The Perak imbroglio has thrown up many issues and many players on national stage from royalty to politicians, some hungry for their 15 seconds of fame and eyeing a bigger role in the future.
Consider the following.
Datuk Seri Khir Toyo (who tried to march to Karpal Singh’s house), Khairy Jamaluddin (who called for banishment), Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (who has been calling for action against treason) and Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib (who has been calling for action against bloggers who have commented on the Perak sultan).
Of the four, Khir and Khairy are running for the Umno Youth chief post, Hishammuddin is eyeing a vice-presidential slot and Muhammad is hoping to win as deputy president.
But they all seem to be oblivious to one fact: they are not only auditioning for support in Umno polls but, by virtue of being leaders in Umno, they are also Malaysian leaders.
Therefore, their constituents are also those outside the party, not just the Umno delegates who will likely vote them in for higher positions with the Malay nationalist party that been dominant in Malaysian politics since before Merdeka.
However, the sabre-rattling and political posturing may fly in Umno but not with those outside the party.
Does the country need such emotional, reactionary and irrational leaders as such, who fly at a moment’s anger or upset with political rivals to consider a march, a banishment, rallies and harsh action against those who differ with them in philosophy and opinion?
Does the country need leaders willing to risk public safety and order to prove a point and score points for their party politics?
These are leaders who must rise above party politics and lead the country towards enlightenment and progress, not the dark ages of marches and torches and threats of harm to mind, spirit and body.
In the campaign for Umno votes, and the heaven-sent opportunity of Perak providing a national stage, these leaders must consider that their every word and move is also being considered and evaluated by the public at large.
There is no use of being the king in a small pond but nothing in the big lake that is Malaysia.
These are the days for the wisdom of statesmen not the wild rhetoric of demagogues. These are the days for calm and not chaos. These are the days when you wished these Umno leaders will rise above petty party politics and play a leadership role in the country, just like the ones before them who led the way to Merdeka and, later, Malaysia.
Fortunately, we have options now even if Umno doesn’t realise it yet.
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