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M. Bakri Musa

Seeing Malaysia My Way

My Photo
Location: Morgan Hill, California, United States

Malaysian-born Bakri Musa writes frequently on issues affecting his native land. His essays have appeared in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asiaweek, International Herald Tribune, Education Quarterly, SIngapore's Straits Times, and The New Straits Times. His commentary has aired on National Public Radio's Marketplace. His regular column Seeing It My Way appears in Malaysiakini. Bakri is also a regular contributor to th eSun (Malaysia). He has previously written "The Malay Dilemma Revisited: Race Dynamics in Modern Malaysia" as well as "Malaysia in the Era of Globalization," "An Education System Worthy of Malaysia," "Seeing Malaysia My Way," and "With Love, From Malaysia." Bakri's day job (and frequently night time too!) is as a surgeon in private practice in Silicon Valley, California. He and his wife Karen live on a ranch in Morgan Hill. This website is updated twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays at 5 PM California time.

Sunday, August 01, 2021

Get Rid of the Malam Deman Leaders

 Get Rid of Malim Deman Leaders

M. Bakri Musa



In Hikayat Malim Deman, the crown prince and eponymous character caused thousands of his able-bodied subjects to perish in his fanatical pursuit of his literal dream bride Puteri Bongsu. They had been conscripted to escort him on the journey way upriver and fell victims to the scourges of the fetid Malaysian jungle. Even his beloved pet dog succumbed.


            As a crown prince, Malim Deman becoming sultan was assured. As such there was little to challenge the young man; hence his fantasy pursuit. As for the horrendous price, well, to Malay sultans their subjects were disposable. Further, in Malay culture to die in the service of your sultan (or crown prince) is martyrdom, secular version. That was true then and still very much the reality today, despite Malaysia’s façade of modernity.


Having acquired his trophy wife at humongous human costs, Malim Deman ignored her and returned to his favorite concubine, Si Kembang China (My Chinese Lotus), much like a spoiled kid bored with his new toy once the novelty had worn off.


On becoming sultan and deprived of his wise father’s counsel, Malim Deman soon regressed to his old vices – gambling and cock fighting, the avian variety I presume. With that the state crumbled, and in tandem, his personal life, culminating in his Puteri Bongsu abandoning him, taking with her their young son.


Malaysia is today cursed with her own Malim Deman, complete with his Si Kembang China. She however had left him long ago after securing her booty. Unlike the young, handsome virile prince in the Hikayatwho made virgins wobbly in their knees, the current real life, plebian, scarred-face version is afflicted with a fatal disease. More accurate to call him Mahiaddin Demam. It matters not with the name, for Malaysia, as with the kingdom in the Hikayat, the results are just as disastrous.


Like the Hikayat’s protagonist, Mahiaddin Demam is content only with securing his dream trophy, to be Malaysia’s Prime Minister, even if it were via the back alley. Ignorant and incompetent, he remains clueless on how to leverage the awesome power of that high office to effect good for the country. Instead, he is back to his old sinister scheming ways of bribing politicians to support him.


Malim Deman caused thousands of deaths in the pursuit of his dream bride. Mahaiddin Demam brought death to thousands and sufferings to millions more after he had secured his dream position with his negligence in handling the Covid-19 pandemic.


Malim Deman regained his senses when his Puteri Bongsu abandoned him. Meanwhile Mahiaddin Demam surrounds himself with sycophants. Outside of politics, their talents would be valued at best only slightly above that of the hawker. At least hawkers provide much needed services. To these Malim Demans-in-waiting, their sultan is never naked. Court jesters that they are, their job is to humor him in return for the munificence.


Malay leadership is blighted with Malim Demans, the numbers increasing in and spreading to all spheres. That is not a recent phenomenon.


As a surgeon in Malaysia back in the 1970s when the number of Malay specialists could be counted on one hand, I encountered many of these Malim Demans. I would have expected them, seeing that Malay specialists then were still very much a novelty, to focus on their professional development so they could contribute to their profession and nation. Most however, were satisfied with cincai (perfunctory) performances in their pursuit of their dream titles.


One medical Malim Deman was obsessed with being Dean; another eyeing to be Vice Chancellor; the third, angling to be the next Director-General. Consumed with their pursuit, they “delegated” their clinical responsibilities to their medical officers, delivered the same stale lectures year in and year out, and showed little inclination to undertake much-needed research to the many pressing problems.


In a conversation with the character aspiring to be Vice-Chancellor, I asked him what innovations he would bring if given the job. He demurred, claiming that the job was not yet his. When I assured him there was not much of a competition seeing that the slot was reserved for a Malay, he admitted that he had not given it any thought. Meaning, he had no idea. His interest was only in the position, like Malim Deman wanting his Puteri Bongsu.


            Mahaiddin Yassin is thus not an anomaly but the sorry norm of Malay leadership. I salute those brave Lawan protestors, citizens fed up with his empty leadership. Even divine intervention would not save Malaysia as there are many more Malim Demans in the wings.


            In the Hikayat, Puteri Bongsu knocked some sense back into Malim Deman by abandoning him. With Mahaiddin, his thick skull comes in the way, and there are no brave Puteri Bongsu characters surrounding him.


            Do not blame God for this crisis. Sleepyhead Abdullah Badawi, corrupt Najib Razak, and now bungling Mahaiddin Yassin, together with others waiting for his demise share one ugly commonality. They were all tutored by Mahathir Mohamad. Tengku Abdul Rahman, Bapa Merdeka and Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, was prescient when he predicted that Mahathir would one day destroy UMNO and Malaysia.


            In an incomprehensible perversity, many today prefer Mahathir lead Malaysia again. Suckers and gluttons for punishment they are!


            UMNO’s destruction is good; today it is but a malignancy on Malay society. The other cancer is PAS, and it is spreading fast, like an epidemic of crack addicts, mirroring Marx’s celebrated dictum of religion being the opiate of the people.


            The divine intervention Malaysians should pray for is that come next election voters would display their wisdom and displeasure by getting rid of the Malim Demans now blighting the nation. In addition Malay voters need to excise the two afflicting cancers – UMNO and PAS. As the election is years away, Malaysia’s many brave Puteri Bongsus must continue expressing their contempt and disdain for this wretched pretender, Mahaiddin Demam, until he gets the message, be disposed, or Allah intervening, whichever comes first.


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