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‘Durian runtuh’ in August

Photograph: Wikipedia

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“Durian runtuh” is a Malay proverb that means unexpected gains or easy takings.

But the generous harvest of durian, unlike the proverb in its original form, is in many ways expected in this challenging month of August.

That is, if the generous offers of ministerial positions and so-called “Durian RM30” allegedly made by certain quarters to a number of opposition lawmakers is any indicator.

Recently, several opposition MPs claimed they had received messages offering them to defect to the other side of the divide.

These alleged incidents occurred in the context where the Perikatan Nasional government is believed to be losing its parliamentary majority, especially triggered by the recent withdrawal of support from several Umno lawmakers.

A number of Umno MPs have already resigned from their ministerial positions and government-linked company posts in line with the collective decision of party bigwigs to pull back their support for Prime Minister Mahiaddin Yasin.

It is to the credit of these MPs for having spurned the generous offers as they happen to be politicians who are professedly committed to their respective political parties and professional ethics.

Politicians of strong moral fibre would not let their dignity and integrity be measured in terms of ringgit and sen or by inducements of governmental positions. Their integrity should not be easily exchanged for material gains.

This is the kind of political shenanigans that NGOs and politicians concerned that horse trading and ‘party-hopping’ would occur, had expected when the convening of the next parliamentary sitting was delayed until early September.

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It is feared that the window carved between now and September would give rise to political instability because the supposed focus of politicians on addressing the pandemic, as well as the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Malaysians would be sidestepped by their concern for political survival.

A political culture that spawns leap-frogging of politicians does not augur well for a country that also desperately needs to put sound democratic practices back on track.

We witnessed a year ago what such shenanigans did to politics at the national and state levels. The wishes of voters at the ballot box were turned upside down when politicians committed political realignments.

In other words, such party-hopping was done as if the voters, the very people the lawmakers supposedly represent, do not matter.

Politicians with dignity and concern for a better future for the country should strive to buck the dangerous trend of party-hopping for a price.

Such concern is well demonstrated in a recent skit called ‘Basket Robberz 110 Flavours’ played by the celebrated Douglas Lim, which has since gone viral on social media.

It satirises a desperate person – through the persona of an ice cream vendor – clutching at straws in his bid to stay politically afloat.

The “110 flavours” prop up the supposed popularity of the vendor. Just to give you a taste of these flavours: “Abahkedabra”, “Minty Min”, “Babalicious”, “Le Nenaz” and “Sayid Strawberry”.

In these trying times, the durian runtuh is the last thing ordinary Malaysians, plagued by the Covid virus and economic downturn, want, irrespective of how many flavours the thorny fruit promises. – The Malaysian Insight

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