In the light of Najib’s pardon affair, once again I see Malaysians reacting in ways that are both obvious and unchanging.
Although it is said that we live in post-normal times after the pandemic, I am afraid the way of thinking for Malaysia and Malaysians is still in the “normal” times of one side thinking it is better than others, while the others think that the world is made only of set rules and regulations and like a machine we must follow them to the very letter.
There is no longer any wisdom because we have the AI. The AI would never have pardoned Najib by halving the sentence, it would probably recommend harsher conditions.
When Mahathir set into motion his devious and evil plans to topple and destroy the career of Anwar, he did so like a machine, no mercy and no backsies. That was Mahathir.
Raja Petra Kamaruddin once said Mahathir would not only beat his opponent but he would make damn sure that his opponent would never get back up a second time.
Malaysians, it seems, are acting like Mahathir and like an AI machine.
When PH won the election in 2018, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that it was Mahathir who tipped the scale in the rakyat’s favor.
The rakyat then were inspired by the very man who destroyed our version of Malaysia with his pendatang rhetoric, his inhuman treatment of a human being named Anwar Ibrahim, and God knows how many “skeletons” in the closet of our financial and moral history does Mahahthir hold.
But, the rakyat were keen on “forgetting” Mahathir’s many sins and voted overwhelmingly to save Malaysia.
The rakyat were thinking like true politicians then. Win first, then we act differently.
But it was not to be. Mahathir was the Great Teacher and he knew how to act to steer the rakyat’s expectation of a “good Malaysia” and he turned the tide of battle to his Melayu Malaysia by killing Umno and building Bersatu as his elite Malay political force.
But then, he too was outsmarted by Azmin, Hamzah and Muhyiddin, and the old man fell and the rakyat fell too.
My observation is that the rakyat did not speak of principles or morals or procedures when supporting Mahathir then.
Again, I wish to remind the non-Malay rakyat of what happened during Reformasi.
Who supported Barisan Nasional and its sins for the next three elections? Think hard. Don’t try to play the moral rakyat when a man was handcuffed and beaten almost to death and yet who gave the win to Mahathir and Umno to reign for many more years.
Apparently, the rakyat too have their own skeletons in their closets that they conveniently ignore.
My point is simple. The world is not perfect. Life is not perfect. If it were perfect than we would call it the Garden of Eden. But the world we know is called Malaysia, warts and all, jerawat some more.
To blame everything on a sitting prime minister is so easy, so convenient to forget our past sins. To put all the moral rulings on a patched-up government in the first year of office is naive at worst and ludicrous at best.
To call out so many wants in a boat or a ship that is being shot holes by the PN and by good Samaritan Malaysians is again an act of greatest folly.
When Najib was charged in court, I told my wife I did not think we would live long enough to see him go to prison.
Because, as with the rich and wealthy people, they have lawyers upon lawyers to drag the case until the accused dies of natural death while smiling for photo ops eating nasi ikan patin masak pedas.
But it was a shock to see a small woman by the name of Tengku Maimun say enough was enough, and she sent Najib to an actual prison!
Again, after the shock and awe of the sentencing and the welcoming party at Kajang Prison near my house died down, I told my wife again I did not think he would be in prison for more than a year.
Why? PAS and Umno might snatch victory from PH and, Najib would be smiling again this time, with nasi beriani kambing.
But something went wrong, or right, and the Unity Government was formed by the Agong. That was a wild ride and unprecedented. Anwar was the prime minister with more than half the cabinet his enemies.
But the funny thing was that the rakyat, all good Samaritans, think that Anwar and PH are now the top dog. How ludicrous is that idea?
The rakyat have been putting the Unity Government to test more than the threat of Islamic extremism by the PN.
If I were to perform a feat of prophesying, I would think that the PN would rule with a new leadership in Umno as predicted by the Dubai Move.
The country would have been bought and paid for by a few Tuns, and then they would form an oligarchy above the layer of greedy religious fanatics.
To me, the Najib pardon was simply a matter of time. I am thankful that at least Najib is spending time in prison.
I would have been happy if he was under house arrest because of his age and as an acknowledgement of his many years of service.
Najib is not an ordinary Malaysian. You and I are, but not Najib. Some decorum and courtesy must be accorded to a person who has served the rakyat and the nation even though half of the time he was robbing us blind.
But he managed to govern and not left us starving or with another May 13.
Najib was sent to prison and was placed in an ordinary cell by himself, the only privilege we understand that was granted.
I hope he would have a bed at least, and not like Anwar or Guan Eng who were left to sleep on the floor like other convicts.
Sorry folks, I am not AI. I am flesh-and-blood and with a soul and my spiritual training transcends any feelings of vengeance or ingratitude as well as “memory loss of the Reformasi days.”
Finally, to question and ridicule the decision of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong who saved us from Hadi Awang becoming our PM, I think is kurang beradab.
I take personal offense because I believe that the YDP Agong is a man of integrity and a spiritual person.
When Anwar was granted pardon in swift take of less than a week, no one questioned the procedures or ask the Pardon Boards for the meeting minutes.
Here, in Najib’s case, even though it is clearly spelled out that it is the discretionary authority of the YDP Agong, and yet we question it.
I have been in several disciplinary committees for students and academics, and I never look or refer to rules and regulations but only my conscience and values.
Many times my values and conscience aligned with the written policies but there are an equal number of times when they do not.
To quote regulations, procedures and precedents without the spirit of budi bicara and an act of hikmah, we might as well nominate AI as our PM and our Agong, and resign ourselves to the human pods of the computer-governed Matrix.
Najib, so far, is still in prison. He won’t be going anywhere in 2024. Is that not time to be in the blessing of a new era or do we still want our pound of flesh when we conveniently ignore our conscience in supporting the Devil himself to the 2018 Pakatan Harapan victory?
Now, in the present, Pakatan Harapan did not win but the Unity Government is the law and conscience.
We must learn this truth and live with it until providence decides a different path for all of us.
(Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor of Architecture at a local university and his writing reflects his own personal opinion entirely.)