56-Day Countdown to 13 GE –Turn Najib’s three self-inflicted embarrassments at the RM3.5 million Psy and Gangnam Style bash into a boon for Malaysia

Instead of being the entertainment and political coup in the nation’s 56-year history propelling the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, UMNO and Barisan Nasional to a convincing victory in the 13th General Elections with a two-thirds parliamentary majority and regaining Pakatan Rakyat states including Penang, the Psy and Gangnam Style appearance at the Barisan Nasional Chinese New Year bash in Penang has proved to be a political and public relations disaster of the first magnitude.

It inflicted three major embarrassments on Najib and the UMNO/BN coalition, but even worse, it also brought shame to the country. The three major embarrassments are:

  • The one-minute video of “Three Yes to Psy and Three Noes to BN” which immediately went viral after the Han Chiang School extravaganza with over half-a-million views on YouTube from over a dozen sites since Monday.

  • The five-minute video of “No Psy, Najib/BN left red-faced during yee sang toss”, the second video of Psy’s appearance at the BN CNY bash in Penang which has gone viral, showing the Prime Minister, former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah and Cabinet Ministers waiting expectantly for five minutes for the Korean superstar to join them and sheepishly leaving the stage without yee sang toss when Psy refused. This is the episode which hurt our national pride and make all Malaysians whether PR or BN feel ashamed – that the Prime Minister and former Prime Minister had to sacrifice national honour and dignity even for a Korean K-pop sensation.

  • Psy’s refusal to perform “Gangnam 1Malaysia Style”. Najib had announced on stage after his disastrous “3 Yes to Psy and 3 Noes to BN” exchange with the crowd of Psy’s “very exciting show”, proclaiming that Psy “is ready for us and he will show you the proper Gangnam Style…and I am told he has a surprise for you – the Gangnam 1Malaysia Style”. But Psy did not deliver the “surprise” of “Gangnam 1Malaysia Style” depriving Najib and BN leaders like Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ng Yen Yen the opportunity to dance the “Gangnam 1Malaysia Style” with the South Korean pop sensation in Penang.

There were other public relations disasters like

  • the failure so far to explain who are the funder/funders who foot the bill of at least RM3.5 million for the “Psy and Gangnam Style” appearance in Penang – straight from Brazil in a 20-hour flight – as no one believed that it is really free and that Malaysian taxpayers would not finally have to pay every sen of it and in fact many times over;

  • in the early hours of first day of CNY, over 10,000 1Malaysia flags flooded the major routes of Penang Island which would be used by Najib in his two-day CNY visit, showing utter arrogance of the “mysterious sponsors” of the Psy and Gangnam Style bash – flaunting arrogance and contempt for the law, as the flag were put up in utter disregard of public safety and the by-laws. The whole operation of printing and putting up over 10,000 1Malaysia flags in a matter of hours in the early hours of first day of CNY would easily cost around RM100,000 – another reminder that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

  • Denial up to now by the Penang BN official organisers that they were responsible or even knew who put up the over 10,000 1Malaysia flags, claiming that they have “no idea’ who had put them up. How irresponsible and/or incompetent can the Penang BN leadership be? Is this proof that there were more powerful forces at work behind the Psy and Gangnam bash and that the Penang BN leaders were just puppets being pulled on strings by other people?

But all these are secondary issues and questions to what should be the primary and pivotal question – how to turn Najib’s three self-inflicted embarrassments at the RM3.5 million Psy and Gangnam Style bash into a boon for Malaysia.

Najib deserves the nation’s thanks if the Psy and Gangnam Style fiasco can focus all Malaysians on one question – why South Korea had developed so phenomenally at the expense of Malaysia when 56 years ago, Malaysia was twice as rich and developed as South Korea but today South Korea is two to three times richer and more advanced than Malaysia and ahead of Malaysia in all fields of human endeavour?

One answer is that South Korea was ahead of Malaysia by 15 years in becoming a normal democratic country, effecting a peaceful transition of power through general elections with the Opposition candidate Kim Dae-Jung winning and sworn in as South Korean President in the 1998 South Korean presidential elections.

Can Malaysia undergo a peaceful transition of power with Pakatan Rakyat replacing Barisan Nasional as the new Malaysian government in Putrajaya in the 13GE?

If this can be achieved in the 13GE, then it will turn Najib’s self-inflicted embarrassments in the Psy and Gangnam Style fiasco into a national boon – allowing Malaysia to start on a new page to achieve our Second Merdeka where Malaysians can hold their heads high to compete with the rest of the world and not just among themselves.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur