I am tired of politics revolving around personality. With it comes excessive feudal culture and ugly mudslinging all too frequently. One can never truly escape it but there are other issues of actual importance if one wants to take a break from the ugliness of it all. These other issues are the ones that truly affect our livelihood. These issues involve our jobs, our savings and our taxes, among others.

Until very recently, Malaysian politics was grazing at the level that makes politics a worthy field to match its name. From military procurement to the mass rail transit system and to nuclear power, things that matter took the limelight.

For a period, there was nuance in the political debate held in the public sphere. It was a breath of fresh air from the stale old stuff of race and religion.

One example that took public debates to the next level was Pakatan Rakyat’s Buku Jingga. Although I do not necessarily agree with some of its points, I can definitely appreciate how the Buku Jingga forced both sides of the divide to raise the level of debates beyond name-calling. That is the greatest contribution of Buku Jingga.

There were other matters running parallel to this. One was the sodomy trial involving Anwar Ibrahim and Saiful Bukhari Azlan, which is still ongoing of course. Ongoing or not, the issue is dead to me. I have lost interest in it.

What made it even more forgettable were the outrageous details. Listening or reading graphic descriptions associated with the trial created a sensation that I call sodomy fatigue.

Yes, there is a feeling that the system is being manipulated at Anwar’s expense. Yes, there is a feeling of injustice committed against Anwar. Yes, he is important. Yes, he has a significant role to play in instituting a competitive democratic system in the country.

Yet, the country is not about Anwar Ibrahim. Too much energy is being invested in defending and discrediting him.

That energy invested towards Anwar can better be harnessed in other areas that affect our livelihood. For a country that censors the slightest hint of two persons kissing each other on television, there has to be something more than sex — in one way or another — to think about.

The issues of MRT, defense and others that involve billions of ringgit of taxpayers’ money are vying for primetime spots. Rather than reading about someone else’s private parts made public, I would rather focus on public goods treated as private property by the paternalistic few who think they can spend my money better than me.

Imagine my disappointment when morality becomes the centre of attention yet again, as a certain somebody with a lion’s courage alleged that a certain politician is involved in a sex scandal.

In scandal-crazed Malaysia with a sense of morality littered with hypocrisy, many simply drop the things that matter to moralize or hypothesize about others’ lifestyles. The same many are probably rushing to the Internet searching for the video of the scandal, and looking for a cheap thrill along the way.

I am sorry if that is crass. Still, is there anything that is not crass in this country anymore? Parliament is full of it. The courthouse is full of it. The boardrooms of some government-linked companies are so full of it. What is crass anyway? The word by its very self has been diluted by a pool of mud, and something else.

Sarawak is having an important election very soon. In the meantime, what does Malaysia have on its mind?


Lim Guan Eng sent out the right message recently. He said ignore the scandal.

Ignore it indeed.

Focus on things that matter instead. Do not take your eyes off your public money, that belonging either to Sarawak, or to Malaysia at large.

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved

First published in The Malaysian Insider on March 31 2011.

One Response to “[2340] What’s important and what’s not”

  1. on 03 Apr 2011 at 10:09 Bobby

    Yes, Middle Malaysia is in agreement with you.
    But unfortunately not everyone is that well educated/ cultured to know better.
    All this wool-pulling attempts over the public’s eye is just meant to distract from the real issues.

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