• 2023
  • The Darkening Political Canvas of Malaysia

The Darkening Political Canvas of Malaysia

Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
Opinion - Bacalah Malaysia
August 17, 2023 


The Malaysia political scene is getting more and more colourful as the day goes by. 

This is noticeable from the kind of words and terms that spontaneously emerge in the media thanks to the high level of concern shown by the rakyat across the board. 


Based on this, what seems clear is that they are unhappy, in many ways, with the state of socio-political wellbeing of the day. 

It could be likened to a barometer that helps us to reflect whether the nation is indeed on the right path to a matured democracy based on the values that dignify humanity as we celebrate the 60th Hari Kebangsaan on September 16. 

Last week, this column highlighted the use of the word “Big Brother” introduced by some esteemed journalists in sharing the thoughts as to what is taking place nationally. This was echoed internationally, heightening the issue at hand in characterising the state of democratic freedom of expression that is allegedly being trampled without due process.  


The choice of “Big Brother” vividly recalled the dystopian novel entitled 1984 written by George Orwell in the 1940s in reference to the draconian state of governance attributed to the leadership of the time. 

Orwell indicated that he, in fact, witnessed and experienced some of these to move him into writing the novel as a warning to the world at large. Not to forget the so-called  Thought Police (read: the online surveillance) to ensure no less than a total submission to the power that be.  

Else be subjected to torture of the worst kind. That Malaysia’s state of affairs is drawn from the same novel speaks volume as to what the rakyat is worried about, real or imagined, to in their current struggle to make ends meet! 

Will it end up with a dark ending 30 years after 1984 has amply laid out: a depiction of power as the end in itself! 

Some of the early warnings of these are already surfacing to those who are sensitive to them. Others are too fearful of Big Brother to even think about it, especially the Thought Police that seems to be actively exerting its presence. 

A hint in this regard can be traced to another new word, ‘reformati’ (‘mati’ meaning ‘dead’), coined by the former minister of health in response to the latest decision related to the infamous 47 corrupt charges (with prima facie) that was recently announced. 

The transition from an oft-quoted word ‘reformasi,’ proclaimed from a moral high ground, suddenly took a shocking turn. It exposed the larger sentiments as expressed by many NGOs ranging from Transparency International to Malaysian Bar. All are in unison in their expression of shock and dismay, and demanding an explanation to the whole nation!

Although the Big Brother and reformati instances seem to be unrelated in time, in essence they are one and the same issue bordering on the question of human wrongs. 

Hence, when the use of “running dogs” and “lap dogs” come to the picture next, they aptly fit as just the creature needed for the unfolding political canvas. Popularised by the Maoists in demonising the capitalistic enemies, ours may sound somewhat different, but their servile and sycophantic notions, nevertheless, is no different. 

Namely, they only bark when told to – how frequent and how loud! A dog is a dog after all. 

As often attributed to Deng Xiaopeng: It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice! In this case, the dog could be red or blue, or both for that matter. Ironically, at one time they used to bark endlessly at one another. Not anymore because they are now sharing the same kernel! 

The last in the new list of words is “hypocrites-haprak” – the latter refers to the “hopeless” who are themselves political chameleons and opportunists! Thus, blending well with hypocrites. They have no lasting ethics and moral values by which they could be identified with. 

They survived well on other people’s miseries as their political mileage; and are the very best U-turners! Very polished in the art of slandering, character assassination, bad mouthing without any sense of guilt impinging on their conscience as long as they benefitted in one way or another.  

All of them, somehow are well captured by Orwell when he said: “A people who elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors ate not victims, but accomplices.” 

Meaning the Malaysian political scene will continue to be gloomy unless the ”accomplices” are ethical in their ways. 

  • The writer is Rector, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)