YB Ampang (Zuraida Kamaruddin), we have to admit that behind those feisty political speeches, the façade of a no-nonsense politician and the sturdy defiance you took against expert opinion, you definitely have a wicked sense of humour.
On a serious note, when we first read about your offer to go to Afghanistan on a mission to promote women’s rights, it was thought the media misquoted you. We were also wondering if one of our journalists had ventured into satire.
Besides, there was also apprehension if you had been misquoted. What, you may ask? Many politicians have previously taken the easy way out by blaming the media after putting their feet in their mouths.
Phrases like “twisting facts”, “misunderstood what I meant”, and the tired old cliché of “putting words in my mouth” are familiar. In your case, it is apparent that you are doggedly pursuing something close to your heart.
So, we checked with colleagues who said that you did not say such things in or utter these words in an interview or at a gathering. They told us that to ensure you meant every word, you decided to put them in a statement. How clever! How considerate.
You have saved your media advisers and consultants from having to call up editors to complain that the report misquoted the boss. That’s also good because the public no longer have to read denials.
The written statement is the perfect defence when confronted by many cronies and wannabes who would like to get into your good books by admonishing the media on your behalf.
We also believe your offer is not just one-upmanship against former colleagues who find themselves in the unemployed queue.
It is said that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop and having been unemployed for just four days, innovative ideas and plans have cropped up. Just think of the hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who are currently twiddling their thumbs having nothing to do.
Just make a guess as to the number of ideas for humanity that they would have come up with. Even if a paltry 1 percent is acceptable, what a wonderful society we will have.
There would have been no need to walk around in a hazmat suit or pose for cameras holding hoses; there wouldn’t have been any quarrels with experts on public health and the money saved would have gone to Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahmah in Klang, which is in dire straits due to lack of medical equipment.
But back to your plans. Already, the offers are pouring in. One lawyer, yes, a lady who also has a good sense of comicality, has offered to buy you a one-way ticket but this is if the new administrators in Kabul allow your feet to touch their land.
If you can’t, head to Karachi or Lahore and then travel by road to Peshawar and through the Khyber Pass and arrive in Afghan territory. There will be great sceneries including bomb craters to see.
On reaching your destination, do not propose or introduce sanitisation of the roads, building, furniture and fittings in offices. The Afghans have their own way of dealing with the problem – they just exterminate pests, viruses and humans too.
If you need someone to give Afghan women expert advice on grooming, you can always turn to fellow unemployed minister Rina Harun, who can help, because she knows a thing or two about make-up and make-overs.
There’s also Dr Adham Baba, another out-of-job minister to improve the regime’s tattered image internationally by making conference calls and communicating with leaders of 500 nations. We are certain air suam will feature extensively at his meetings.
Sometimes, our politicians seemed fixated on the happenings outside the country while ignoring the issues in their backyard.
YB, if you are talking of better opportunities for women and girls, I wonder why you did not take a stand against child marriages. No one wanted you to take up cudgels to do battle but the least you could have done as a lawmaker was to convince fellow MPs of the need to protect young women.
Instances of girls being asked to discontinue school and get married are no longer isolated. Would you allow your teenage daughter or granddaughter to marry a man who is old enough to be their grandfather?
The elephant in the room cannot be ignored. Nor will it go away by remaining spineless – afraid to express views for fear of being derided by people on your own side.
Now that you have plucked up the courage to offer to go to war-torn Afghanistan compared with many of your unemployed male counterparts, who would prefer to spend retirement with their grandchildren, can you walk the extra mile for our girls?
While the whole world rallied behind Malala Yousafzai for her stand on education for girls, you could also enjoy the same if your root for empowerment and opportunities for Malaysian girls. Is that asking too much before you step on the plane to Kabul?
It is normal practice to give plum postings abroad for failed politicians or their spouses. Will you consider being our first ambassador to Afghanistan? Although Malaysia will lose a brilliant minister, you must go where your heart takes you.
R NADESWARAN offers a tongue-in-cheek view of the happenings and darndest things said after the government was dissolved.
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