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 http://www.malaysiakini.com/ 24th Sept 2008