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When ‘serpents’ and ‘monitor lizards’ roam the political landscape

All that money cannot stop certain parties from attacking each other. The least they can do now is to stop tarnishing the poor animal kingdom

Upper Baram forest area

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Will Malaysia be able to extricate itself from the “serpents”, “warlords” and “backstabbers” roaming around its political landscape?

Unfortunately, the nation could sink deeper into the gutter of moral decay as the gravy train seekers and parasites entrench themselves. 

As the Umno-Pas-Bersatu pendulum swings quicken, more ordinary people could be enticed by the bait of race and religion.

As the DAP, Amanah and PKR work out their next political moves, they might be tempted to take on morally decadent bedfellows if they adopt a strategy of the ends justifying the means. 

Increasingly, it’s a case of ‘what’s in it for me?’ before deciding which side to show allegiance to. This mantra of gravy train benefits and parasitic survival has become the roadmap for Malaysia’s rich and well connected.

The rest of the population can scream all kinds of slogans, plead with the heavens above, or keep the candle of hope burning.

Umno will mark its Diamond Jubilee in May.

For six decades we thought Malaysia would set the standard in the region. For the past three decades, we believed we would achieve ‘developed nation’ status by 2020.

At the 2018 general election, we marched with flags held high, believing we had finally uprooted the cancer that dragged down our political will.

Truly, are we any better off than we were three or six decades ago?

When the soul of this nation is battered and scarred, will all the mortar, towering structures and multi-billion ringgit projects be able to repair the hopeless felt by the ordinary people?

A political analyst was right when he recently used the word “serpents” to refer to politicians who work for their own interests.

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Is this being too pessimistic? No, this is the reality of the times. If things were better, we would be celebrating our successes. The climate would not be as grim as what it is today – for what can we hope for when we are surrounded by “serpents”?

Do we still want to deny that warlords and gravy train parasites are deeply entrenched in our political landscape? We could be vulnerable to any foreign power plotting its moves as part of its economic supremacy game plan.

Umno’s last chance to reconstruct

As the Umno general assembly drew to a close, it is clear that the country has reached a fork in the road ahead. 

It can take the correct path, we could rise again to build a united nation. If we choose the wrong path, we will remain stagnant or worse, sink deeper in the years to come.

Umno faces an acid test of whether it is able to extricate itself from the Perikatan Nasional loop.

If those reaping benefits are quick to walk out of their ministerial and government-linked company appointments in the weeks ahead, it will give much-needed traction to Umno – and help resuscitate the MCA and the MIC along the way.

But if there is any delay in the avalanche of resignations or even weak promises of wanting to wait till the emergency ends, Umno would have weakened the call by its president, Zahid Hamidi. And that will put Zahid in a spot.

Meanwhile, the MCA and the MIC cannot pay lip service. If they have the courage and conviction, they should give up the lucrative appointments Muhyiddin Yassin dished out to them in the days ahead. Both parties should know that their leaders cannot be eating from both sides of the fence.

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And if both these historically aligned BN component parties grab the bull by the horn and state their stand boldly, they can rise from the ashes sooner than they imagine.

We do not have to wait till August. That would not add momentum to Umno.

The weeks leading up to Ramadan is the critical period.

Meanwhile, the DAP and PKR may have to return to the drawing board to invent a new strategy. Their past plans have been scuttled. It would be useless to keep making statements that Umno has betrayed them.

The coming season should be one of consolidating one’s own strengths and rather than back-pedalling into the murky waters of finding coalition partners or entering marriages of convenience.

Let’s not forget Pas. Hadi Awang may have given media the run-around at the Umno assembly. But he too has to announce his party’s stand in the weeks ahead, failing which Pas will have to rein in its ambitions.

Politically, the people have gone through a bad patch since the overthrowing of Barisan Nasional in 2018. What they want now is a strong party and a firm and fair leader.

Blaming poor animals

It is amusing, if not irksome: somehow Malaysian politicians in their political battles have a tendency to use or tarnish the beauty of animals.

Recently, it was the Umno-MIC duel, which saw a rise in temperature. 

An Umno veteran, it seems, called the MIC “biawak hidup” (a living monitor lizard).

An MIC veteran retaliated by accusing Umno of having “lidah biawak” (the tongue of a monitor lizard), alluding to the creature’s forked tongue.

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When will these politicians realise that, in this age of environmentalism, using the names of animals as a form of abuse reflects poorly on these politicians?

Anyway, why is the MIC only now beating its war drums? For six decades, this party, supposedly for all Indian Malaysians, would shun any admonishment or even questioning of Umno.

All these years, they renewed their ‘vows of allegiance’ to Umno even in the face of serious allegations of fraud and ethno-religious rage against Umno. Never mind the barrage of disparaging remarks and name-calling that rained down on the MIC in return. 

But today, as Umno hatches a strategy to resuscitate itself, demanding that its members who are benefiting by remaining within government ranks should extricate themselves from allegiance to the ruling Perikatan Nasional, the MIC seems to want to remain beholden to the leadership of Muhyiddin Yassin. That persistent stance to stay with PN is made despite knowing too well how PN came to power.

That riled up that Umno veteran to call the MIC “biawak hidup”. And the retaliation from the MIC veteran crying foul with “lidah biawak”.

What both parties do not want to admit is that truth is ‘king’ ultimately, not cash!

Both parties are rich, in varying degrees. They milked the people and the opportunities for six decades, while those in power benefited, at least earning popularity, if not taking a slice of the cake for their own enjoyment.

Today, all that money cannot stop both parties from attacking each other. The least they can do now is to stop tarnishing the poor animal kingdom.

They should look at themselves in the mirror.

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.

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loyal malaysian
loyal malaysian
11 Apr 2021 6.20am

Yes, JD from the nature documentaries I have seen, it is really a disgrace to their names to call those political operatives ‘serpents’ and ‘monitor lizards’.
We can, but mouth an apology but we, who are political idealists , know where we are coming from for want of a better term for those frogs, toads, serpents and monitor lizards.
Why is it that our nation seem to hold the gold medal for these political jumps?
Is it not time to end it? – ya, I know, that’s how pengkhianat nasional came to be!!

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