Taking on UMNO : Was it rewarding?

Posted on April 21, 2020


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA lady who I have just gotten to know through Facebook asked me this question a little while ago.

Was it rewarding, fighting UMNO?

I asked in turn what she meant by “rewarding”?

7 minutes went by, then came this response,which I reproduce verbatim

“Rewarding- something you never wanna stop whatever the odds. Gives you that adrenaline rush.. the satisfaction of knowing you fought for something you truly believe in.. gives you a sense of inner peace.. a quite feeling of deep strength within that the truth will always prevail whatever the odds are.
A reason to get up and go that extra mile for the people you care about.

Wow! Pretty comprehensive.

I replied, “Yes, all of the above, and more”.

She shot back almost immediately, “Tell me the more”.

Here it is, ma’am.

Twice, in the course of my activism, I experienced this.

People who I had seen as friends, flittered away.

I had become a source of embarrassment to them, given the path I had chosen.

Or the path the universe had chosen for me, as the case may well be.

The first, when I started to handle the freedom of religion cases.

The Sky Kingdom commune, and the many others whose identity cards proclaimed them Muslim, whilst they themselves neither professed or practised this as their faith.

In truth, an administrative law conundrum, that left the collateral damage, arising from a judiciary that failed to adhere to its oath of office to uphold, preserve and defend the constitution, of trampling upon the most critical of rights that must accord to every human being : choice of whether to believe or not to believe.

And second, the decision at the end of 2010 to cease a successful legal practice and to go into full time activism.

Again, people who I previously regarded as friends, even good friends, shied away.

Dont get me wrong.

Not all, but many.

Many, too, have greatly supported me in this journey.

Family and friends, through thick and thin.

Ma’am, I embarked on this journey, believing with all my heart that this was what the universe would have me do.

I was not so naive as to think there would be no price to pay.

But I knew it was the right thing to do

Has it been rewarding?

The quest to uplift the lives of so many, the B40, the marginalised, remains unfulfilled, unrealised.

On a personal level, though, it has been immensely rewarding in two ways.

Priceless, actually.

First with the many who have supported and stood by me all these years, it brought us closer together.

Family and friends.

And then there were the many new people who came into, and impacted, my life.


I have previously written of some such folk.

Truly, there have been so many that, light as my pocket might be, today, I am richer  than I ever was in my 20 years of legal practice.

Without any disrespect intended for the many, today, I would like to speak of one such person.

You familiar with the phrase “chalk and cheese”?

It is used to depict 2 individuals who are completely different from each other.

That, in a nutshell, sums up Jayanath and I.

Had we been in school together, he would have been the prefect and I the biggest trouble-maker and his greatest nightmare.

In July, 2007, he emailed me a letter. It led to this post.

And my life has never been the same since.

It also led to Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM).

And it was in the course of the SABM roadshows through the country in late 2009 and the bettter part of 2010 that Jaya opened my eyes to the real inequalities around us, here in Malaysia and globally, and how whilst the elites live lavishly, many families, even here, must make do with US$1 a day.

My struggle for justice and equality, from then, to this day, is for the B40.

You ask what is the “more”, ma’am?

The love, respect and tenderness that the divine universe has planted in these relationships.


Yes, even between chalk and cheese.

Jaya, know that you are much loved.

As I know I am.