Is Najib representing rakyat or trying to absolve himself?
By Zan Azlee
After the election loss suffered by BN more than two months ago, one of the most anticipated events that I was looking forward to witnessing was former prime minister Najib Razak’s speech when Parliament went into session under the new Pakatan Harapan government.
Finally, after waiting for weeks, Najib finally took his turn to speak for the first time as an opposition member of parliament. I have to admit that it was less than inspiring.
For many years, he was on the winning side. He was the prime minister and finance minister. He had the backing of the majority.
Now, he speaks from the opposite side of the Dewan and instead of presenting results and findings of his cabinet and ministry, he is trying to find faults and cracks in the work of the current cabinet and ministries.
In any democratic political system, this is a normal thing. Elections come and go and the people select their choice depending on the good or bad work the candidates have done. But as you and I know, it is different in Malaysia. That one party has never lost. Until now.
And because they have never lost, certain behaviour and characteristics start to manifest and develop that is less than savoury. They start feeling entitled and privileged because they have come to a point where they can do practically anything they want because they are in power.
Becoming a politician for that party, or even just becoming a member, became an objective because it would benefit that individual greatly. Personally, I know many people who have joined Umno because “it would be good for business”.
It was a means to an end. You could get things done if you joined that party. It was like joining a big boys club, or more like joining the Freemasons, the Knights Templar or the Illuminati even. Crazy as it may sound, most of you Malaysians know what I mean.
Now back to Najib’s maiden speech in Parliament.
Like I previously stated, Najib’s speech wasn’t particularly impressive. Some of the notable points he spoke about were how the current government should not shirk their responsibilities towards Felda and also how the country they inherited was in good economic condition.
Overall, his speech was mainly him trying to absolve himself or justify and defend his actions while he was prime minister and finance minister. Did he bring up any points that were beneficial for the people of the country or his constituencies? Not really.
A good opposition?
It is no wonder. Here is a man that has been associated with massive corruption (associated, not convicted), and whose association with it caused the downfall of him and his party. Now he has been charged and is facing trial for that association.
Would you expect a man who is facing accusations of massive corruption during his time in power to now be able to fight for the rakyat? Would you expect a man who has, for his entire political career, been part of the winning team suddenly be able to understand how to be the opposition?
Sure, a person is always innocent until proven guilty. But this is politics and it is all about perception. The public vote for the people they think and perceive as the right individuals to represent them and govern the country.
This has to be based on an informed decision. If they feel they cannot trust a person, why should they vote for him? In order for the people to make an informed decision, they need to be informed. For them to be informed, they need the right people to keep them informed, which are the opposition.
So how can they trust the information if the very people who are now in the opposition were the same people who have been associated with big lies and corruption? Can these people who are now in the opposition be trusted to do that?
Speaking about trust, the people also deserve an opposition that they can trust to do check and balance against the government. Can we trust the opposition to be good opposition? Can they now start looking out for the people instead of looking out for themselves?
Now back to Najib’s maiden speech in Parliament again.
His speech was plain and self-absolving. This is not enough. In fact, most of the opposition MPs have been plain and self-absolving as well. They keep saying that they won’t be like the previous opposition, but they don’t show us what kind of an opposition they would be now. This is not enough.
It isn’t enough that we voted BN and Umno out of power. Now we need to make sure that they also reform in order to become a good opposition. And if they can’t even be that, then maybe it could even be time to find a different opposition altogether.
[This article was originally written for and published at Malaysiakini.com]
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