Zahidonomics: What a frightening thought

Can the DPM’s idea for cheaper superbikes help revive the economy?


Deputy Prime Minister by day, leather-clad biker by night. That sounds like a script for a hilarious B-movie. Can you imagine the gallant figure of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi astride his loyal metal behemoth, flanked by his leather-clad followers? Together they patrol the streets of Kuala Lumpur in the war against the terrible Yellow Cleaners.

But it would be petty to begrudge and belittle Zahid’s beloved pastime. After all, this writer wishes to one day own a Harley Davidson of equal stature to the DPM’s beloved Honda Goldwing. Such are the dreams that linger past adolescence, thanks to films like The Terminator. One day, I shall achieve my ambition, even if I may come to question my own lack of judgement.

But one truly has to question Zahid’s judgement, or lack of it at times. As we all know, the DPM likes his superbikes and is in fact the executive chairman of the Superbikers Association of Malaysia. Unfortunately, his passion for the steel beasts seems to have skewed his earnest desire to see the country grow. He has now promised to ask the Prime Minister to approve a reduction in the import duty and sales tax on superbikes.

Could we be seeing the emergence of a new class of bikers on Malaysian roads? Could we be witnessing the birth pangs of the greatest automotive movement to grace asphalt and gravel? Could this be the advent of Zahid’s Angels? No, no, as in Hell’s Angels, not Charlie’s Angels. No one wants to see our DPM in spandex and pleather, thank you very much.

Malaysia is currently facing problems of the worst kind – plunging oil prices, a weakening ringgit, a slowing economy, and to top it off, investigations by several countries into the doings of our Prime Minister due to certain dubious transactions involving the sovereign wealth fund he oversees, 1MDB. This is not exactly the time to be indulging one’s personal passions, especially when one happens to be the PM-in-waiting of a country experiencing some extremely worrying difficulties.

Can you imagine it, though? Even with everything that is going on, with all the turmoil and uncertainty, the PM-in-waiting thinks that priority should be given to reducing the taxes for luxury products like big bikes. It’s sad to consider just how disconnected Zahid seems to be from the concerns of normal Malaysians, especially when his party desperately needs leaders who are capable of empathising with the rakyat as they struggle to live.

If nothing else, Zahid has served as another example of just how shallow the current political leadership of this country is. We have tone-deaf, out-of-touch and self-serving leaders, and yet they expect support from the rakyat at large.

This is the time when, more than ever, our politicians need to show that they have substance. Zahid’s pronouncement comes at a time when his party is under siege for its indulgences and excesses, and he only reinforces the image that people have of an elitist, out-of-touch party. The people have no stomach left for more nonsense, least of all the introduction of something called Zahidonomics.

Zahidonomics: What a frightening thought
September 14, 2015 – FMT


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