CAKAP tak serupa bikin or not walking the talk are phrases often heard describing local politicians who are quick to milk any issue of the day for maximum grandstanding, yet a closer look will reveal little substance to their proclamations.
The on-going Israel-Hamas conflict is a case in point.
At a symbolic event to hand over donations for Palestinians besieged by Israeli troops in Gaza on Monday (Nov 20), twice former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang were non-committal about the call to grant Muslim refugees’ equal access to basic rights such as employment and education.
Dr Mahathir who is seen as a leading voice in the global fight to Palestinian liberation said he supported giving assistance “to those desperate for help” but noted that discussions about allowing refugees to get jobs or letting their children attend public schools should be held “later” (as reported by The Malay Mail).
Why is solidarity with the ummah restricted to conflicts in faraway lands but Muslim refugees here are left struggling with no access to basic rights?
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said as of October this year, there were over 180,000 refugees and asylum-seekers either residing in Malaysia or waiting for placement in other countries, including some 600 Palestinians.
Over 85% of all the asylum seekers here are Muslims with the majority being Muslim Rohingyas who fled persecution in their homeland Myanmar.
While the elderly statesman at least touched on the subject without actually proposing any sort of solution, PAS supremo tan Sri Hadi Awang point blank refused to be drawn on the issue.
Are these the type of politicians Malaysians want to lead the country – where pertinent issues are side-stepped, ignored and swept under the carpet whilst spewing all sorts of inflammatory remarks?
This is one reason why some Malaysians are deeply uneasy about showing support for the ‘solidarity with Palestine’ movement. They recognise that it is being used as a propaganda vehicle and for these politicians to squeeze maximum coverage.
Yes, a humanitarian crisis of epic proportion is unfolding in Gaza. But there are many issues that need solving domestically – not least that of refugees in Malaysia.
Another recent episode highlights the inherent hypocrisy of these politicians. Whilst calling on all Malaysians to boycott products by companies with links to Israel, they do not seem to adhere to the same principles.
This was highlighted by Kampar MP Chong Zemin (DAP) who asked if Kelantan state government officials would stop using Mercedes Benz as their transport.
Recall that in 2020, the then Kelantan deputy menteri besar (MB) Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah purchased 14 Mercedes Benz S450 L AMG line worth over RM600,000/unit for state executive council members and state secretary to use.
Last Wednesday (Nov 15), Mercedes board of directors’ chairman Ola Källenius announced that the German car manufacturer had donated RM5 mil to two organisations in Israel – the United Hatzalah and the German Red Cross – amid the recent unrest between Palestine and Israel.
This is why some Malaysians refuse to openly support the ‘solidarity with Palestine’ campaign, knowing full well it is a vehicle for political grandstanding and for furthering certain narratives and agendas.
More Malaysians need to acknowledge this and understand the underlying reasons. It is not apathy and most certainly not any anti-Muslim sentiment but rather the inherent hypocrisy and lip service underlying the campaign.
Anyone keen to kickstart the boycotting of social media platforms in the likes of Facebook, WhatsApp, X, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube? – Nov 21, 2023