PETALING JAYA – Stupid, “takda telur” (no balls), “ayam betina” (chicken). These were some of the colourful terms used by Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz who has been accused of taking the debate over alleged political funding by billionaire Robert Kuok to an insane level.
As usual, Nazri went too far and he has found himself alone in a corner.
Both sides of the political divide have jumped in to defend the man known as the Sugar King and who is Malaysia’s richest man although he has lived much of his life in Hong Kong.
The Prime Minister’s Office has also released a statement in an attempt to set the record straight, acknowledging Kuok as a success story and an inspiration to the nation.
Hours before that, MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had tweeted: “Regarding the needless and baseless attacks on Robert Kuok, I’ve conveyed the feelings of the Chinese community to YAB PM. We hope that PM will intervene and to put this issue to rest. Mr Kuok has contributed greatly towards (the) development of the nation.”
There is already a 92-year-old man making life difficult for Barisan Nasional and it would be double trouble if the 94-year-old Kuok is also seen as turning against the ruling coalition.
Money makes the world go round and nobody wants to be on the wrong side of a man who has lots of money.
Well, nobody except for maybe Nazri. He went as far as accusing Kuok of funding DAP in order to topple the government, something that Kuok has since denied.
Some found it amusing considering that Nazri is seen as DAP’s best friend from Umno.
Besides, Nazri knows very well that political funding is the lifeline of all political parties. Every party accepts political donations, be it from small contributors to big-time developers, gaming tycoons and telcom billionaires.
During Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s premiership, speculation about the election date would often take into account that this or that tycoon had been asked to contribute to the election war chest.
As such, Dr Mahathir is not being honest to himself when he claimed that “back then, we did not need much money”.
The other thing was Nazri challenging Kuok to contest the general election. It was a silly throwback to the Mahathir era when the former premier would challenge his critics to contest elections.
How did things become this crazy?
Social commentator Eddin Khoo said it has to do with people drawing their own conclusions from “Robert Kuok: A Memoir,” the long-awaited publication about his fable life.
According to Khoo, the book touched on fundamental issues which some quarters have taken personally.
“He was at the centre of history when certain policies were made and he wrote about what it meant. It’s his right to talk about history as he sees it but some people have used it to justify their own political views,” he said.
The way Khoo sees it, the Malays took remarks in the book as criticism while the Chinese used it to justify their criticism of the policy.
“Then, based on some articles from a blog, he is accused of trying to overthrow the government. And this is happening at a time when we are so concerned about fake news.”
Political funding is a democratic right and Kuok had stated in his memoirs that he had “willingly, happily and freely” given substantial donations to Umno and MCA after Malaysia gained independence.
“We live in dangerous times when everything can be twisted. Can we stop being so crazy?” said Khoo.
Hmm …. that may not be possible with the general election around the corner.