IN his quest to educate Malaysians about the practice of nepotism which originated from Roman Catholic Christian scholars hundreds of years ago, veteran journalist Datuk A. Kadir Jasin claimed that the term nepotism became popular in Malaysia when Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi served as the UMNO Youth leader (1996-1998).
“Zahid who was then Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s right-hand man had in 1998 accused the then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad of practicing cronyism and nepotism,” he revealed in his latest Facebook post.
“Cronyism is the practice of appointing or giving rewards to friends without caring whether they are worthy or not. Crony comes from the Greek word chronios which means long-term (friend).”
Added the former Bersatu supreme council member: “So it is not surprising that many people and organisations take seriously and critically Anwar’s actions in appointing his eldest daughter Nurul Izzah as his senior economic and financial advisor.”
Going back to ancient times, Kadir related that in the Roman Catholic denomination, male and female priests are not allowed to marry or have sexual relations.
“As long as they are priests, they are required to practice celibacy which means not marrying and staying away from sexual relations,” revealed Kadir. “As a result, they have no descendants. Although they don’t have wives and children, they have a very wide power in the administration of religion and society as well as a lot of property.”
To overcome this situation, one of the ways Catholic priests – especially the Pope – did is to appoint their “nephews” to important positions.
“From the semantic aspect, the original term in Italian is nepotismo from the Latin word nepos which means ‘nephew’. The problem is, they not only appointed men to hold important positions in religious and administrative affairs but do so in a way that makes no sense,” explained Kadir.
“For example, Pope Paul III (1468-1549) appointed two of his nephews aged 14 and 16 to be ‘cardinal’ which is the second highest position in the Roman Catholic hierarchy. When things are wrong or inappropriately done by religious groups, there were bound to be public parties who legalise and practice them in their daily lives.” – Feb 1, 2023