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Azmin and Umno meeting: What's the prawn behind the stone?

  • Pakatan Harapan is a coalition of several well written promises, including the Manifesto, agreement on basic governance philosophy, power transition, and most important of all, not to work with PAS nor Umno.

By Dr. Rais Hussin

There is a Malay expression, drummed into all Malaysian children, vernacular and national schools included, "udang di sebalik batu". Translated literally or colloquially, it means "what's the beef?"

Pakatan Harapan is a coalition of several well written promises, some of which include the manifesto, agreement on basic philosophy of PH governance, power transition, and most important of all, not to work with PAS nor Umno.

Datuk Seri Azmin Ali may not be in line with his party president or PKR party per se. That is his business. In politics, one lives or dies on the sword with which one wields. And, Azmin has made his choice anything but unclear; which interestingly seems to run counter to what Malaysians want.

But when Azmin Ali met with some 27 Umno Members of Parliament, possibly, with the justification, that it was to gauge the "performance" of all, then Azmin Ali has trudged into the territorial of the Prime Minister of Malaysia himself. Is he saying, he has the right to assess the performance of Umno too? Even Tun Dr Mahathir does not what transpired during the meeting as he said yesterday.

The whole fiasco rankles with deceit, if not sheer conceit. The Minister of Economic Affairs should deliver on jobs, improved income, and foreign direct investments. In European Union alone, all 28 countries will find a third of all jobs being permanently lost to automation by 2030. This is a rate that has never happened before since any stages of industrial revolution.

In the case of Malaysia, since most works are still manual, with six to seven million of foreign labourers in the country, the entire business model of the Malaysian economy, for the lack of a better word, is in peril.

Yet, Azmin Ali is working in cahoots with Umno, a party that, allegedly, has specialised in hiving off state assets, and hiding them in off short banking centres like British Virgin islands, since the tenure of former Prime Minister Najib Razak.

In the meeting with Azmin Ali, the cousin of Najib was there. Was some plan being hatched to free Najib by toppling the government of Pakatan Harapan? I don’t know but this and many other questions are being asked.

Azmin Ali has to come clean precisely because he has not been attending any meetings in his own party. It is almost as if Azmin Ali has become a lone wolf on the prowl; a quark that is beyond the control of anyone or anything.

Even, allegedly, outstanding travel bills of his family, who travel in ostentatious style, remain unpaid. This alone is enough to suggest that Azmin wants all the glories but none of the work.

Thus, either Azmin has to explain himself to his own party, or the Malaysians at large, beyond the perfunctory crisp statement that nothing of substance was discussed.

It is for Malaysians to know, and not for him to decide, what is important, or not.

Transparency and accountability are two of the key planks of the new Malaysian government. Tanjung Piai is a fierce example of how the "tsunami" that brought Pakatan Harapan to power can reverse its riptide to unseat every elected Malaysian leader too.

Azmin cannot cast the stone in a glass-made house while hiding his hand. The shards of the broken glass will come raining down to pierce all and sundry, including himself.

More importantly, including all Malaysians. People have spoken loud and clear what they feel through their votes albeit in the confines of Tanjung Piai.

Isn’t that an early warning signal for PH? If this is not, I don’t know what would be.

(Datuk Wira Dr. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff is PPBM Supreme Council Member.)


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