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By JD Lovrenciear

Lessons for all from stink pies on Waytha's face

The home minister had asked Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waythamoorty to resign.

Hot on those insulting heels now comes along another sting - this time from the Defence Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein.

Bernama had reported on Aug 25, 2013, “As a member of the cabinet, we cannot place our self-interest over our collective interest” warned the defence minister, a one-time home minister, too.

Wow! What do these stings and stink pies on the face of Waythamoorthy tell us really? There are lessons for all from both sides of the political divide.

To begin with, Waythamoorthy should have listened to the voice of the rakyat. He should have been more humble to appreciate the cautious calls by concerned individuals and the mass pleas from his followers.

As a champion for the Indian Malaysian cause, he did make a huge  difference. There’s no denying this, even if Umno BN waters it down with police water cannons. That significance was noted in his ability to unite the factitious and fragmented Malaysian Indians and take that unprecedented stand under the banner of the saffron-coloured ‘Hindraf’.  

That is history and nevertheless an important episode in the development of democracy as understood the world over, though it is treason and sedition as far as Umno-BN’s version goes.

But when he swallowed hook and worm and took to partnering with Umno-BN at the 13th general election, trust was betrayed. But the fighter that Waythamoorthy is stood his ground, arguing that he could win the democracy-war from the inside.

He failed to recognise that “collective interest” is the sole and sanctified trading currency within Umno-BN.

Waythamoorthy could have - like his now politically-castrated brother who is being held under detention, stood the ground and championed his cause for the plight of the Indian Malaysians by putting his trust on the opposition coalition. At least he would have known that they do not smash stings and stink pies on your face if you chose to differ from the “collective interest”.

Anyway, perhaps the proverbial “once bitten, twice shy” wisdom may prod Waythamoorthy to re-think. But then again, in Malaysian politics you never know how the coin will finally fip, yeah.

And now how about the honourable home minister and the honourable defence ministers? Do they not realise that they have just short-changed if not short-circuited the very political party they proclaim to protect irrespective of whether there is merit or suspicion in the policies and actions or inactions of the very party they deem they will defend at all cost?

First, when one of your newly-anointed member has jumped the queue or made a seemingly derailing statement in public, why do you attack him through the public media? Have you forgotten the often repeated mantra from your political party’s big wigs that you should not “wash dirty linen in public” and that “there are proper channels to address concerns”?

Second, you speak of “collective interest” and have smashed stings and stink pies on one of your own collective team member. Is that not done out of “self-interest”?

Killing two birds with one stone?

Third, by delivering such attacks on our own team member who was baited and hooked by your own boss, you are actually trying to kill two birds with one stone - Waythamoorthy and Najib Abdul Razak. Well, at least that is how the court of public opinion will decipher our outbursts. Is this also “collective interest” then? Woe be thine if it is!

In any case, what about all those incidents when Umno-BN leaders also did not hesitate to hide under the barricades of statements like, “that is his own opinion” and “it does not reflect the party’s stand” when some truth beyond doubt was coughed out by a member within the ‘collective’ team?

Lastly, let this stings and stink episode also be a warning to all those potential frogs hibernating under the canopy of the opposition block.

The Umno-BN philosophy is glued to resonating cries of “Aye, aye, sir!” The lessons are a plenty. “Tutup satu mata” and “saya mudah lupa” and the unresolved Altantuya Shariibuu slaying are some examples that tell you loud and clear that either you subscribe, leave or be prepared to be humiliated in public.

By the way since we are talking about “self-interest” verses “collective interest”, how about that unforgettable incident when someone drew out a keris and held it high above him, belting out a threatening war cry in defence of a particular race-based political party at the party’s all-important event?

It better be “self interest” and not “collective interest”, otherwise Umno BN would be guilty of practicing undemocratic treachery in a world that is fast being forced to embrace democratic governance.