Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don’t underestimate the people’s maturity

Let down by their own Ruler

February 5, 2007 was a sad day for the people of Perak. It was the day when the legally elected and people-friendly Pakatan Rakyat(PR) government in the state was brought down by the defection of three of their assemblypersons to the Barisan Nasional(BN).

Bringing down a government that is duly elected by the people by the defection of lawmakers, though may be legal, is a despicable act that should be abhorred by all parties. It simply implies total disregard of the wishes of the people who elected them.

The PR government may have lost its majority and its downfall inevitable but it could have been done in a more professional way in keeping with the provisions of the state constitution. It was disheartening to witness the way the duly elected and people-oriented government was ousted with little consideration for the sensitivities of the people who elected it.

As soon as the Pakatan MB was ordered to resign, police swiftly moved to take over the state secretariat, his office was emptied of all documents and all roads to his official residence were sealed off. It gave the impression that the whole process was pre-planned and executed with great precision, unlike other government policies.

There have been doubts cast on the reasons for defection of the assemblypersons especially with regards to monetary inducements and their integrity with impending corruption charges against two. Then there is the controversy regarding their status as assemblypersons, which is awaiting court decision.

Despite all these perceived controversies and uncertainties, the sultan decided to sack the incumbent Menteri Besar and his government and hastily rushed in to install the new Menteri Besar within 24hours, unlike 10 months ago when the Pakatan Rakyat, after winning the elections, had to wait for more than 2 weeks to be installed.

Although what the ruler has done may be legal in the eyes of the law but was it right? Is it what the rakyat want? In an era of advanced information technology and with a more informed populace it is unfortunate that the sultan's actions were criticized furiously over the cyberspace for his actions, which the people feel is unfair. All they wanted was a chance to re-elect their representatives in a snap election which the sultan refused.

The subsequent protest by ordinary citizens in Kuala Kangsar against installing the new BN Menteri Besar was unprecedented and was a clear sign of the people's displeasure and disapproval of the ruler's actions in giving in to the buying tactics of the ruling party. It was like in the duel between David and Goliath, the Sultan chose to side the latter although from small we are taught that David was right andshould win.

It is sad that the Perak royalty, which was so revered, has become the scorn and ridicule of the public. The people were so surprised that their ruler who was also a former Chief Justice, whom they respected so much could let them down when it really matted - right to choose their own government.

As a result of public resentment and anger,the installation of the new BN Exco was done under heavy police security without the presence of the most important element - the rakyat. What was supposed to be a joyous occasion for the people was conducted within the privacy of the palace walls under the scrutiny of the police and without the people. Sworn under such circumstances how can the new government claim to be a government of the people, for the people and by the people?

In this whole episode of forced change of the government in Perak the most glaring and disturbing fact was the way the people's wisdom and intellect have been grossly underestimated to the extent to be even insulted. The people today are more literate and wiser and are ready to assert their rights to choose the government and they will detest if denied that basic right, even by the revered royalty.

The people have demonstrated their high level of wisdom, intelligence and maturity at the last general election but unfortunately our politicians still do not seem to appreciate those calls for change that transcends race and religion. Instead of heeding the calls for change they continue to insult the wisdom and intelligence of the masses. In a highly sophisticated world there is no way anyone can stop the increasing maturity of the people.

Changing the legitimate government by political crossovers and buying of defectors is wrong and the people will punish these errant and wayward wakil rakyat when the time comes. Malaysians of all races are mature enough to do the right thing at the right time.
The politicians must realize that there are no short cuts to winning the hearts of the people other than by their hard work, honesty and integrity and that is the only way to from a lasting people-oriented government.

Dr.Chris Anthony
February 13, 2009

1 comment:

Mike said...

I totally agree with you, Dr. If he had allowed fresh elections, the respect all Malaysians had for him would have escalated to an all time high, with the exception of Najib and his cohorts, of course. The general umno members, especially in Perak, would have looked forward to the election campaign funds, no constitutional crisis whatsoever, no firing teargas at Masjid Ubudiah, etc.

So, what Raja Azlan did was to spark the fire of rage against him and the royalty institution as a whole, marking the beginning of the end of monarchy in Malaysia (which I do not favour).

Wait! Is there a king in Zimbabwe? Maybe, Najib is continuing Tun M's agenda of removing the royalty altogether. So, Raja Azlan may have been conned by Najib.

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