4:22pm 13/09/2023
Syed Saddiq is not the problem, but Zahid is
By:Mariam Mokhtar

Like a pack of hyenas circling their prey, the blindly loyal Madani supporters ganged up on Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, the MUDA Chairman, for voicing his disapproval at the dropping of corruption charges against Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

If they weren’t so highly strung and neurotic, they’d soon realize that Syed Saddiq is not the problem. Zahid is!

Some may claim that the problem lies with the Attorney-General, but those who believe that the buck stops at the top, feel that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim should accept the responsibility for the latest blunder that has torn Malaysia apart.

Why should Syed Saddiq, who is also the MP for Muar, stay silent and not speak his mind about Zahid’s Discharge Not Amounting to an Acquittal (DNAA)?

On 4 September, we learnt that the prosecution had applied for a DNAA for 12 criminal breach of trust (CBT) charges, eight counts of bribery and 27 for money laundering, involving scores of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi. Altogether, 47 charges.

Didn’t Anwar, at the start of his premiership, mesmerize the nation with his talk of cleaning up the government of corruption, initiate a slew of reforms, adopt good governance, and form an administration that was built on integrity?

Zahid’s DNAA has put paid to all that moral high ground rhetoric.

Syed Saddiq has been hounded and accused of being a traitor, a hypocrite, and an arrogant punk.

Melayu mudah lupa, said one former prime minister. Did Syed Saddiq’s critics forget Anwar’s pre-election promises?

At least Syed Saddiq had the courage to expose and shame the other more senior politicians who we note that when they were in opposition, were vociferous about injustice and wrongdoings; but last week, were meek as mice.

The hyenas acted like they were on a witch hunt and many of Syed Saddiq’s past indiscretions were dug up to ridicule and humiliate him.

They accused him of being Dr Mahatihr’s lapdog, but did they forget that for two years from 2018, their Harapan politicians had cozied up to Mahathir and made him their leader?

If memory serves me well, they were either in awe of Mahathir, or were too fearful to oppose him when he stepped out of line.

Syed Saddiq’s critics also said that he was allegedly corrupt and a few urged him to tender his resignation.

They said at least Zahid had been cleared of his charges.

Are they daft? Did they bother to understand the definition of DNAA?

Zahid is not off the hook yet. In the simplest of terms, his case is temporarily on hold.

The comparison of Syed Saddiq and Zahid’s cases was laughable. Syed Saddiq will face trial for allegedly misusing funds and a criminal breach of trust involving over RM1 million.

However, Zahid had 47 charges of corruption, CBT and money laundering leveled against him with scores of millions of ringgits involved.

Syed Saddiq’s alleged crime is peanuts compared to Zahid’s cases.

If something as important as a point of principle is abandoned now, what hope is there for Malaysia’s future?

What Anwar’s supporters seem to forget is that criticism of the DNAA is not an attack on him, but as PM he must bear some responsibility or else many people will believe that at the outset of the formation of the Unity Government, a deal had been struck for Zahid to be freed of all charges.

Naturally Anwar denies this, but the way things have panned out and been badly managed, Harapan have only themselves to blame for planting the seeds of doubt in the minds of many Malaysians.

Their trust in Anwar and their confidence in Harapan and the Unity Government has been severely dented.

No one has any intention of bringing down the Unity Government, but those who oppose Zahid’s DNAA just want a little introspection.

If something as important as a point of principle is abandoned now, what hope is there for Malaysia’s future?

Many of us do not agree with Syed Saddiq on some policies, but at least he had the gumption to make a stand on principles. What about the rest of us?

Zahid’s DNAA is a cop-out. The image we give the world about our legal system is abysmal. Where is the deterrent for corrupt politicians?

Our parents were reluctant to make a stand against corruption, and look at the mess created in Malaysia half a century later.

Why should we keep quiet about similar corruption issues and torture our children and grandchildren with the consequences of our apathy?

We’ve been told countless times that we should not criticize the Unity Government because Zahid is a crucial component for Anwar’s Unity Government.

The alternative, we were warned, was that the Green Wave would overrun the nation. We were told to accept “the lesser evil.” Which one? Zahid or Anwar?

Harapan supporters do not want a tainted DPM. Were they given a choice? No. The foundation of this Madani administration was built on soiled goods.

The attack on Syed Saddiq to protect both Anwar and his long-time friend Zahid shows that Malaysia is just another third world country which has great difficulty ousting its corrupt leaders.

Syed Saddiq should be praised for acting with integrity and for making a stand.

(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)


Mariam Mokhtar
Syed Saddiq
Ahmad Zahid
unity government


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