We, the rakyat, and not the politicians, must be the conscience, and set the direction, of the nation

Posted on August 12, 2012


You own your own company?

A sendirian berhad?

Who sets the philosophy, policy and direction of your company?

You, or the employees?

I know when I ran my own law firm, I was never seduced to go from sole proprietor to partnership simply because, remaining sole proprietor, I alone decided the philosophy, policy and direction of the firm.

Sure, I always consulted the staff, and took their views on board, but I decided.

Isn’t it the same with our country?

All the politicians tell us we are the boss, right?

If that’s the case, why is it come every election, politicians come to us with a manifesto telling us what they plan to do if given the mandate to SERVE US, rather than we, THE BOSSES, giving them an outline of THINGS WE WANT DONE if they are given the job for the next 5 years?

Again, isn’t that how it works in your company when you are interviewing prospective employees?

You tell them what you want done if you give them the job, and not the other way round, right?

You see, under the constitution, we, the rakyat, are vested, through the vote at every general election, the power to decide who to entrust the job of running this nation every 5 years.

We have that power.

Politicians want us, through our vote, to give them that power of running this nation on our behalf.

We cannot give that power to them without also dictating to them how we would have them run this nation.

My friend, and much-respected activist, Dr. Kua Kia Soong, in his article, “Three-corner tussles : Let NGO committee decide”,  puts it ever so eloquently :

“Not long now, Malaysian civil society will be launching its “13th General Election Demands”. The aspiring candidates can be interviewed by the committee to gauge their awareness, stand and record on these political demands of the Malaysian people….Ultimately, it does not matter if the peoples’ representatives are from BN or Pakatan or the third force if they do not have a clue about the peoples’ economic, political, social and cultural rights and the people-oriented policies we want”.

Before the 12th GE, we launched a similar civil society demand, through The People’s Voice and The People’s Declaration.

Have a quick read of the first document, that articulates our aspirations as a single people of this nation, and I think you will agree that, as we face the prospect of a 13th GE, it is still very much relevant.

It serves as our moral compass.

It is, if you will, the collective conscience of the people.

The People’s Declaration was indorsed by the 3 Pakatan parties in February, 2008, even before Pakatan Rakyat was conceived.

RPK says he is disappointed in that Pakatan have not implemented any of the prescriptions in The People’s Declaration.

Let’s be fair.

If you read that document, I think you will agree with me that it is akin to a blueprint for 30 years of nation building.

And, most importantly, most of what’s in there can only be implemented by one who has federal power.

Pakatan do not now have federal power, so it would be unfair to accuse them of ‘failing’ to honour their promises when they indorsed The People’s Declaration in 2008.

Two things, though, that Pakatan could have tried to implement in their states but did not that I, too, regret.

First, a state sponsored free media ( no, the Selangor Times does not qualify as a free media ), pursuant to section 25(1) of the Printing Press and Publications Act.

Second, simulated local council elections, as urged by many civil society initiatives.

Lets move on though.

Two things have since made me re-think The People’s Declaration.

First, I think it unwieldy to toss a document that seemingly covers a 30-year period at the politicians and leave it to them to prioritise on which to do first.

Second, and, for me, more importantly, my participation in forums in Sabah and Sarawak in February, 2010, exposed me to, and, led me to the realisation that for the last 49 years, the people of Sabah and Sarawak have suffered the gravest of injustices.

In September and October, last year, as the then MCLM president, my friends and I took a forum through Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to introduce to you a reform agenda which we hoped you would embrace and present to politicians as the agenda of change you wish to see introduced by the new government post the 13th GE.

The Rakyat Reform Agenda, or RARA.

RARA Slide1

In my “How now the Rakyat Reform Agenda?” post in March, this year, I shared with all of you that after my resignation from the post of MCLM prez, it was agreed between RPK and I that the 1st and the 4th pillars of RARA would no longer be carried by MCLM.

The Social Inclusion Agenda or SIA, the 4th reform pillar, would be carried forward by 2 other NGOs, whilst I would, in my personal capacity, carry the 1st reform pillar forward.

I am pleased to now inform you that the two NGOs that have stepped forward , on behalf of all of you, to carry the SIA to the political parties, are the Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) initiative and the National Society of Human Rights Malaysia  (HAKAM).

They will be holding an all-important press conference this Tuesday, 14th August, 2012, at the ground floor meeting room at the Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

The 1st pillar of RARA is about undoing the injustices of the last 49 years to the people of Sabah and Sarawak and finally honouring the agreement of 1963 entered into by our forefathers .

I will share details of this in my next post.

I need you all behind me on this 1st reform pillar as we take this to the non-BN parties.