O Malaysia, Malaysia – Wherefore art thou Malaysia ?

Posted on September 27, 2010

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The recent speech by Aliran President P Ramakrishnan during their recent fund raising dinner remind me of these words from Romeo and Juliet , and with no offence to William Shakespeare I have took the liberty of replacing it with Malaysia in it :

Orang biasa :
O Malaysia , Malaysia , wherefore art thou Malaysia?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love
And I’ll no longer be a Orang Biasa.

This is an abridged version of the speech :

In a democracy worth its name, it’s the people who come first. The
government exists for them and not the other way around as is happening now.
We are made to believe that the people are there to do the government’s
bidding. The government actually tells you that.

You vote for my man on Sunday, you will get a cheque on Monday. That’s what
they told the voters in Ulu Selangor. In Sibu they told the voters, “You
elect my man, I will pay for the flood mitigation project” – otherwise you
can drown in the flood for all I care!

In other words, you will be rewarded if you serve the ruler; otherwise you
will be punished. They don’t govern the country any more – they rule over
you; they lord over you.

Is this what democracy is all about?
53 years of disappointment
For 53 years, we have been ruled – not served; for 53 years we have been
kept apart through policies that discriminate against the citizens; for 53
years they failed to forge a nation rooted in justice and truth. For more
than half a century they failed us miserably; they disappointed us blatantly
without a care or thought for the welfare of the nation and its people.

They did whatever they wanted to, without being accountable for their
actions simply because the police, the judiciary, the anti-corruption
commission, even our mainstream media and others are no longer able to
function professionally and in an unbiased manner in the larger interest of
the nation. Notions of justice and fair play are no longer the cornerstone
of our society.

Tun Dr Mahathir made sure that truth and justice will not be part of the
fabric of our society. He destroyed the judiciary in 1988 and we have not
recovered from that shameful onslaught that removed the Lord President
unjustly and made victims of two honest and brave judges of the Supreme
Court who stood up for justice.

Our judiciary was once regarded as a bastion of justice. It was a
well-respected institution of integrity in the Commonwealth. But alas, it is
now totally discredited and ridiculed. We can even predict certain judgments
even before they are pronounced.

Certain judges don’t even seem to know the law. They dispense judgments that
are baffling and absurd. We witnessed these weird instances in numerous
cases.

In the Perak crisis, the provisions of the Federal Constitution were
completely ignored; in the Kampung Buah Pala case, we witnessed an absurd
situation when a piece of land was sold for pittance by the former BN Penang
state government when that land did not belong to the state government –
this very important fact was strangely never addressed by the court; in the
cases involving conversions that deliberately disrupted families and
separated mother and child, the verdicts of the judges were absolutely
unfair.

In the case of Anwar Ibrahim, the courts have totally discredited themselves
in the way they have denied Anwar access to vital information that is
crucial for his defence.

Rampant corruption, wastage – and a false dawn

Corruption is rampant and the MACC does not come across as an impartial
institution that can be depended upon to curb corruption. The speed with
which it moves to investigate those opposed to the BN as compared to the
dragging of feet when corruption involves BN leaders and ministers makes you
wonder whether the MACC is there to protect the BN and harass the Pakatan
Rakyat.

If we are privy to information about corruption and abuse of our money that
has surfaced lately, it is not because of the ACA becoming MACC. It is
because of the change of certain state governments.

For over 50 years, the books had been closed to the rakyat. Alarming
information has been preserved and protected through the use of the OSA. Not
any more. Exco minutes no longer remain a state secret. They can be
revealed; the abuse, the corruption, the lies – all can be exposed now.

The wastage and squandering of the national wealth is amazing and
bewildering. While there are moves to remove subsidies and reduce
scholarships due to lack of funds, we seem to have endless funds for opulent
lifestyles and extravagant expenditure for putting up buildings that cost
hundreds of million ringgit.
Shockingly, allocations to hospitals have been cut drastically resulting in
shortages of vital medicines. But we have funds for building a new
parliament.

Why do we need another Parliament when we already have one that is rich in
history, serving as a national symbol of democracy for nearly half a
century?
We should not even think of moving into the Putrajaya International
Convention Centre, which has come to symbolise one of the many failed
projects that has cost the taxpayers unnecessary colossal expenditure.
A new Parliament should not be used as an excuse to save or rescue Putrajaya
ICC. The Malaysian voters should punish the BN at the next election if it
dares to go for another Parliament completely dismissing public sentiments.

Why do we need another palace when we already have the Istana Negara and
another palace in Putrajaya? We can safely assume that His Majesty the Yang
Di Pertuan Agong had not demanded for yet one more palace.

People were fooled into thinking that a new dawn in race relations had
arrived when the Prime Minister announced his 1Malaysia with much fanfare.
For a moment, he made Malaysians believe that at long last we have come to
our senses. He spoke of equal opportunities based on ethnic harmony,
national unity, and efficient governance.

But it was rather unfortunate that almost immediately, it was sunset for
1Malaysia when his Deputy declared, “I’m Malay first.” He put a stop to our
progress in race relations and came across as supporting Ibrahim Ali’s
Perkasa, which is strident about Ketuanan Melayu.

1Malaysia notwithstanding, it is clear that under the BN we will never be
united as a people and as a nation. The BN is not capable of genuinely
reinventing itself. We will remain divided and compartmentalised in our own
communities because this situation suits the BN.

We must never fall into this trap.
Hope for complete change
Democracy only works when people claim it as their own. But, as the Aliran
Singers tell us, democracy means you have to get off your backsides!

In this regard, it is important to usher in a two-party system for Malaysia.
In a two party system, we can expect them to behave responsibly or else they
will get the boot, for sure.

It is refreshing to note that after half a century of monolithic rule by the
BN, we are witnessing changes that are interesting and refreshing. We have
got a Speakers’ Square, stadiums for massive gatherings, ‘tak nak ISA’, a
more lively and vibrant parliament, accountability for past misdeeds, Balkis
misuse of funds and junket trips exposed. These were never possible before
the tsunami brought in the change.

Let’s give a serious thought to an alternative government. Let’s not be put
off by the internal squabbles in the Pakatan Rakyat, which is being played
up by the mainstream media to give an edge to the BN.
There is still hope for complete change. Please do not think that we are
anti-BN. We are not. Any ruling party whatever its colour and shade must
conduct itself responsibly, solely in the interest of the people.

In keeping with this policy, we give fair warning to any future PR
government. We will be just as critical of the Pakatan Rakyat when it
reaches Putrajaya. It makes no difference who governs this country. If they
are wrong and at fault, if they do not walk the talk about people first,
democracy now, the PR government too will be equally criticised and
condemned. Rest assured, we will conduct ourselves even-handedly.

Let me make a personal appeal to all of you. The Aliran Monthly in its 30th
year of publication needs your support urgently. The hassle of collecting
payment from distributors, coupled with poor sales and spiralling printing
costs, has forced our hand to do away with street sales of the Monthly.

As from 1 January 2011, the Aliran Monthly cannot be bought off the shelf in
stalls and bookshops. But it will be available to those who subscribe to the
magazine.

I encourage all of you to subscribe to the Aliran Monthly. Get your friends
and relatives to subscribe as well. Meanwhile don’t forget to visit our
website regularly, check out our Thinking Allowed-Online in particula
r.