Words that matter

As a politician, it is always important to say and comment on the right things, whether we are in the government and even when we are not in power. It carries weight and it affects decisions.

Needless to say that if we are in the government or an elected representative; we are representing the nation in its respective ways. It will affect the nation’s image, economy, and brand as a whole. It doesn’t matter if the representative speaks in an official function or a casual gathering, the people still refer to you as the official. 

A few months back, it was reported that Nga Kor Ming said in a speech that the country will turn into a “Taliban state” if the “UMNO-PAS” alliance were to come into power. When the UMNO MPs brought the issue up in the Dewan Rakyat, Nga who is also the Deputy Speaker chairing the parliament session at that time said, “Apabila jubah atas bahu saya, saya Tuan Yang di-Pertua. Akan tetapi, jika hendak tuduh Tuan Yang di-Pertua, kita boleh debat di luar. Apabila saya tidak pakai jubah ini.”

The issue that sometimes politicians fail to understand is that whichever “clothes” or “hat” you are putting on, you are still the same person who has uttered the statement. The position, title or clothes that you wear does not change you to another person.

When I started getting active in politics, I have always heard that when a person is not in the Government, he can say and criticise whatever and whenever he can. 

It could have been effective in the past, but for now, in this era, I don’t think it should have been done that way. In fact, it shouldn’t have been done at all.

Everything that a politician says and does is recorded in a certain way, be it in social media, video recordings, audio recordings, text and news. If you have uttered things that may not be facts or you may not have agreed at the first place; it will come and haunt you back in the future.

But the most important is not on whether your actions and words are recorded or not; but on our ethics and maturity in politics. 

I have mentioned before that as we develop towards a first-class world, we must also develop towards a first-world mentality to match it; and that includes a first-class political culture. 

Just look at how the Pakatan Harapan representatives criticised the Government’s policies and programs previously and how they respond to it now. 

Tun Dr M said in 2016 that the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) is tantamount to corruption, and is therefore illegal, or could even be considered crime. Today, it is renamed as Bantuan Sara Hidup.

They have claimed that Klinik 1 Malaysia is a burden to the Government with its cost; but today they rename it as Klinik Komuniti.

There were so many objections when the Automated Enforcement System (AES) was first introduced, but now the system is still there, just a change or name to Awareness Automated Safety System (AWAS).

When Anthony Loke assumed the duties of the Transport Minister, he abolished the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD); but now forms the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) to replace the duties of SPAD.

Rosmah was criticised and accusations hurled towards her when she was the patron of the Permata programme; but today the Education Minister Dr Maszlee proudly announced his genius idea to change the name to ‘Genius’.

1M4U which focuses on volunteerism is rebranded as Impact Malaysia with an allocation of RM10 million. 

And the most recent one is the continuation of the Bandar Malaysia project which was heavily criticised by the Pakatan Harapan previously as well. 

Today, they are implementing the same thing again, with the change of the name. The so-called “re-branding” strategy.

The Government said that the nation’s financial situation is in a bad shape. They have asked the public to donate to their ‘Tabung Harapan”. They have requested the civil servants and the people to be patient and “ikat perut” for the sake of the nation.

But today, how much will this re-branding exercise spend on these unnecessary expenses? Is it just for the sake of politicking due to the names that were used by the previous Government?

Probably we should think, do they really mean it when they say the nation is almost bankrupt with Malaysia in a high debt and in a bad financial shape. 

Words and statements are easy to publish. But it carries a heavy weight when it influences our community and nation.

When political parties and politicians still put priorities in winning elections, when they need to trick people through populists words and statements for the sake of gaining power, then we are still living in a third world political culture.