PM Anwar’s Raya Open House for thousands vs PM Muhyiddin’s ‘Lobster Feast’ for a dozen MPs

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The Kedah Open House suddenly becomes not wasteful anymore because of the attendance of the Kedah Sultan.

Bernama

Perikatan Nasional continues to play the Hari Raya Aidilfitri open houses card to undermine the Anwar administration. Instead of playing such petty games, why can’t the Opposition be more productive and grill the Unity Government on issues like investment, employment, economy, education or even foreign policy? The short answer – they are jealous of PM Anwar Ibrahim.

The long answer – the clueless opposition does not possess the intellectual capacity to argue on any issues except spewing hatred on race and religion. During the 33-month backdoor regime of Perikatan Nasional, Malaysia plunged into trouble – sagging economy, bearish stock market, skyrocketing unemployment, rising costs of living, un-affordable housing and depreciating local currency.

Even if Perikatan Nasional, comprising Bersatu (Malaysian United Indigenous Party) and Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS – Parti Islam Se-Malaysia), tries to twist and spin their past achievements, they can’t. They cannot erase the facts and figures which proved the incompetence of the illegitimate and un-elected governments during their administration.

Under the Perikatan Nasional government, unemployment rate skyrocketed to 4.8%, while foreign direct investments (FDI) dropped by 68% and some 32,000 small-and-medium-businesses closed down. Fitch Ratings’ had downgraded Malaysia’s credit rating from A- to BBB+ and the economy, GDP, plunged by 5.6% – the worst contraction since the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis.

In June 2021, 30% of shops at shopping malls closed down and 300,000 workers in retail industries nationwide lost their jobs within 16 months thanks to the government’s failure in containing the pandemic. SME Association of Malaysia warned that at least 50,000 more small-and-medium-enterprises (SMEs), especially in retail and food and beverages, would be out of business.

In early July 2021, former Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar finally admitted that up to 580,000 businesses – representing 49 % of the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector – were at risk of closing down by October. Malaysia’s MSME sector accounts for close to 40% of the country’s GDP.

IBM, Hyundai, Shell, T Systems, Citibank and HSBC were just some of the companies that had either retrenched or relocated to neighbouring countries due to the government’s incompetence and uncertainty over its policies. Heck, even chambers of commerce of German, Japan and the Netherlands had expressed their displeasure over Muhyiddin government’s half-baked Covid SOPs.

By the time PM Muhyiddin reluctantly resigned in August 2021, the Fitch Solutions warned of a stagnant economy for the rest of 2021 after revising Malaysia’s GDP growth forecasts to 0% from 4.9%. Worse, the ex-PM had killed 13,000 people due to Covid, deaths that could be prevented or minimized had the government employed competent and capable leaders to manage the pandemic.

Malaysia continued to go south after clueless “turtle egg” Ismail Sabri took over. Not only the Ringgit depreciated to RM4.75 to the US dollar,  the country’s national debt had ballooned to RM1.5 trillion. The worthless local currency – the worst in the last 25 years – was the prime factor inflation shot to the roof, till Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister on Nov 24, 2022.

On Nov 24, 2022, the stock market skyrocketed 58.38 points (up 4.04%) after investors were convinced that a religious extremist government led by Muhyiddin and Hadi Awang will not be in power. At 6pm that day, the Ringgit jumped 815 percentage points to RM4.49 against the greenback – the first time the local currency appreciated below the psychological level of RM4.50.

Not only has PM Anwar won investments worth a whopping RM170 billion from his China state visit, but the unity government has also stabilized the supply and prices of chicken egg. Inflation has eased to 3.4% (March 2023) whilst the unemployment rate decreased to 3.5% (February 2023). The IMF (International Monetary Fund) projects Malaysia’s economic growth to be 4.5% this year.

Clearly, the Anwar-led unity government has achieved more in six months than the backdoor Perikatan Nasional regime’s 33 months. Without any issues to play, the opposition parties have resorted to attacking the government’s open houses in Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan between April 29 and May 14, calling it wasteful.

PAS Islamist party secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan has accused Anwar administration of “riding on religion” by hosting the open houses. He argued that the event was excessive and outrageous, reminding the premier of the country’s RM1.5 trillion debt. The unity government was also accused of having political agendas by planning the open houses in the six states facing upcoming elections.

In truth, it’s Takiyuddin who was riding on Islam when he falsely accused Anwar of riding on religion because it’s part of “silaturahim” in Islam to strengthen relationships with friends, relatives and humanity – especially among Muslims. So, why can’t the prime minister attend the open houses, which is a traditional practice among Malay-Muslims and is a concept of the Quran/Koran?

Like it or not, it is PAS that is outrageous – even “un-Islamic” – for splitting instead of uniting the Muslims by discouraging PM Anwar, a Muslim leader, from going to the ground to care for ordinary people. Hilariously, Takiyuddin has actually admitted, without realizing it, that the previous Perikatan Nasional which he was part of had accumulated RM1.5 trillion national debts.

If the religious extremists were so terrified about losing some votes just because of open houses, they should have dissolved the states led by PAS (Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah) early of the year, and not wait after the Hari Raya festival. Besides, PAS state governments can always hold their own open houses to prevent their supporters from being charmed by Anwar.

Bersatu and PAS leaders should be the last people qualified to talk about excessive and wasteful. Have they forgotten their lavish “lobster feast” in 2020, when several politicians of the Muhyiddin backdoor government proudly and happily gave their thumbs up for a lunch that cost more than RM6,000 at a time when ordinary people were arrested and fined for gathering?

Yes, when tens of thousands of people were struggling to put food on the table after losing their jobs due to Covid-19, Muhyiddin and his gang of 17 MPs breached social distancing protocol – excessively and outrageously gorging lobsters (RM2,785), fried kerai (RM1,950), fried chicken (RM560), gulai patin tempoyak (RM980), ulam and sambal (RM75), and mixed vege (RM175).

The VIPs involved were PM Muhyiddin Yassin, Senior Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun, Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, Tanjung Karang MP Noh Omar, Arau MP Shahidan Kassim, and Padang Terap MP Mahdzir Khalid, just to name a few. So, PM Anwar cannot feed thousands of people with ketupat and lemang, but PM Muhyiddin can feast lobsters with a dozen of his friends?

Arguably, to say open houses are wasteful and excessive is both contradictory and hypocritical. It’s quite similar to giving cash handouts to those in the lower-income bracket. Exactly why is it wasteful to feed people, but isn’t wasteful to give cash to people? And why can’t the government fund the open house, but the same taxpayers’ money can be used to fund the cash handouts?

The best part is after days of condemning the open house, Kedah Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has now decided to attend the event after all. The PAS leader with faulty mouth argues he will attend because Kedah Sultan Sallehuddin will grace the Malaysia Madani Aidilfitri Open House. How come the open house suddenly becomes not wasteful anymore?

Bernama

Can the genius Takiyuddin explain from the Islamic point of view why the open house is now valid and legitimate with the presence of the Kedah Sultan, but has been criticized as excessive and outrageous before the monarch agreed to attend? By PAS definition, does that mean the sultan has become PM Anwar’s partner-in-crime in the so-called “riding on religion” drama?

Have the expenses of the open house suddenly disappeared and no longer costly with the attendance of Sultan Sallehuddin? Perikatan Nasional has to make up its mind whether the open house is a wasteful event or not. There’s no such thing as half-pregnant. They can’t say it’s wasteful only if Anwar attends but isn’t extravagant if both Anwar and Sultan Kedah attend.

It seems the unity government had lured and trapped all the dumb PAS leaders, deliberately revealing the participation of the Kedah Sultan at the eleventh hour. After days of whining, moaning and bitching till foaming at the mouth about the open house, the Islamist party now looks like a moron for making a spectacular U-turn, foolishly swallowing hook, line and sinker.

The fake holy men were both desperate and panicked. They were disappointed and demoralised after their plan to brainwash Malay-Muslim voters with an appearance on TV was also scrapped at the last minute. The Hari Raya “takbir” slot was part of damage control after Muhyiddin and his minions were charged with corruption and money laundering. – Finance Twitter