What now, after Bersih 4.0? Mahathir? Or we, the RAKYAT?

Posted on September 5, 2015

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many-colours-one-dream923089_576322912401152_1069880995_nI was going to write and update you on the status of The Rakyat Times, but I will defer that to touch on something that I feel is more pressing. Let me take that up in my next post.

Over the 2 days at the rally over the last weekend, I was again and again asked three  questions.

First, I’ve been so quiet for so long. Where have I been?

Second. Where do we go after Bersih 4.0?

Can Mahathir be trusted?

We’ll leave the first for another day

On the second day of the rally, I was twice given the privilege and honour to speak and address small crowds from a parked Hilux. First, at about 6.30pm along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and then, later that night, along Jalan Raja Laut.

My message, as it has been for a long time, is that UMNO/BN must go if we are to save this nation.

Not just Najib.

The whole gang of robbers and thieves who now sit in Putrajaya, bereft of any moral, popular mandate to administer this nation must go.

Given Mahathir’s appearance at the rally on both days, I thought it only proper that I give him due regard by mentioning him in my short speeches on both occasions.

I reminded the audience that even as Najib sacked his serving deputy PM, Mahathir had done the same in 1998.

Najib sacked the AG? Lets remember that Mahathir sacked the Lord President Salleh Abas which eventually led to the decline of the judiciary to what it is today. In truth, the rotten state of things today, on all counts, can ultimately be traced back to Mahathir.

Mahathir wants Najib to make full disclosure of the RM2.6b in his personal bank account? Well, I do, too. I would, though, also like Mahathir to make full disclosure of the Petronas accounts that went to him during his time as PM. I don’t care if the law does not provide for it. Its all the rakyat’s money and if you go by the figures put together by the late Barry Wain in his “Malaysian Maverick”, its a nice tidy sum that went into federal coffers whilst Mahathir was in office. I would like both Najib and Mahathir to make disclosure of these monies.

What did Mahathir say when he made his  brief appearance at the rally on the first day?

He was there to support the rakyat, not Bersih, right?

What were the Bersih demands this time around?

Clean and fair elections. Mahathir does not support this.

Clean government. Mahathir does not support this.

A recovered economy. Mahathir does not support this

The right of dissent. Mahathir does not support this.

What does he support?

Najib must go. That’s it.

And who would he have replace Najib?

Ultimately, Mukhriz, perhaps?

Is that what you want?

Trust Mahathir?

No thanks.

These last few days, sycophants from both Najib’s and Mahathir’s camps have unashamedly crawled out from their dark holes to suck up to their respective political masters.

Yesterday, MACC adviser Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, speaking at the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Putrajaya, made comparisons between the Mahathir administration and Najib’s and, as reported by Malaysiakini, made the following observation : “Under the present government – for all its flaws all repressive laws – there is much more openness and space. The fact that the day of your arrival you saw people demonstrating in the streets. Now, that wouldn’t have happened in Mahathir’s time.There would have been water cannons, there would have been police in riot gear. So, for me, this has to be a tremendous success in terms of achievement”.

Funny, I remember getting hit with teargas during the Bersih rallies in 2011 and 2012. Was Mahathir PM then?

Nothing, though, can beat Zaid Ibrahim’s grovelling to make out a case for Mahathir as the last man standing who can save this nation.

Speaking at the Royal Selangor Club, as reported by Malaysiakini, this is Zaid’s recipe to save the nation : “Najib’s removal must be our common priority. I repeat: his removal is our priority. To do this there is only one option available: either we rally behind Mahathir, or we have to live with Najib for a long time. If we have to work with a group within Umno to remove Najib, then we must”.

For Zaid, Mahathir is the “only one Malay warrior left” who can “mobilise the nation”, the “only one who dares, who has courage” and “has the country at heart”.

This takes the cake. Zaid asks : “Should we not be generous with him in our words and judgment? Should we not make a special effort to include him in the things we do to make change possible, especially as he is still able and willing? After all, we have forgiven Anwar and embraced him as our new hero, even though he was Dr Mahathir’s deputy for many years. If we can forgive Anwar for the use of the ISA, for Operasi Lalang, for the Sabah IC scandal, for the sacking of judges, for Islamisation in our schools—all because Anwar is now on our side—can’t we also give Mahathir an ounce of kindness?”.

Were those not the litany of Mahathir sins?

Zaid then declares that many “Malays like me remember him for how he successfully developed the country and for his master plan as outlined in Vision 2020”.

Yes, Zaid, you would remember wouldn’t you? Many members of the Bar also remember how he was good to Malays like you.

What next, after Bersih 4.0, if we do not fall for Zaid’s exhortations?

To briefly answer this question, I will quote from a commentary by Mohan Ambikaipaker, an assistant professor with Tulane University, New Orleans, United States that appeared in Malaysiakini on 2nd September, 2015. I would urge you to read his commentary in full. In my next post, I will take the cue from the views of this gentleman.

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“The significance of Bersih 4 has to be examined in the light of the story of the slow and steady emergence of a confident rakyat that is learning to claim its power in cooperation and equality with the various identities that comprise Malaysian society.

By defying a corrupt government through civil disobedience, the rakyat has evolved even further in realising that they should only give consent to be governed when a government truly represents their interests and actively acts on their well-being

Hence, the question of Malay or Chinese participation in Bersih 4 has to be put in perspective. Of course the tactics of divide and rule will be used to break up this evolution of the rakyat. But the rakyat’s evolution has not concluded with the end of Bersih 4. This is in fact a never-ending story….

This is why it is important for everyone to understand what their role is in the development of the emerging rakyat. We cannot criticise leaders if we ourselves do not continue to change, learn and evolve as people who practice taking responsibility and fighting for justice for all.

And to do this we do not need any more leaders. And, as American Chinese activist, Grace Lee Boggs put it, “We are the leaders we have been waiting for.”