The 53rd Merdeka Day celebration came with a mixture of mirth and gall.
The hope inspired by the Agong granting Dr Mahathir Mohamad an audience offering the long-awaited opportunity for 1.4 million subjects of His Majesty to deposit their patriotic love and concern for beloved Malaysia is comparable to fragrant mirth as it filled social media with hopes for a better Malaysia.
The gall that also came long was the breaking news about an Election Commission (EC) that may be compromising the very constitutional and cardinal rules that promise the onward building and safeguarding of a democratic nation.
Opposition leaders have been hopping mad, screaming out that they smell a nasty plot in the delineation exercise drawn by the EC.
Malaysiakini conducted an in-depth analysis of the re-structured constituencies and have published their findings independently (‘How EC is tying the opposition’s hands’ by Nigel Aw & Kow Gah Chie; Saturday, Sept 17).
One need not be a political scientist to recognise that there is an agenda at work in the EC’s exercise. Fundamentally, it raises several concerns which even the honourable civil society platform, Bersih 2.0, has raised.
Both Maria Chin Abdullah and her dedicated predecessor, Ambiga Sreenevasan, have registered their urging for clean and just elections. The vanguard and guardian of democracy, the EC must ensure that a general election embraces and transparently showcases these fundamentals categorically demanded of any general election.
But going by the re-drawing of boundaries and the shifting of voter demographics (and psychographics included) in anticipation and preparing for the speculated soon to held 14th general election, not only do critically disadvantaged opposition candidates have a right to cry foul but equally, if not more important, citizens too have a guaranteed and cherished responsibility to demand acceptable explanations and justifiable accountability from the EC.
Failing which, civil society leaders and those schooled in Constitutional Law should step forward to explain to the voter public (especially to the affected rural and semi-urban territories) in layman’s term this gross injustice at work and moving at great speed.
We cannot march into a general election while still screaming over this political gerrymandering.
As the tenets of democracy categorically dictate and especially in this New Age century, a nation cannot profess to practice manipulated or ‘managed’ democracy and still court the developed world community for trade, progress or economic gain.
If need be and if it is within the rights of citizens and in conformance with the laws of Malaysia that strictly can uphold justice - by Civil or Syariah dictums, the learned of the Law should step forward to enlighten and lead Malaysians to put on the brakes before any election is announced.
While the prime minister is preaching rhetoric about unity, it is the moral and ethical obligation of His Majesty’s subjects to ensure that this nation is safeguarded and free of diabolic power plays.
Can we therefore consider bringing about a class action on the EC?
However if all avenues to a fair, clean and just election are road-blocked, then Bersih 5 will only get larger and more defining.