OPPOSITION Member of Parliament (MP) Jeff Ooi’s remarks following the passing of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) spiritual leader Dato’ Haron Din is simply inexcusable. Ooi had retweeted a callous tweet and subsequently added ‘Adios. Let there be peace.’
It is mind boggling to say the least as one tries to grasp the underlying thinking behind his thoughtless remarks. What is certain is that the Democratic Action Party (DAP) Jelutong MP’s comments underscored the deep division between the two parties but it had also shown how insensitive the Chinese-dominated party might be.
Meanwhile Ooi denies that his Twitter account was hacked asserting that he has full control over both his Twitter and Facebook accounts. Naturally DAP has swiftly issued a statement distancing itself from Ooi with party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng expressing regret over the insensitive statement. Nonetheless the damage is done.
Perhaps Ooi should take a leaf from former prime minister’s Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s book. When Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew passed away in 2015, Tun Dr. Mahathir had paid a nice tribute to the late statesman on his personal blog.
History will show that the two Southeast Asian strongmen often clashed and seldom agreed on issues. The animosity between the two men was so well known that foreign media sometimes pitted the two against each other just to hear how the other would respond.
Yet upon Lee’s demise Tun Dr. Mahathir expressed sadness on the death of his rival. He was civil and courteous while acknowledging that there were many difference of opinions between them. In this regard, Tun Dr. Mahathir did not deny the form of relationship he had with Lee rather he encapsulated the kind of tie they had while showing respect for the late statesman.
In politics there are friends and enemies as well as differences in ideologies and policies. But in death political foes deserve a break. Why? Because it is the most decent thing to do.
In fact holding one’s tongue should be the case to allow family members and friends of the dearly departed to mourn their lost. The deceased is only human and bound to make statements, opposing decisions, and mistakes throughout his or her political career. It will be remembered as part of their legacy.
How we remember politicians is entirely a matter of perception, there may be those we adore and others we abhor. But it should always be observed by Malaysian politicians that upon the passing of an adversary one shall always remain respectful.
Interestingly enough according to Chinese custom, one is required to pay respect to the deceased particularly the elderly and ancestors. Of course, family members go through a mourning period as well as hold prayer ceremonies for the dead. Thus, is it too much to ask for Ooi to accord such treatment towards the late Dato’ Haron Din?
At the very least respect the departed and offer a small prayer.
To the family and friends of Almarhum Dato’ Haron Din, we offer our condolences for your lost.