COMMENT The stage is set for Bersih 4.
Many Malaysians have been waiting for this, and now it is coming at a poignant moment in our nation's history - our confrontation with a corrupt system concretised vividly in the form of a man who has received an astronomical amount of money that he shouldn't have but is abusing the nation's institutions and bending the nation's laws to exonerate himself and persecute people who are investigating his alleged transgression, a man who is using his supreme power to save his own skin and deceive the public.
This is a moment we have never experienced before. At no time in our history has a single person in the highest office of the land drawn so many Malaysians together to go against him.
We must capture this moment, exercise our power as citizens of a democracy, as stakeholders of this land, to show this man that our power is greater than his, and try as he may to outfox us and suppress our voices with the forces he has co-opted to his side, he must not escape justice.
More than this, as we march as one on Aug 29 and 30, we must insist that we no longer want to put up with a system that is corrupt, a system that gives so much power to one man to do what he pleases while those who would expose him suffer the consequences of his counteroffensives.
If anything is to come out of our street rally to call for his removal from office by legal means, an endeavour that could subject us to harsh reprisals by the forces of the dark side, cause us to suffer bodily harm or arrest or eventual incarceration, it has to be a commitment from our public officials, including our elected representatives in the state and federal legislatures, that they will revamp the system with a commitment to bringing positive reform, so that we can thenceforth move forward towards a better Malaysia.
We want a clean government, a fair government, a government that sees to the needs of every citizen under the Malaysian sun, a government that unites, not divides, that ceases to capitalise on race and religion for its own ends, that restores our battered institutions to their pride of place, a government that will fight for us and with us, not against us.
We want to secure this not just for the present but also because we want a brighter future for our children and their children.
That, as I understand it, is what Bersih 4 is about. And that is what must propel Malaysians who care for their country to go for it - despite the natterings of the nay-sayers, the threats of the police to take severe action, the hinting of dark forces to create violence at the event.
Remember - always - that calling for the prime minister to be removed by constitutional means or to resign of his own volition is well within our rights. Don't let the inspector-general of police and his officers tell you otherwise.
Of late, they have been quick to throw Section 124B of the Penal Code - the government's new lethal weapon - at dissenting Malaysians, accusing them of carrying out activities "detrimental to parliamentary democracy".
These very Malaysians who are being so wrongly and unjustly persecuted are, ironically, fighting to preserve parliamentary democracy. It is those who attempt to stop them who should be arrested and charged under Section 124B, for they are the ones who are subverting parliamentary democracy. I don't need to mention who these people are; you already know most of them.
Above all, be aware of the important distinction between government and country. Our government sucks, but not our country. As patriots, it is our duty to save our country from a government that is corrupt, self-serving and incompetent - in short, a government that sucks.
I would like to reproduce here what I wrote in an article published by Malaysiakini on Dec 8, 2010:
"The country and the government are separate entities. Governments come and go, the country is eternal (unless it is destroyed or fragmented). We owe our allegiance to the country, not to the government. Therefore, saying bad things about a bad government is not being anti-national.
"Most important of all, voting against a bad government is not being anti-national. A bad government does not deserve loyalty. Disloyalty to the government is not disloyalty to the country; in fact, voting out a bad government is being loyal to the country."
This weekend, those of us who will gather around Dataran Merdeka need not fear. We will be walking on the side of right. That will be our strength and our protection.
Some of our young people have shown no fear, and for that 17 of them were arrested a few days ago for camping outside Parliament House. They are now being investigated under Section 124B. Despite the arrests, other students have not been cowed. They have vowed to continue camping at the same venue until the prime minister steps down.
The young have shown us the way. Now we must follow after them. We must turn up in numbers never seen before in a street demonstration in Kuala Lumpur - and walk for them, for the future generations, and even for ourselves.
So that in years to come, we may hopefully look back and be proud that we did our bit for the sake of our people. And for our country.
KEE THUAN CHYE is the author of two soon-to-be-released books, ‘Unbelievably Stupid!’ and ‘Unbelievably Stupid Too!’