Friday, June 4, 2021


Malaysia has a bigger problem than Political Frogging - Political Crabbing.

Crabbing is more dangerous as it is not as visible as frogs jumping. It is also more widespread. The culture of crabbing is the deeper reason why we are in a catch-22 situation. In fact, today, frogging is but a tool to crabbing.

Let me explain.

To understand the Crab Culture, one first need to get familiar with the Crab Theory or better known as the “The Crabs in a Bucket Phenomenon”.

When you place crabs in a bucket or container, even if one can escape, it would not be able to because the other crabs will pull down the one trying. This will happen even if there are just two of them in the bucket. This behaviour makes sure that no matter how hard anyone of them works and tries – none will be successful.

Ditto Malaysian politics.

Crabbing in Malaysia is not confined at the national level between two political blocks like Perikatan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan, but also within political parties, like today’s UMNO – between the Kluster Kabinet and Kluster Mahkamah. Some time ago crabbing was the standard operating procedure in PKR until the eventual split.

Leaders and their factions hold the other leaders and factions down so nobody can clearly win and nobody can lead effectively. This “if I can’t have it, neither can you” approach is classic Crab Culture. Sadly, I have strong convictions that this Crab Culture is not only confined to the leaders, but the followers and the rakyat who continue to cheer the behaviour.

At the national level, when one side tries to unseat a sitting Prime Minister in parliament, it is not that they are sure and confident of having a clear majority but it is about trying to prove that the other side does not – this is crabbing at work. Please bear in mind that I do not belong to any political party or coalition. I dare say that the other side would do the same if the situation is reversed. It is our unfortunate Crab Culture that may eat up our nation if we remain unconscious and continue as we are.

That was why I was one of the early individuals who proposed a state of emergency and am still until today at two hearts about the re-opening of the parliament. Do not get me wrong, I strongly believe in a functioning parliament but I have little confidence in our lawmakers shedding the Crab Culture. Are you? Have you not seen how one side will shout loudly and the other yell back hysterically to drown out each other’s voices so no one ends up hearing anything substantial during a session in parliament? It even took place during the inauguration of a new speaker! That is crabbing at work.

When confined inside a parliamentary sitting especially these days when the government in power has a thin majority, I find the Crab Culture manifest its power even more potently. It is like putting 222 crabs in a “Parliament Bucket” setting them into frenzy. Even decent lawmakers are dragged down or simply drown out and trampled by the Crab Culture.  Is it a wonder that the YDP Agong agreed to a state of emergency?

With the emergency in place crabbing rears its ugly head through other ways like the Covid-19 numbers. Each increase in cases reported is a good chance to pull the other ‘crab’ down and vice versa. The more dire our Covid-19 situation, the more noises from one side that we need to reconvene the parliament. So more crabbing can take place. As I said earlier, I am not a party to any coalition, and it is likely that the same would happen if the situation is in reverse. The Crabbing Culture is fuelled firstly by the desire for power.

I am not saying that our politicians are heartless human beings who do not care about the rakyat. Be that as it may, gaining or keeping power is a very large part of the equation (or is it the larger?) even when dealing with Covid-19. Remember the Sabah state election? Every single politician from the Peninsular, whether from the government or opposition and their thousands of campaigners who returned to their home states after the state polls were the main contributors to our current coronavirus massive numbers.  It all started then. The Prime Minister himself admitted this last November.

So, do please stop crabbing and pointing fingers. Admit your mistakes and apologize instead of hiding using crabbing antics. Even if you had quarantined yourself for 14 days thereafter. Ask if you had ensured your cohorts of campaigners did the same. Did they? Can you guarantee that they did? Stop lying to yourselves and the rakyat. If you had placed the rakyat first instead of crabbing for power, you would have stayed home in the Peninsular and let the Sabah state elections be strictly a people of Sabah affair. Period.

If I sound sceptical and doubting, my apologies. Unless our lawmakers and politicians call for a genuine truce until we no longer have any Covid-related death and have vaccinated 80% of our population, I will remain distrustful. Meaning, no power grabbing, organising of frogging or testing who has a thinner majority in parliament and the forcing of a general elections.

Allow the parliament and the government of the day to function till the next General Election even if they have a one seat majority. That is political maturity that avoids the Crab Culture. This has been done before by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who ensured and guaranteed the smooth functioning of the Kelantan State Government from 2004 to 2008 even when PAS at that time had a majority of only one seat. That is political maturity minus Crab Culture.

You see, at this point of time we do not need a change in leadership. What we really need is a change of leadership behaviour.  We need to shed the Crab Culture and focus on the rakyat,

Is that too much to ask for?


Anas Zubedy,

Kuala Lumpur.

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