The PM sounded a bit exasperated with MTUC in the latter’s insistent demand for a ‘minimum wage’ for Malaysian workers.
As reported by Malaysiakini in its news article Minimum wage: 100 demos won't change 'No' decision, AAB said in response to MTUC’s plans to hold a protest in front of Parliament house on Wednesday over the matter:
“They can have 100 demonstrations but if we can’t, we can’t ... as simple as that. If we can give, we give. I would like to make the people happy if I can by giving more money but if we can’t, we can’t.”
Then he added: “I don’t know why this approach (demonstration) is being used. It is as though we don’t care about the people. It’s not easy for us to make a decision.”
AAB shouldn’t be so sensitive. It’s the job of the unions or opposition to criticise the government. They need to keep the government in check as well as play to their respective constituencies. If their members or supporters lose faith, that’s it for them – the union boss would be out of a job, and the opposition members won’t be re-voted.
Usually (but not always) unions are more inflexible as they would only consider their members’ welfare, and to hell with the national administration and management.
The opposition in western countries lacks the tolerance of the public for bullsh*tting which our opposition enjoys in abundance, especially with their supporters. Of course, don’t forget, when we talk about ‘opposition’ we include those BN losers in five states ;-)
In western countries, if opposition leaders talk cock, they would be laughed at, and the political outcome would be as bad as if they didn’t say anything. The voters are very discerning.
In Malaysia, an opposition can promise any damn thing, even impossible ones to achieve, and still they would be supported, or worse, even believed! And it’s not just promises that opposition leaders sometimes indulge in.
There has been a recent scare campaign by UMNO, though I am not sure whether it is a national effort or just something initiated by the Acting Bandar Tun Razak Umno division head Rahim Baba, as was reported by Malaysiakini in Hear the cries of young Malays, leaders urged.
Rahim Baba has sent a powerful but frightening message to the Malay community by melodramatically calling on Malay leaders, irrespective of their political affiliations, to sit down together and heed “the pleas of the young Malays.”
He made an appeal to leaders from UMNO, PKR (hey Datuk Seri, here’s your chance) and PAS to deliberate on Malay ‘survival’ and relevance.
Wow, the Malays are in a politically dire situation liao, according to Rahim Baba's message.
He said: “We have to admit that the position of the Malays has become increasingly shaken. Today we can sit in this hall. But we cannot be sure if we can continue to be sitting where we are now”
“Five years (until the next general election is due) is not a long time. Do we want one day in the future that (more) people from other races to become menteri besar? To become chief ministers? Even to become prime minister?”
“Whatever the situation we are facing now, if we cannot face these current tribulations, what will happen when power is no longer in our hands? Today we can still walk tall, but tomorrow or next year or in the next 10 years, power may not be still in our hands if this situation continues.”
Hmmm, let’s examine the five States lost to those ‘other races’, those frightening ‘nons’, to see whether Rahim Baba's clarion call for Pan-Melayu solidarity is justified.
(1) Kelantan? Hey, masih diperentah olih Melayu lah – OK, beres!
(2) Kedah? Aiyah, sama juga - jangan bimbang, dong!
(3) Perak? MB juga Melayu – apa lagi?
(4) Selangor? Kedudukan Melayu tetap kukuh! Semua selamat.
(5) Pulau Pinang? Aiyoyo, CM adalah Cina, itu tidak diterima. Er … Pak Rahim, dulu CM juga orang Cina … huh, ya kah?
Maka status quo maintained, no worries! So … what’s next? I brace myself in anticipation.
But the point is at the heart of the UMNO scare campaigning has been the worst form of racism, the promotion of the ‘them’ and ‘us’ division, between the ‘nons’ and Melayu. Rahim Baba should be questioned by the police for his seditious speech.
Meanwhile, on the other side of politics, what would you make of promises like lower fuel prices when the entire world is raising theirs?
20% royalties to Sabah and Sarawak?
By contrast, even boasts like “I’ll be PM by this or that date” by an unelected leader of an opposition, short of 30 seats to form a majority in the House, would not only be laughed at or frowned upon for its nonsensical arrogance, but would be ripped apart by the media for suggesting undemocratic subversion of the ballot box.
In this contrasting state of politics vis-à-vis public perception (or acceptance), either Malaysian politicians are fortunate to have a tolerant public or the public are themselves so biased or ignorant that they can’t separate the bullsh*t from the substantial.