Choosing between imperfections in this imperfect world

Posted on December 1, 2008

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I posed the following in my post of 23rd April, 2008 :

‘Seriously, when was the last time anyone had anything nice to say about Najib? Dr M, as I recall, and even he’s singing a different tune now! So if you don’t want him as PM and I don’t want him as PM, who does? UMNO? Or some in UMNO? And if it’s only some in UMNO, how many? Was there not a revolt at the 12th GE where Malays and even UMNO members voted against UMNO? So do the ’some’ in UMNO and the Malays in general want the same? UMNO only picks its president, not the PM. That’s the Agong’s prerogative. Are we, the people with the power, then powerless?’

Since that post, in my view, little has happened to improve his standing in the eyes of many, home and abroad.

First he hadn’t met Saiful, then he had.

Revelations of sms’s between him and Razak Baginda and Shafee suggestive of inappropriate conduct, if not plain abuse of power.

Eurocopter.

RPK’s statutory declaration.

Razak Baginda’s acquittal and the following question naturally on the minds of many : ‘If Razak did not order the killing, who did?’

Add to this the refusal to sue RPK for defamation but instead have the criminal justice system try RPK for criminal defamation for the contents of that now infamous SD and for sedition in relation to the ‘send the Altantuya killers to hell’ post and one begins to see a dark deep abyss from which it seems near impossible for this aspirant to the highest political offfice to extricate himself from.

What do we have?

Unanswered questions.

Important questions.

Questions that Najib appears intent on never laying unquestionably to rest.

Why?

No answer.

And so, with a sense of dread that were the truth to be unleashed, our worst fears about this man would be confirmed, we can only continue to speculate whilst the maneuverings in UMNO in recent months to close the chapter on Pak Lah, both in UMNO and the government, leave this nation now staring at the prospect of a Najib / Dr M administration come March, 2009.

Without the answers I need to put those speculations to rest, I ask again, if power is truly with us, the people, are we then to suffer Najib as PM? Are we so helpless?

This question kept turning over in my head again and again as the Barisan Rakyat bloggers and friends made our way to the PKR congress last Saturday.

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Like many others, I too hoped to hear a possible explanation from Anwar about the Pakatan takeover of federal governance that hasn’t happened.

But I wanted more.

I wanted to see and hear for myself if there was reason to believe and to hope that a Pakatan Rakyat comprising PKR, DAP and PAS was still a viable option to Najib / Dr M.

And if PR is no longer viable, are we condemned to have Najib as PM and Dr M the de facto premier calling the shots from a presidential council?

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Whilst the heavyweights from DAP, LKS and Karpal, were in attendance, Hadi Awang was conspicuously missing. Should anything be read into this?

Anwar clarified later that Hadi was away in Mecca. No reason, therefore, to read anything into Hadi’s absence. In any event, Husam was present.

The presidential policy speech delivered by Wan Azizah was, for me at least, a tame affair. Perhaps because the written text of the speech was made available before the speech was delivered. Perhaps also because Wan Azizah is not the fiery orator that her husband is.

Just one point I want to note here from the president’s speech and elaborate in a later post. She touched on the matter of restoring the immunity of the rulers. On this, there have been so many conflicting views from various PKR leaders that I’m convinced their confused on this issue.

If the president lulled the audience, the ADUN from Hutan Melintang got all and sundry up and attentive.

YB Kesavan is a man to watch. Why, he might even give DSAI a run for his money in the ‘pidatuh’ department. Don’t know if he spoke off the cuff or had a full text. Worth trying to get your hands on it.

I thought it was a very clever move on the part of PKR to line up as speakers their new PKR recruits, former MCA Wanita leader Tan Yee Kew and Sarawak’s Ngemah state assemblyperson Gabriel Adit, and to have Zaid and SAPP’s Yong Teck Lee in the hall as observers. If nothing else, it was a subtle reminder of crossovers that have taken place and of those that may yet happen.

When Anwar finally spoke, he gave little away about why September 16 did not happen and whilst he did maintain that this was still very much on the cards, he seemed to hint that the Pakatan focus would now be on taking Sarawak at the next state elections.

Check out his speech from minute 6.20 to 7.25. Anwar took me back to that evening on 5th August this year, when I heard him speak in Bentong and where I heard him utter the following words

‘Anak Melayu, anak kita, anak Cina anak kita, anak India, pun anak kita. Mengapa harus kita bezakan?”

that was, for me, the tipping point that drove me to take a leap of faith and ‘take a chance with him’.

As I left the hall, I took Din Marican aside and asked him to pass a message to Anwar : ‘Don’t ever dream of moving your annual congress to a 5 star hotel or convention centre. If that ever happens we’ll know that power has gone to your heads. And you’ll pay dearly’.

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On 18th August, 2008, in my ‘Dear Anwar’ post, I wrote that even as I still did not trust Anwar, I was going to ‘take a chance’ with him. I offered three reasons. I had said that the words that Anwar had uttered at that ceramah in Bentong, which I have reproduced above, most moved me to take that chance, as he had ‘articulated that which I have felt for such a long, long time and which, without more, sums up the spirit of anak Bangsa Malaysia that I hope one day will be definitive of us as a people of this nation’

Since that post, we have witnessed the Permatang Pauh by-election, the mindless shutdown of Malaysia Today by the MCMC, the arrests under the ISA of Teresa Kok and RPK, and , perhaps the joke of the year, the taking into protective custody, under the ISA, of the Sin Chew Daily journalist Tan Hoon Cheng.

Zaid resigned as de facto Law Minister and Senator over the government’s use of the ISA.

We have had to endure UMNO racists going into overdrive whilst their underlings in BN feebly remonstrate.

Daily, we are bombarded with ‘ketuanan Melayu’, ‘ketuanan Melayu’, ‘ketuanan Melayu’ in the Malay dailies.

Hindraf outlawed.

Yoga banned.

Zaki appointed head of the judiciary.

Police violence against peaceful candlelight vigilers.

Government mooting media council.

Don’t get me wrong. i’m not for one moment suggesting that all’s been well in the Pakatan states.

Far from it.

Perak state exco members embroiled in sex scandals.

Kedah MB coming up with ridiculous Bumi housing quotas.

Selangor MB negotiating away the rights of Selangor residents to peacably assemble.

Political intrigues in PAS.

A seeming inabiity to shake off once and for all any semblance of race considerations in their governance of the five states.

Inertia in taking advantage of existing lapses in the law that would allow them to publish their own newspapers.

BN and UMNO have not even begun to understand what they need do to reform. Pakatan does not appear to have forged a firm and unshakable coalition.

And a man who refuses to lay our fears to rest aspires to lead us.

To God knows where!

Are we, against the will and the wishes of so many, to suffer him as PM?

Are we helpless?