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Feb 9, 2008

hard at work or hardly working?


Sometimes, actions do speak louder than words:

“Some of you can say that I’m not good, you can say whatever. But don’t say that I don’t work.”

“I work very hard. I really mean it and you know it.”

The thing is Pak Lah, I don’t I know it. And I would think that many Malaysians don’t either.

How can you expect the rakyat to know that you work very hard if you spend most of your time jetting off out of the country on official trips and that your deputy has become a more visible figure of the administration in the eyes of the rakyat compared to you?

How can you expect the rakyat to know that you work very hard when newspapers splashed a frontpage picture of you officiating an upscale boutique, shamelessly named ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ owned by your daughter and son-in law?

“I have a very heavy responsibility and I have to carry it out.”

Of course you have to carry it out, but the million ringgit question is whether are you carrying it out?

Of course as a Muslim you have to pray five times daily, but merely stating that fact tells nothing whatsoever about whether you do pray five times a day or not.

Of course as a soccer player you have to kick the ball into the other team’s goal, but the ability to regurgitate the rules of the game reveals nothing about your ability to actually score goals.

As Feynman once said, even if you are to remember the name of a bird in 50 languages, you are actually no closer to understanding the nature of the bird itself.

Knowing something is a necessary but not sufficient condition for you to be able to execute that something.

The premier’s ability to execute his plans is judged by his determination, willpower, honesty, diligence, an acute sense of justice and an utmost respect for talent.

Pak Lah’s determination and willpower in the affairs of the government are sorely lacking as demonstrated in his slow and bumbling treatment on a string of recent issues such as the BERSIH movement, the HINDRAF petition and the Lingam tapes, to name a few.

Pak Lah’s honesty is at best, faulty and at worst devious, especially in the light of his recent announcement that Malaysia was placed at sixth place in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2007 published by the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development.

He has conveniently forgotten to emphasize the fact that Malaysia was placed sixth within the category of country having population of 20 million; Malaysia’s overall ranking for 2007 was at number 23, a drop of one position compared to the previous year.

The disturbing fact was that if the premier could be easily deluded by a simple numerical argument such as that, how can we expect him to perform in his portfolio as the country’s Finance Minister?

Naturally, such romantic and misguided sentiments about the state of our country’s economy will have serious long term repercussions on the development and future of our country and its people.

Alas, there is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind.

“It is God’s will that I become the Prime Minister of Malaysia and I am very conscious that I have to serve the people although I personally do not benefit even one sen because of this.”

It is always a troubling sign when a leader see it fit to invoke God’s name in order to prop up the credibility of his rule. Even more dangerous is for a leader to have the nerve to announce that his leadership is willed by God.

Rather than displaying a heightened sense of religious conviction, such statements only underscores the fact that the leader is bankrupt of morals and most importantly, of leadership and management skills - which are so vital for any leader to govern properly.

Even PAS leaders do not have the presumption to proclaim that their rule in Kelantan is willed by God!

In case the premier has forgotten, democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Of course as Muslims, we believe that humankind are placed on this Earth as Allah’s suzerain with the responsibility to protect and preserve the order of things on this Earth.

In the Quran, God rhetorically asks: “Did you really think that we created you in vain and that you would not return to Us?” (23:115).

But how can you expect to please God if you cannot even please those whom who have sworn to serve? How will you gain favor from the Divine if you are not even worthy of receiving favor from your kin?

Besides, isn’t it sinful to associate the high, gracious and pure with the low, crass and filthy?

As if it is not enough for Pak Lah to fashion himself as an ‘emperor’, he now seeks to crown himself as God’s rightful representative on this Earth!

But then again, he should bear in mind that the track record of divine intervention in ensuring political survival is not very promising and can often have violent outcomes.

One is immediately reminded by the cycle of coups, assassinations, blinding and tortures that dotted the history of the Christian Byzantine emperors.

At the end of the day, it does not matter how much of God’s grace you claim to have because there are no substitute for brains, skills and morals.


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