“People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”
- Alan Moore, 'V for Vendetta'
COMMENT | Dr Mahathir Mohamad has finally made Malaysia a democracy. I am typing this while in Malaysiakini. I owe a great debt to Malaysiakini, co-founders Steven Gan and Premesh Chandran. They gave me an opportunity to write when the mainstream media was censoring or ignoring my letters.
Also to fellow writer Dr KJ John, who introduced me to Steven, who in turn assured me that speaking truth to power, whoever that power is, would not be censored in Malaysiakini. Lastly to my comrade, the late Bernard Khoo, whose blog 'Zorro Unmasked' was a platform for me to explore issues in a politically incorrect manner. How I wish he was here to see this.
Malaysia finally has a two-party system, as how I defined it in my last piece. I have no idea how the losing party will redefine itself, but that is not important. What is important is that the former prime minister has finally broken the chokehold that Umno had over the Malay community. He has unleashed the genie from the bottle. What has he released?
Mahathir has released that sense of freedom of choosing and sanctioning elected representatives that is the basic requirement for a functional democracy. He has stopped our slide into a failed nation status and has demonstrated that Malaysia is truly a democratic and moderate Muslim country. Do not underestimate this moment. Do not slide into cynicism. This is how it feels like when a country is born.
Yes, this is the birth of Malaysia. A Malaysia for which the people who voted decided what they want this country this be. A people who chose not to remain under the thrall of money, handouts and racial and religious preoccupations. A country born out of desire for change and to reject a kleptocrat who had shown no interest in reforming this country, but maintained that cash is king...