Author Archives: wcw

All is not what it seems

I’M not a Donald Trump fan and am ecstatic that he has to vacate the White House. I can’t stand his smirk, bravado and arrogance.

His endless bashing of obstacles in his way or politics, often racist in nature, has always been distasteful to most of us.

So it’s not surprising to the world that he alleges votes were stolen from him.

In the 2016 presidential election, he made the same accusation, claiming the election was “absolutely rigged” by the “dishonest media”…“at many polling places”.

Trump then questioned the legitimacy of the election process in a series of tweets: “Of course, there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day.”

Naturally, he accepted the results wholeheartedly when they were in his favour because in those instances, the system apparently wasn’t rigged.

Now he’s back at it again, accusing Democrats of cheating without proving his claims.

Predictably, many of his supporters have echoed those sentiments because, well, Trump said so. His inflammatory remarks are dangerous and can rally his hardcore base.

But the real point of this piece is, based on what’s played out on CNN and other major news outlets, it’s easy to have thought that Biden would score a landslide victory.

Trump has been made out to be a moron and/or a monster, and that he’s a serial liar, a cheating husband and a president who worked with the Russians, and much more. His limited vocabulary and penchant for exaggerations and exclamations haven’t helped his cause either.

Yet, many Americans voted for him. It was such a slim win for Biden that at the beginning, Democrats had resigned to the fate of him losing.

Although he’s been the most controversial and divisive president in modern US history, Trump has had a remarkably steady approval rating, thanks to his staunch supporters.

With Trump being Trump, we can count on him to be delusional enough to declare himself a winner, with his poor suffering wife and family by his side as he proudly walked to the podium with Hail to the Chief accompanying his grand entrance.

We have many of our own political clowns, but this American Orange Man takes the cake for this incredibly moronic act.

The New York Times reported that Trump enjoyed huge support within his own party, winning 93% of Republican votes.

The report on Nov 4 also said that Trump did somewhat better with Black voters (12%) and Hispanic voters (32%) and of course, he won Florida with its huge Spanish speaking electorate.

Here is Trump, who has supposedly mismanaged the Covid-19 pandemic, messed up the economy, divided races, cheated on his tax returns, treated women badly, and is essentially someone not fit to be a US President.

CNN, as we’re all aware, threw out objectivity a long time ago and campaigned incessantly against Trump.

But the real story of the 2020 US elections is that a scary number of Americans still wanted Trump.

The Democrats also failed to unseat the Republicans in the Senate and the House of Representatives, with the Republicans maintaining their stranglehold.

British newspaper The Guardian rightly reported that “Biden didn’t offer a clear and compelling alternative” and described him as a “weak candidate from the start”.

“Biden, like Hillary Clinton before him, represented the corporate wing of the Democratic party; he loudly defended the private health insurance industry and fracking industry from attacks by the left” and “he didn’t show much interest in courting core constituencies like Latino voters (reportedly, the Biden campaign didn’t consider them part of its “path to victory”), which helps explain the losses in Texas and Florida.”

So the real story isn’t that Biden won but how it was a neck and neck fight all the way. And it wasn’t true at all that Trump was hugely unpopular as the US media wanted us to believe.

Simply put, Trump continues to be a formidable force and, well, he still has the numbers.

And what can we say of the American voters who chose a Republican candidate from North Dakota who died of Covid-19 for the state House of Representatives!

This is the irony – Trump, who was perceived as a dangerous man, never went to war. The nearest was a trade war with China. He even befriended North Korea leader Kim Jong-un and eased tensions.

In contrast, Barack Obama, who vowed to end conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan before he took office in 2008, went to war throughout his eight-year tenure.

He launched airstrikes in at least seven countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan, and incredibly, still won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

Obama endorsed same sex marriages. While it was embraced in Hollywood and the cities, the decision went down badly in the rural Midwest.

Likewise, the protests in the cities and the street battles against the police set alarm bells ringing in many middle-class homes, especially in predominantly white areas.

What’s portrayed in the media, sometimes, doesn’t reflect the values and positions of middle America.

While Trump is barrelling towards a defeat, it’s certain we will still hear from him in various forms, including his Tweets.

As the voting pattern has revealed, Trumpism resonates with many Americans.

A substantial portion of the world may want US leadership, but its involvement in numerous countries has led to many American casualties and a heavy toll. The reality is that Americans don’t want their presidents to be busybodies in the name of promoting democracy when they have enough problems at home. They don’t need their loved ones to come home in body bags from war zones in countries they can’t even locate on the world map.

As is common knowledge now, there were no weapons of mass destruction as claimed by the US, and after Saddam Hussein’s downfall, Iraq has turned out for the worse, and not better.

American philosopher Jason Brennan perfectly encapsulated in a nutshell how democracy works.

“Most voters are ignorant or misinformed because the costs to them of acquiring political information greatly exceed the potential benefits.

“They can afford to indulge silly, false, delusional beliefs – precisely because such beliefs cost them nothing. After all, the chances that any individual vote will decide the election is vanishingly small.

“As a result, individual voters tend to vote expressively, to show their commitment to their worldview and team. Voting is more like doing the wave at a sports game than it is like choosing policy.

“Just why voters know so little is well-understood. It’s not that people are stupid. Rather, it’s that democracy creates bad incentives.”

MOVIE-ing On with Koh Mei Lee

 

James Bond through the years


I’VE watched all the James Bond movies. As far as I’m concerned, there is only one real Agent 007 who served Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and this honour can only go to Sir Sean Connery.

As a fan of the British spy franchise, I can safely say that Australian actor George Lazenby playing that iconic role was like a bad dream and best forgotten. Thankfully, he appeared only in one movie.

Likewise, many won’t remember Timothy Dalton as Bond.

Roger Moore was well-received, even though he was never known for his muscles or killer instinct, but we liked his British wit and debonair. His lead role before that in The Saint, the 60s television series, must have helped.

Pierce Brosnan was popular, too, though it hardly seemed likely 80s crime drama Remington Steele helped his Bond cause.

Daniel Craig has, to our relief, injected the grit and steel back into Ian Fleming’s classic character.

Many of those in my generation who grew up watching Connery play the British agent have been mourning the loss of the legendary actor since he died on Saturday.

Yes, he was 90 years old, but I don’t recall reading news of him being unwell. So, his death has come as a surprise.

Those of us who watched his movies barely blinked or gave a second thought when he smoked, drank or womanised. Political correctness was unheard of back then. For the guys, this was one of the main reasons we liked the movies; yes, the bikini-clad girls.

It was perfectly acceptable for him to light a cigarette anywhere, anytime and he smoked without inhibition. Nor did he ask for permission.

Of course, James Bond and Smirnoff have been partners since Bond began in 1962, when a waiter in Dr No handed Connery a martini made with that vodka brand.

Twenty minutes into the movie, the waiter hands him the glass, saying: “One medium, dry vodka martini, shaken, like you said sir, not stirred.” Simply iconic!

I was just two years old then and obviously didn’t watch it when it hit the cinemas. But when I was old enough, I got hold of all his old movies, mainly (stage whisper) through the man who sold pirated VHS tapes.

Yes, the James Bond binge began then.

This was before the advent of the Internet and the YouTube age, so older Malaysians will catch my drift.

Product endorsement certainly makes an impression because when I was old enough to drink, the Bond “shaken, not stirred” martini was among my earliest liquor experiments.

Back to present times, and Craig might fail to fight Covid-19 because his much-awaited latest Bond movie has now been rescheduled to next April, or possibly later.

And Connery would’ve been beaten by feminists.

In the age of the #MeToo Movement, Connery would have got the sack from the MI6, the foreign intelligence service of the British government. He wouldn’t know the meaning of a hashtag or its deadly impact, which is undoubtedly more lethal than all the gadgets made available to him.

Connery is now known not only as the sexiest Bond ever, but the most sexist, too. In fact, anyone who plays that famous character is unfortunately one, at least on screen.

There is a YouTube video – featuring almost all the movies – depicting inappropriate scenes which demean women and strip them of their dignity.

In Thunderball, James Bond walks into a woman’s bathroom without waiting for her permission, and when she asks him to hand her something she could put on before stepping out of the bathtub, he hands her a pair of heels.

In another scene, Bond is seen forcibly kissing a woman on the lips without her consent. Of course, the compilation has left many uneasy, if comments on Twitter are anything to go by.

Also, I’m not sure if anyone could get away with a name like Pussy Galore, a character in Goldfinger. The creator later wrote that the character was only waiting “for the right man to come along to cure her psycho pathological malady”. Basically, the character was lesbian, but back then, it was described as a “malady”. Go figure.

In the present age of fierce political correctness, especially in the West, with the powerful LGBT movement and its financial clout watching, the character would have been axed. Let’s just leave it at the name!

Then, in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, Bond (again played by Connery) rips off a woman’s bikini top and then forcibly wraps it around her neck.

The bikini has always been a feature in Bond movies. The iconic two-piece swimwear, worn by actress Ursula Andress in Dr No, was auctioned for RM2mil earlier this year.

The best description of Bond was probably the one given by veteran actress Judi Dench, who played the first female incarnation of M in the 1995 movie, Golden Eye. M is Bond’s superior.

In an interview, Dench described Bond as a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War, whose boorish charm (is) wasted on me”.

Yes, Bond has evolved through the years. In the age of AIDS, free sex should be a serious point of deliberation. Our own Bond Girl, our pride Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, didn’t have to wear a bikini and yes, she could kill with her martial arts skills.

With the Asian market, particularly with China in mind, the producers quickly realised that they had to integrate a clever (or one with substance) sidekick for Bond.

Anything less would be unacceptable. Cash is king, even for Bond, or rather the producers.

As I approach the big six, it’s difficult for me to change. I maintain that Connery remains the best James Bond, at least for me.

Moore was, well, lame, and Lazenby should have just stuck to his barbecue activities.

Brosnan should have spent more time at the gym to prepare for this legendary role. The actor should have also set aside more time for vocal lessons for his Mamma Mia appearance – though I digress.

I can’t wait to watch Malaysian-born Henry Golding, tipped to be the new James Bond. The Betong, Sarawak-born actor is sure to do us proud.

And with delusions of excess and youth cruelly curtailed by the reality of old age, it’s a safer beverage option for me these days.

Teh tarik satu… kurang manis.

Royal reasons for progress

IF anyone expects our politicians to stop plotting and instead wholeheartedly heed the advice of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, then they’re setting themselves up for disappointment.

All the pledges by our political party leaders seem to be just lip service, following our King’s request last week.

Members of Parliament have submitted a shocking number of motions to undermine Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, detailed Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.

“We have received more than 16 no-confidence motions from the MPs and we have listed them in the Order Paper, ” he said, adding that he was scrutinising each for inclusion into Parliament’s agenda when the Lower House convenes from Nov 2.

A news portal, however, reported that a record 25 Opposition MPs have filed motions of no confidence in Muhyiddin, as listed in the Order Paper. One motion is from DAP Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng, and another from Tawau MP Christina Liew, Sabah’s PKR chief.

Similar motions have come from all 11 MPs from Amanah, seven from Warisan and five from Pejuang. There are also two motions of confidence submitted by Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh from PAS, and Arau MP Shahidan Kassim from Barisan Nasional.

The no faith motions will not crop up because government businesses will take precedence, but the point is, no one has asked for the motions to be withdrawn.

Rules 15 (1) and (2) of the Standing Orders state that government affairs shall have precedence over other matters and arranged in accordance with government considerations.

So while the party leaders were pledging loyalty to the King, their underlying ploys were to continue with their plans, and we can only deduce that their party bosses have given them tacit approvals. Or are we supposed to naively believe that their party MPs are free to do what they want at the Dewan Rakyat without any control by their party whips?

Basically, no one – including our King – should trust our politicians’ words.

These guys can draft letters to the King and later claim they didn’t sign anything, as reported by some media.

Last Sunday, His Majesty said in a statement issued by the Istana Negara, that he thought there was no need to declare a state of Emergency in just some parts or the entire country. Comptroller of the Royal Household Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said the King feels the government has efficiently handled the Covid-19 pandemic, which has entered the third wave in several parts of the country.

“After deliberating and consulting with the Malay Rulers, as well as taking into consideration the situation beleaguering the country, Al-Sultan Abdullah is of the view that the present government has managed to deal with the pandemic effectively.

“Al-Sultan Abdullah is also of the view that at the moment, there is no need for His Majesty to make an emergency proclamation nationwide or for any part of the country, ” read the statement.

Next came the reminder, which one may call a caveat, where Ahmad Fadil said the King reiterated his message for politicians to stop all forms of politicking and disrupting the country’s administration.

Al-Sultan Abdullah, he said, was also under the impression that there was no need for members of Parliament to continue with irresponsible actions that could undermine the stability of the current government.

In a nutshell – don’t reject the Budget, and there’s no need to table a vote of no confidence in the PM.

On Wednesday, the King issued another statement, which urged all MPs to give “solid support” to the 2021 budget for the sake of the people’s well-being and the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

The King also conveyed his “full confidence” in the PM’s ability to lead the country during this period when Malaysia is being tested by “various crises”.

In a statement issued by the palace on Oct 28, Ahmad Fadil said the King has stressed that the 2021 national budget, to be tabled in Parliament on Nov 6, is “very important” for the government and authorities, especially frontliners, to continue implementing policies to overcome the unending threat the pandemic poses.

“Al-Sultan Abdullah has urged MPs to respect the advice of His Majesty for them to stop all political quarrels and instead, focus on the well-being of the people and the country so that the 2021 national budget will be passed without disruptions, ” the statement said.

The statement from the palace issued on Wednesday was certainly worded more strongly than the one from Sunday evening, following the meeting of the King and the Rulers.

The rejection of the proposal to proclaim a state of emergency to fight Covid-19 and the economic downturn was viewed by some political opponents as a rejection of the PM.

It didn’t help that there was a second statement on the same day, which contributed to more interpretations, although it could just be a case of misinterpreting a straightforward statement.

The second statement said the King and the other eight Rulers considered implications of an emergency in context of the country’s image, views of other countries, investor confidence, prosperity of the country, people’s livelihood and their welfare.

“The King and the eight Rulers felt it is important to respect the check-and-balance mechanism between the various branches of government, and the role of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which is to balance various demands to ensure justice and to check any abuse of power, ” said the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal.

The phrase “check any abuse of power” immediately set alarm bells ringing as analysts tried to read between the lines.

Others said analysts shouldn’t dissect what was simply an additional statement by the eight Rulers to express appreciation to Yang di-Pertuan Agong for consulting them before deciding to declare an Emergency, or otherwise.

But in a charged atmosphere, it would have been sufficient for the palace to simply stick to one statement.

And by 11pm, word got out that the PM wanted to quit. At that point, many ministers were already at his house.

The next day, the Umno supreme council ended speculation by expressing its support for the PM and the Perikatan Nasional government. It also said it wanted better cooperation based on “respect” and “political consensus” – which simply means it wants more powerful positions and a stronger voice in the government.

Umno also said it would not work with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the DAP – and that as good as killed off any form of government by Anwar, since he would need to include the DAP. That means it would now be impossible for Anwar to work out a new government to topple Muhyiddin.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak also found out that Umno would never work with Anwar and by extension, the DAP. His Facebook was bombarded with angry comments. It was hardly news to anyone who understands Umno. Unsurprisingly, many found Najib’s proposal reeking of a desperate attempt to save himself.

So, what comes next?

Most likely, the Budget will get passed, but the difference this time is, the government can no longer take it for granted that it will be a done deal. The government will not be able to ignore the demands from the MPs, including those in the government, and with the PM’s razor thin majority, immediate changes may have to be made, which would need inclusion in the supplementary budget.

A Cabinet reshuffle is imminent as Umno has made it loud and clear that it wants the deputy prime minister post. The names of at least four Umno leaders have been thrown in the hat. The Dewan Rakyat meeting will end in December and that has most likely – given the strong advice of the King – won the PM a reprieve of six months, at least.

At the same time, the Opposition is trying to push for a Confidence and Supply Agreement to ensure political stability, but the conditions include appointments to select committees and proper allocations for their MPs’ constituencies. Some Opposition MPs have also said there should be no snap elections.

It remains to be seen whether the government would want to accede to such demands.

The Dewan Rakyat will meet again in May and by then, it won’t be surprising if a general election needs to be called. For Sarawak, June is the deadline, and we all pray Covid-19 infections will at least be curtailed by then. And if we desperately need to call for polls, let’s find new ways of campaigning to ensure the rakyat’s safety.

Too close for comfort

Covid-19 patients were once mere statistics, but with a spike in cases, friends and colleagues are also falling victim to the deadly virus.

MOST of us would like to think the Covid-19 pandemic is something that affects others, possibly, people who work as frontliners or foreigners. Or maybe people who live in congested areas or even recent visitors to Sabah.

However, that’s far from the truth. It doesn’t matter if you live in a slum or an upscale residential area because there’s bound to be interaction in some form or the other.

If it’s not you, then your colleagues could be the ones to have had a brush with someone compromised.

The insidious virus could also have weaselled in with friends who dropped by your home for a visit, or latched on to you when meeting with clients outside.

Places of worship are high-risk areas, too. So, since March, and a Holy Communion service apart, I’ve only attended online church services.

The routine Saturday night meal with close friends has been postponed indefinitely.

There are sound reasons to be fearful. I live in a red zone with Covid-19 positive cases around me.

I’ve been working from home and only go out to buy food when needed.

I’ve completely stopped eating at restaurants and have stayed away from malls. It’s not good for retailers, but I’m not taking any chances.

On Thursday, the St Joseph International school across the road from where I live, had to be closed after an intern teacher tested positive for Covid-19. He had apparently been in close contact with a positive case.

Just down the road, at the Jaya Grocer outlet in Mutiara Tropicana, which I often patronise, an employee tested positive.

The person had been staying at the nearby Tropicana Golf and Resort Club hostel, where 23 workers were found infected. The club was also a place I frequented.

Of course, it was only natural I crosscheck between the dates of when these workers were infected and when I had patronised these places.

Certainly, the tracking system by MySejahtera is good because it can be effective in contact tracing. It’s better than merely writing your names in a register, with silly pseudonyms or otherwise.

Naturally, residents staying in our neighbourhood are deeply concerned since there are many workers – who presumably live nearby – who maintain various sectors of our area.

Last week, the Petaling District Health Department began conducting Covid-19 tests for all residents of the nearby Pelangi Damansara Flats at Persiaran Surian after 23 people tested positive for the virus.

Petaling District Disaster Management Committee chairman Johary Anuar said the tests on residents in Block B started on Oct 21 and followed through Thursday (Oct 22).

“I am told that residents in Block B have been tested. Residents from the other blocks will also go through the test. It is crucial to screen all those living at the high-rise area as 23 Covid-19 positive cases have been detected, ” he said.

Johary added that the results of the Covid-19 tests on Pelangi Damansara residents will take four to five days. It will be a tedious task since thousands of people live there.

I’m not being an alarmist, but there was a time when Covid-19 infections involved nameless people that I only read about in the media. They were statistics, but now, that evil has crept closer to home.

The daughter of a church member tested positive because someone at her workplace was infected. It’s a mild case, but disconcerting, nonetheless.

A church elder also shared with us that his daughter, a doctor in London, caught the virus as she had feared because she works in a hospital. The hospital provided little personal protective equipment (PPE), and in fact, merely told her to quarantine at home even after she tested positive.

A close friend of mine, who operates a logistic business, called me recently for advice after a colleague was snared by the virus.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has rightly said that staying at home is the best way to stop the current Covid-19 wave that’s ravaging the country.

He said while there are many “strategies” to prevent contracting the virus from someone, nothing beats avoiding contact altogether with people outside of home.

“The ministry’s advice is always for people to follow this strategy, which involves six methods. They are, applying physical distancing, using face masks, constantly washing hands, combined with avoiding crowded areas, confined spaces and close conversations.

“If you apply this strategy of six methods, you can break the chain of infection by up to 85%.

“However, if you want to break the chain by 100%, then stay at home. That is the best way of all, ” said Dr Noor Hisham at a press conference here on Oct 19.

Certainly, this isn’t the time for socialising or meetings, especially with strangers or acquaintances. If not priority, postpone for now.

Abstain from going to crowded places and high-risk areas. For me, malls are certainly on my list, even if others disagree.

So, to keep people at home, it’s also important that employers encourage their staff to work from home.

WFH, even before the pandemic, began becoming the norm, especially for professionals who feel going to the office is no longer essential with more work becoming digital.

I’ve found myself more productive with WFH because there are no unnecessary interruptions.

It’s much harder for older bosses, who haven’t adjusted to the digital culture, to accept WFH because they don’t completely trust their staff. But such archaic thinking has little place in this age since with the notebook, anyone can work anywhere.

The world has changed but for some, be it in politics or corporate, they can’t embrace the changes unfolding around them. They stubbornly cling on to their old practices and mindsets, or are reluctant to use new tools of communication, like Zoom.

I wrote this piece while watching a live seminar on a minimised screen, while also glued to the TV screen to catch Covid-19 updates.

Covid-19 has hammered us, but it has also opened a new world to us. As I was about to conclude this article, my phone beeped with two messages – from a neighbourhood group chat on Whatsapp and from a friend in Bangkok on the Line app updating me on the demonstrations there.

The mantra now is stay safe and stay connected. And that’s the truth.

Staying Abreast with the Big C

 

Enough of overdrive politicking

While the Covid-19 pandemic and struggling economy has gripped the nation and Malaysians, our power jostling politicians continue to be more preoccupied with power and positions.

MANY ongoing political developments in our country are simply not making sense – at least that’s the consensus. It’s becoming harder to make sound assumptions because they are mostly unsound.

That’s because we think on the level when we make our assessments, unlike politicians, who are not normal. They are bent on pushing Malaysia into becoming a dysfunctional democracy.

In the past week, I’ve had to force myself to read endless streams of data bytes, fake news, official statements, gossip and half-baked analyses.

The usually reliable news outlets are no better. In them are stories obviously planted by untrustworthy politicians or their operatives, to suit their interests.

It’s near impossible to switch myself off from this exercise in futility, but there’s no running away from it. My job requires me to know as much as I can.

My bosses, clients and contacts call me up incessantly to be brought up to speed with the latest. I am expected to know, so they think.

I’m supposed to be the one to distinguish real news from fake ones.

But I’ve had to tell them, apologetically, that I’m just as clueless as them because we’re now dealing with very confused politicians who urgently need sanity checks.

They can’t be thinking straight, and that’s conclusive. Every afternoon, between 5pm and 6pm, we dutifully turn on the television to learn the latest number of people infected with the dreaded coronavirus.

I guess some of us also want to find out what eye-catching attire Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has chosen from his wardrobe. The shirts look like batik, but that’s still open to debate.

Slowly but surely, we’ve become utterly confused by the number of abbreviations he has used for the numerous directives and standard operating procedures.

When his briefings end, we wait patiently for Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah to update us on the status of the pandemic.

I’m certain that none of our politicians are bothered with these statistics. The only numbers they are concerned with is whether they have accumulated enough statutory declarations (SD) to topple the sitting Prime Minister, while those in government are counting if they still have the numbers since the commanding majority is negligible.

Here’s why we’re befuddled. Prior to Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim seeking an audience with the Yang di Pertuan Agong, he said he had “formidable and convincing” support from Members of Parliament to form a new government. He was quoted on Sept 23 as saying that their support was “indisputable”.

After his audience with His Majesty, Istana Negara issued a statement to say Anwar did not present a list of Members of Parliament who supported him.

The Comptroller of the Royal Household Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, in a statement said, Anwar had disclosed the number of MPs he claimed had declared support, but he didn’t provide their names.

OK, let’s give Anwar the benefit of the doubt. Surely he can’t be so brazen as to seek an audience with the King if he had nothing to show for it.

We are told by nameless supporters that Anwar needs to keep the names closely guarded to prevent them from being counter-offered. So that comes back to the point why SDs are useless and worthless because the signatories can change their minds at any time.

If some press reports are to be believed, there were also purported letters signed by some heads of parties that were sent to the King. Names have been mentioned but they have remained silent. Nobody is even sure if they have received the approval of their members, as working with political enemies is surely a serious matter.

Well, that’s not something we can verify, but what is factual is that the King no longer wants to meet any of them. It’s probably right on the money to suggest that the palace and many of the Rulers are upset with the conduct of our politicians. Fuming, to be precise. In their minds, these politicians are disconnected from reality.

The Covid-19 pandemic has crippled the economy, yet these politicians are only interested in jostling for power. Their actions are just disgusting.

Now, there are other mind-boggling scenarios if Anwar indeed has strong numbers. He would need to get the support of Umno, PAS, Warisan, Amanah, PKR, DAP, Gabungan Parti Sarawak and the Barisan Nasional to put together a powerful coalition.

Umno leaders are getting pelted by their grassroots for working with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia. It’s no secret that many Umno leaders are angry that their party has given so much to Bersatu despite having greater numbers.

One top Umno leader told this writer that “the longer we stay in the government, the faster we will die”.

But how can Umno leaders work with the DAP, or how would the DAP tell its members that it’s now OK to work with Umno?

Surely the MCA and MIC, and GPS, would never want to cooperate with the DAP either. Don’t forget Gabungan Rakyat Sabah, either.

It’s also unimaginable that PAS would sit side by side with Ama-nah.

Have we now come to the point where “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and Malaysians are about to hear how these politicians are doing this “to save Malaysia” rather than to save themselves? Unfortunately, many gullible Malaysians will believe this.

As we cast our attention on Anwar, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has suddenly appeared out of the blue. None of us were aware that he submitted a letter to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to table a vote of no confidence in the PM.

Ku Li, as the Kelantan prince is called, has now hijacked the limelight from Anwar.

The whole country has suddenly received pictures of Ku Li with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, along with loyalist Datuk Khairuddin Abu Hassan.

Khairuddin said the photo was taken four years ago, until it was pointed out to him that he and Dr Mahathir were wearing, or holding, facemasks.

Wearing facemasks, as we know, only became mandatory after the country was hit by Covid-19 this year.

Then, Khairuddin said this wasn’t something new to Dr Mahathir since he suffered a lung infection several years ago. However, others soon claimed the picture was taken last month when Ku Li hosted a birthday party for Dr Mahathir.

Sure, we believe you.

However, it’s hard to ignore that a plot seems to be hatching to stop Anwar.

For the benefit of young Malaysians born only after 1989, Ku Li left Umno to form Parti Melayu Semangat 46 after a bitter challenge against Dr Mahathir in Umno.

Well, that doesn’t mean they can’t be friends or new allies in a political arrangement. However, the moral of the story is, don’t place all your eggs in a politician’s basket. They can’t even be honest about a picture.

The New Malaysia, which most of us are hoping for, isn’t taking shape. The same ageing actors are still refusing to leave the stage with all still fighting to play the same lead role.

The Malaysian audience has had enough, and the time has come for these stalwarts to realise they have overstayed their welcome. The world has moved on without them. It’s time we dim the lights and tell them that the show is over. Please leave the building.