The Irish writer and playwright Oscar Wilde was famous for his  epigrams. Consider this observation: “Some people cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” 

He may have been  prescient. More than a  century after his death, his trenchant  quip suffices as a succinct sketch of the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) in all its vainglory.  

Any sane  person should be terrified of the party because – and I kid you not – there but for the grace of God, goes God. It thinks, nay knows, that it’s the only one that understands  what’s best for all Malaysians. 

It knows this because it’s puritanical and governed by a solitary anxiety: the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, is having fun. 

The Ayatollah Khomeini had a similar affliction and we all know how that’s going. 

The latest bee in PAS’ bonnet is an English band that threatens a November performance in Kuala Lumpur. 

Coldplay is only one of the most successful bands in rock having sold more than a 100 million records over its 27-years. Its KL performance will undoubtedly  attract regional fans and help  boost the  economy.  

Early this week, PAS strongman Nasrudin Hassan called for a ban of the show, claiming it would encourage “hedonism and deviant culture.” 

What’s wrong with hedonism? The ancient Greek theory of ethics posited that pleasure was the highest good and the only proper aim of a man’s life. 

So there!

Who knows? Maybe Mae West was an ancient Greek: “Too much of a good thing … can be wonderful.” 

In any case, no one should be surprised by this latest PAS offering.  Apart from an obsessive  preoccupation with women’s attire and divine punishment for criminals, PAS has yet to articulate a single, coherent economic or administrative idea.

Its president, the fiery Hadi Bawang, seems more interested in trying to prove that all corruption in the country is by, for and through the non-Muslims. 

Good luck with that! 

It does not seem to matter to PAS that Coldplay composes  insightful songs with intelligent lyrics. Nor the fact that the band is an ardent champion – both musically and financially – of the environment. 

The indefatigable Nasrudin had other fish to fry. As if to prove  Coldplay’s wickedness, he held up  pictures of the band’s frontman, Chris Martin, holding up the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) flag. 

So what? The LGBTQ community didn’t choose its path, it was thrust upon them as it were. It could happen to anyone and only the benighted would leap to judgment.

If Nasruddin would only read, he would find out that homosexuality isn’t unnatural. According to the science,  it occurs in at least 10 per cent of herbivores like sheep. 

And why harp on the trivial?  The community is an easy target and the  intolerance  merely demonstrates Nasrudin’s bigotry. 

The American cartoonist Frank Hubbard was also considered a humanist. It’s easy to see why: “Some people get credit for being conservative when they are only being stupid.” 

Meanwhile, the Minister for Local Government Nga Kor Ming had some excellent advice for Nasrudin. “If PAS does not like Coldplay, it’s simple. Don’t buy their concert tickets and don’t come.” 

That’s as good as it gets. 



There is a reason for everything. 

Take Australia, for  instance. With all the war, disease, natural disasters and all-round horror about us daily, it’s easy to conclude that the end of the world is nigh until you realise it’s already tomorrow in Australia and nothing’s happened. 

Najib Razak thought that  was a load of bull-excrement as well because there was no conceivable reason for his incarceration and he, and at least one of 13 Judges, knew it. That was why he wished he had an identical twin: they were known to complete each other’s sentences. 

As Premier, he’d introduced the goods and services tax, removed  fuel subsidies and won the admiration of  the international rating agencies. In short, he’d been the best thing since sliced bread and, no thanks to some trifling matter of petty cash,  he was now toast and staring at a 12-year punishment. 

And worse could follow in a grim future punctuated by further trials involving even more damning charges. If all the world was a stage, reflected the Chief Criminal moodily, he was desperately unrehearsed for this part. 

Where his immediate environment was concerned, however, he agreed with the author Raymond Chandler’s assessment: “It is not a fragrant world.” 

But there was still an upside. Jibby had a core group of support in the United Malays National Organisation, or Umno, once the country’s Grand Old Party and now a shadow of its former self. It’s been largely due to its propensity for fooling too many of the people too much of the time. The trait only surfaced in the 1980s but has become pretty much entrenched largely due to its rich tradition of Looting before Pillage. Indeed, most people had no idea how rich a tradition it was. 

So you’d think Umno would have learnt its lesson and begun to champion popular causes. That would be the logical route, no?  


You couldn’t blame the party: it was in its DNA. It thought Oscar Wilde was right when he said  “Anyone who lives within his means suffers from a lack of imagination.” 

OK, the party conceded that Fearless Leader had been wildly imaginative. But to be imprisoned for that? It was almost oxymoronic, not unlike an “honest politician.” You can almost hear it shrugging.

Which is why its Supreme Council, the party’s highest policy making body, unanimously decided last month to seek a pardon for Jibby from the King. And this despite knowing that, 

  • The former premier’s served nine months or just 6% of his sentence. Neither has he paid his fine of over RM200 million. 
  • The former premier has committed the world’s largest theft  to-date. 
  • Since his imprisonment, others have been jailed in the US and the Middle East for related crimes. 
  • It’s cost Malaysia, the country he was entrusted to govern, almost RM50 billion. 
  • Corruption has become a way of life. 
  • It near destroyed Umno.

Having almost been wiped out in the last election, Umno seems to think obtaining a pardon for the First Felon is The Way Forward. It might want to think about it a bit. 

Does it not, for example, smack of condoning corruption? That, yes, crime does pay?

Let us hope sanity will prevail. After all, the right to be heard does not  automatically confer the right to be taken seriously.