Cleanse the Malaysian ‘temple’ of corruption

Those with power had turned the institution of governance into a ‘den of thieves’.

COMMENT | ‘Joy to the world’ is a hymn that reverberates around the globe during Christmas though it is an everyday song for many.

In a world of gloom and doom, hope brings joy, a different sort of joy, unspeakable not as the world gives. Christmas is the time that reminds us to think of other people. It is the time for giving and sharing.

Someone sent me a video with the look of joy on a young cerebral palsy sufferer’s face when he received a present of an electric wheelchair from a stranger. What prevents the government from creating joy for the people who are weighed down with despair?

Money cannot buy everything, especially eternal life. This is the Christmas narrative. They acknowledge God has given us the gift of forgiveness and hope in Jesus – a free gift but given at great cost – the death of his son.

Christmas is the reminder there is God and life after death, and while we pass through here, we are to love one another. Love is the most powerful force and needed everywhere and it is important we love not in word but in deed.

The photo of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the funeral of Malaysian second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein’s widow Rahah Mohd Noah is another reminder that death is inevitable and the equaliser. Another much earlier photo of Mahathir visiting Pakatan Harapan Anwar Ibrahim in hospital displays hope that enemies can be friends though their relationship has soured again. Love overcomes all things. It is puerile and destructive to hate anyone.

An anonymous writer, among other things, wrote many years ago – “I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon the earth as has that one solitary life.”

One incident that has stayed indelible in my mind and which many non-Christians know is the account of Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem. It has an analogy for politics in Malaysia. Jesus drove out the money-lovers that had contaminated a sacred place. It is time to drive out the corrupt in government who have despoiled the public institutions.

As everyone knows in every religion there are cardinal principles, rules and practices adherents are expected to obey. Yet the two may not always juxtapose as we expect. So the variance between belief and practice is called hypocrisy. And when people corrupt a hallowed institution, whether sacred or secular, it is sacrilegious hypocrisy of the highest order.

It is hypocrisy when a politician takes office with an oath to serve the people but had no intention of putting it into practice.

In the temple story, the Jews had committed such hypocrisy. Instead of honouring God’s temple as a holy place, they had turned it into a market place for money-changing and sale of animals. Hypocrisy had shipwrecked faith as it did the oath of office.

Those with power had turned the institution of governance into a ‘den of thieves’. There were money-changers who were dishonest who cheated the people – their kinfolk. In Malaysia, the thieves who stole from the Haj fund likewise also betrayed their Muslim brethren. These corrupt politicians are stealing the future of the Malays and non-Malays against the teachings of Islam.

Corruption and the love of money that plagued the Jews now similarly trouble Malaysia. Both institutions of governance were hijacked by corrupt leaders.

Kindred spirit

In recent times, several outstanding Malaysians have written candid assessments of the state of the nation.

Among these critics of Malaysia, many Malaysians of all races will find a kindred spirit. There is found a common thread in their narrative. They tell readers what is wrong with their country and why (as I have written in a past Malaysiakini article), it is ‘a den of thieves’.

They lambast the corruption and abuse of power, the relegation of the constitution and role of Parliament, the misuse of religion as a political tool, the Sheraton Move shenanigan, and, inevitably the corrupt politicians convicted and facing manifold criminal charges.

One critique has impressed me with its writer’s profound achievements and advanced ‘outside the box’ mindset. The text delves into the antics of what he sardonically described as “our Wannabe PM, Backdoor PM, Ex-PM, Convicted PM and all our Frog Master CMs”.

I don’t have to regurgitate what was written because it is doing the WhatsApp circuit. The writer appeared not long ago on The Edge TV’s Talking Edge programme which described him as a “gypsetter (a cross between a gypsy and a jetsetter) and explorer”.

Yusuf Hashim, 71, is a remarkable man who does not personify the typecast Malay. He had come into my radar some months ago because of his amazing landscape photos and radical ideas on life after work.

And he struck me as sensible when he facetiously suggested throwing the troublesome politicians into a volcano he had visited. ‘Hail, Our Malaysian Prime Ministers’ by Yusuf is superbly written, non-partisan and incisive.

However, it will not amount to much like the countless words we have all produced over the years until the people take heart of what they have read and act decisively. Hope is pointless without fulfilment and you can’t fulfil anything without action.

Jesus cleared the temple of the robbers. Malaysians will want to cleanse their Parliament and Putrajaya of the corrupt hypocrites. Not all politicians, but the bad apples and black sheep.

Every truth-loving and nation-loving Malaysian has to clean out their sacred Parliament of the wannabe, backdoor, convicted and ex-robbers in politics who are ruining their nation. Reject them and ask others to reject them.

More people must decide not to vote for those politicians and cleanse the Malaysian ‘temple’ – the institutions of governance – of hypocritical and money-loving local modern equivalents of Pharisees and Sadducees.

Open rebuke when there is wrongdoing is better than love concealed.

By : STEVE OH (An author and composer of the novel and musical ‘Tiger King of the Golden Jungle’) – MALAYSIAKINI

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