Its not the public but the politicians who need educating

Commenting on the recent Timah whiskey controversy, former deputy Dewan Rakyat speaker Azalina Othman Said opined in Parliament that the government should find ways to better educate the public “to think in a more logical manner”. Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Rosol Wahid also talked about the need to produce a more “mature society”. 

They are being disingenuous; it is not the Malaysian public but Malaysian politicians that need to be educated, think logically and be more mature.

The whole Timah whiskey issue became controversial only because politicians from PAS, UMNO and even PKR choose to make it an issue for political purposes. Before that, most Malaysians – Muslims and non-Muslims alike – knew nothing about the whiskey which was registered about two years ago without controversy. 

Indeed, a Malay colleague in my WhatsApp chat group said that the Timah whiskey controversy was actually a non-issue among his friends and in their chat groups. If anything, they were embarrassed by it all. As for non-Malays, I can tell you that it just makes them dislike all these politicians with an even greater intensity than before. 

Most Malaysians actually want nothing more than to live in peace with all their neighbours and get on with their lives. It is the politicians who are always stoking up racial and religious sentiment so they can pose as champions of race and religion. They are intellectually and morally bankrupt; race and religion are just tools they use to distract attention from their corruption and failure to govern our nation properly. 

Perhaps Azalina should use her new position as Special Adviser to the Prime Minister to convince the government to compel our politicians to go back to kindergarten to learn the basics about respect and tolerance for diversity in a multicultural nation.

Dennis Ignatius | Kuala Lumpur | Friday, 29th October 2021

Published by Dennis Ignatius

Passionate Malaysian | Former Ambassador and career diplomat | Political affairs columnist | Human rights and international affairs commentator

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