A friend phoned me just now alarmed at what was happening in Penang. “What’s Najib’s entourage doing hogging traffic near the clan jetty area (in George Town) and why are banners up calling him ‘My Boss’?”
I didn’t know what to say. I cannot for the life of me understand why the convicted criminal Najib Razak is now being feted by certain groups in Penang.
Then again, Penang has produced some ‘characters’ – Jho Low and Fat Leonard come to mind. Let’s not forget the ‘money game’ companies that seem to cast a spell so easily on many ordinary Penangites. There must be something about the ‘air’ in Penang, eh? Or perhaps the all-pervasive greed around us has not spared Penang.
No doubt, Najib has a social media or public relations team to burnish his credentials after his spectacular plunge from grace. Perhaps they tell him where to go and how to go about it and even give him ‘talking points’ so he can tell people what they want to hear.
Like many other politicians, Najib probably thinks any news, any publicity, is good news for him. Such publicity keeps him in the public eye, as he tries to refashion his image as someone who defends the interests of the people, which is a joke.
Najib’s presence in the public eye also makes some people pine for the ‘good ol’ days’ when things seemed more ‘stable’ and predictable while, unbeknownst to them, public funds were being siphoned away and the national debt climbed steadily.
That said, many Penangites still remember Najib’s trip to the Han Chiang school ground – “Are you ready for Psy?… Are you ready for BN?”- ahead of the 2013 general election. That did not go down too well.
Back then, the rallying cry was 1Malaysia. This time it is the shameless “Malu apa, Bossku?!”
Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised. Najib and other corrupt politicians are a product of the system. If society condones corrupt practices at all levels, the politicians who bubble to the surface and assume leadership positions will invariably reflect such amoral values.
We have a lot of hard work to do to show zero tolerance for corruption at all levels, right down to even residential/apartment/condo management committee levels. (Haven’t you heard what goes on at some of these places?)
We also have to remove the temptations and opportunities for corrupt practice that fall in the way of public service officers and leaders. We must put in place enough checks and balances to deter corruption.
In the short term though, let’s hope enough people have enough sense to reject all corrupt politicians in the coming general election.