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(Un)Popular Opinion

Malaysia’s not sending its best. And no one proved it better than Tajuddin

Disappointed but not surprised.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and does not purport to reflect the opinions or views of WeirdKaya.

(Un)Popular Opinion | In a speech during his presidential campaign in 2015, former US president Donald Trump infamously uttered the following words which encapsulated what he felt about Mexican immigrants pouring into the US-Mexico border:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people.

While it sounds harsh (and still does) seven years on, I couldn’t help but to be struck by the sinking feeling that Malaysia’s going through the same right now — not in the form of desperate immigrants fleeing violence in their homeland, but the appointment of Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman as ambassador to Indonesia.

Tajuddin
Photo via The Vibes

Following his appointment, Tajuddin has been met with nothing but criticism from all sides, where he was called unfit for the job and “an elite Malaysian man failing upwards”.

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And for good reasons too. This is a man who allegedly threatened to “slap” ethnic Chinese for complaining about the country’s woes outside of Malaysia, called an MP a b*****d in Parliament, and was sacked from his position as Prasarana chairman for bungling a press conference following a collision at the Kelana Jaya LRT Line, where he disrespected a Chinese journalist and said that the accident was caused by the trains “kissing” each other.

Tajuddin
Photo credit: Fahmi Reza

Are these still not enough to persuade even the most foolish person on earth to not give Tajuddin the prized position of ambassador to Indonesia given his checkered history?

While Prime Minister Ismail Sabri has defended Tajuddin’s appointment by saying that it was co-approved by Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, it’s quite plain to see that a disaster is imminent if Tajuddin were to be in charge of maintaining diplomatic relations with the fourth-most populous country in the world.

Perhaps no one summed up the despair and anxiety many Malaysians felt following the news better than Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh:

Indonesia, please know that this is not the best of Malaysia. Because of Sheraton Move, everything we have isn’t the best this land has to offer (and this includes our Cabinet too).

Source: Twitter

Like what Trump alluded to Mexico of sending “its worst” in his campaign speech, Malaysia is unfortunately on the same path by not only sending a person with a poor track record in crisis management, but also risks damaging its relationship with Indonesia in the long run.

So hold on to your seats real tight and pray that Tajuddin doesn’t get recalled for saying that two trains decided to make love while passing by each other on the railway track.


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Cover image: Malay Mail & Fahmi Reza