Politically mature? Not until we stop treating our politics like a popularity contest

PAS must have been pleased when the extremely cordial and likeable professional footballer, Baddrol Bakhtiar (main image), agreed to become one of their candidates for Saturday’s state elections in Kedah.

Olympians, footballers, and celebrities are a prized catch for political parties, but most sporting and entertainment celebrities are wary of expressing their political inclinations,  and prefer not to be seen to be endorsing any particular political party.

So, reading the news of this reserved and composed footballer’s entry into politics was quite a shocker. And what a circus it has turned out to be.

Baddrol’s entry into politics was an unmitigated public relations disaster. It must have been worrying for many local football fans, because while it is rightfully his decision, the question is if this much-loved footballer knows anything about policy-making and has the capacity to speak well in public.

Rumours are, if he manages to win Gurun, and Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor remains as the menteri besar, Baddrol will be positioned as the president of the Kedah Football Association.

This, if true, explains why Baddrol rolled into politics, waving his arms and legs, claiming that he is here to “defend Sanusi”.

Now, I still don’t see where all this excitement is coming from. Neither do I understand the motivation for wanting to become a president of a haunted sporting association that has little significance to professional football.

Why Baddrol would be all right to appear on posters or videos, stammering and struggling to speak his mind, baffles me. Moreover, in the world of professional football, the probable allowances made by the president of a football association are equivalent to the price of a stamp.

When you sign up to be the face of some political party, you can be absolutely sure that you are agreeing to do more than just turn up, stand in the right place, and smile. You would definitely be needing to speak well and have a vague idea of what you will be up to upon being elected to office.

Weirdly, no one from PAS felt the need to advise Baddrol or prepare him with such a manifesto. I think it’s fair to say that Baddrol is deeply popular with absolutely everyone and everything that has eyes, and his much-talked about affinity with Malaysian and Kedah football must be admirable enough to motivate young people to vote for PAS.

But you can’t be going about saying that you will announce your manifesto after you win the seat, especially when everyone else in your party has one.

So, there we are. Malaysian politics is likely to be in danger of becoming more juvenile with show people entering the mix. Sigh!

The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer and do not necessarily represent that of Twentytwo13.

Tagged with: