Governing a country is a complex thing. Somebody’s always bound to be unhappy. In a democracy, that somebody too has a right to be heard. In mature democracies, with a system in place that respects individual liberties, he would be heard.
In a country that gives democratic practices the barest lip service, that guy is often dismissed. Such is the case in Malaysia. One guy can be safely ignored. Even ten, or a hundred. But when thousands of people take to the streets in a gesture of defiance, that too in an Internet age where there are more Malaysians wired than there are voters, it takes a very different resonance.
It has to be dealt with in a more effective way. The bumbling bureaucracy that was the Malaysian Government was slow to wake up to the Internet reality and it cost at least one prime minister his job. But our present PM has woken up to this rude reality.
Witness the “cendawan lepas hujan” proliferation of the cybertroopers. Some serious money exchanging hands there, though even the smartest of these cybertroopers can’t convincingly defend a flawed system put in place by a political outfit hell-bent on preserving its hegemony.
The public opinion that Dr M so totally silenced is now no longer silent. To quiet the cyber activists, one has to shut down the Net, and is that possible in 21st century Malaysia? Nak mampus?
So the war has undertaken in a more subtle manner. Subvert the people’s thinking via cyber propaganda. That’s happening now. Has been for a few years. The bogeymen have been identified.
2) The LGBT Community
3) The Chinese turning Malaysia into Singapore
5) Anwar Ibrahim
These bogeymen are essentially fear-inducing social control mechanisms that the powers that be uses to keep its citizens in check. Outward show of brute force and intimidation is counter productive and for a PM allegedly committed to “reforms”, no longer tenable. Every time, they arrest somebody for a politics-related offence, vigils and support groups emerge. Civil disobedience is bloody tiresome isn’t, fellas? Now you thugs actually have to earn your pay…hehe.
So they have to go the “cheong hei” way of influencing opinions. That requires brains. Money can buy some brains.
Now some of you may contend that the fear mongering is too ridiculous to even work. Lemme tell you this; if you feel that way, you are NOT the target audience. Anyway, if you are an urban, middle-class, private sector employed voter, their messages are not for you.
The messages of fear is directed at the heartland; the traditional vote bank that Umno/BN had always retained. The rural vote is important, never mind that a majority of Malaysian voters now are urban. Malapportionment and gerrymandering happened through the decades we gave BN continuous mandate to rule.These measures ensured that your one urban vote is worth just one sixth a rural vote.
They sweet-talk the kampung, Felda/Felcra folks, kow tim the tuai rumah in the longhouses of Sabah/Sarawak and they are set. While delivering the goodies, the veritable poison is poured into the ears.
If that is not enough, form 30 NGOs. Throw a press conference or two. Threaten and shout some half-hearted right-wing drivel. These days, hatchet jobs are better when outsourced. Hence your Perkasa, Pekida, Petty Traders Association, KIMMA, P***mak…and other garden variety mofos.
Whether they win this campaign or not, depends on how well Malaysians are informed, and how badly they want change. The signs are all there.
Even the PM has been labelled a false democrat in Canadian journo Mark Mackinnon’s scathing indictment of world leaders. Wisma Putra is predictably apoplectic.
“What??!! All this GTP,ETP bla bla bla and he dared say we are a false democracy?” must be the refrain on that hill in Putrajaya.
But tell me, what do you call an administration that:
– Dismisses Bersih as just a political move to unseat the government despite the clearly stated claims of the movement for electoral reform
– Turns a blind eye to countless custodial deaths and allegations of police brutality
– Denies the public its freedom to assemble in a place where Merdeka was first shouted.
– Ignores allegations of impropriety in public spending by govt institutions despite consecutive Auditor General’s report.
– Conducts selective prosecution and prosecution via two arms of the law (MACC and Attorney General’s Chambers)
– Denies the public access to information that is of public interest via the Official Secrets Act.
– Scraps the much-reviled Internal Security Act and still continues to keep ISA detainees in Kamunting, deprived of their right to fair trial.
I could go on…but you readers perhaps have your own list. Bottomline here is, accountability and a respect for the citizenry is sorely lacking. And its not about to change unless the citizenry itself starts to get down n dirty, and fix this flaw-ridden boat that is Malaysia.
That’s the only boat we have.