Criticism against Sheila Majid and Fathia Latiff is meant to display Umno’s dominance in every aspect of people’s lives

ANALYSIS

A new trend is emerging in the nation’s political scenario, that of politicians lashing out at vocal entertainment personalities critical of Umno. This was very evident among both the Wanita and Puteri Umno wings in the ongoing party AGM.

Puteri Umno exco member and actress Khaidiriah Abu Zahar was clearly offended with actress Fathia Latiff.

“If she really wants to talk about the struggles of the people, then go on the ground like Puteri Umno. If she just wants to simply type words using her smartphone, then there’s no need,” said Khaidhirah who is better known as Dhira

She said that Fathia can sit quietly and work on her acting and herself.

“There’s no need to meddle in government affairs,” Khaidhirah said in her speech.

In a recent Instagram post, Fathia posted a tribute to former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, saying that his contributions to the country seemed to have been forgotten.

Umno information chief Annuar Musa meanwhile felt pity towards jazz queen Sheila Majid who he believed was misinformed about the government.

“A lot of it is wrong which means she is wrong because it is not her field. If she wants to speak about expensive things, even rubber tappers can make such claims.

“But if she claims that the Malaysian economy is so and so, one must study it. It is best that I don’t comment about it,” he said.

The jazz queen took to Twitter in criticising the government’s methods in managing rising cost of living on Tuesday.

“Food is expensive, ringgit is weak, cost of living is high and jobs are scarce. Malaysians are becoming tired and angry for being squeezed over debts we did not create. Stop making excuses and looking for faults. Focus on the job of getting our country back on track. Disappointing.” Sheila wrote.

TV personality Azwan Ali did not sugarcoat his condemnation towards Sheila.

“Her whining will spoil the new generation. You are a major artiste. Successful. Has a Datuk title. Rich. You have millions of followers.

“Is this not because of the government? Go to hell!” Azwan said.

“She is influential. A diva should use ‘common sense’ and not get emotional. People respect her. By making such statements, it is suicidal.

“What she says won’t affect BN. Najib doesn’t need entertainers to win elections. Najib is too big a name,” he said.

The criticism by Fathia Latiff and Sheila Majid appears to be new trend among Malaysian artistes. It goes to show that they are aware of the hardship faced by ordinary Malaysians.

This relatively new trend however is common in Hollywood and in India.

In Bollywood, personalities from entertainment industry even have newspaper columns and talk shows to highlight issues of the common man.

One such example is the highly rated Satyameva Jayate hosted by actor Aamir Khan.

In Malaysia that doesn’t seem to be the case as experienced by Soo Wincci who was forced to raise RM200,000 for her solo concert, InWinccible held in October 2015.

Sponsors had pulled out after Soo called for Prime Minister Najib Razak’s resignation a month before the concert.

It is likely that Sheila Majid may face similar hurdle for her upcoming concerts.

As for Umno which would be facing polls next year, the criticism against Sheila Majid and Fathia Latiff is meant to display Umno’s dominance in every aspect of people’s lives.

Umno’s reaction also indicates that it is acting like a shame-plant which is not prepared to accept criticism.

It is rather inappropriate for a 71-year-old party to act like an immature youngster. At this juncture the most important question is whether Umno’s actions would cost them votes.

The repercussion of the criticism is very likely to happen if Sheila Majid and Fathia Latiff blend arts with politics.

There are entertainers who got involved in politics but did not merge their arts with politics such as Aishah who contested for the Jempol parliamentary seat in the 13th general election in 2013.

She joined PAS offshoot, Amanah two years later.

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