This morning, in the wake of BN’s well-deserve latest electoral setback—make that rout—in a sleepy voting district in northern Malaysia, BN is spinning this latest defeat thusly:
Domestic Trade Minister Shahrir Samad, a member of the ruling party’s policy-making council, denied Anwar’s victory was a major blow to the government.
“It was his home ground, so that was always an advantage because he has a lot of support there,” Shahrir told The Associated Press. “We expected him to win. This just proves there is nothing wrong with our electoral system. But I still doubt he will be able to pull off his Sept. 16 threat.”
So, allow me to paraphrase the new Official Line, as previewed above—“we’re still in control, this is no big deal, and we expected to lose anyway.” Expect to hear this spin ad nauseum from every local newspaper and TV news programme in the coming days.
Is this the best that high and mighty BN—actually UMNO—can manage? Colour me as extremely unimpressed. I am again surprised that the mediocre political acumen again on display here comes from the party that has managed to keep a death grip on near total power for over 50 years.
You know, to UMNO I’m just a blogging peon. And the same goes for many of those who might now be reading this. We are people to be ignored, or better yet, controlled, regulated, blocked, censored, arrested and permanently squelched. To UMNO, and in UMNO’s style of governance, there isn’t a problem that a proverbial (or actual) hammer can’t solve, or rather, beat to a pulp. So, as bloggers, the vast majority of us have to know that our opinions don’t count for squat to the powers that (currently) occupy Putrajaya.
Therefore, I can only hope that someone from Pakatan Rakyat is listening when I say this: governance is not just about wrangling for influence, control, or votes. Yes, that’s a part of it. But what it’s supposed to be primarily about is serving something beyond yourself. That’s a key word—‘serve’. Serve in this context does not mean serving yourself first, the party second, and the public a distant third. And no, it also does not mean enriching anyone only of the same ethnic or religious background as yourself. What serving really means is serving others equally to the best of your ability and expecting nothing in return. PKR, to their everlasting credit, may actually understand the concept. But BN? I think we all know the answer to that question.
If BN/UMNO even had a hint of an idea of what term ‘public service’ meant, then this is what we could expect Shahrir Samad or any of his fellow BN Minister to be saying at a time like this:
“We congratulate Anwar Ibrahim for his resounding victory and would like to officially welcome him back to the Federal Government. The people have spoken, and we respect their voice. We of BN look forward to working with Anwar and our other colleagues across the aisle on the many issues that face us as a nation. We now must move forward and work together earnestly with the men and women of PKR and all the rakyat’s chosen representatives. What matters at the end of the day is not what political party is in charge, but what we, the servants of the public, can do to empower all Malaysians to make this country truly great. Hidup Malaysia!”
But no, never in a million years would anyone from BN ever show even a smidgen of this sort of graciousness. This shows more than anything else how unfit BN is to rule even a town council, let alone a country. When you’re a hammer, like BN, every problem is a threat, a nail to be hammered flat. And the hammer calling itself BN, if it ever had a use, has long since outlived its usefulness.
For BN, and particularly for the person at its helm, if they had but a shred of decency, I would ask them all to heed these aged but wise words from Oliver Cromwell:
You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.