APRIL 17 — They say the righteous man feels a pang of shame — a deeply imbued inadequacy. It is not that what he preaches is wrong, flawed or deceitful. Quite the contrary.
He feels he struggles to meet those ideals himself. The words are prophetically radiating from the mountain top, and they are his own words. But he struggles to reach the perch himself.
So will Najib Razak in the weeks to come, feel that burden of promise, for he prescribed an idea beyond and above his own personal convictions — 1 Malaysia. The trouble to begin with is his predecessor did unintentionally bring to the fore, prevailing universal ideas of rights of man.
Whether Abdullah Badawi realised the full force of what he — or what his Oxbridge brigade put in his hands, in a nice plastic folder —inadvertently presented is irrelevant. What is relevant is that a hungry nation lapped it up and had a lengthy digestive condition after that.
They are not gullible. Worse, they pedantically cynical now.
Najib might remain in office for the next ten years. That is not the strength of Umno to stay in power. Just an indictment of our poor will to resist tyranny.
He will however not gain ground, in support. It is becoming increasing clear that power in Malaysia is not necessarily an extension of popular mandate. It is the manoeuvring of voters to set behaviour.
This is plaintively obvious with every by-election, Najib’s party asserts that they have not lost the Malay vote. What Umno really means since the last general election they have not demonstrably lost more Malay votes.
The analysis is, and no minister in Umno’s old or new cabinet (Yes, Umno cabinet not Malaysian cabinet, because non-Umno members are just guests) will come out and say in direct language: It is not that Umno is weak or weaker, just that all the other component parties in the Peninsula are.
You see, Najib can never ever play down Umno. He can play up everyone as long as he plays up Umno just as much or more.
The constant? Umno works, Umno ticks, Umno compels, Umno feels and Umno rules.
Every statement about 1 Malaysia being about more wealth and distribution is marred by the follow up statement that no less is Umno committed to the elevation of the Malay interest first.
I have a few friends (long time friends) who will quickly point to me that I am running an incendiary line, that there are historical realities in Malaysia.
Sure, but I am part of that history too, and objectivity when it comes to history is always going to be difficult.
There is right, and there is wrong. There are many grey lines.
People are ok with those grey lines being discussed, dissected and lambasted by media. They are fine with accepting half-way measures for those grey areas, as long as we as a people get to review those measures at a latter point. And change course then, if we choose to.
They will not however stomach wrong that is serenaded as a right in order to keep a party in power, and a reality they have constructed to remain relevant.
1 Malaysia is a cheque no Malaysian bank will honour while Najib, or any Umno president preside over this nation of potential.
Tonight is a Friday, and some of us get to be in Zouk and some of us in a coffee shop. Some of us in a country club and some of us in an aunt’s three room single storey TV hour. Some of us in a cigar lounge and many, many others smoking by the roadside.
That is life. We live different lives. Ethnicity is one of the commonalities for many of our preoccupations, not the only commonality for all our preoccupations.
If 1 Malaysia is to be more than a sound-bite, Najib has to be more than just a clan leader, in speech and act.
And he should be feeling that ache in his soul daily, for greatness is a burden of truth.