Gov’t still taking rakyat for granted

Penang Watch | May 12, 08 4:40pm


I have been reading with amusement how the various Barisan Nasional parties such as Gerakan, MCA, MIC and PPP have been ‘re-organizing and re-positioning’ themselves to be acceptable to the rakyat after their devastating losses in the last general election. Most of them seem to see the little pictures in the plot but either are completely oblivious or refuse to see the big one. They are not going to win over the people’s trust by just making press statements, announcing future plans and directions and paying lip service to the concerns of the people even now.

First and foremost on almost all citizens’ unspoken minds must be the Hindraf issue. Why was the Hindraf march peaceful march last year a threat to national security and (as rightfully questioned by MIC Youth chief) why are the Hindraf 5 so dangerous that they have to be detained without trial? Perhaps there were whimpers of disagreement from the BN component parties but the public never heard it nor saw any sign of protest made to the cabinet or the government of the day.

At the same time, why is there was no action when a prominent political party in the Barisan organised the demonstrations against the chief minister of Penang. Didn’t the jewelry shop and other shop owners not feel threatened? Not a pipsqueak was heard from any decent Barisan rep who had any sense of concern for public safety.

Need I mention the ridiculous sedition charge against Raja Petra? All the ministers are leaving it to the attorney-general who has a penchant to appear in person to handle such ‘famous cases’ The Hindraf 5 are regarded by the Home Minister and the police to be a threat to national security. But please, isn’t the judiciary equipped with the finest brains to determine this?

With the myriad of laws such as the Sedition Act, the OSA and the Penal code, is the learned Attorney-General so devoid of resources that he can’t charge these men in court and prove the government’s allegations against them once and for all?

The people in general rejected the many of their previous representatives because they stood mute when there was excessive abuse of power, lack of fairness and lack of fairplay. Issues like Ctos which received widespread attention and attracted comments from top ministers and Bank Negara has not yet been resolved. Banks are still carrying on business as usual and all those issues have been swept under the carpet.

On the temple demolition issue, S Samy Vellu says that he personally appealed to then Mentri Besar of Selangor to intervene but was flatly refused. Would the mentri besar be able brush a senior cabinet minister’s protest if he (the MB) did not have the backing of his own party and president at that time?

The list of real issues not being addressed is long. It is also obvious that the government of the day is more intent on punishing those who have shaken them into consciousness but we are being regarded instead as grave inconveniences. Statements by some Gerakan and MIC reps to release the Hindraf detainees have been far and remote and also muted. But we do not know if it is because of the mainstream media or the party’s own stance.

The Hindraf 5’s detention may end (eventually) and they will probably elicit a formal apology from the government one day or after the next election as was done sort to end the 1988 judicial crisis. But before that, my message to the Barisan component parties is that you have received the message from the people (fair and just minded Malays and non-Malays alike) to set all the wrongs right. To ignore that would be to your peril.

To Gerakan, MCA, PPP and MIC who may be trying to make amends (although late) on the Hindraf and other issues, this is my view: If your loudest screams and protests are falling on deaf ears and if you feel you are not being taken seriously as a political ally by an overconfident partner, please have the moral courage do what is right to amend all the wrongs.

If you strongly disagree with the system, you change the system. If you cannot you quit the system. Maybe Pakatan will be able to form the federal government earlier than later.


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