Friday, March 1, 2013

GE 13. Are we ready?

In a week's time, 5 years would have passed since the 8th March 2008 political tsunami which saw a massive power shift towards the opposition. 10 years ago, this would have been virtually impossible, and many did not see it coming although anticipation was built up leading towards that day.

We Malaysians know that the time for the 13th General Elections (GE) are near. And we also anticipate that this GE promises to be the dirtiest of them all. 

And in between the 5 years, many things had happened. 
We have seen an opposition state fall back into the hands of BN through dubious means. On a positive note, that incident spurred a need for the nation to understand the Federal Constitution and the Malaysian Bar initiated the Malaysian Bar Constitutional Committee. The object of it was to advance awareness and teach the rakyat, the basics....their fundamental rights under the Federal Constitution. Further fundamental political awareness was brought with the inception of the UndiMsia programme lead by Edmund Bon. 

During the last 5 years we have also seen a change of Prime Ministers when Tun Abdullah Badawi handed over his post as the top man to Najib Tun Razak. it was an imminent move and perhaps one that is gleefully relished by the Prime Minister's wife, Datin Rosmah Mansor. And in the last five years, the First Lady of Malaysia was also birthed. 

We have also seen more deaths in custody, but most infamous of them all, the tragic death of Teoh Beng Hock, the political aide to Ean Yong Hian Wah. Not under police this time, but under the custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), did this tragic incident occured. Questions poured out; was it suicide or was Teoh Beng Hock beaten, tortured and then subsequently thrown out from the building onto the pavement many floors below? At the inquest, the court gave an open verdict, which was not conclusive, stating it was neither suicide nor homicide. A Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) was subsequently set up and a team led by the Malaysian Bar Council to question the methods of investigation conducted by the MACC. In the end, the RCI concluded that it was suicide due to the intense pressure of interrogation by the MACC.  However, many of us are still unsatisfied with the findings of the RCI and still believe that Teoh Beng Hock couldn't have killed himself. As of now, no one is responsible for his death and this would forever remain a dark mark in the passages of Malaysian history. 
In any event, the inquiry although a tragic episode, was not without it's lighter moments. 
Below is a video of the inquiry. And not how we have bumbling fools acting as the Federal legal counsels. Enjoy. This is cross examination clip of Dr Pornthip, the Thai pathologist involved in the investigations of the cause of death of Teoh Beng Hock.

We have also seen, within 5 years, 3 massive demonstrations. Acts of expression. Bersih 2.0, Bersih 3.0 and the recent coalition gathering which was housed in the Merdeka Stadium (the demonstration with the biggest turn-up thus far). 

9 July 2011 - Bersih 2.0, the people were still living in fear as the government tried to stamp its hard-line tactics to wield it's authority. STREET DEMONSTRATIONS WERE BANNED! ARREST WAS IMMINENT. TROUBLE WAS IMMINENT. And despite all the warnings, people braved the weather and the barricades and turned up all the same. The people wanted change. The same change that happened 5 years ago. It was a success, although not without casualties and the death of a retired soldier. 

28 April 2012 - Bersih 3.0. Street demonstrations were still not the way to go, so says the government. Still the organizer's venue of choice, Dataran Merdeka was not allowed. The people still gathered and the police geared up their tear gas and batons. What seemed to be a peaceful gathering, later turned out to be euphoria due to some unforeseen circumstances. Perhaps, due to the acts of some unruly protestors, it gave the police more reason to react, even if the reasons are of the slightest in nature. 

12 January 2013 - HImpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat. Ok. I wasn't there. I was having a jolly good time in Genting Highlands. However, I received sources from friends who said that the rally was a success. Given that there are at least 80-90 thousand participants gathering in and out of Stadium Merdeka, this is by far the largest rally ever in Malaysia. And my friend also stated that it was the most boring one. Boring is good. Boring means that the rakyat did not have to face police action or brutality. So, boring is good sometimes. 
And during Chinese New Year, 2013 to be exact, our dear Prime Minister, perhaps due to some really really bad Publicity (PR) advisers, decides to go down the 'cool' route to win the hearts of the people. First a mandarin advertisement on air and then another nonsensical advertisement on TV, playing the chinese drums. Anyway, the TV advertisement is reproduced in this blog for your viewing displeasure. Nonsensical I say? You will get what I mean once you view it. Remember, citizens of Malaysia. You paid for this video....
Also the CNY celebrations in Penang, when the BN government decided to pay RM3,000,000 (me thinks) to get PSY (Mr Gangnam Style) to perform 1 song. That's right. 1 song. I mean its good business for PSY and I think he is an awesome chap. It's just that BN are so desperate to be cool, to blend in with pop culture that they decide to go down this route. Of course, nothing is without any consequence. When the people of Penang were asked if they were ready for PSY, they greeted with a resounding YES! 
When the people of Penang were asked if they were ready for BN, they replied with  a resounding NO! Not once, but 3 effing times!! I' It's like Peter denying Christ  times before the rooster crowed. Anyway the video is posted below for laughs. 
Oh yes, and PSY apparently refused to join in the 'lou sang' festivities with the BN Ministers for being apolitical to the situation herein. GOOD FOR HIM! I shall post his video here too for your viewing pleasure. Come on! What is there not to like about Gangnam style eh?

I'm sorry BN. But votes are not based on pop culture references and CNY adverts and other sweeteners such as book vouchers. Votes are determined on the confidence of people that their representatives in power are able to tackle issues such as poverty, security and safety, policies, more job opportunities, cheaper houses and finding solutions to other problems through understanding the need of the people and to have constant communication with the people to find out that need. BN just never learn now, do they. 

And if security is an issue, we have further seen this in the Kampung Tanduo stand-off in Lahad Datu, when 180 militants who claim to be the Royal Sulu Sultanate Army, took control of Kampung Tanduo. Reason being, to reclaim North Borneo to be part of the Sulu islands. 3 weeks of negotiations went by. In the end, there was bloodshed after negotiations failed and the death toll was 11 people including 2 from the VAT 69 forces who defended Malayia's honour. Our government should look into issues like these when it involves security. After all, this is not the first time that Lahad Datu had been trespassed. Once again, we never learn. 
There are many things more which have happened during the last 5 years. But the above are perhaps the more memorable ones for me.
As I conclude my rant, I hope all you who are Malaysian and are reading this, have registered as a voter and will exercise your vote during the upcoming GE 13. Your vote counts. Each and Every one of you count for the country. Don't let anyone else or your own doubts tell you otherwise. As we await the news for the dissolution of Parliament, let me just assure you that there will be more exciting events in the days to come.
I know who I am going to vote. Do you? 
GE 13. Are you ready?

No comments: