Never believe a rumour until it’s been officially denied

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For the moment, we have to live with the culture of hearing all sorts of political talks, of theories and stories, including fake news, spun via the wonders of modern communication technology. — AFP photo

A RECENT Bernama report stated ‘multiple polls and sacking of party members as among the political drama of 2023’ (The Borneo Post – Dec 20, 2023).

Not a drama in the sense of a stage play, though. It was a series of real cut-throat political moves in pursuit of power, authority and money among the political elite in the country.

Have you not heard of money politics? Tons of it, used to buy loyalty!

That was the seed of almost all the social problems faced by the country because it has evolved into a Malaysian culture. It has undermined the political stability and the social life of the nation.

It was the creation of the ambitious Malaysian politicians with personal agendas: first, the interests of his family; second, of the potential voters; last, of the country.

The nation would be well-looked after by the future generations of politicians, they reason out.

Now is the time for the present political elite to ‘make hay while the sun shines’.

Such human-made events had their roots in what had happened in the political arena in Peninsular Malaysia prior to 2023, beginning with the coup d’état mounted by those politicians – you know their names – from the same political parties holding power in the country for so long.

Later, they split up into various power factions and clusters, each trying to show who the real champion of the people is.

The resignation of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad as prime minister triggered the scramble for power by politicians who thought that their chance of holding the apex of authority could be acquired by the use of money, never mind the consequences.

That is of secondary importance.

The oath taken and sworn by each federal legislator, purported to express his genuine confidence in the qualities of another federal legislator who wants to be the Prime Minister, is taken as representative of the collective will of the voters expressed at the general election.

Many innocent members of the public have been taken for a ride.

I say that those Malaysian politicians who misused the Statutory Declaration for acquiring power have no right to rule over us.

Not wise to change horses in mid-stream

The system embodied in the institutions above is not perfect, but it has been proven to be practicable for the purpose of administering the affairs of the multiracial, multicultural Federation of Malaya since 1957, and since 1963 for the Federation of Malaysia.

If it is not broken, why fix it?

Or worse, why toy with the idea of replacing it altogether with a government run by religious dogmas?

Theocracy does not work in many countries, except the Vatican!

Malaysian politicians, crazy for power and glory, are best advised to stick to the system they know – i.e. periodic general elections – rather than to opt for the system that is a novelty, disguised as the government of ‘tebuk atap’ or ‘masuk pintu belakang’ (both translating to ‘through the backdoor’).

There is plenty of room for improvement in the present system.

For instance, ever since the abolition of the local government elections in 1981, the taxpayers in the various districts of Sarawak have been deprived of the right to choose the local government councillors, to cater for their needs at the grassroots level.

A legacy of the British colonialists, true, but a good legacy it was.

I thought that the use of the Statutory Declaration as a cheap political stratagem to acquire political power in Malaysia during the past few years was to be the first and the last.

How wrong, utterly wrong, one can be.

‘Figment of the imagination?’ 

In August of last year, I heard from a source in Kuala Lumpur that some disgruntled Malaysian politicians were toying with the idea of toppling the Unity Government. Target date: Jan 1, 2024.

I ignored the rumours.

However, since then this subject has evolved into a story about a plan to stage a political coup d’état to be called ‘The Dubai Move’.

For the past couple of weeks, Malaysian bloggers have been having a field day, speculating, guessing and theorising: ‘New Government in the New Year’. They are still theorising, guessing, wondering if the Dubai Move was ever seriously discussed.

I do not think any group of Opposition politicians in Peninsular Malaysia would be daring enough to take on the Unity Government. Even if they did get the magic number of 112 MPs, I would not think that they would easily succeed.

So when my source in Kuala Lumpur told me that a group of influential Malaysian politicians including some government supporters had met in the United Arab Emirates, I was sceptical — still am.

I called him for confirmation: who went to Dubai; where in Dubai; the press statements they made; etc.

He was listening to rumours.

I resorted to several other sources. No answer was satisfactory to me.

One source responded: “The whole saga is a figment of the imagination.”

Does that mean ‘much ado about nothing’?

He mumbled: “We shall see, sometimes rumours are true.”

There are as many stories as the bloggers may be able to spin for the past week.

I shall therefore wait for something more concrete before I can write about a kind of story.

For the moment, we have to live with the culture of hearing all sorts of political talks, of theories and stories, including fake news, spun via the wonders of modern communication technology.

In the meantime, let us regard the ‘Dubai Move’ as a move in the mind of those who cannot survive a minute without holding a position of power in society.

What is possibly true is that many of them are dreaming of a second chance to proceed to the Astana, with a file full of Statutory Declaration, having been duly sworn in and signed by the Commissioner of Oaths.

My source in the peninsula sent me a message just now: “Do not believe the rumours until they are proven correct.”

He added: “They are allegedly started by the supporters of the politicians who are not happy with the ongoing witch-hunt for persons who are allegedly stashing tons of money overseas.”

Wishing me ‘Happy New Year’, he signed off saying: “You guys in Sarawak are lucky to hold the trump card!”

Whatever that means.