By Tawfik Ismail
I WISH to share with you the story about a maid that I came across many, many years ago. I do not recall all the details but the gist of it is that it spelt out how a house-owner had hired a maid to help look after and manage his house. To ensure that she performed her duties well and was happy in her job, she was paid a decent salary, provided a comfortable room within the house to live in and also shared good, nutritious food. Her medical expenses were taken care of by the house-owner and she was allowed holidays on weekends as well as at the end of each year of service.
Initially, the maid performed her duties well but over time the house-owner noticed that the maid had become authoritative and bossy in the house and would demand that the house-owner and his family meet with her expectations. Her work also deteriorated and she started spending more time on herself than on the home and even resorted to stealing some of the house-owner’s money and valuables. When the house-owner brought up these matters with her, she became defiant and threatened the house-owner and his family with dire consequences. When the house-owner stood his ground, she locked him up in the store-room and told the rest of the family that they would be locked-up too if they did not listen to and follow her instructions.
Now would anyone of you put up with such a maid in your house? Would you not rather kick her out of the house onto the streets? Frankly, I would half-strangle such a maid for her treachery and arrogance.
Sometime in 1986, not long after Tun Musa Hitam stepped down as Deputy Prime Minister and quit the Government after he was accused by Tun Mahathir of being disloyal to him (Tun Mahathir), I chanced across a book written by the late K. Das titled “The Musa Dilemma”. It reflected on the decision by Tun Musa to step down and also highlighted some of his views on Government. In it was included that narrative about the maid that had been hired by the house-owner.
It made the simplest analogy about the relationship between the rakyat and our Government leaders. We engage our leaders, pay and house them well and generously take care of all their needs including their holidays. All that we ask of them is to be honest, transparent, serve us well and to take good care of the nation. Just like that maid though they habitually spend more time and effort on their own needs and some even steal some of our money and valuables. When we point that out and demand better and honest performance from them, they become defiant and threaten us. Some they even have locked-up as an example and so as to prevent others from protesting.
Just as we will not put up with such a maid within our house, why then do we put up with such “maids” within our nation?
Sure, we finally did get rid of the overbearing maids after many attempts in GE-14, but our new maids did not lock the back door to the house and now the old maids have re-entered the house, chased away the new maids and are dominating us again. In the short span of time that they have re-entered, it is clear that they are more concerned about their own interests rather than ours. We now have 70 Cabinet Ministers that we have to pay, house and look after and as though that number is not atrocious enough, we have two special envoys with ministerial rank and have to pay, house and look after them too. Then there is the ongoing scramble amongst them to helm the GLCs and whatever other choice pickings there are.
Are we to take all these lying down? Are we going to put up with these ‘overbearing maids’?
Or are we going to kick them out of the ‘house’ onto the streets at the next opportunity? Only we can answer that. The choice is ours.