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The ugly reflection

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Instead of admitting to flaws; instead of working to improve shortcomings and revisiting organisational goals in the light of changing times, the tendency is to look for scapegoats, observes Faisal S Hazis.


When you refuse to be accountable for what you have done, blame others. When you fail to achieve what you set out to do, blame others. When your organisation lacks leadership and direction, blame others.

Blaming others for your weaknesses and shortcomings is a classic strategy of diversion. Instead of admitting your flaws; instead of working to improve your shortcomings and revisiting your organisational goals in the light of changing times, you look for a scapegoat and ignore the core of the problem. Hitler blamed the Jews for all Germany’s misfortunes. And what happened after was one of the worst atrocities in the history of humankind.

Umno via Isma and Jakim are also resorting to this moronic strategy. The self-proclaimed defenders of Malay and Islamic rights are pointing fingers at non-Malays and non-Muslims for many issues plaguing the community. Ismalabelled Chinese Malaysians as intruders and trespassers who, along with the colonial British, bullied the Malays.

The non-Malays and non-Muslim bashing did not stop there. When non-Muslims raised their concerns over the plan to implement hudud, Ismachided them by telling them not to poke their nose into the affairs of the Malays. Worse, they labelled those critical of the government as “anti-Malay” andanti-Islam”.

How would you expect Islam to grow or even be respected when these so-called Islamic groups incite hatred and fear?

Furthermore, has not the country been under the rule of an Umno-led government for more than five decades? Should not the Malay party thus be held accountable for the ‘sorry’ state of the Malays and Islam? Why blame others?

Jakim is also playing this blame game. Faced with issues of murtad, declining support for the Umno-led government and increased fragmentation among the Malays, Jakimblamed Christians for this sorry state of affairs. This Islamic government agency, through its Friday sermon, reminded Muslims to defend the use of Allah otherwise it wouldcreate ‘confusion and destruction of the faith’.

Instead of revisiting the roles and effectiveness of Islamic institutions including Baitulmal in strengthening the faith of Muslims, Jakim looked for a bogeyman. But why blame others? 

Over in Borneo, the call for more autonomy and rights for Sabah and Sarawak has continued to ring louder. Recently, the Sarawak state assembly passed a resolution demanding an increase in oil royalty from 5 per cent to 20 per cent from the federal government. Both state governments blame Putrajaya for neglecting and marginalising both states. 

The question is who has ruled Sabah and Sarawak since the formation of Malaysia in 1963? Shouldn’t the BN state governments take responsibility for rampant corruption, imbalanced urban-rural development, the marginalisation of natives in development and the disappearance of native customary rights lands?

A bigger royalty or more autonomy would not necessarily solve Sabah and Sarawak’s problems. Instead, it could actually deepen them since the structural problems of both states remain unaddressed. Why blame others?

Another manifestation of the growing popularity of this blame game is the Johor BN government’s handling of the controversial housing and property bill. Federal leaders pointed fingers at the palace for the alleged ‘attempt’ by the monarch to take away the state government’s executive power over housing and property issues.

But was it not weak leadership at the state and federal levels that led to this predicament? Why blame others?

The opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition is also besmirched with this problem. Sure, the whole federal system is working against the Pakatan but some problems are certainly of Pakatan’s own making.

In Selangor, the public are getting fed up with constant news of internal bickering among PKR leaders. When was the last time you heard a progressive policy discussion about something substantive from the Selangor government?

Worse, they are increasingly behaving just like their opposite number, BN, especially in resorting to the blame game. Take the case of the Kidex highway. Instead of taking charge of the Kidex issue and rejecting it based on Pakatan’s manifesto (which promised no highway tolls), MB Khalid Ibrahim is blaming the federal government for approving the project. For God’s sake, he isthe Menteri Besar vested with executive powers. Why blame others?

PKR’s partners in Pakatan are no saints either. In the recent Teluk Intan by-election, the DAP blamed hudud for its failure to retain the seat. Pas’insistence onintroducing hudud in Kelantan could be a factor that led to the defeat of the party but what about the internal DAP feud in Perak, the DAP’s weak local campaign machinery and the DAP’s failure to understand local electoral dynamics? Are these not the actual reasons behind the DAP’s defeat? Why blame hudud?

This lament could go on and on. And it would include parties from both sides of the political divide and across different segments of social forces. It is time we put a stop to this hypocritical, self-defeating and indolent strategy which only threatens to inflame racial and religious sentiment.

Next time, before you blame others, please take a hard look in the mirror. The reflection that you see might be the reason why people are shunning you. The reflection you see is likely the reason why the socio-economic fabric of society is collapsing. The reflection you see is possibly the reason for the ugly state of affairs in Malaysia.

Faisal S Hazis

Co-editor, E-newsletter

10 June 2014

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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Dr Faisal S Hazis, an Aliran executive committee member and co-editor of our newsletters, is the author of Domination and Contestation: Muslim Bumiputera Politics in Sarawak (2012).He is presently a senior fellow at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (Ikmas), UKM. His research interests include electoral politics, democratisation and rural informatics.
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12 Jun 2014 8.20am

… A good example is the hudud laws if and when they are implemented … how many of these schmucks be with limbs around ? That is why these Umno schmucks have not implemented hudud laws in Malaysia when they could have done so for 57 years. They may be talking or thinking about it, just for political reasons but just at that really. Nothing more than that will ever happen because if it does you can be sure (not many) of them will be around longer. For the same reasons parties like MCA, MIC and all the so called coalition partners of BN are behaving just like their masters in Umno. You can bet your life (not many) of them will be around to even talk about it. Malaysia would have been another Islamic country like Afghanistan or Pakistan … The Umno samsengs are only behaving the way they are just so to distract the attention of the people. What they may not realise is their behaviours are mimic by the younger Malaysians . The final results will be Malaysia will surely become another Afghanistan… Read more »

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