Monday, 24 March 2008

"Reeducating" Malaysians?

"Speaking A New Language"-
This was the article by Bob Teoh/ MySinchew that was published in Malaysia Today lately.

To quote Bob,
"For a start, we have to get use to speaking a new language. Whereas in the past, politics was very simplistic. It’s either the Government or the Opposition. An superficial dichotomy that conceals our lack of understanding of what a constitutional monarchy is all about......."

For far too long, Malaysians have been hoodwinked and made to believe that "democracy, power sharing and stability" is epitomized by the so called social contract and NEP that was peddled by the Alliance/ BN politicians. Ethics, Morality and Justice were thus sacrificed at this much worshiped altar of "prosperity" (albeit, of the elite). We are in effect actually poorer, debt laden, sick (physically/ spiritually) and trapped in the shiny cages of our own making, despite working harder and longer hours for a "better" life.

The people always wanted a change for the better. The people wanted justice. The people had had enough of the disillusionment of divisive politics and economic plunder.
The opportunity for change came in the persona of Anwar Ibrahim who had with the assistance of other activists forged an understanding among the then fractured Opposition parties, on a platform of good governance, instead of the old "R&R" ideology.
Malaysians in general (until the 12 GE), chose to live in silent resignation, with what was nothing more than a single party state, that lived on the ideology of corruption, ethnocentric chauvinism, religiosity and segregation- under a cloud of fear and apathy.
The disregard for race or religion in the voting patterns of the Rakyat took everybody (more so, the powerful politicians/ warlords) by total surprise. 'They' surely thought, that the sectarian distrust that has been meticulously nurtured for 50 yrs was deeper than that! 'They' miscalculated and misjudged the people - the people actually had more in common than 'they' (even the opposition) thought.

All the people needed were a reassurances and a gentle push from the politicians/ activists, regardless of creed or color, that they would be willing to see reason and work together as a team for the good of the nation as a whole - and not for a selfish sectarian interests.
That together with the expression of discontent - political and economic, on the streets and in cyberspace - had set the ball rolling for the wave to manifest itself in the form the tsunami that we witnessed during the 12GE.

However, the reality of it all appears to be quite hard to swallow in more ways than one.

After the "tsunami", the governments - both at the federal and state level are definitely attempting to speak a different "language" (maybe just a different accent, though), i.e politically and economically.
Gone is the media attention that was given to the racist "hawks" and religious extremists, which served to whip up sentiments of hatred. Gone are the arrogant rhetoric that have served to alienate the rakyat on the basis of their heritage .
'They' are a little more conciliatory in their ways at present, despite playing up the loss of power as, loss of political dominance for a certain ethnic group.

The state governments of Penang, Kedah , Perak, Selangor and (not so much in) Kelantan however, have some difficulty in adjusting to the new political equilibrium. They somehow seem to revert to ideas of "R&R" in staking their claims for "representation", time and again.
The idea of "meritocracy" would definitely take time to be fully accepted - old habits die hard. More so when we have agent provocateurs among politicians and the MSM, who attempt to provoke sectarian sentiments among a still very gullible, chauvinistic, arrogant and narrow-minded public.

Time could heal the wounds of distrust and suspicion that has been cultivated over the last 50 yrs, although there are attempts made certain quarters to inflame it further.

Raja Petra on the other hand, has been rather uncompromising in his push for meritocracy, regardless of gender, race or religion. As noble and admirable as such idealism may be, in reality though they can have some destabilising effects on a people who have been lulled into accepting such a "status quo" for far too long.
It would take some time before the idea can be accepted as one that is "non-threatening" to many Malaysians, who have thus far been indoctrinated to perceive "favouritism" as a right, and not a privilege.
Just as weaning off drugs in substance abusers can be traumatic, so will the sudden withdrawal of "perceived privileges".

Without a doubt - NEP (though noble in its ideals) as it has been implemented, was and is, nothing but "Money Politics" at a higher level. It is an evil that has been perpetrated in the name of Malay nationalism to buy votes, and has done well to corrupt the ruling elite.
It has corrupted the philosophy, values and hearts of a vast majority of Malaysians, despite having been cheated through & through by the main beneficiaries. A million excuses are found by each and every businessman (bumi or not), to "reason" away the corruption that they indulge in. For all practical purposes, corruption has become part of the Malaysian culture.

It would therefore be wise for the newly elected governments and Wakil Rakyats to exercise extreme caution when indulging in "NEP/ 'R&R' rhetoric" - as it is a potent tool for the robber barons/oligarchs, to destabilize the nation for siezing control.

In their enthusiasm to "set things right" (whichever way you look at it), Caution should also be exercised in attempting to "seize control" of government by unethical means (e.g. courting defections/ unwarranted demonstrations) - and that goes for all parties.
It only means that you tolerate (though you may not acknowledge "acceptance" overtly) the unethical practices.

Zaid Ibrahim's call for anti-defection laws is therefore very much warranted, as is his call for a public apology from the Govt with regard to the "Mahathir-Judiciary '88 saga".
In saying that the pain of reopening the case should be spared - Zaid Sir, remember your words, - "Whatever the reason may be, our judges must remember that they owe allegiance primarily to our Constitution, and their responsibility is to interpret the law". Ironic isn't it, Sir - that you should now 'sort-off' contradict yourself, now that you have been made a Minister?

This isn't a time for molly-coddling and denial. An apology would otherwise ring hollow, and would only be an expression of Hypocrisy.
A crime of astronomical proportions was commited. The perpetrators have to be identified (even if gradually or belated) and Justice has to be served (even if just for the record with suspended sentences) - Or else all attempts at restoring the Judiciary would be an exercise in futility, as it reflects "tolerance".
The pain that we go through as a result, would serve as a reminder to future generations and despots of its repercussions, should they be tempted to meddle with the Law - which has to be the highest and most respected Body in the state.
We don't need anymore "fear of pain", denials, excuses and window dressings for our crimes and failures, that would remind us of Mahathirism .

"Withdrawals" from the absence of "perceived privileges" in a changing world, and healing of 25 year old socio-political wounds would be slow and painful, not just for the "Bumiputra", but for all Malaysians - but it must come to pass, for the sake of the children.

Hence, the leaders that we have elected should be responsible in their horse-trading/ power-play and administration, while the people need to be patient in allowing reason and justice to be the order of the day.
It would be best that emotions pertaining to "R&R" factors and feudal mindsets, be cast aside during this period of healing.