Stand up and take charge

I applaud the 25 prominent Malay dignitaries who came forward to preach moderation for Malaysia.

Today, I read that another 33 Malaysians from different ethnic groups have come forward to voice their concern about the extremist views that have been uttered by various rightist groups.

The country as I see it is facing certain hurdles in its journey towards a developed nation.

The most obvious and dangerous one is of course extremist views have gone largely unchecked, and the perception is UMNO has turned more and more to the right and this does not herald well for the party and the country.

Another hurdle is the slowing economy and rising inflation, but this will not be discussed here at the moment.

So the brave 25 prominent Malays who started the ball rolling must be given credit for voicing out the views of many. Even though they have the comfort in numbers, this is still an act of courage to stand up and urge the country to go back to its roots and Federal Constitution.

The ball is now in the court of the Prime Minister. He has often preached moderation, especially in overseas forum. The position of PM is a very powerful one. He should start exerting himself if he really believe in what he preaches. Please read this old post of mine “Please walk the talk’.

Without PM exerting leadership and taking control and clamping down on the extremist views, whatever is uttered by these prominent Malaysians will not have much effect.

It is up to the PM to act decisively. His about turn in Sedition Act shows the amount of pressure he is under, especially when many of the UMNO’s delegates have turned rightist.  The latter is the results of leadership not showing a firm direction for party members. When there is a vacuum, little wonders that   many big wits including the Old Horse start to lead the way. The result:  the party is now what it is now

His office is powerful. He can overcome the obstacles if he starts exerting his power now. Leader must not be follower of trends. A good leader must be able to buck the trend and turn opinion around.

I am hoping  that PM will start doing that, and walk his talk. The country needs that. As i see it, he is the only one AT THE MOMENT with the stature and power  to stand up and clamp down on the extremists, and only with him doing that, the country can go back to its moderate way again.

 

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A step backward

Many of us are disappointed with the about turn in retaining the Sedition Act. Many have written about  this flip flop in the various online media, and many conclusions are made. I have written many times in the past about the need to abolish this Act, and I am not going to write on that again since so many voices have already done so  following the flip-flop.

I shall just attempt to put forward my two cents worth of opinion  about the politics that may have to do with this about turn.

We can draw a few inference from this about turn:

1. PM, the alleged reformer,  has decided put his own position above the reforms that he would like to implement.

2. The reason why he needs to do so  is that he is not as strong as we thought.  All along we  know that he is not in full control of the party, with even the Old Horse openly declared that he was withdrawing his support. The Old HOrse is a wily old man, and he must have evaluated carefully about the strength of PM and his own support before doing so. The Old Horse has not done a “Pah Lah” to PM yet. This is more to do with the fact that there is no viable candidate to succeed PM at the moment. But the scenario could change in a few years’s time when his son builds up support and is ready to take over the helm.

3. A few years ago, when Perkasa first came to light, I have written an article in Malaysiakini titled : ” the ascendency of right wing politics”. I will paraphrase  a paragraph from this article here:

” Recent events have showed that right-wing politics is on the rise and the ascendancy of these right-wingers do not bode well for the country. The country is on the road to extreme racist politics if these right-wingers have their way. The road that these right-wingers advocate is a direct opposite of the ‘1Malaysia’ concept which was introduced by none other than the prime minister himself.”

That was written in 2010 and events have proven me correct. These right wing NGOs have succeeded to implants false ‘seeds’ in the minds of many rural people, and as the saying goes, if a lie is told a hundred times, people will tend to believe. These right wing organisations have succeeded in playing up the fears and insecurity of many people, and thus have influenced many of the delegates of UMNO. UMNO is now much more right wing than before, because many of the warlords thought by adopting a more right wing approach, they can probably change the tide and gain more grounds, and thus ensure their own survival.

Seeing the tide is building against the abolition of the Act within the party, it is either doing the about turn or risk losing support in the assembly.  PM chose the former course. In doing so he is taking a step back. Will this step back results in 2 steps forward later, 0nly time will tell.

4. the failure to inform other component parties before the about-turn says much about the complete marginalisation of these parties.  The quickness of all component parties in coming to terms with this about-turn, even though many in the past favoured abolition of the Act, show the pitiful state of these parties now. One wonders why they are still in the Front; they are no longer able to influence any big decisions.