Written by Malaysia Chronicle
KUALA LUMPUR - In past decades, the quality of everything in Malaysia has been on a steep downtrend. Many of the savvy have attributed this to the fact that an insular culture was spreading and the "unintelligent" were taking control of the country via Prime Minister Najib Razak's Umno party.
Indeed, the ongoing Umno general assembly has given strength to this notion, with all sorts of bizarre calls being unabashedly made in the name of the Bumiputera or to be more precise, the Malays who form 70% of this classification of citizens.
On Thursday, a Youth delegate told his colleagues at the Umno assembly not to be worried by criticism about how they managed to accumulate wealth beyond their means.
It was a bare-faced thumbs-up for corruption. Yet Najib, who is himself dogged by scandals, maintained a deafening silence.
"Don't worry if you own a Land Rover, like our Youth chief (Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar), or a Porsche Cayenne, like announced just now. Don't worry. This means you have capabilities (berwibawa), can control the economy and do everything," Johor delegate Khairul Anwar Rahmat had said on Thursday.
But that was not the pinnacle of foolery and more foolery at the Umno congress.
Today, a delegate from the Federal Territories, Affandi Zahari told his colleagues not to bother with criticism about the lavish lifestyle and excessive spending of Prime Minister Najib Razak and his shopping-crazy wife Rosmah Mansor.
"Rosmah's safety is paramount and if anything happened to her, it will only upset Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. This involves the security of his wife. If anything happened to her, it will affect him emotionally," said Affandi, who then slammed the Opposition for making such a big fuss over the issue.
"She was invited and it was an official trip. If she went on a holiday, even I will be unhappy."
Needless to say, he received applause from the audience, as to not clap would pit that person against the now powerful Najib faction.
Not once was the argument raised that Rosmah might be effusively spending when the ordinary people were finding it a struggle to make ends meet, as prices soared and her husband's government continued to slash life-breathing subsidies that made essentials like sugar and fuel affordable.
As pointed out by the Opposition, each time the government's private plane is used, it will set back national coffers by some RM500,000 per flight. Why did Rosmah not opt to fly by commercial airlines? She could have taken 1st class as does Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Why send her, why not a ministry official who might be more apt in addressing the Islamic forum. It should be noted she was only going to Qatar to make a speech. Given that this is not a critical mission, there seems to be few excuses why she did not fly commercially.
Many critics have also accused Najib of abuse of power in allowing his untrained wife to go to Qatar, and then take a shopping break at Dubai, the playground for the enormously wealthy and powerful.
Did Rosmah need the space and capacity of a private jet versus a commercial flight so as to ferry her shopping home in style??
None of these questions were raised by Affandi or his Umno colleagues. Either grey matter was completely missing between their ears or they were too terrified to question the 62-year-old Romsah.
"There is a lot of spin and propaganda at this assembly. Some say the Land Rover comment against Khairy yesterday and the use of the government jet against Rosmah today were instigated by their rivals. The finger of suspicion is pointed at the Mahathir camp," an Umno delegate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Malaysia Chronicle.
He was referring to former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is known for his patchy relations with Khairy and Rosmah.