Thursday, May 7, 2009

Shame: The Negative Politicisation of Malaysian Society...

"All through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall, always." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Long before the stunning outcome of last year's election shock, Malaysian civil society has been embroiled in and simmering in sleaze and negative vibes.

The 'feel-good' mood of the rakyat has long since evaporated. In its place there hangs a thick fog of resigned exasperation and seething anger increasingly directed at the current debilitating establishment.

Sadly, our pliant administration (yes, including our subservient civil servants and the ingratiating if arrogant police who should rightfully be serving the rakyat and not simply the misguided whims and demands of the politicians!) appears to remain stubbornly oblivious to the changing tide of popularity and the mounting legitimate demands of a politically-awakened rakyat.

As enlightened rakyat we refuse to kowtow anymore to more of the same—the crass corruption and senseless power play for wanton personal gain. Enough is enough, we seem to say—if only this cry for justice and fairplay can be heard more resoundingly...

Our previously self-assured confidence has since been punctured by despondent daily takes of political trickery and rising crime rates. Our streets are becoming more and more unsafe. In the space of 2 consecutive days, two pregnant women had been killed by the senseless thuggery of snatch-thieves more brazen than ever before, while the police dawdle on partisan political corralling of activists and oppositionists...

And this sorry state of affairs has shown no signs of abating. We are still mired in political gridlock and parochial inaction to the point of undermining our vaunted position as one of the fastest growing economies of the world.

Perhaps, this is the result of too long an incumbency of the previous leadership—22 years of stuttering sometimes staggering achievements, but also creeping and crumbling encrustations of ageing emasculated institutions. Followed by another 6 years of political and administrative indecisive meandering, Malaysians appear to have dug deeper into the bottomless chasm of uncertainty and despair.

Political manoeuvrings appear to have become the sole and blinkered attention of our one-dimensional politicians, with the old guards stubbornly and tenaciously clinging on to whatever Machiavellian manoeuvres to stay in power, worse they are adopting the much-maligned and perverse 'Mugabean' methods of usurping or grabbing power!

The police and the judiciary appear to have become instruments of the ruling elite, whose clinging to govern at all cost know no bounds.

To quote The Malaysian Insider editorial:
"Crime appears to be spiralling out of control in Malaysia, snatch theft victims are dying on the streets and the men in blue seem more interested in enforcing a dress code and arresting social activists and politicians on lame-duck sedition charges. Really, the reputation of the Royal Malaysian Police takes a beating every time they forget that their duty is to serve the Malaysian public. But still they persist in acting in a manner which alienates the same people who are paying their salaries."
As a Malaysian, I feel so let down, so ashamed that our political masters have blatantly forgotten their causes, their roles, their purported functions. They have let themselves be elevated to the exalted status of gods or royals, who have no other concern except their own survival and their own selfish interests! There is not even that show of modicum for respecting the rakyat and their wishes—its all about staying and clinging on to power at all costs!

I echo the articulate anguish expressed by renowned writer Beth Yahp when she says in malaysiakini:
"I’ve seen the Perak state assembly descending into chaos in a naked power grab that makes a mockery of every claim to fairness, justice and democracy that the new regime of our newly-minted prime minister, who apparently orchestrated the whole debacle, may make."
Can any one seriously respect the institutions and the current government any longer—seeing that it continues to do as it pleases, and abuses its rule by law and diktats according to its own whims and fancies, but not according to legitimate people's interests?

Charging and arresting anyone who opposes them with all sorts of bullying Acts and laws cannot be the way to legitimise its faltering stranglehold on power... If anything, it hardens and alienates the rakyat against them even more.

Aliran president's Ramakrishnan rightly points out that:
"The police have acted in a diabolical manner and did not act professionally and in an impartial manner as they are required to do so. They are seen to be acting pro-Barisan Nasional and in a high-handed fashion in arresting so many people who had not posed any serious threat to the security of the nation."

"Law and order has completely broken down in the Perak state assembly and in this state of lawlessness Umno has taken charge of the Perak. This is no honourable take over of the august body. It is a shameful way of acquiring power through brute force."
Perhaps this realisation is what's galling the ruling elite—that it appears to be losing the popular support of the people day by day, despite it trying so very hard to 'please' an ever-growing number of disgruntled people—every which way, the incumbent government appears to lose!

I sometimes wish we can turn back the clock, but we can't. So many of our Malaysians have awaken to the possibility of change so potent, that we cannot now go back to our slumber of timorous compliance and swallowed pride and tongue-biting conscience.

We have progressed too far along our democratic space and journey that we cannot allow our momentum to weaken, from backsliding. We have to collectively nudge this along even if we are hampered by such roadblocks of inconvenience, we must remain steadfast to defeat the ancien regime of tottering misrule!

To quote Beth Yahp again, we cannot allow bully tactics to recede back into our accustomed apathy, our fear; together we can make a difference, we must choose to be more daring, more vocal now:
"This darkness didn’t happen overnight. And it won't dissipate overnight. We have all contributed to it, by our silence, our apathy, our self-interest, and our fear. These qualities have been so indoctrinated in us that, like it or not, they are part of what makes us Truly Malaysian. We are so used to people telling us what we’re allowed to say and do. Why not also what to wear? What to think? What to be?"
I wish upon a new era for Malaysia, a new dawn of a democratic, progressive and fair Malaysia—one that every rakyat can be proud of. And not one where fair-minded citizens the world over would snigger in derision at its tainted leaders, its crumbling institutions, its wanton corruption, its power crazy machinations, its total lack of moral credibility for us, the rakyat to believe in...

Alas, would my country be reborn?.

To further quote from another blogging commentator aries:
"This is the dawn of a NEW MALAYSIA.

A Malaysia of equal respect, equal opportunities, equal partnership, equal standing, equal honour, equal responsibilities, equal citizenship, equal humanity.

Gone are the days of treachery, unfair quotas, prejudice, selective persecution, selective discrimination, unequal opportunities, unequal partnership, discriminative citizenship, supremacist positioning and posturing, racial and racist political stance and policies."

An abridged version appears in malaysiakini on 13 May 2009, as Negative Politicisation of Malaysian society.