When we put a crook on a pedestal

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WHEN choosing a guest of honour to officiate an event, usually the organiser would look at the credentials of possible candidates. Is he or she a respectable figure in the industry which the event is about? Would that person be able to share useful insights to participants of the event?

Normally, one wouldn’t invite a suspected mass murderer to any event as the guest of honour, much less one who’s convicted of the crime. In fact, we do not even roll out the red carpet to those involved in petty thefts either, unless it’s an online talk show on the Dark Web about how to be better at plying one’s unscrupulous trade.

But in Malaysia, we have no qualms about inviting a felon who committed grand larceny to be a guest of honour. Not only that, we hold him in admiration, in ways reserved for saints and prophets.

I am referring to ex-PM Najib Razak being invited as the guest of honour at the Digital Economy Forum 2022 last week. Does the organiser not have anyone else in mind to invite?

Were they blind to the fact that this is a man labelled as a “national embarras *** ent” by the courts for abuse of power and corruption? Have they forgotten that he has been sentenced to 12 years in jail and fined RM210 million, and the only reason he is walking free is that he’s appealing his conviction?

What kind of message are we sending out to our children if we can choose to this felon on a pedestal, who unashamedly uses the Bossku moniker, as though corruption is not just fine but ought to be something which one should aspire to do?

I am shocked and deeply disappointed that Malaysians have lost their sense of morality over this. The only saving grace is that the event was linked to the MCA, the timid coalition partner in Barisan Nasional, which has a track record of kowtowing to Big Brother Umno.

Alongside Najib on that day was MCA vice-president Ti Lian Ker, who’s also a deputy minister. The organising chairman for the event was also from Wilayah Persekutuan MCA. 

In other words, it was an MCA event, if not overtly, then indirectly. And MCA has once again shown its true colour by being a party to prop up a disgraced politician for the sake of expediency. The party, which has lost support from large chunks of the Chinese community, is just driving more nails into its political coffin come GE15 by being so detached from ground sentiment.

This is not the first time this has happened. During the recent Johor elections, where the party fielded Nicole Tan as its candidate to wrest the seat from DAP, Najib had been described as MCA’s “secret weapon”. I rest my case.

As a Chinese, I can say with utmost certainty that the vast majority of the community is turned off by Najib’s shenanigans. We still haven’t forgotten how the 1MDB scandal landed the country in huge debt and brought disrepute to Malaysia. These are all revelations in open courts, not narratives woven from thin air.

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