JANUARY 16 — “ I was unceremoniously sacked without any professional reason after less than a week on the job, when they found out who my father was.”
“I was obviously deemed not qualified to be an accountant as I was feared to share my father’s unhealthy passion for integrity, transparency, full disclosure as well as giving a fair and true view.”
“But all’s well that ends well. After failing to make the cut as an accountant, I had no choice but to join politics and became the chief minister.”
Those were the words of a man we could and should respect. Truthful, honest, and without shame of admitting what he is and what he is not.
Unfortunately, his passion for integrity, transparency, full disclosure seemed to have waned since he became a minister. No longer comfortable with critical masses, he sent his secretary to warn Malaysians not to question his credentials.
This secretary convened a press conference, insisting that his minister was a “qualified professional accountant”. He provided a certificate indicating that the minister is a “Provisional Member” of the Australian Society of Accountants. Professional accountants know what this means.
The evidence that the secretary chose to bring forth had confirmed some doubts about this minister. It may have been an honest mistake, an oversight by an incompetent staff member. However, it may also have been deliberate. Whatever it is, Finance Minister, we advise you to be careful of those around you. They may outwardly appear to support you, but their actions suggest a different story.
Ministers and politicians with dubious credentials, please understand that it is not your education level that bothers us. Tun Ghafar Baba never attended university, yet he is deservedly respected. What upsets us is the fact that you and your friends try to defend the act, when it is obviously a misrepresentation of yourselves. If you can lie to yourselves by obtaining a degree you do not deserve, and pretending to be something you are not, what claim do you have on integrity?
And what sort of Orwellian world are we living in now, when leaders who advertise themselves as defenders of freedom of speech threaten to sue those who dare question? In a true democracy, citizens need to be critical and informed, to choose the best government. How can we be critical and informed, if we are prohibited from questioning our representatives?
Let us remind you that we do not need your permission to question and voice our opinion. Our right to our voice is enshrined by the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You, on the other hand, have the right to explain yourself, in whichever way you choose. Just remember, we will be observing, and judging.
Some quarters argue that academic qualification is not important. These politicians were chosen for their credibility. In truth, the people voted because of a projected image.
However, when that image has proven false, should we continue to lie to ourselves and continue the charade? Should we be content with substandard leaders? If our nation is to have any chance of progress, we must learn to accept the truth and demand higher standards.
Remember, we did not even vote for some of these ministers. They lost the election and were appointed senators. If we really must suffer unelected ministers, they must at least be truthful about who they are.
To the Education Minister, you should not worry too much. Based on the public reaction to these dubious credentials, it is evident that the rakyat highly values education. However, do organise some form of correctional camps for some politicians, so that they understand the true value of education. They seem not to value education as much and are comfortable enough to defend dubious degrees. They are trying to convince us that having dubious degrees is not a big deal. We do not want them to influence our children’s values and principles.
At the end of the day, YBs, just be comfortable in your own skin. You are what you are. Don’t be a phoney. Just do your work and deliver what needs to be delivered.
We will be watching and judging.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.