I normally do not do Raya Open House, except once every few years. The last one was in 2014, I think. The reason I am not terribly excited is mainly financial. Nowadays, caterers charge from RM 40 to 60 per head for food and drinks, and that is for a normal menu. If you add in satay and roast lamb, there will be additional few thousand Ringgit to the bill.

After reading the Prime Minister’s successful open house, where more than 75,000 attended, I feel tempted to do the same this year. Of course, I am not using tax payers money to foot the bill, so my invitees will not exceed 100 or so. I don’t know why people would go all the way to Putrajaya to have a free meal, so I reckon they all thronged there in the hot sun because they want to show respect and admiration to the Prime Minister and his wife. Why else would you bother to attend Najib and Rosmah open house unless you love them?

I am curious how much the festival has cost the Rakyat, and in this regard, I hope the PM aide will let us know soon. At RM 60 per head, I suppose RM 5 million will do fine, not to mention the cost of preparation of the official residence, and the musical band accompanying the PM and his wife singing “Anak Kampung”. It’s difficult to justify that Raya Open House for that much money should be paid from the Consolidated Fund. I hope the opposition will not follow this grand Open House habit of PM and his wife. If they want that huge number of invitees, then pay the bills from their own pocket.

All the same, I am impressed that the PM, despite all the scandals and the “fake news” thrown at him, is still well loved and respected. I am revising my prediction for the forthcoming election in the light of the grand showing of the Raya Open House. Perhaps I should also examine the psyche of Malaysians generally. All of them, from the men on the street to the professors in the universities.

They don’t seem to care about stolen property, about cover up and abuse of power, so long as they have a free meal. And in some cases promotions. They get angry when I suggested that pilots should not call on the passengers to pray during an emergency. They accused me of forgetting God. I wonder if that tag is more appropriate to those who do not believe the DOJ Report and love free meals.They always pride themselves as good, knowledgeable and pious Muslims, yet they don’t care about corruption when they get a free meal.

The Raya sermon at the mosque I attended neglected to analyse this character of the ummah. The talk was about how powerful and merciful Allah is, something we know all too well. Why not for next year please talk about the character and the personality of the Muslims in this country, some introspection will be good in this election year. Examine what are things that are important to the Muslims. Why do they still love the PM and his wife is an extraordinary phenomenon that is puzzling to people of other countries, This requires careful study. Careful scrutiny of the characters of Malaysians, in the light of their appetite for cash and free meals, will be indicative of the outcome of this coming election.

ZAID IBRAHIM is a member of DAP party. Articles written is strictly the writer’s  personal opinion and it does not represent the views of Malaysian Access.


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