By Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
The state election (PRN) is over.
Despite the many expectations and analyses, the losers are indeed very clear: corruption, the corrupted, and the bedfellows! It is not about any one party but the interplay between all of those involved.
As often said, you cannot clap with one hand; or it takes two to tango! It is multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, and multiparty.
As always, there is a fall guy to be identified, but like the tango, the fall cannot be executed alone. It is multidimensional.
As it stands now, the fall is focused on some 89 seats belonging to one party short of 108 (about 82%) covering the entire election involving the six states in peninsula Malaysia.
This has been dubbed as the worst performance overall among the participating parties. And the worst still in the five states contested. To add insult to injury, it is a repeat of the disastrous 15th General Election (GE) of 2022!
One can still recall the eagerness of the same party to hold the GE then at its earliest possible date in anticipation to deliver the “best” outcome – but ended in a diametrically opposite situation.
The darkest after six decades of enviable existence since the country achieved its independence. The then-party president had to resign for being the most corrupted in the party’s and indeed, the country’s political history.
It is the beginning of an end, so to speak, of a corrupted “leader” who refuses to go! Until pressured to do so. Fast forward, his successor is no better. Also caught in the web of corruption, became the fall guy in the PRN unfolding election drama.
An episode that is not unexpected, given the many turns of events that led him to be the “king-maker” of the new (present) government. From fall guy to king-maker, he passed off as the “trusted” deputy of the prime minister of the government under the cloak of numerous corruption charges that hang over, not only his head but the party.
By extension, the government is made up of three groups of strange bedfellows. The other two were labeled as “rejects” by the corrupt during the GE15 because of their abhorrent attitude towards corruption and the proxies.
Yet they made the mother of all U-turns in embracing the corrupted, and become the proxies. Indirectly supporting the alleged corruption that is being contested in a court of law. All 47 of them.
The nation was and still is in a state of disbelief. It is against this background that the state election was fought. Unfortunately, more corruption was uncovered on almost all fronts. Sometimes extending back into history, family relationships and various clandestine business partners unheard of before.
Suing and counter-suing ensued in the ‘pot calling the kettle black’ mantra, creating more problems rather than providing solutions. The orientation of the campaign got bizarre over time, enabling the creation of instant political heroes.
Driving the corrupt stories even deeper with unknown personalities coming out of the woodwork, taking centre stage.
The election took a life of its own as never experienced before. Notably for the worst! Meanwhile, corrupt cultural habits keep on showing up.
The highlight came when financial offers were intentionally made during the open ceramahs in the opposition state of Terengganu. In this case, three Terengganu youth associations were implicated on condition that the people vote for a government alliance with its corrupted-prone partnership.
Despite several parties voicing their outrage and dissatisfaction in the various media following the incident, nothing significant happened, which is not surprising. What is, is when both of the bedfellows too seemed unconcerned about the controversy.
For example, the caretaker Ministry of Youth and Sports has no say when it matters. In fact, some sources even claimed it is legitimate!
Be that as it may, to their credit the voters acted ethically. The corrupt offers did not stick because in Terengganu the state won handsomely without a trace of other political inroads. A sweep clean victory skirting the intended corruption trap laid down by the corrupted alliance.
A good sign that not everything can be bought and sold to satisfy political desires. Only the corrupted will continue to act habitually without remorse distorting their passage to victory.
At every opportunity, sarcasm and slanderous tendencies were loudly displayed to incite an image of corruption to just about anyone perhaps as an act to cover up their wrongdoings in the past.
That applies to all in the political ecosystem associated with the 15th state election, arguably making it the most hideous ever. Post PRN 2023, much can be learnt from the intense episode.
As suggested by the Prime Minister: to close rank and unite. Unity against corruption with no “ifs” or “buts”. Not unity with the corrupted for an equally corrupted ambition.
- The writer is the Rector of, International Islamic University Malaysia.