It all started with a tweet, and the fight has continued on Facebook as of the writing of this article. Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa tweeted a photo of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng with his eyes closed during the budget debate in Malaysia’s Parliament on Monday, November 12.
The caption read, “BN’s shadow finance minister is debating Budget 2019 and presenting the… alternative budget. The Minister of Finance is sleeping…”
To which the Finance Minister replied,”My eyes were unwell, and I did not doze off in Parliament.” Maintaining he was only resting his eyes, he even said that he was able to take down notes even with his eyes closed, just as he has done in the past.
Lim uploaded the notes he had written during the session, and tweeted, “My eyes were ‘kurang sihat’ (unwell) just like in the previous Parliament session, but I still attended to hear the Opposition representative (Rembau MP) Khairy Jamaluddin’s speech.”
The matter might have ended there, had not his son, Marcus Lim, post the same photo of his father with his eyes closed, along with a lengthy defense.
Marcus Lim talked about how hard his father has been working sin the past 6 months since his election as Finance Minister of Malaysia, especially with dealing with the country’s considerable debt, since, in the words of his son, “His wish is for our country to be backed on track soonest possible.”
The young man went on to write extensively about his father’s grueling schedule, missed meals and lack of sleep, saying that he had accompanied his father at work one day and ended up completely exhausted.
He ended the post saying that his father is a hero to him, and thanking the opposition for showing how hard his father is working.
Here is his post in full:
“This picture shows a thousand words.
Ever since my dad is elected as the Finance Minister of Malaysia, he has been working extremely hard to figure how to settle the enormous debts our country is in. His wish is for our country to be backed on track soonest possible. To some, they may think that the position as FM is glamourous, but to me I think it is a non-stopped stress job for him.
For the past 6 months, I have seen him working non-stop from 8am till 11pm, 7 days a week. I don’t really know if he has a straight 8 hours sleep since May this year. Sometimes he even skips lunch or dinner to attend meetings, or just to finish his pile of works in the office. During the recent pre-budget period, at times he only had less than 3 hours of sleep for the whole week. He worked with his team till late night and had to overnight in the office to prepare his first budget. He wants to ensure that everybody will have benefited even though they have only limited fund.
Once, I followed his daily schedule and was totally worn out at the end of the day. Many people would ask me why my dad despite his hecticness managed to look fresh all the time. I still could not figure out how but believe his passion for the people and country that keeps him motivated always. Despite my mum’s advice for him to slow down, he will still work as hard because he thinks the sooner the welfare of the people and country improved, the country will be backed on track soon. Some nights, my dad will come back home late almost midnight and tell me he is exhausted just by looking at numbers from work.
Looking at this picture,many may give criticism on it, but for me, I am very proud of my dad. To me, he will always be a hero in my heart.
Here, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the opposition for posting this picture to enable everyone to know that my dad is working extremely hard for the country.”
The young man’s post has been reacted to more than 25,000 times and shared almost 6,000 times. Obviously striking a chord with many of his countrymen, some of whom have been supportive, and others who have taken the opportunity to criticize both Marcus and his father.
More than 9,900 people have commented on the post, with some scoffing at what they obviously felt was a slacking his duties
Others defended the Finance Minister, seeing no problem with what may just have been a power nap
Others even told him to that he needs to take care of himself
But another netizen compared him to the Prime Minister, who at 93, does not sleep during Parliament sessions