COMMENT | Whatever has gotten into Rais Hussin? The Bersatu strategic director is usually the author of perceptive pieces on issues besetting the nation.
He has been a defender of democratic principles in politics, a free marketeer in economic matters, and an adversary of complacency in the face of the distress inflicted on the Malaysian nation by the kleptocratic policies and practices of the now-deposed prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.
It came as a jarring surprise, then, to read Hussin's paean yesterday to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, one of the bigger hoaxes to be foisted on Turkey's body politic.
Rais' piece could win the Walter Duranty prize for counterfactual reporting.
Duranty was the New York Times bureau chief in Moscow during the early years of the Bolshevik ascendancy in Russia who won the Pulitzer prize in 1932 for a series of reports about the Soviet Union.
His glowing pieces in 1931 on the progress of the Bolshevik experiment pulled wool over readers' eyes to the savagery of Stalin's collectivisation of farms and its costs in famine and deaths of millions of peasants, especially in the Ukraine.
Rais' obliviousness of the sinister side of Erdoğan's now 15-year rule over Turkey is not of comparable enormity to Duranty's whitewash of Stalinism.
But his rooting for an Erdoğan victory in the Turkish elections sits oddly with his enthusiasm for democratic reform in Malaysia in articles for this website over the last two years.
More troubling still, is his opinion that Erdoğan and the leader of Malaysia's just-begun democratic restoration, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, share the same vision, presumably that of leading vibrant national economies while adhering to...