On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Incredulously ridiculous

IT’S incredible how some of our politicians can say the most amusing and ridiculous things with a straight face.

Surely there must be plenty of self-restraint, or a total belief in oneself, for them to be able to deliver the most outrageous statements without breaking into laughter themselves.

The most laughable remark in recent days must be that of former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu who announced that he was a winnable candidate for his former Sungai Siput parliamentary seat. In fact, he even used the words “without a doubt” to emphasise his winnability status.

With due respect, I think I can safely say that half of Malaysia would prefer that the 77-year-old retired politician continues in his present role as the country’s special envoy to India and South Asia for infrastructure.

And then there was Datuk Chua Jui Meng, who’s entering the fray in this general election, reportedly declaring himself as “young” too.

The 69-year-old former Cabinet Minister used to sing praises of the Barisan Nasional but after losing a series of party elections, he decided to change his party uniform, sing a different tune, and has now become the Johor PKR chief.

Obviously, the DAP grassroots in Johor, who used to cross swords with Chua, have not forgiven him and thus would find it difficult to campaign for him, even if the order came from the national Pakatan Rakyat leadership.

This is the irony. This general election will see over two million new voters, mostly young ones, who could end up voting in the oldest politicians.

Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, for example, is already 82 years old but still regards himself as indispensable. He is for sure a winnable candidate as he still retains his popularity but it must be pretty comical when he calls for changes in the federal government and political landscape when nothing has changed in Kelantan politics.

He too deserves a special mention for his remarks that Muslims who vote for DAP will get divine merit or pahala as DAP has accepted Islam. I wouldn’t want to comment on a religious matter but, seriously, this one sounds more political than religious.

In DAP, Lim Kit Siang is 72 while Karpal Singh is 73. They have been in politics before many of us were born and they are still around. Yes, the two are calling for change, too.

Old-timers also exist in the Barisan Nasional. Datuk Seri Rais Yatim is 71 while Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcob is 66. They are good in their jobs, although some may disagree, but, seriously, they should consider moving on with their lives. Life is short. They shouldn’t waste their twilight years in government and in party politics. They should use their precious time to spend with their loved ones.

The proposal to give each political party 10 minutes to talk about their manifestos also had many Malaysians laughing. A clarification was then made to say it was actually 10 minutes each session in a series of programmes.

We are not sure whose brilliant idea it was but – you guessed right – there were no takers. I am sure even the Barisan component parties are not keen to take up this 10-minute slot.

Then there is Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is already 66 years old but still harbours hopes of wanting to become the next prime minister of Malaysia.

It is probably his last shot and if it doesn’t happen, then this is the end of his political career. But we have to admit that Anwar looks younger and more dashing, unlike Samy or Kit or Karpal.

He looks and acts younger, really. He can say he is “young” and half of Malaysians will believe him. In fact, he can say anything and half of the country will be convinced. And he can also deny anything, and many will stand by his denials.

That’s how powerful he is. Last week, he made another comical remark – he vowed that if he became the Prime Minister, he would “end cronyism”.

Now, that’s funny for many of us older Malaysians who have been around long enough and followed the country’s political and economic developments – that means Malaysians who are 50 years old and above.

The Election Commission has fixed 15 days for campaigning and we can be sure we will be treated to many happy and surely outrageously funny remarks in this period. After all, they are very much the hallmark of Malaysian politics.