MP SPEAKS | As expected, the ongoing Umno general assembly has turned out to be an explosive forum laced with all sorts of unfounded allegations against Pakatan Harapan and those who seem to be aligned to it, no matter how remote.
Even singing legend Sheila Majid (photo) has not been spared and it won’t be surprising at all if she is, next, falsely accused of aspiring to stand as a DAP candidate in the next general election, having had the audacity to raise very valid and genuine concerns about the mess this country currently finds itself in under this mighty government.
However, the most disgusting of attacks at the assembly so far must be that of the prime minister when he condescendingly said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was almost in tears begging Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for federal government aid after Penang was hit by severe floods on Nov 5.
So what if the chief minister was nearly in tears when he requested such aid? Does this not show his genuine concern for the people of Penang at that direst of moments?
There were many in Penang who welcomed the deputy prime minister when pictures of him hugging the chief minister upon his arrival in the state went viral. Never in their wildest dreams did they think that their plight would be used as fodder at some Umno function so soon after for political mileage.
The prime minister’s said insensitive remark further fuels speculation that the government was not genuine in helping Penangites in one of the worst disasters the state has ever seen, but that he instead had some ulterior motive in doing so.
It was said as if we Penangites had to beg him for assistance and somehow, this was so amusing that everyone in that hall who heard him spew such venom actually laughed it off!
The prime minister must remember that what happened in Penang in November is not something to be politicised or laughed about. To this day, people are still recovering from damage to their property while many are barely coming to terms with the huge financial losses they have suffered as a result.
The government must also understand that it is duty-bound to come to the aid of all states in times of crisis, regardless of whether they are under the opposition or not.
It matters not if the chief minister nearly shed tears when requesting federal aid, for even if he did not, it is incumbent on the prime minister to assist in all ways possible, be it financial or otherwise, to help the people of Penang in such circumstances.
It is most unfortunate that a disaster has been manipulated to suit the political needs of individuals, in utter disregard for the victims. Najib’s remark was certainly uncalled for and is not merely an insult to the chief minister but indeed, to all Penangites.
RAMKARPAL SINGH is the Bukit Gelugor MP.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.