A little over a week after the Save Malaysia initiative and the People’s Declaration had been officially announced, I was invited to attend a forum at the KLSCAH organised by activists who had concerns about this latest initiative.
I, too, had concerns, and so I said I would attend, not to speak, but to hear out the concerns voiced.
About 100 people attended and, as it turned out, I was invited to share my thoughts.
On the Declaration itself, I was certain that it was not cast in stone, and that it might be fortified along the way. As a charter to kick start a peoples movement to rid this nation of Najib, UMNO and BN, I would happily lend my name to it.
My issue was with the leadership of the whole endeavour, and the sense that Dr Mahathir was in the driving seat.
To my mind, the failure of our key institutions of state, the immoral subversion of our electoral process, the unbridled corruption that we are witnessing today and the outrageous clamping down on fundamental liberties can all be ultimately traced back to Dr Mahathir.
Don’t dwell on the past. Be forward looking. I have been told this again and again.
I can. I would.
If I could get a sense that there was some remorse in the old man for all that he had inflicted on our nation and so many of her people.
I see no regret whatsoever in Dr Mahathir for making Sabahans a minority in their own land.
No regrets whatsoever for emasculating the judiciary just to save his political career.
I could go on and on with his litany of sins against the rakyat.
I informed the audience that if the initiative was led by Ambiga, or Kit Siang or Mat Sabu, I was ready to get on the bandwagon.
Yesterday, in court, while awaiting the pronouncement of the decision in my sedition trial, I had the opportunity to chat with YB Lim Kit Siang and Dato Ambiga on this issue again.
Again, I was asked to reconsider my position and to lend my signature to the Declaration.
I gave much thought to this all of last night.
I reproduce here what I wrote in a post last year after Bersih 4.0.
“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?
I then quoted from a commentary by Mohan Ambikaipaker, an assistant professor with Tulane University, New Orleans.
“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.”