My two-line tweet

COMMENT | First I received a scathing royal rebuke from the sultan of Selangor for my now-infamous tweet. Umno also took full opportunity to gain political mileage—they went to town burning effigies of me and calling me names like bangsat (bastard), biadab (rude), derhaka (traitor), kurang ajar (ill-mannered) and much more. (Umno Malays are fond of calling people such names when they are angry at them).

Then they lodged a police report against me.

Jamal Md Yunos, the main actor, threatened to smash my head with a big hammer, but fortunately for me, the police arrested him. I want to thank the deputy prime minister for assuring me during our brief encounter that my safety was assured.

In a few days’ time, I expect to be called to Bukit Aman to answer some questions about the subject of my recent tweet, which has greatly angered some people. I also expect to be charged with sedition and some other offences. I assure the police that I will give my full cooperation and answer their questions about what I wrote on that fateful day truthfully.

It’s certainly my hope that I will not have to spend time in the lockup or endure long spells in detention, as I have just recovered from my prostate surgery.

The menteri besar of Selangor said I have a responsibility to explain my two-line tweet to the people. I will, but he must come along. He fully understands my tweet and the circumstances and context it was made in, so he can join me on a roadshow. He is a brave man because in doing so, he might upset the ruler. That’s probably why no one has come out openly talking about the issue.

I was not defending Dr Mahathir Mohamad (photo) as many thought I was doing; but upholding the simple notion that in our system of government, constitutional monarchs do not get to decide matters of politics and administration.

It’s the people who make choices and pass judgements in these matters, including the desirability – or otherwise – of political personalities.

It’s the people, and no one else, who determine if a particular leader is qualified to be a menteri besar, or who is going to burn this country.

It’s the people and no one else, who decide which one can be trusted and which one will sell this country for money.

Is this sacrosanct? Yes. Rulers need to conform to standards of behaviour, and norms and practices, just as leaders and monarchs in other countries do.

Otherwise, we are an aberration. If our leaders are judged by different standards of governance or by different ethical considerations, then we have regressed. Then it means that we are not just a kleptocracy, but a feudal one too.

As it turned out, my subsequent tweets that were along the lines of “Looks like I have no friends…..” during this frenetic week were certainly wrong. Now I know I have many friends and supporters. I am only lacking in political allies. People sent me endless messages expressing their concern for my safety and that of my family.

One sent an inspiring poem while another sent a sumptuous fish head curry. A few merry ones think I have a great future in politics (which is good for a laugh). All the same, I want to thank all of you for your concern. There are just too many of you to name, but I thank you all sincerely.

Some BN publicists and columnists capitalized on the fact that during the whole week, I did not get any support from opposition politicians, although I think my friend, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng (photo) was an exception. I don’t blame the leaders from Pakatan Harapan for their silence on this matter.

In Malaysia, there are “black holes” or taboo subjects that politicians fear to venture into, especially in an election year. It’s perfectly understandable.

My colleagues in DAP did not reprimand me or speak unfavourably on the subject of the controversy. They must have endured some discomfort because of me, and I understand why some of them want to stay away from trouble. For this, I appreciate them giving me the latitude to speak on subjects that I consider important.

I believe that a better Malaysia can only come to fruition when leaders are not afraid to face these “black holes.” If too many fundamental truths about the country are ignored, left undefended or abandoned for convenience and expediency, we will never get to the promised land.

It’s inevitable that we have to experience convulsions and endure discomfort in the process of building the right framework for the country. I don’t have any other mission in my life.

ZAID IBRAHIM is a former law minister and Umno politician. He is currently a member of DAP.


Artikel disiar pada December 11, 2017 - 5:34 pm oleh Susan Loo

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