Najib should not be paranoiac by the “kangkung furore” and completely immobilised when he should swiftly identify the underlying factors

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should not be paranoiac by the “kangkung furore” and completely immobilised when he should swiftly identify the underlying factors of the “kangkung phenomenon” in Malaysia in the past week and demonstrate that he is not a “PM kangkung” running a “kangkung government” hollow inside apart from a glittering externa

In the past seven days, the “kangkung phenomenon” has taken the country by storm, as kangkung becoming the butt of comedy, satire, video and comic sketch.

What is most regrettable and must be condemned by all right-thinking Malaysians is the dishonest and dangerous game of political opportunists who tried to racialise the “kangkung furore” as the work of Chinese showing disrespect to Malay leaders.

In the past week, Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region have taken part in the “kangkung bashing” of Najib including the latest edition of comedy sketch, That Effing Show, hosted and produced by Ezra Said, entitled “Let Them Eat Kangkung”.

Instead of indulging in a “Kangkung phobia” and hitting out at all and sundry involved in the “kangkung furore” - I commend the police for not being infected by the Kangkung phobia and announcing that the police is not arresting the artist Yuri Wong responsible for the kangkung video which first kicked off the “kangkung tsunami” - Najib and the Barisan Nasional leadership should swiftly identify the underlying reasons as to why an inadvertent reference to the price of kangkung should set off such a “kangkung tsunami”.

Firstly, it is a reaction to a government leadership which is quite cut off from the problems, pain and sufferings of the ordinary Malaysians caused by the spate of price hikes – illustrated not only by the continued corruption, waste and squandering of public funds (the latest example being the 15-day 20-person luxury cruise to the Antarctica led by the Terengganu Mentri Besar).

But the “kangkung tsunami” reflects a deeper problem – that Najib is facing the worst crisis of confidence ever faced by any Prime Minister in the nation's 56-year history because of his lack of leadership and direction in the past eight months after the 13th general elections on May 5 last year.

Just as kangkung is hollow inside, the “kangkung furore” is an expression of lack of public confidence against a Prime Minister and a government which have very impressive and glittering coating but has proven to be empty and hollow in the past eight months to deal with the grave national problems confronting Malaysians.

For example, Najib talks about moderation and tolerance all over the world but in the past eight months he has allowed extremists and the advocates of hatred and intolerance a field day, an example of “kangkung” politics – fine outside but empty inside.

Malaysia is facing at least five national crisis:

  • Crisis of nation-building – as racial and religious polarisation in Malaysia had never been more serious than today, because of the failure of leadership by the Prime Minister who, for instance, has not said a word to resolve the “Allah” controversy despite the Cabinet's 10-Point Solution in 2011.
  • Economic crisis highlighted by the price hikes but aggravated by a government which is heedless of the problems of the people.
  • Educational crisis of deteriorating standards – for the past two months, both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister who is also Education Minister have studiously avoided this subject, highlighted by 2012 PISA results on Dec. 3.
  • Security Crisis as the police have failed to give top priority to ensuring that low crime and the safety and security of citizens, investors and tourists should be No. 1 agenda instead of protecting the Barisan Nasional regime.
  • Crisis of worsening corruption in Malaysia.

In all these five fronts, Najib has only a “kangkung effect” - good-sounding on the outside but utterly empty and hollow inside.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah