Malaysian politicians find sorry to be the hardest word

OCTOBER 21 — The average Malaysian should look as flat as a roti canai by now at the rate the government keeps throwing the rakyat under the bus.

Because it's not enough to blame foreign migrant workers, the prime minister and various other politicians are claiming that it's us, the rakyat, who are treating the SOPs lightly.

I wasn't the one who attended a wedding the weekend after flying in from Sabah, just saying.

The Malaysian culture of non-apologising is particularly prevalent among our politicians. It's rather telling, this strange amnesia among our politicians about their behaviour during and right after the Sabah election.

How did a minister “forget” he changed the SOP for arrivals from Sabah, declaring no quarantines were needed, conveniently allowing politicians to bypass the two-week quarantine?

Why did our prime minister only decide to take two weeks of isolation when members of his Cabinet were found to have Covid-19, instead of right after returning from Sabah?

If this was Japan or South Korea, there would be politicians prostrating on the ground, bowing in apology and there would be many resignations.

The only sorry we have from SOP-flouters in the government seems to be, to borrow lyrics from that Rihanna song, "you're only sorry you got caught.”

Every day a minister announces the numbers of people caught and fined for going against Covid-19 SOPs and to be honest, I wonder how much of it are people not caring for the rules or just making up KPI numbers.

Dear politicians: we still remember how a sobbing student was fined RM1,000 just for adjusting his mask down for the briefest moment out of discomfort.

Yet our politicians go to crowded gatherings, eschew masks entirely, and do ridiculous things such as shaking hands.

It was also ridiculous the National Security Council had to remind Umno that maybe having a meeting right now, during the CMCO, is a bad idea.

I try to imagine doing a documentary about Malaysian politics but it might be hard for anyone to take seriously as the way some of our politicians act, it's as though Malaysia is just a Wes Anderson movie just without all the Caucasians.

In the meantime, there are bright spots in these current times — Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka is fully utilising the Malay language's ability to convey passive-aggressiveness via very amusing social media posts.

Being inspired by their example, I thus leave you with my own stab at the pantun.

Tercari-cari kedai di pekan

Namun semuanya senyap dan sunyi 

Sebelum ketam ajar anak berjalan

Sedarlah sikit tuan punya diri

Translation:

Long did I seek for shops in town

Shuttered and silent were all that remained

Before the pot calls the kettle black

In the mirror perhaps lies the cause for disdain

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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