BOOK EXCERPTS The following are excerpts from newly-released book ‘Unbelievably Stupid!’ by Kee Thuan Chye.
Shoot the boat people!
The one laughable government blooper that I vividly remember from decades ago arose from the horrific statement made in June 1979 by the then-deputy prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad. None other!
Mahathir reportedly said the government would prevent Vietnamese refugees from setting foot on our shores by shooting them. It went on to create such an international uproar that the-then prime minister, Hussein Onn, had to come out and say that Mahathir was not expressing “the official stand”.
After that, the-then foreign minister, Ghazali Shafie, declared that Mahathir had actually said “shoo”, not “shoot”!
Surely, if indeed Mahathir had not said “shoot”, it would not have required the PM to publicly distance the government from his deputy’s statement, so was Ghazali talking bullshit?
In an editorial I wrote for The National Echo on June 20, 1979, I lambasted Mahathir’s call to shoot the refugees for “having caused undue embarrassment”. I knew from that point on that Mahathir was bad news. And I was very apprehensive when he became PM. But he would eventually become my favourite PM... er, to take potshots at.
I have since whacked Najib Razak a lot more, but Mahathir is the one I cherish whacking the most. I also satirise him in a few of my plays, namely, ‘1984 Here and Now’, ‘The Big Purge’ and ‘We Could **** You, Mr Birch’.
I’ve helped you, now you must help me!
On Aug 8, speaking at the Bandar Tun Razak Umno division’s meeting, Najib slammed division heads who criticised him over the RM2.6 billion issue.
“They don’t make noise when they get the money for their divisions. But when I’m attacked, they don’t do anything to defend the party president,” he said. “Worse, they add fuel to the fire.”
Wah! Like that ah? This sounded like he was admitting he had bribed them to gain their loyalty. It also showed he obviously wanted blind loyalty - even if he were in the wrong, he would expect to be defended. He would want his beneficiaries to collude with him in defending an act that was illegal.
“Under my leadership, many divisions have received a lot of help. We have done a lot of CSR (corporate social responsibility),” he said. “Many people could go for the haj, many divisions get contributions every month.”
Oh, CSR, kononnya (apparently)! Ha ha ha!... It echoed his famous “I help you, you help me” line used on Sibu voters at the constituency’s by-election in 2010. This time, it was akin to saying, “I’ve helped you, now you must help me.”
Netizens pointed out that if illegally obtained funds were indeed used to pay for the haj pilgrimages, the whole exercise would not be halal!
But the Bandar Tun Razak Umno delegates were apparently not bothered by such technicalities. After Najib’s speech, they carried him on their shoulders, grinning and yelling, behaving like idiots. They might have benefitted much from the allegedly non-halal funds!
Question hangs over IGP’s IQ
Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua was incensed when he heard that Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar had been arrested for sedition for making a statement in Parliament.
He was entitled to his anger because an MP is supposed to enjoy immunity from prosecution for statements made in Parliament.
He slammed the Royal Malaysian Police for the unwarranted arrest in a tweet that read: “Bastards. Real bastards, Royal my foot.”
In response, the IGP sent out a tweet saying that the police would call Pua in to clarify what he meant by “Royal my foot”.
“Is this aimed at the Malay Rulers?” Khalid’s tweet asked.
OMG! Did the IGP fail comprehension in school? He didn’t understand that Pua was not referring to royalty but to the ‘royal’ in ‘Royal Malaysian Police’? What else could it have been, duh? Why would Tony have involved royalty in this case?
Obviously, Khalid did not understand, or if he did, he might have decided to seize this opportunity to haul in a member of the opposition. Sure enough, on March 23, 2015, Pua was called to Bukit Aman to be investigated under the Sedition Act.
What a joke!
Lim Kit Siang was right in saying, “What Pua tweeted is not tasteful but it is no way a crime.”
He said even schoolchildren would not interpret it as something targeted at the Malay rulers. “Is the IGP’s IQ lower than schoolchildren’s?... He is not fit to be an IGP.”
RON95 petrol to be only for the poor!
In January 2014, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor revealed that a new policy could be implemented in May or June that year to make the subsidised RON95 petrol available only to the poor.
This meant that those who did not qualify to purchase RON95 petrol might have to buy RON97 petrol instead as the latter would be subject to price increases.
“We want to impose the increase to only those who can afford it. Someone may drive a Toyota Alphard or even a Mercedes but they still use RON95 petrol,” he lamented. “Even our neighbours from Singapore and Thailand as well as foreigners living and working in the country are enjoying the subsided fuel rates.”
It sounded well and good to take this socialist approach to petrol pricing, but... er... how would we define ‘poor’ to determine eligibility to buy RON95?
By the car a person drives? Would a person who drives, say, a MyVi or Proton Saga be considered poor enough to qualify? But then, that might be their second or third car. Or they might be actually rich but choose to drive lower-priced cars for certain reasons.
Besides, how would Adnan ( photo ) stop people who were not poor from buying RON95? Was he going to set up a monitoring system at every station to arbitrate who could buy and who could not? How would such a system work?
Would buyers of RON95 have to declare their assets? Ha ha ha!
The next day, after the flak from social media had zapped Tengku Adnan and the government for coming up with a hare-brained scheme, Tengku Adnan tweeted a denial and said, “It is sad when people like to sensationalise things and slander people.”
His denial was not unexpected, considering he did the same the year before over his remark about properties and women.
Following up on his tweet, he told the media that he was merely expressing a personal opinion. Yeah, right. How could revealing a government pricing policy be expressing a personal opinion? Tell us about it!
He said he was merely suggesting that owners of cars with engine capacities above 2,000cc should be prevented from using the subsidised RON95. Oh, if that was so, why mention that a policy would be implemented by May or June?
Anyway, we had already got so used to the standard operating procedure of ministers denying or modifying their statements or claiming they were misquoted after getting pummelled by the public that we were not at all convinced.
Tengku Adnan might have tried to save his face, but, honestly, it was already beyond saving!
Voting for own race is key to unity!
In March 2014, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim said in Parliament one of the dumbest things any Malaysian could say!
He said for the ‘one man, one vote’ concept to reflect equality and be fairly implemented - because “here in Malaysia, the minority have a lot of votes” - voters should be allowed to vote for only candidates of their own race!
He claimed that his proposal would make Malaysia a peaceful and harmonious country “until the end of time”. Wow! Grandiose!
He said since the Chinese comprised 23 percent of the population, the bumiputeras 67 percent, “Parliament must represent that”. He even said at a press conference later that multiple parties should be abolished and replaced with only three parties - one for bumiputeras, one for the Chinese, and one for the Indians.
“So the Chinese will only vote for Chinese politicians, the Malays for the Malays, and the Indians for the Indians. Then the number of MPs from each race will correctly represent the racial demographic of Malaysia,” he said.
“Instead, right now, we have 23 percent Chinese in Malaysia, but 40 Chinese MPs (out of 222) in Parliament.” Since he was complaining that the minority in Malaysia “have a lot of votes”, he must surely mean that 40 is too many. But then, if we were to follow his formula, 23 percent of the House would work out to 51 Chinese MPs. Would he prefer it if the Chinese were proportionately represented?
Isn’t it laughable that he couldn’t even get his arithmetic right to support his proposal?
But that’s not the point. The point is, even if we were to take Shahidan’s proposal seriously, how can it work? How do we chart the electoral map such that we can ensure that the eventual winners will add up to, in accordance with his formula, 67 percent bumiputera, 23 percent Chinese and 10 percent Indian?
What about mixed races and Eurasians and Thais? Whom are they supposed to vote for?
Besides, if the bumiputeras are to vote only for bumiputeras, the Chinese for Chinese and so on and there are to be only three racial parties, why even bother to have any form of voting? From the racial composition of any given constituency, we should already be able to tell even before polling which race would win. Duh!
See the nonsense in his idea?
... Obviously, Shahidan had not done much thinking before making his proposal. And yet when Anthony Loke, DAP MP for Seremban, stood up to say that the minister did not seem to understand the concept of ‘one man, one vote’, Shahidan retorted, “You need two more degrees to compete with me. I have a PhD. I understand the concept of ‘one man, one vote’, but it must be based on race.”
Wah! Aksyen! Ya, you can have a string of degrees but if you think up idiotic ideas, who cares about your degrees?
Deputy prez makes Isma a bigger joke
In January 2015, during the row sparked by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s ridiculous statement that bringing back local elections could lead to racial violence, Isma entered the fray and said that the DAP wanted local elections because that was part of its plan to take over Malaysia since it already controlled 58 percent of the state seats in the country.
That suggestion was not only ridiculous, it was stupid. And it came from no less than Isma’s deputy president, Aminuddin Yahaya.
Aminuddin ( photo ) looked hopelessly misinformed and bad at simple arithmetic.
There are 505 state seats in the entire country. Of these, Pakatan Rakyat controls only 45 percent of the total, which works out to 229 seats. So how in tarnation could he say that the DAP commanded 58 percent?
In fact, the DAP holds 95 state seats, which is only 18.8 percent of the grand total of 505 seats.
Aminuddin’s blunder didn’t help Isma’s cause. He made the NGO look like a spinner of untruths and, worse, a dud. Already, people had come to consider Isma a joke. Its deputy president only helped to reinforce that image.
Keep up the good work, bro!
‘Unbelievably Stupid!’ is published by Gerakbudaya. It is now available in major bookstores except MPH.
Tomorrow: Excerpts from ‘Unbelievably Stupid Too’
KEE THUAN CHYE is the author of ‘Unbelievably Stupid!’ and ‘Unbelievably Stupid Too!’