Writer: Patrick Teoh
Published: Fri, 12 Aug 2011
JUST a few days ago a friend of mine sent me a Tweet message in which she referred to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as our Conditional Prime Minister. I laughed out loud when I received that. What a wonderfully apt description of the man, I thought.
I forwarded the new title of the monarch of Putrajaya to other friends and we spent most of the day having ourselves good belly laughs. But after the mirth dissipated a little I thought about it and realised that it isn’t that original. Except that it took a person like my friend to put it into words. Conditional Prime Minister.
Okay, okay for those of you who may have come in a little late, let me explain. For as far as I can remember, actually since Najib was shoved into the Putrajaya driver’s seat he has been exhibiting traits that are required to earn him that very distinguished title, which in my mind is much better and much more relevant and meaningful than those dato’s and sri’s. Tan or otherwise. There’s a racist joke in there somewhere but I shall resist. But you can have some fun if you want.
Okay, getting back on track. Why is Conditional Prime Minister such an appropriate title for Najib? Well, since he came into office – and he did just ‘come’ into the office didn’t he? I mean nobody voted him in what! – he’s been going around the country making all those “conditional” speeches to the rakyat.
I am sure you remember some of the more famous ones that became YouTube Top 10 hits overnight. The most famous or infamous example was when Najib was campaigning for Barisan Nasional candidates in the elections in Sarawak. Yes, who can forget his promise to issue a RM5 million check on the Monday after the election if it is proven that the local flers there had voted for the BN candidate? I give you the money IF you vote for us. Condition ma.
And I am sure that if you raise this topic at your next session with your friends at the mamak stalls, you will remember many more such “conditional” promises that Najib has made.
Oh ya before I forget, Najib laid down another condition recently. He said that in order for Putrajaya to properly “jaga” the Indian community’s needs and wants, the MIC flers must bring in the votes for BN. Condition ma.
And of course the latest stories about how conditions are so much a part of Malaysian life has to do with this registration of legal and illegal foreign workers. There are stories circulating the internet, stories only la, not confirmed or anything, that these foreigners are being offered blue MyKad if they promise to vote for the right candidates in the next General Election. Conditions ma.
In Malaysia sure got so many conditions one. You want better driving then you have to pay tolls lor. You want money to build schools then you must vote for me lor. You want better healthcare then you must go to private hospital and pay lor. Eh? Well, that last one is not always true la.
But after laughing for a while, my friends and I stopped and thought about things for a bit. Najib a Conditional Prime Minister? Yes. But… have we really had any other kind? No, right? Every prime minister in living memory came with conditions what. No meh?
Remember Badawi? He said that in order for him to be effective we must not work for him but with him. And see where that got us. And him!
Dr M? I am sure you will need no help from me in remembering all the conditions he laid on us. I don’t remember if Hussein Onn laid any conditions on us, but his predecessor did. He said that Malaysia can only be maju if we share the wealth among all the races. And boy! Did we share! But it’s a condition ma.
So I guess we can’t and should not rib Najib so much for being a Conditional Prime Minister. After all, he is just doing what has been the long-accepted practice ma.
See? Now even the television flers have joined the condition game. They tried to tell us Malaysians that even celebrating each other’s festivals comes with conditions. We must not wear certain clothes la. We must not be obnoxious la. We must not go “overboard” wor.
It’s like we all Malaysians don’t know all this meh? That we all Malaysians will knowingly dish other Malaysians’ sensitivities meh? No, right? But anyhow just set some conditions la. After all, our country also led by a Conditional Prime Minister ma. Sorry la, I just had to add that last bit in. Minta maaf ya, Jib?