Much has been said about the recent advent of public outcries via public marches and gatherings. As far back as I can remember there has never been a spate of public marches and gatherings happening in such a short space of time. I am drawn to the one and only comment of my posting ‘Freedom and Equality – Non Existent Part 1’. “Our country is evolving. We had been under the yoke of colonisation for long..long time; both colonisation of country and the mind”. I cannot help but agree with “gukita”. However when evolution is forcibly halted it becomes time bomb waiting to explode.
Whatever is said and done Malaysia is still a ‘Fledgling Democracy’. True, we are celebrating 50 years of Independence but the country is still searching for its true identity. We still argue whether we are should call ourselves ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ after 50 years. Our politicians still rant and rave about ‘Ketuanan Melayu’. It is a delicate situation indeed for a fledgling democracy. Like it or not Malaysia is a multi racial country with the majority being ethnic malays. It is an oxy moron when we get some politicians saying that we should never use the racial card to garner support and political mileage. On the other hand politicians from the same party are clearly using the racial card by saying the malay position should never be questioned or threatened. This only serves to confuse the masses and further push the racial divide even wider. Is this what they really want?? If so why?? Are they using our racial heritage to ensure we will never be able to progress and actually live together harmoniously despite our racial differences??
History must never be taken lightly. We must learn from it in order NOT to repeat past mistakes. Malaysia’s independence was built on public marches and protests whether the current government wants to admit it or not. To say that it is not our ‘culture’ is to be in denial. The fact remains that this is the first time the ruling coalition has experienced such a consolidated movement and expression of dissatisfaction. Public dissent is on the rise and they (the ruling coalition) are clueless in how to be answerable. Blanket clampdowns and denials of permits will only serve add fuel to the already simmering fire.
If we are a democracy why the clampdowns and why the rejections of permits to hold peaceful gatherings?? Public safety has been used as an excuse. The fear of the peaceful gatherings turning violent is another. Stating public safety overrides public freedom can be accepted to a certain degree but then again that’s why we have our police force. To ensure public safety is guaranteed. Guidelines and regulations can be extended to the organisation or party requesting a permit. Adhering to those set of guidelines and regulations is the responsibility of the organisation and or party requesting the said permit. The authorities i.e. the police should be there to facilitate and ensure that all guidelines and regulations are abided. If any of the guidelines and or rules are broken the police can haul and charge the leaders or the said organisation or party. The heavy handedness used which was broadcasted all over the world has done nothing but damage the country’s image. One of course can blame the organizers of the peaceful gathering but on the other hand if it were to have been left alone and run it course without any intervention it would have shown that we are indeed a country striving and thriving in a healthy democracy.
Peaceful gatherings are held in many developed countries all over the world. The police are always present. They are there to ensure the gathering proceeds peacefully and runs its course. Facilitating traffic and monitoring the situation is their objective.
We are certainly going through an evolution. An evolution of awareness and maturity. Demands of accountability and fairness on many issues are being put forward. A government who fails to deliver will only subscribe to its doom. Efforts which use heavy handedness and force will only show that the ruling government is unable to deliver and is unwilling to face the obvious reality of its weaknesses. True we are not Myanmar or Pakistan for that matter. Unfortunately we are heading to towards being such countries.
The governments hold on power is slipping and it knows it. The people have risen and must be heard. Let there be a level and fair playing field. Democracy demands that the majority be heard. Democracy demands that the majority rules. Let the people speak, let them be heard. The government is our elected leaders. If they fail to listen and continue to deprive us fairness, equality and our constitutional right to peaceful assembly, its time for them to learn the hard way. I am not supporting or advocating violence, they have to be taught the hard way by means of removing them from office via the ballot box.