‘Nero fiddling while Rome burns’ is a common phrase which means ‘occupying oneself with unimportant matters and neglecting priorities during a crisis’ or ‘heedless and irresponsible behaviour in the midst of a crisis’.
Malaysia is in deep crisis, with rampant corruption, shocking crime rates, dodgy governance, maltreatment of alien and domestic workers, real worries on the financial/economic front, questionable professionalism amongst the public service, in the last where as a much lamented example, a police officer couldn’t even get it right in his interrogation of PKR Info Chief Tian Chua – see malaysiakini news item Doctored photo: Tables turned on cop.
What a shameful revelation, and would have been hilarious if it weren’t so depressingly reflective of the deep malaise within the Malaysian civil service!
Then, we heard of the government process in selecting candidates for the judiciary being unusually challenged by a normally compliant Council of Rulers.
While some may be jubilant about the rulers thumbing their royal noses at AAB’s government, the royal dissent actually highlighted more of what has been not right with Malaysia.
In the face of the disappointing, sometimes disgusting and dodgy government disarray – namely, non transparency, non accountability, lack of due process, ignored conflict of interests, corruption, crimes, divisive politicking, unfettered & non accountable bigoted utterances by members of a political party, some members of the royalty have now seen fit to toss in their two golden doubloons worth of opinions.
And what has the government done that’s worthwhile considering?
The police summoned two bloggers in for bouts of physically challenging interrogation, and topping all those sideshows of non-relevancy, will now hound a 24-year old Chinese Malaysian university student studying in Taiwan, because the CABINET reckons that person having his own version of protest rap music spliced with the Negara Ku, is an act so drastic that it's unforgiveable.
I am not even going to defend Wee Men Chee's alleged insulting Negarakuku rap song, described by certain quarters as offensive to both the nation and Islam. Nor, am I going to condemn him for the same reason, that it’s a relatively trivial issue, of no immediate threat to public safety or national interest.
malaysiakini reported that UMNO hatchet man, Nazri Aziz, minister in the PM’s Department, said the cabinet was in no ‘position to forgive him’ and the Attorney-General will be considering whether to prosecute Wee.
Chief head kicker Nazri contradicted his UMNO colleague Zainnudin Maidin, minister of information, by asserting that “To not prosecute him [Wee] is not ‘on’ at all because he has committed an offence against the nation and no one, not the cabinet or political parties, are in the position to forgive him.”
Balderdash, Mr Nazri, the cabinet has been in various compromising ’positions’, let one one involving a nobody.
And why does it take a CABINET to decide on such a trivial matter as an amateur rap singer messing around with the music of Negara Ku?
In fact, the matter is such a non issue that it does not require even the decision of a junior minister, let alone the entire CABINET of the Malaysian government, who can’t even spell KORUPTION or KRONISM or KRIME.
No, don’t answer, Mr Nazri, we know the election is just around the corner, and UMNO has once again deliberately ethnic-ise the issue to milk it for all its worth to distract the public from far more important issues of government misdeeds. And as its strategy to command various electoral perceptions, it offers three wide ranging views – from (surprisingly) liberal Zam to moderate Rais Yatim to Attila Nazri the Hun. Which one it will eventually adopt will depend on its confidential party polling.
But for the Malaysian CABINET to hound an amateur rap singer studying somewhere in Taiwan, when the country is in crisis ...?
Isn’t this a case of 'Nero fiddling while Rome burns'?