“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
- John F Kennedy, remarks on the first anniversary of the Alliance for Progress, March 13, 1962.
Non-Malay friends of mine, those disinterested in the state of the country but claim to vote opposition, tell me that the important thing for non-Malays to do is to work the system and most importantly, profit from it. Malaysia, they say, is a great country to live in - stable, sheltered from natural disasters - so what if the government is corrupt? It is like this everywhere, they say.
Umno, meanwhile, does it best with its outsourced thugs to push a hegemonic and racist agenda to maintain a ‘social contract’ that has brought stability and wealth to a specific middle class, while subjugating the majority of the Malay polity into subservience to Umno through Islam.
Nowhere is apathy embraced as a legitimate lifestyle choice and as a means to deflect from issues beyond pecuniary self-interest.
Malays friends of mine - former diplomats, civil servants and military officers - bemoan the fact that “Malay” leadership has devolved into a quagmire of corruption and racism, our public institutions the public face of “Malay superiority” and safety nets for a “Malay” subclass, there to prop up a corrupt regime.
In my piece urging the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak - with apologies to the inspector-general of police (IGP) for my perceived wanton law-breaking - I acknowledged that resignation is the last thing this Umno potentate would consider. Why would he?
Regional media reported that it was business as usual for Najib, a day after the US Department of Justice (DOJ) made its announcement to seize US$1 billion in assets bought with ‘stolen money’ from 1MDB - “The message was clear: the premier is focused on matters at home, especially the economy, as he seeks to preserve support among his ruling party’s base of ethnic Malays, many of them in rural areas. One of his pit stops on Thursday was a speech to employees of a government agency that is tasked with helping thousands of smallholder farmers.”
The IGP also reminded Malaysians that any form of popular dissent would be sanctioned because “We will not allow it because there is a way to ask the prime minister to step down as stipulated in the law,” even though as Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah points out, no rally has been confirmed, only mooted.
The IGP’s pre-emptive strike on democratic ideals would be much appreciated in the Erdogan regime. I hear security personnel are in short supply in Turkey now, so perhaps it would be a good time for “lawatan sambil belajar” (study tour) for the IGP.
Maria has confirmed that a rally is on the cards, and former prime minister and chief Najib refusenik Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who has also mooted the idea of popular dissent through street demonstration, added rather impishly, "Malaysians are timid. In other countries, millions take to the streets. Malaysians are very nice, we don't normally hold such (protests).”
The Bersih chief said: “More important to me would be the objective of the rally and not the venue.” In this piece, I humbly propose my objective of the rally, if given the green light...