Malaysian politicians say the darndest things

Malaysian politicians say the darndest things
By Zan Azlee

MALAYSIAN politicians say the darndest things. No, this isn’t something that I came up with. It’s actually a book by Malaysian writer Amir Muhammad in which he compiled a whole collection of funny and ridiculous quotes by Malaysian politicians. And yes, they do say the darndest things.

I was reminded of this book last week after Malaysian politician Satim Diman said one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard in a long while.

Satim is a member of Barisan Nasional (National Front), the opposition party in his state of Selangor. As this year is going to be an election year, most politicians have begun to unofficially campaign and Satim is no different. In a dialogue session on Sunday, he promised all Selangorians that if Barisan Nasional were to be voted in, all shoppers will get free plastic bags.

Why Satim thinks this is a good campaign manifesto, I really don’t know. It’s been several years now since the Selangor government imposed the practice of making shoppers pay 20 sen if they want plastic bags when buying groceries.

While the move was initially met with complaints, people soon embraced the measure once they understood the reasons for it. Selangorians may be irritable people, but they are pretty decent.

Satim doesn’t seem to understand that plastic bags are no longer given out freely because they are harmful to the environment. By charging for the use of plastic bags, people stop using them and start to bring their own reusable bags when they go shopping. And it seems to be working.

In fact, it proved so successful that other states and federal territories have followed suit and implemented their own plastic bag ban. Some of these states even fall under the jurisdiction of Barisan Nasional, Satim’s own party. Maybe he didn’t get the memo that saving the environment is a good thing.

What adds to the punchline is that Satim also suggested that a plastic factory be set up in Selangor so that the youth in the state can benefit from the creation of new jobs.

He suggests that, if the state government owned the factory, then all the plastic woes would be solved. Then they can give out all the free plastic they want and everyone in Selangor would be happy. Yeah right, Satim. What you’re really doing is harming your own party’s chances in the coming elections.

If you think that this is an isolated case of one politician saying something stupid, think again. Pay close attention as campaigning starts to heat up. More and more politicians are going to say more ludicrous things.

What this really shows is that these politicians are just so out of touch with reality. And people actually wonder why there is a movement using the #UndiRosak hashtag that calls for citizens to spoil their votes. Go figure.

[This article was originally written for and published at]

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