MALAY culture is complex and advanced. It is a high-cultured way of life, which instils values that promote respect and integrity. Such values are integrated into the life in households.
In a typical Malay household, one will see children bending down with one hand in front of them when crossing their parents and the elderly and neighbours sending each other samples of home-cooked dishes in a gesture of goodwill during Ramadan. When talking with others, one should talk softly and before stepping into another’s home, greetings of peace by Islamic custom must be given, and shoes taken off.
These are values that date back before Merdeka, to the days of Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat and have even been codified in our Rukun Negara and the Constitution. This is testament to Malaysia’s founding fathers’ vision of conduct, with which our society would operate.
And yet, this culture appears foreign to some of the very figures we have elected. I’m talking about Parliament. I have never attended a session.
But I don’t need to attend one to see how some of our MPs act. In a YouTube video dated March 13, 2012, Parliament broke into chaos with MPs yelling at each other in rough, street language-style tones and slang while debating the functions of the cabinet.
One MP insulted another by repeating “sakit otak” for one minute, while snickering like a schoolboy.
In another incident last month, the speaker took nine minutes to bring order to the house, before an MP could resume debating Padang Serai MP N. Surendran’s six-month suspension.
Is this the type of example we expect from our MPs? They are supposed to be a living representation of our Constitution and our moral values every time they step into this most privileged space of the public service sphere.
This is not to say that there can’t be a flare up in debate or that a little political manoeuvring is to be thrown out the window. But respect seems to be obsolete, the Malay culture tainted by the gangster-like manner in which some of MPs carry out their duties.
I hope MPs will reflect upon the values of our sterling culture, so that respect and integrity will be brought back to Parliament. If it does take 30 days to change a man (or woman), then I hope our MPs have not put to waste these 30 days of Ramadan to better themselves. On behalf of all those at Kelab Umno US East Coast, I stand in solidarity with the families of those who died in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash and pray for them. ezril Azmin, American political secretary, Kelab Umno US East Coast NST Letters 1 AUGUST 2014 @ 8:10 AM