Divide and rule, again

FOLLOWING last week's column on Ola Bola The Musical that ended on a "dim" note, here is some evidence to support the case arising from a controversy related to a billionaire.

Reportedly one could trace it to three blog posts on Robert Kuok (who by his own admission is not a Tan Sri, though he deserves much more). These posts are from a land known for its "divide-and-rule" colonial policy that is now an unfortunate part of our legacy.

It is therefore not surprising if this is what the posts were targeting, in exploiting the raw nerves of Malaysians. It looks like it is succeeding as Malaysia somehow seemed to have missed it all.

The official request to remove the offensive posts came a little too late, that is, after the damage was done. Once again we make a mockery of ourselves in the eyes of the world. We do not seem to have enough of it. Very sad indeed.

Foremost, the allegations are largely "fake news" – at least for those who have read Kuok's memoir and going by what he claimed through his official statement.

Against this background the relevant authorities were somewhat "oblivious" amid the flurry of activities to legislate against so-called "fake news". Some parties are fighting tooth and nail over the issue, yet no one challenged the source unlike some who habitually do just that "selectively".

A case in point was the seizure of an opulent yacht by the Indonesians who claimed that it belongs to a Malaysian businessman. The denial came swiftly. In contrast, the Kuok case escaped such a treatment.

It was only after the third post that a minister went on the offensive, strangely not against the blogger but against Kuok for reasons that are still unclear.

For one, he must have trusted the "fake" posts to take such a position as a senior minister in charge of "culture". This was what got people uptight with utmost embarrassment especially when it could have been avoided.

No doubt Kuok deserves an apology, but so too Malaysians who are still reeling from the shock of the lack of adab and budi bahasa. The culture that we are proud of was sacrificed at the altar of unbridled anger. And getting away with it yet again although Sarawak reportedly has expressed some reservations.

Because of these "noises", the blogger is conveniently out of the picture. He can sit comfortably in his faraway home watching how his handy work pans out since nobody dared to challenge him to return and prove his case. At least not until Kuok decides to take up the issue legally as purported in his response.

Meanwhile several politicians were falling over one another. It is clear that the "divide-and-rule" tactic worked perfectly. Sadder still is to discover the weakening of "perpaduan" (or is it "sehati sejiwa"?) when some members of various political affiliations started to vigorously exchange barbs openly.

It was not a pretty picture further attesting to Kuok's analogy of personalities hugging and kissing in public, while in their hearts daggers are "semi-drawn".

How bankrupt the political situation is shows when "racial" cards are played. By claiming that the issue is insulting to any one ethnic group is in itself no less an insult of equal proportion to all Malaysians who believed that Robert Kuok is a Malaysian, first and foremost.

This was clearly highlighted twice in this column (Jan 24 and 29) with extracts from the memoir.

Indeed he has demonstrated this on several occasions, unlike the lip service that is increasingly observed nowadays. This includes attempts to twist a cut-and-dry case into a "racial" one that smacked of some sort of desperation bordering on a "divide-and-rule" mindset. That it involves veteran politicians speaks volumes of the "decadent" nature of thinking that is colouring the political scene.

In fact, Kuok referred to such people in no uncertain terms which has allegedly become their second nature thanks to the gutter politics that they wallow in, more so as the election draws near.

Kuok has been made a "scapegoat" for political mileage. And when that failed, it was quickly manipulated into racial politics in the hope to score some cheap points.

As it turns out the person who started it all remained "untouched" while Malaysians are left with the threat of "divide-and-rule" that looms dangerously.

We must quickly come to our senses and reject outright the "divide-and-rule" mentality of all shades and colours so as not to be fooled by it. Until this is cleansed out of our legacy for good, the future continues to hang by a very thin thread.

With some four decades of experience in education, the writer believes that "another world is possible". Comments: letters@thesundaily.com