🦉 From YB *Wong Chen* . . .
“My dear friend Rafizi Ramli has officially announced that he will retire from politics and will focus fully on his start up. Other than politics, there are many ways a person can help others. By setting up Adnexio, a job portal to match jobs for unemployed youths, Rafizi will continue his goal to help shape a better society.
In short, I don’t blame him for choosing this new path. Politics is very tough. It is unforgiving. It doesn’t pay you enough financially, unless you aspire to be corrupt. You do get little thanks, but you are more likely to get criticised and trolled daily. You neglect your family, you neglect your health, and you neglect your mental state.
There are upsides, like fame, which is actually a double edged sword, because you lose your privacy. You also have to start to second guess who your real friends are, as opposed to “happy times” friends.
If you are an honest politician, the best upside you gain is a sense of purpose. A mission to reform, a mission to bring greater democracy, a mission to help the poor. Some enjoy the chance to be a “hero” and do something you can be proud of, to find a meaning or a calling to life. Some succeed.
However most will soon learn that not all your colleagues are on board with the same mission. Then you have to politically negotiate, just to get half of what the original mission was. If you negotiate too much, then politics becomes a game, where drawn redlines are crossed and then redrawn. There will be mornings you cannot even remember what the original mission was.
In the case of Rafizi, and this is not from him, but from my personal observations; I believe that the period after GE 14 has been most difficult and unkind to him, more than what most of us will ever have to endure.
He was a major contributor to the PH victory. Brilliant, hard working and yet blunt, he inspired us and in the same breath stoked fears in the corrupt. He worked at least three times harder than me. I observed that he was travelling all the time all over the country in his Honda Accord. I recall him telling me that he will be lucky to get to see his wife and young son, a day in a week.
I had a small hand in getting the ball started on invoke. He did most of the work. I made the connections, but he assembled the team, raised money, and implemented actions. Invoke helped about 70 PH candidates for GE14, of which many won their seats.
However, when he was acquitted from the BAFIA case, I counted less than 10 MPs congratulated him in the PH whatsapp group. Not turning up for his trial to support him is forgivable but unwilling to type a simple message to congratulate Rafizi for his acquittal, for fear of upsetting powerful politicians, is a new low.
Did we not march on the streets together as brothers and sisters before GE14? Chanting Reformasi and facing teargas together. Did we not look to Rafizi for leadership when Anwar was in jail? I think a valid reason for his departure from politics, is to rid himself of the company of ungrateful opportunists.
Since GE14, when others were celebrating their positions, he had to endure multiple civil court cases. These cases drained his already low personal finances. On top of that, he had to trim invoke to a smaller team. Imagine Rafizi telling the youths that helped us win GE14, that they have to now get new jobs due to downsizing. He struggled to keep invoke alive with his own limited funds for a year. A few of his closest friends, including myself took up shares to keep invoke alive.
Politically, he was also attacked after GE14. Many of you vilified him (and also me, for defending him) when he spoke out against Dr Mahathir in mid 2018. Some people say he is arrogant. Some people say he is too clever for his own good. Say whatever you want, to me, he is one of a handful of genuine reformists that Malaysia truly needs.
I don’t think he wants a reward, but to be recognised and thanked for his momentous work is fair. While he could not contest in GE14 as an MP due to his BAFIA conviction, he was nevertheless not appointed, to a senator post. Many who contributed almost nothing compared to him, have taken up cosy ministerial posts.
With no political recognition, he also had to face continued criminal prosecutions, albeit the cases started during BN time. Whereas a few PH politicians had their criminal cases dropped immediately, the PH government continued to hound him for another year and a half. Bear in mind that in the BAFIA case, Rafizi benefited absolutely nothing financially and had in fact acted as a courageous whistle-blower.
So when Rafizi publicly announced his retirement from politics today, I did not try to dissuade him. He came over to my home for dinner last week. He was relaxed and happy, he has more time for his family, his company is finally stabilising and the future looks cautiously brighter.
The calls from party members still come in but have lessen substantially in the last few months. He is now blissfully immune to criticisms levelled on the PH government. He is glad he doesn’t have to deal with the divas in my party. He laughs and yet sympathise at my predicament, my fixation with policy reforms, holding on to hope beyond hope.
If he was an MP, we would be in the same boat. We were both professional corporate guys before politics. It is with true happiness and support to see Rafizi take another boat now, a new course, away from politics. I wish him all the very best in his new endeavours.
Yet I can’t help to feel a tinge of sadness to see the best and most hardworking politician of this generation, leave the political stage. Bravo my dear friend! May fate brings us on the same path again someday.”
I’m happy for Rafizi Ramli but sad for Malaysia. Y’all may not know this or care, but we lost a good one, guys.
Rafizi wants to rid himself of ungrateful opportunists, PKR MP says
PETALING JAYA: A PKR MP has bemoaned the lack of support for party vice-president Rafizi Ramli, who announced today that he was quitting politics, when he was charged and subsequently acquitted under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia).
Wong Chen said that when the former Pandan MP was acquitted by the Shah Alam High Court on Nov 15, “less than 10 MPs congratulated him in the PH Whatsapp group”.
“Not turning up for his trial to support him is forgivable but (being) u nwilling to type a simple message to congratulate Rafizi for his acquittal, for fear of upsetting powerful politicians, is a new low.
“I think a valid reason for his departure from politics is to rid himself of the company of ungrateful opportunists,” the Subang MP said in a Facebook post.
Earlier today, Rafizi announced his exit from politics to concentrate on his start-up project, saying he is at a stage in life where he “needs to learn”.
Paying tribute to his “dear friend”, Wong Chen described him as a major contributor to Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the May 9 polls and the force behind PKR-linked think tank Invoke.
He said Rafizi had to endure multiple court cases after the last general election, which drained his already low personal finances.
He also had to struggle to keep Invoke alive with the help of a few of his closest friends, he said.
Wong Chen said Rafizi was vilified when he spoke out against Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad last year, with some saying he was “too clever for his own good”.
He also noted that while Rafizi did not stand in GE14 because of his Bafia conviction, he was not even appointed to a senator’s post while those who “contributed almost nothing” took up ministerial posts.
“I don’t think he wants a reward, but to be recognised and thanked for his momentous work is fair,” he said, adding that unlike other PH politicians who had their criminal cases dropped immediately, Rafizi was “hounded” by Putrajaya for another year-and-a-half.
“Bear in mind that in the Bafia case, Rafizi benefited absolutely nothing financially and had in fact acted as a courageous whistle-blower,” he said.
He said this was why he did not try to dissuade Rafizi from retiring from politics.
“Yet I can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness to see the best and most hardworking politician of this generation leave the political stage,” he said.