about this trend going forward.
Because the Islamic Party of Malaysia, or Pas, has never made any secret of its over-arching ambition for Malaysia.