A Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

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If you accept their irrationality you are going down a rabbit-hole and you will end up in a Wonderland - Image: Wikipedia

The Rakyat must take heart, have courage and make their way to Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu or Kuching for the Bersih 4 gathering on 29-30 August, says Prema Devaraj.

The events of the last few months all point to the rot within the powers that be.

This time around however it is so terrible that even those within this group are protesting. The corrupt run around making deals and buying loyalty. People who could further expose wrongdoings are removed. Others have been co-opted.

Some of those who have exposed wrong doings are being hounded for their whistleblowing. There are rumblings about amending laws which could block the flow of information. Investigations are being impeded. Investigation committees are deemed illegal. It would seem that to raise questions and demand accountability could now possibly fall under acts detrimental to parliamentary democracy.

It feels like being at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party! Things are beyond ridiculous.

There is such twisting of information and evading of explanations. Tangential and nonsensical answers have reached a new high. The political plots unravelling could rival any soap opera.

It appears the nation is being led by leaders whose moral compasses seem unable to distinguish right from wrong any longer. It would seem that a wrong might actually be a right due to an absence of legislation. How absurd!

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How does one explain the importance of integrity and telling the truth to children (who are taught and tested on moral values in school) when our leaders themselves don’t seem to have a firm grasp of it. Perhaps we should officially declare 2015 as Malaysia’s Year of the Crooks?

While the fight goes on to cover or uncover the financial scandals, we get a daily dose of intrigue of who is in which camp, where money might have come from or where it might have gone, and insights into the wheeling and dealing.

Meanwhile, politicians scramble to remain in power or scramble to create a new order. Time is spent receiving or resending information and/or creative critiques of the situation.

But, let’s not be distracted from the main issue: The need for URGENT REFORM in the country.

This reform has to take place on a variety of levels and in a variety of institutions – it is not just about one person stepping down from office; it is much more than that.

A few nights ago, the cries of “Hidup! Hidup! Hidup Bersih!” and “Bebas! Bebas! Bebas Rakyat!” rang out – not from the streets but from a meeting venue where over 500 people had gathered to learn more about Bersih 4.

The crowd, largely middle class, were expressing what a lot of Malaysians were feeling – i.e. a thorough disgust at the political shenanigans and the mismanagement of the country.

The reform being called for, when it happens, means the powers that be and their friends are not going to have access to their usual supply of goodies. And so they will fight hard to keep things the way they are and use whatever means they have to prevent such change.

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Once again, the rakyat must take heart, have courage and make their way to Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu or Kuching for the Bersih 4 gathering on 29-30 August. This includes all the armchair critics and complainers.

For sure, being on the street for two hours or two days or even two months may not create the institutional reform the country needs. But it is part of the process of change.

Importantly it will show the rakyat’s stand against corrupt leaders and an unjust system. Time and again we must stand resolute against these injustices.

Oftentimes, as we push against the boulders of injustice, they may seem immovable or worse still roll back on us. But we have to be unyielding in our quest for reform and push even harder – for the sake of our country and our children.

Who knows what the political forecast for the coming weekend will be. Whatever it is, once again it is time to gather peacefully and walk for reform.

I believe a better Malaysia is not only possible but imperative. I know you do too.

Prema Devaraj
Co-editor, Aliran newsletter
28 August 2015

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Abdul Rashid Hanafi

There is nothing sick about dissent and criticism. Dissension and criticism are not disloyalty. On the contrary there is a great need for both for our present-day society The stifling of dissent is not only a negation of our constituitional gurantees of free speech, but also a renunciation of the most basic and precious of democratic principle. If there is open discussions and argument based on uninhibited constructive criticism can there be an end to the growing public discontent and the trend towards complacency. Only when complacency disappears will it be possible for our country to fully exert and exploit its vigorous, individualistic drive to achieve progress, betterment and world leadership. I am of the view that NOW, as never before in our history, that it is not only essential that we, the average concerned citizens, but also our intellectuals, allow ourselves be swayed from seeking needed reforms by entrenched leaders, bureucrates, selfish minority groups or organizations which have their own and far from altruistic reasons for wishing to preserve the status quo. In order that our society/nation and its institutions be strengthened there must be… Read more »

Abdul Rashid Hanafi

The question most people often ask is: Why some people considered good leaders and others bad leaders? The answer is simple; good leaders produce changes that benefit the people and the nation, bad leaders do not. Bad leaders very often take into account their personal interest first and that of a few at the expense of everyone else. This is effective for a while, but ultimately the people will rise up to bring their nightmare to a halt. Hidup Bersih!