Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I want a change in government - letter to Malaysiakini

Letter to the Editor, Malaysiakini (unedited version):
The night YB Teresa Kok was arrested, I was with some friends having teh tarik. One friend commented; "whats happening to Malaysia?" Another friend replied; "The same thing thats been happening the last 20 years."

The difference is that the "new rakyat" have now a renewed sense of power and hope. By "new rakyat" I mean a young generation of Malaysians born a few years before 1969 and after, who are not scarred by the May 13 riots and have no first hand recollection of how bad it was. These are the ones, perhaps 45 years and below who stood up on March 8th 2008 to make a difference. On March 9th, many of their elders were afraid to leave their homes for fear of a race riot - but to the relief of all nothing happened.

Tengku Razaleigh in his description of the state of Malaysia and in his defence of the political party he had served all his life, today said; "Malaysians faced a dangerous situation where the rule of law was uncertain and the constitution was not being upheld." The truth is, Malaysians in the last 20 years have been facing a dangerous situation with the constitution being amended at the whims and fancies of a crazed, racist despot. Mahathir's sad description of the Parliament - "a mere rubberstamp". As a result of the BN government control of Parliament; our constitution in 51 years of history has been amended 42 times with a total of 650 amendments (more than one amendment at each time). The United States of America with over 200 years of history has amended the constitution a mere 27 times. Tell me when was the constitution never under any threat?

The BN's continued use of ISA shows a disregard for the rule of law. Since 1957, the BN government has detained 3,200 Malaysians under the ISA. Among victims of the ISA are opposition leaders; Lim Kit Siang, Anwar Ibrahim, Tian Chua and many activists who can hardly be considered a threat to "National Security". Unless "National security" is synonymous to "Barisan Nasional". There are now a total of 120 detainees who are languishing under the ISA.

The BN's constant reminder of May 13 1969 and the use of racial segregation to justify the existence of race based parties like UMNO, MCA and MIC are a stumbling block to a trully united Malaysia. BN's formula worked on the notion that only a malay can look after the interest of a malay and similarly a chinese for the chinese etc. As such each political party within BN worked in opposite directions fighting for the rights of their individual race. This rarely worked towards the good of Malaysia as a whole.

So after reading Tengku Razaleigh's desperate plea as a result of his observation of a nation under crisis; I must say that what we see today is the fruit of a callous generation of Malaysians who allowed UMNO and the BN to rule for 51 years without challenge and accountability. The last 20 years especially under a despot who would stop at nothing to accomplish his goals. Tengku Razaleigh will not disagree with me; him being a victim of injustice many times before.

In conclusion, ethics or morality aside; 51 years is too long and after 20 years of abusing the constitution and the various institutions of government that provide checks and balance I for one cannot wait to see a change in government.

Sent to 24th Sept 2008


johnpang said...

Meng, I work for Tengku Razaleigh. your letter seems to me to get at the heart of Tengku Razaleigh's plea. He shares your passion to see the restoration of the rule of law, adherence to the Constitution, and accountable government. I've highlighted your letter and other blog entires to him. I know he would be much encouraged to read it.

Meng said...

Thanks for visiting and please express my gratefulness as a young Malaysian to Tengku's contribution during his years in government.
Themalaysian Insider wrote today; "The 72 year old Kelantan prince faces an uphill battle....largely because he has been out of government for 21 years and a whole generation of UMNO members do not know or care about his contributions to the nation."

Perhaps Tengku Razaleigh could make the biggest impact today still by throwing his weight behind PKR and Pakatan Rakyat. Nostalgia aside, knowing his love for UMNO, the nation needs 2 strong parties to bring checks and balance in government. Unless Tengku can helm UMNO and BN, its a loss cause. UMNO and BN has gone over the deep end. They do not even have a clue of why the ground shifted.

Please convey our love to Tengku and to say; he is still much needed...not in UMNO but in Pakatan Rakyat.

johnpang said...

thank you, Meng. I fully understand your sentiment. Tengku's deep commitment to Umno is not made from nostalgia but from a clear view of what is best for the country as a whole in this perilous time. The rationale for his persisting with reform from within may not be clear to those outside Umno, especially as it is now being dismissed roundly as a lost cause, beyond reform and hopelessly out of touch with the rakyat. But i have faith that the wisdom of this commitment will emerge as events unfold. Tengku has expressed, in no uncertain terms, his warning that unless Umno ceases to frustrate all attempts at democratic renewal it is doomed.

Bob K said...

I honestly doubt any change will be forthcoming in UMNO if it remains indisputably in power. A precedent of a change of guard is what this nation needs at this juncture. It will much better prepare us as a people towards a healthier perception and understanding of nation building as well as provide the reprieve needed by the current ruling parties to rebuild and reform.

Bob K said...

When I say "change in guard", I meant it in the context of a change in the ruling party, ie. the incumbent being given a few terms in the Opposition benches. That's when we'll probably see the self serving rats abandon the boat, giving the truly committed breathing space to rebuild the organisation.

Meng said...

"Against this background I appeal to all parties to come together in humility, beyond party politics, to hold an honest discussion… about what is happening to our country and how we might agree together on a peaceful way beyond our impasse,” Tengku Razaleigh said.

When he says "beyond party politics", does he mean ALL parties including the opposition?
and what does he hope to achieve? The rules of duel perhaps? Surely not to achieve a large coalition?

Maybe you can shed some light on what is on Tengku's heart?

johnpang said...

i'm sorry it wouldn't be proper of me to comment so publicly on it. he will speak for himself. do stay tuned. we are holding a press conference tomorrow during which he will say more.