YOUR SAYS | “Politics in Malaysia is an endless fashion statement.”

Johor MB says 5-figure priced shoes were a royal gift

Apanakdikato: As a national/state leader and public servant, you have to lead by example.

In Malaysia, we see current and former prime ministers, ministers and political leaders at state and national levels being more obsessed with outward appearances and social status rather than real substance and principles.

They are seen showing off ultra-luxury vehicles, clothes, jewelry, watches and shoes, even as the country and the rakyat suffer economically.

On the other side of the pavement, politicians dress and behave conservatively in public, and there is never controversy about them flaunting extravagant wealth and opulence, unlike their Malaysian counterparts.

Both the public and private sectors in Singapore have strict guidelines regarding the receipt of gifts. Although not an issue in Malaysia, receiving expensive gifts in Singapore is a serious corruption problem.

The results speak for themselves. Look at how economically advanced Singapore is today compared to Malaysia. The ringgit continues to weaken against the Singapore dollar.

Singaporean politicians do not need expensive shirts and shoes or honorary titles to carry out their responsibilities well. They rely on their integrity, honesty, competence and love for their country and their people.

Rouslan Bahari: Johor Menteri Besar Onn Hafiz Ghazi, your motivation should be to improve the quality of life of Johorians, especially the low income group and the urban poor.

This can be achieved by formulating policies that will bring investment to the state, encourage entrepreneurship among locals, and help those most in need.

Perceptually, perhaps avoid wearing these opulent items in public at state events. Let yourself be guided by your private affairs such as family reunions or weddings.

It might not be bad to own or wear them, but it obviously suggests low sensitivity to people’s fate given the current economic situation.

Vijay47: As everyone has always suspected, politics in Malaysia is an endless fashion statement.

No politician worth his salt would deign to be seen in anything costing less than RM6,000, except of course when he does his annual act of humility ‘balik kampung’ to show that he is part of the rakyat.

First, we had a convict who, even during his legal proceedings, pranced in Armani. Then we have Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaacob who is more to be pitied than blamed.

Can you imagine a grown man walking around town believing himself to be a male edition of Naomi Campbell in his RM6,900 Mickey Mouse outfit? And in case we missed the point, it scrolled at least three times. Once even abroad.

And now Onn Hafiz in his ransom prince shoes. Of course, he’ll soon come out with a fierce warning that any unsavory comments about what he’s wearing on his feet would be disrespectful to the Sultan.

Shoes that cost “tens of thousands”? Does he eat it? Depending on the quality of their contribution to society, the appropriate footwear for political leaders should be horseshoes.

Dr. Raman Letchumanan: Onn Hafiz, you are only a few months away from your MB office and you get a RM40,000 shoe to wear as motivation to work hard.

But I’m sure that during the elections you would have sworn to sacrifice yourself and serve the rakyat, even as a member of the state assembly. Wasn’t the MB’s message a priceless gift in itself?

According to your own logic, you better not work too hard. Just khaki goyang (shake your legs), and you’ll get more shoes and other goodies to remind you to work hard. You have five more years to build your wardrobe, from the feet up.

By the way, if you wonder why people don’t look up at your face anymore when you meet them, you should know why. It’s not out of disrespect, nor is it a sign of admiration when they look down.

I believe the sultan had good intentions of giving you a gift, but not of bashing spirits when cornered. You must learn to be discreet and know how and when to speak. Of course, discretion in these times of “jihad against inflation” is something even a fool will observe.

RedWolf4463: What should you do when the sultan or other political dignitary gives you an eyebrow-raising gift? What do you plan to do for them as a refund?

Please disclose other hidden gifts received from time to time and let the rakyat be the judge of the appropriateness of such gifts.

Years ago, a regulation prohibited civil servants, ministers and politicians from receiving gifts of more than face value. Gifts over a certain value must be returned to the state. Are they all thrown out the window by Umno politicians?

Sun: Indeed, Public Service Commission rules do not require public servants to report/refuse gifts, especially of a costly nature. Or are they exempt?

Can the competent authorities explain? When exactly is a gift considered (by law) to be a bribe? Can MACC explain?

GreenLlama0921: All civil servants must emulate the integrity of the late Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam (2002-2007). He kept a list of all the gifts he personally received and turned them over to the government when he retired.

He was of the opinion that the gifts had been given to him personally and that he had received them because he exercised a public function. Ask yourself if you were an ordinary rakyat, would you have received such gifts?

Mario T: You are entitled to the luxury of using your own income like anyone who can afford it.

However, accepting gifts or rewards from anyone while being a public servant only yields to speculation and mistrust.

If the “reward” in cash or in kind comes from the government for exemplary service, then that is normally accepted practice.

Remember that you are a responsible public servant and your conduct should always be considered fair, just and honest in the performance of your duties. The same goes for your staff.

Shiva1967: Gratification in any form is not acceptable, especially when the recipient is a civil servant and a public figure.

You do not receive it because you are Onn Hafiz but because you are the MB. There should be a distinct line between the two.

Every Chinese New Year, I receive baskets from the suppliers and vendors of the company I work for. However, these are given to me not because I am Siva but because I am the administrative manager of the company and they ‘appease’ me for future ‘favours’.

I will still advise them to take it back as I am unable to accept it. Thank you very much but no thank you.

OrangeJaguar9341: Why does the MB office need “gifts” from external sources to motivate them to work hard?

Even at my company, any gift over a nominal amount should be politely declined or, if that’s not possible, returned to the company.

Why? Because we aim to act with honesty, integrity, equality and transparency at all times.

Federal Bakery: A house at this price (RM40,000) will house up to six people in a family, even more in these times. There will be space to cook, eat, bathe, sleep and be together as a family.

There will even be space to pray and give thanks for the gift of a home. At the doorstep there will be space to keep a rack for shoes and slippers that you won’t be wearing around the house.

But the MB will wear shoes that can buy a house. Why? Motivation to dodge the job he’s supposed to do?

PK5001: Why do these six-and-a-half-hour politicians have to flaunt their wealth as the rakyat struggle to survive? Are there politicians who have dedicated their lives to serving the rakyat and renouncing unexplained wealth?

Unfortunately, the rakyat are either misinformed, apathetic, or easily manipulated into continuing to vote for these selfish parasites. Maybe we get what we deserve. Sigh.

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