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Kausikan's 'sour grapes' moment

Charles Santiago  |  Published:  |  Modified:

MP SPEAKS | In an exaggerated comment, retired Singaporean diplomat Bilahari Kausikan said political instability in Pakatan Harapan and its failure to capture Malay support are aggravating relations between Malaysia and Singapore.

Then he went on to explain the old sticking points between the two countries, only to end up saying that Pakatan Harapan is falling apart.

Maybe Kausikan was hoping that with his radical comment the mainstream media would start fizzing like a freshly opened soda bottle.

He did not stop to think that his observation is not befitting that of a long-standing diplomat.

I am not denying that Malaysia’s ruling coalition is experiencing teething problems, but we are certainly not collapsing.

The new government embraces differences of opinion and is welcoming of people verbalising their dissenting views.

One cannot deny there is an opening up of the democratic space in Malaysia. We cannot say the same about Singapore, can we?

Speaking at a lecture, Kausikan, a former policy adviser to Singapore’s ministry of foreign affairs, also said that we are using Singapore as a bogeyman or whipping boy to rally the Malay ground as it is a time-tested tactic.

Further into his ludicrous lecture, Kausikan urged the republic’s incoming new leadership to maintain the country’s military capabilities, saying that a show of might is crucial in its dealings with Malaysia.

Every once in a while the ridiculous just writes itself, but Kausikan’s “political observation” and “analysis” only make me question his credibility.

In a massive show of protest, Malaysians threw out a corrupt regime last year. We were voted in on the premise of inclusion and reforms.

There’s significant improvement

Yes, we are falling short of some election manifesto promises. But we are also seeing significant improvement.

For example, an administrative overhaul by the government will see nine agencies operating as independent entities and reporting directly to Parliament.

Among these are the Election Commission, the MACC, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia and the National Audit Department.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad (photo) is focusing on repairing damage in the administrative machinery and improving the country's financial position, which is hampered by huge debts.

He is also sticking to institutional reforms, particularly weeding out corruption.

So to wave a pretty wand and take pot shots at Pakatan Harapan only goes to demonstrate Kausikan’s rather shallow analytical skills.

Having said that, I am reminded of the time Kausikan fell for untrue news by a website that openly propagates fake news.

He shared an article by parody news site The Tapir Times, which claimed that Mahathir’s party, Bersatu, vowed to only accept Umno MPs who have less than 10 pending criminal charges.

If Kausikan can’t understand parody from a self-identified troll website, I wonder how he comprehends regional politics?

And this time around, he has made a media headline that won’t age well.

CHARLES SANTIAGO is the Member of Parliament for Klang.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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