IT has been awhile that I have not posted an article in English.
But somehow, sitting in an Indian Muslim coffee shop in the dilapidated Padang Rengas town, I was inspired to pen an article in the language of our former colonial master.
The Rengas Field is the Nazri Aziz country. Rengas is a tropical tree whose botanical name isGluta/Melanorrhoea.
It is the fiefdom of the loud-mouth Padang Rengas Member of Parliament, (Datuk Seri) Mohamed Nazri bin Abdul Aziz. He is also the Tourism and Culture Minister.
It has been a long time that I have not taken this back road that, unintentionally, took me back to the pre-North-South Highway days when I used to frequent this part of the country.
Those days, to travel north to my village in Kedah, I had to use the north-south trunk road that passes through Padang Rengas.
Surprisingly, even after more than two decades of bypassing it, Padang Rengas remains largely unchanged.
Except for the larger and sturdier Malay houses, the well-manicured lawns, the prevalence of motorcycles and the thinning out of the stilted wooden houses, Padang Rengas seems frozen in a time warp.
Ironic. Padang Rengas and previously the adjacent Chenderoh, have been democratically franchised to Mohamed Nazri since the 1995 general elections.
That means it has been his political domain for the past 21 years. Incidentally he became an MP during the rule of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the man he now despises.
Padang Rengas remains trapped in the time past while its five-term MP became one cool dude in the Kuala Lumpur City and possibly, one of the richest Umno warlords in the land.
The son of a diplomat-turned-politician, Mohamed Nazri has fashioned himself into a cross between a mafia don and a Malay panglima with the nickname “The Chief”.
Unabashedly, his son, Nedim Sujak Nazri Aziz, who is his “personal assistant”, is baptized “Chief Junior”. His Instagram page introduces him as “Nedim Sujak Nazri Aziz Chief Junior / SuperDad Proud Malaysian (liberal) Harrisons Holdings (M) Bhd Bendahari Pemuda Padang Rengas.
The chief is Najib’s trumpeter-in-chief. He’s one of the most ardent admirers and ferocious defenders of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri I Mappadulung Daeng Mattimung Karaeng Sandrobone Sultan Abdul Jalil, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak.
His chief target is the man who put him in Parliament, Dr Mahathir. He has called Dr Mahathir many names including “old”, “senile” and “forgetful”.
Recently he challenged Dr Mahathir to contest against him in the coming General Election in Padang Rengas. Dr Mahathir responded by inviting him to contest in Langkawi.
Dr Mahathir is the organising head of the Langkawi division of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM). He is also the national chairman of the party.
Since then Mohamed Nazri had suffered a slight indignity when his former cabinet colleague, Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin, labelled him the “pondan of Padang Rengas” which roughly translated means the eunuch of Padang Rengas for refusing to answer Dr Mahathir challenge.
The accuracy and appropriateness of my translation is debatable of course because “pondan” has many meanings and nuances. It could mean a transsexual person, a man dressing up like a women or simply a coward.
In the latest development Mohamed Nazri appears to be making a move to reclaim his honour and prove once and for all that he is a man and Najib’s quixotic panglima Melayu.
He has accepted Dr Mahathir’s challenge to a debate on 1MDB and the RM2.6-billion fund that entered Najib’s personal bank accounts back in 2013.
In a text message to Malaysiakini, Mohamed Nazri said he would leave it to Dr Mahathir to decide on whether any other topic should be included.
But I have a strong feeling that he would do a disappearing when the time comes.
Or he would end up being another Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who, instead of defending Najib in a BBC interview, blundered by confirming that the Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) referred to by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) was indeed Najib.
|The Train Station: Rare symbol of modernity|
To recap, just in case you want to do an unscientific time travel back to the 1970s and 80s, you can always make a weekend trip to Padang Rengas.
There’s even a special Keretapi Tanah Melayu commuter service connecting Padang Rengas to northbound stations. The service starts in Padang Besar and ends in Padang Rengas.
If you do it now, you can even “selfie” with the likeness of Mohamad Nazri on the platform.