Musa’s candor is bipartisanship’s grist

March 15, 2013

Musa’s candor is bipartisanship’s grist

By Terence Netto@

COMMENT: Finally, (Tun) Musa Hitam had something to say about theTun Musa 2 party of change (read: Pakatan Rakyat) and, by implication, the party of the status quo which, needless to say, is BN.

It’s not his style to have declined to say something, given the gravity of the issues before the electorate and of the decision that voters must make at GE-13.

To have avoided making a comment would have been contrary to his instincts as a politician, albeit a retired one, and his stature as an elder statesman in Malaysian councils.

Someone in his situation could not be expected to have let current matters pass without comment of the objective sort. UMNO man though he is, a reflexive partisanship is just not his style.

When matters facing the nation are fraught, Musa can be expected to lift anchor and float intriguingly in the space between a concern for the where the country is headed and the understandable partisanship of a party man.

One remembers the remarks he made when there was a rush by Malays to join PAS in the aftermath of Anwar Ibrahim’s sacking from government and UMNO in late 1998. The expulsion and public humiliation of the former Deputy Prime Minister became an international cause celebre and generated a tidal movement towards signing up for PAS.

After observing the phenomenon for some time – a year on from September 1998, PAS had doubled its membership from 400,000 – Musa confessed to being amazed at the magnetism of the Islamic party, whereupon one of the party’s columnists, Subky Latif, offered to “sediakan borang” (fetch Musa a membership form).

One Man One VoteOf course Musa, admiring though he was at the rush to sign up with PAS, wasn’t going to join the cavalcade. But his readiness to observe and remark candidly on the phenomenon was reflective of a trait all democrats ought to have: common sensical acknowledgment of easily attributable happenings.

Absent this quality, the competitive process in a democracy will be reduced to a raucous shouting match and is bound to become a turnoff to voters.

The trait of candid acknowledgment of easily ascribable phenomena is sine qua non of all parties to the democratic process in which competing coalitions vie for the privilege of ruling the country.

Musa’s last hurrah

In his most recent instance of unabashed recognition of compelling realities, Musa was reported to have said that Pakatan Rakyat won’t want to bankrupt the Treasury simply because they would want to be returned to power at GE-14 should they win GE-13.

So even if certain planks in the Pakatan manifesto appear impossible to fulfill, Musa was saying that a desire to be returned to power would slow, if not halt, a gallop to the fiscal precipice.

Pakatan cannot hope for a more candid acknowledgment from one from the other side of the country’s political divide about their seriousness as contenders for national governance not just now but for decades to come.

ahmad mustapha book lauch by musa hitam 141107Pakatan have in Musa a credible candidate for the role of speaker of the Dewan Rakyat should it gain Putrajaya at GE13.

This is not to suggest that Musa was angling to be appointed to the role by his recent remarks on Pakatan’s viability.

Some time ago, Subki Latif suggested Musa for the role on the basis of his credibility as a personage on the national political scene.

Pakatan would embellish its claims to bipartisanship by appointing Musa to the role should they win power at the next polls.

And Musa would relish a last hurrah in national affairs as fair-minded interlocutor between two competing coalitions which are likely to run each other close at the general election.

Parliament would be an elevated arena for debate on issues. Rare would be the repeat of demeaning instances of the past when unparliamentary language and actions debased the arena.

Musa would have just the right combination of elegant speech and enlivening humour to steer proceedings along elevating channels. He will be 79 next month; there’s no reason these days to think that a person would be past it in his ninth decade in this world.

A prospective role in Malaysia’s 13th Parliament’s elevation would bring his career to a coda that recalls the poet Robert Frost’s lines on old age:

No memory of having starred
Atones for later disregard
Nor keeps the end from being hard
Better to go down with boughten friendship at your side
Than with none at all. Provide, Provide.

6 thoughts on “Musa’s candor is bipartisanship’s grist

  1. Tun Musa is my ex boss.

    Yes,he had his weaknesses too and the problems that exploded on his face while at the helm of Sime Darby was one of those,which he cannot just brushed aside saying that wasn’t his responsibility.

    But having said that,he speaks his mind and prepared to stand by it.His approach is tempered with pragmatism.I salute Tun Musa for his view despite knowing fully well he will be lynched by BN media,supporters and leaderships.

  2. He got shafted by Mahathir and in his last days at the last Sime Darby fiasco, he got shafted again. There was no way he was going to keep quiet if the opportunity came up..What else is there at his age?

  3. In all this the sad part is that our future will be determined by what we do today. And those who are responsible for what is being done today will not be there to see what the future is. It is our children and grand children who will have to carry the can.Eventually, like a golfer, our fututre will arrive at the 18th hole and unless we correct our mistakes that future will be ours to behold.
    The man-on-the-street is powerless to act. It is those who are in positions of leadership who should take up the task to correct the mistakes. Just talking in terms of principles and leaving the issue at the door- step means good follow up but poor follow through and is just not good enough.

  4. Tun Musa has long retired, why now ? , something amiss here, he must have a personal agenda , has it got anything about Ku Li ?, please dont fall into the trap…….


    I believe that Men of Integrity, like Tun Musa, speaks out their mind when they feel that their people are getting shafted. Kuli, our gifted but meek leader, occasionally does that too. Skepticism and suspicion of ulterior motives of such people especially when they have served our country without enriching themselves, and when they have the fortitude, desire and the capacity to stand up for their people is not going to help our country. Rather we should rally behind their cause, when clearly such cause is for the good of the country. Malaysia more than ever, needs those who have served and wiling to serve the needs of nation, not the needs of the rich and corrupt leaders of BN.

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