Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Of Ah Jib Gor and Jokowi

Oleh: Mohsin Abdullah

(Mohsin Abdullah is not a young journalist. His writings have been described as like durian; aromatic and delicious to some, off-putting to others.)

Don’t know if Datuk Seri Najib Razak had read an editorial by influential newspaper The Jakarta Post on the day he was in the Indonesian capital for the inauguration of Joko Widodo.

If he did, perhaps he would have reflected on his own political situation. In a way, that is.

Take this line from the editorial for example: “The first order of the day will be to convey a message of reconciliation and unity".

Said The Jakarta Post, Jokowi (as the Indonesia president is popularly known, “pretty much” like Ah Jib Gor which Najib’s brand people wants him to be known – at least among the Chinese), has "already begun the process of reconciliation over the past week – a masterful outreach to former foes without the requisite appeasement”.

After a divisive election, The Jakarta Post said it fully expected Jokowi to stress the values of unity in his inauguration speech. Which Jokowi did. Even calling his “biggest” foe Prabowo Subianto his best friend. And Prabowo responded with a military salute to the president.

Wonder what went on Najib’s mind when he saw all that. He didn’t go to that “extent” when he took his oath of office after GE13. And his “biggest” foe Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim wasn’t invited (as in Malaysia, the norm is opposition folks are not required to attend such ceremony).

Still, Najib did “extend” the olive branch and spoke of a national reconciliation policy following the polarising GE 13.

But not before blaming the “Chinese tsunami” for Barisan Nasional’s not too impressive victory, on the very night the election results were announced, remarks which didn’t go down well with a lot of people.

And as for the national reconciliation policy, detractors boldly said it was a case of “too little too late” demanding Najib to first act against “ extremist groups playing divisive race politics”.

Anyway, back to Indonesia and The Jakarta Post piece. The newspaper is “hopeful” that the opposition coalition recognises Jokowi’s gestures, going on to say “a loyal opposition is part and parcel of the democratic process. A vengeful foe is but a petty antagonist”.

In Malaysia, BNhas always seen the opposition pact as “vengeful’. Hence a “petty antagonist”.

Pakatan Rakyat has always begged to differ, reminding everybody that Anwar had proposed bipartisan talk” which was not only “brushed off but ridiculed as well by the ruling coalition”.

Moving on, to The Jakarta Post, “the president’s best friends will be those who can objectively criticise his work for the sake of constructive dialog”.

Seen in a Malaysian perspective the “PM’s best friends" would, could or should be ministers. But we are told it’s the band of “advisers” who “can objectively criticise the PM’s work for the sake of constructive dialog”.

However, to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the advisers “do not do their job” and are merely a bunch of “yes men". Even Umno, the party which he was president for 22 years, said Dr Mahathir, has become a “yes man party”. Well...

Then there’s that article by Australia's The Sydney Morning Herald. Something on Indonesia “taking one step forward, Malaysia two steps backwards”?

Not going to comment though. Probably you’ve read the report here in The Malaysian Insider a few days back.

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