Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Dangerous talk from an irresponsible man: Crash course in democracy for Najib Razak

Written by Maclean Patrick, Stan Lee, Malaysia Chronicle

Make no mistake, UMNO is desperate. Barisan Nasional is desperate. And Malaysia is headed for dark days, unless Malaysians band together and reject the manner in which BN, and in particular UMNO, would want us to react, each time the UMNO-appointed prime minister speaks and addresses the Malays.

It is to the credit of the people of Malaysia, that we have not allowed the delusions of certain political quarters to water down the cohesiveness that have long been the hall-mark of life in Malaysia. In the days of the Malacca sultanate, overseas trade flourished and saw the movement of Arabs, Chinese and Indian nationals along the Malay peninsula. Malaysia's history is rich with images of cohesiveness.

It is only in recent years that there have been threats to the Malaysian way of life, and these threats do not come from the people themselves but rather from those who walk the corridors of power. Those with vested interest to remain within their political bubble in Putrajaya, and willing to do anything to remain in power.

This in itself is a manifestation of greed and contradicts the very idea of democracy. As Aristotle said, in a democracy, one governs and is also governed in return. There is fluidity in a democracy, whereby politicians accept the outcome meted to them by the people.

Democratic elections counteract the whole idea of oligarchy governance. And this, Prime Minister Najib Razak should make an effort to understand before he boasts of wanting to make Malaysia "the best democracy in the world".

Dangerous talk from an irresponsible PM

Najib's latest speech made earlier this week to Malay NGO Pekida is also troubling. It is inciteful and dangerous talk.

“The alternative choice, are they better than what is already in place? Can they guarantee our power is not dissolved or our position eroded? What about the dignity of Islam and Malays? We will not allow our people to be insulted. We will not back down by even an inch. We are warriors,” he said to cheers at Pertubuhan Kebajikan dan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia’s (Pekida) gathering before leading cries of “Hidup Melayu (long live the Malays)!”

Najib said, that if the Umno-led BN lost power, “all our ambitions will be buried and our future will be full of darkness. What will happen to Muslims if the government changes? What will happen to Islam if we lose our strength? What will happen to the Malay rulers if we are no longer there to honour them? What will happen to our descendants if we cannot fight for policies that protect them?”

“Without having power, they have defiled the Malay rulers. Without power, they have questioned policies to help Malays and Bumi-puteras, which are always questioned by them. Without power, they can say they want to halve the civil service. Who will be affected? If hundreds of thousands of civil servants are sacked, who will be the victims?” he said, referring to recent suggestions by DAP to trim the majority-Malay civil service.

A call to arms plus deflecting attention from the BN's own embarrassments

There are two parts to the speech, firstly it is aimed to elicit an emotional reaction from the crowd and justify a call to arms by the Malays and secondly it seeks to hide the gross abuses by the BN government.

To elicit an emotional reaction, Najib had latched onto two fundamental fears that every human being has - the desecration of one’s belief and one’s ethnic identity.

When both these fears are struck at in tandem, they will generate a huge reaction especially from those not well equipped with rational 'filters' to withstand such provocation. Najib's speech was to prompt its audience into action against perceived provocateurs. In this case, anyone who goes against Islam and the Malays.

The speech may identify the Pakatan Rakyat as the BN's enemy but Pakatan is made up of individuals - human beings. And to call for action against someone because of a differing political view is fundamentally wrong in any democracy, and greatly so on moral grounds.

For Najib to charge that Pakatan would strip away Islam and the Malay identity is also dead wrong. Pakatan too is made up of Malays - is Najib saying that these Malay, who support Pakatan’s cause have been made pagans and lost their Malay ethnicity?

Also, what would Najib say if and when these Perkida members decide to take the 'law' into their own hands and 'exert action' against anyone who supported Pakatan? How would Najib explain away such actions? Would he react the same way the Syrian regime has against its people?

Indeed, history has proven that Najib lacks the fore-sight and responsibility to envision the impact of his own words.

A mile-long list of abuses of power, wastage and corruption

Then, by insisting that a Pakatan government could only be a nightmare, isn't Najib trying to use words to deflect attention from the abuses of his own BN government including the latest RM250 million cows and condos scandal involving Umno minister Shahrizat Jalil.

What about its misguided education policies that have affected millions of Malaysian youths? The BN government has spent a total of RM3.2 billion in teaching Maths and Science in English over the past five years. Out of the amount, the government paid a whopping RM2.21 billion for the purchase of information and computer technology (ICT) equipment, for which it is unable to give a breakdown on to Parliament. The latest decision to revert to using Bahasa Melayu has left the nation RM3.2 billion poorer and nowhere nearer to achieving a commanding role on the global scene.

The commission or kickbacks paid for the purchase of submarines and jets to two private companies Perimeker Sdn Bhd and IMT Defence Sdn Bhd amounted to RM910 million. Such commissions were paid out during the period Najib was Defence Minister, and one should not forget that the commissions to Perimekar also caused the death of a Mongolian national - Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Then, the National Astronaut Program costing RM40million. Where has it taken the 28 million Malaysian population and their hard earned money? Sad to say, nowhere useful - just a pretty expensive ego trip for Umno.

Since 1997, Petronas has handed out a staggering RM30 billion in natural gas subsidies to IPPs, who were already making huge profits. In addition, there was much wastage and mysterious forward trading of Petronas oil in the 1990s. As the price of oil has rocketed, we are selling our oil at a fixed rate rather than by market price.

Since the accounts of Petronas are for the eyes of the Prime Minister only, we have absolutely no idea of the amounts involved. By virtue of legislation, the Prime Minister is CEO of Petronas, yet the people of Malaysia have no idea how its biggest national corporation makes. Under a BN prime minister, Malaysians will always be kept in the dark.

Malaysians won't care if BN rides off to the sunset

The examples above are just a sampling of a long string of abuses that Malaysia has suffered under the BN government. Yet, Najib insists the nightmare is not his government but the Pakatan led by his arch rival, Anwar Ibrahim.

But the fact is, the real problem is not Pakatan, which has done well in the states that it governs. The nightmare is BN and Umno to be specific. Malaysians are being pressured to share the delusional fears that BN have, fears that Malaysians do not have.

BN fears losing power. But Malaysians don't care if BN disappears into the sunset for at least 5 years, and in fact, hope that it will only come back cleaned up and reformed rather than it is now - a dangerous, poisonous and wet blanket, dampening and killing national progress.

Ordinary Malays have nothing to fear from the minority non-Malays. This is a silly bogey spread by Najib because Malay members in the Pakatan itself grossly outnumber non-Malays. Can you imagine the Pakatan Malays allowing their rights and those of the families and relatives to be impinged on? The difference is, the Pakatan Malays see themselves as Malaysians first and are secure enough to embrace the non-Malays wholeheartedly.

Then, the position of the Malays, their religion, their language and their Rulers are already protected under the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, as are those of the non-Malays. And under the Federal Constitution, both Malays and non-Malays are also guaranteed the right to question their government.

Najib’s assertion that Pakatan has been questioning everything even when they have no power is illogical and foolish. Any Malaysian can question anyone, regardless of whether he or she has "power" or not. It is a fundamental human right to question. Perhaps, it is time for the people to show their power - rise and set things right in this country before doom and bankruptcy overtakes the nation.

Malaysia Chronicle

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