Monday, May 09, 2011

A desparate BN resorts to 'religious' sensitivities to retain power and control free speech..

DAP has sadly been often been branded as being a 'Chinese party'...'a non-Muslim party'...and now what..."a pro-Christian party" by certain elements and the BN, in an effort to hold on to political power that it has held since 1957...

The 'divide and rule' tactic was used by the British ...and then the Alliance (today the BN) - and this certainly goes against even this 1Malaysia policy of Najib's reign.

DAP did very well in the last Sarawak elections - and is seen by many as being a credible Opposition party, and this has resulted in more and more Malaysians voting for it - and those who vote DAP are not just the Chinese or the Christians, but Malaysians. PAS is the other Opposition party that do have a good credibility amongst the voters. PKR, comparatively, have much lesser support more so since many know that a lot of their members/leaders are ex-BN personalities, they have the highest number of 'party-hoppers' which included MPs, ADUNs and other leaders, and they are still considered a 'young' party which has much to do to get the support of the majority of Malaysians. But, together Pakatan Rakyat, do have credibility - and may be getting more and more support in the future depending on what they do. In the last elections, in my view, people voted for or against the BN more than for the Pakatan Rakyat - and hopefully this trend will change. 

It is sad that 'race-politics' is still being propagated, even by the Pakatan Rakyat sadly whenever they talk about Chinese majority seat, Non-Malay majority seat, Malay majority seat....and, as such maybe the opposition should stop using such race-linked terms...Unfortunately, even SPR statistics talk about percentages of Malay, Chinese, Indian and others - and this too is so un-IMalaysia. It may be OK to describe seats with regard to age-groups - but SPR, political parties, media, civil society and others must stop worrying or talking about seats based on ethnic-breakdowns(or religious-breakdowns) of the constituents. 

It is sad that Opposition seats are also allocated based on ethnic composition of the constituents. If there is a non-Malay majority (or a high percentage), the seat is given to the DAP, and if there is a high Malay percentage, it goes to PAS, etc... These practices only do propagate ethnic-based politics and continue to divide Malaysians according to ethnicities, religion, etc...

In fact, other factors need to be considered - i.e. urban or rural, education level, whether public servants or private sector, poverty levels, development states, etc. Maybe also the amount of 'political activity' by the respective parties... We see that many urban constituencies, where there already is necessary development, where majority are working not in government (or government linked or dependent companies) tend to be more likely to vote against the BN. Similarly, rural communities, where there is a higher level of political activity and awareness about rights and issues, seem to vote against the BN in favour of change. 

In the upcoming elections, maybe the Opposition need to be more Malaysian in their approach - fielding the best candidates for the various constituencies, irrespective of the political party affiliations, ethnicity or religion. On the overall number of candidates, consideration need to be given also to gender, occupational backgrounds and most importantly persons with long standing commitment and involvement in issues of justice and human rights. As a matter of policy, ex-BN Ministers, leaders,...(maybe even members) - should not be fielded as candidates for at least 10 years (or 5 years) 'cooling-off' periods. There are sufficient number of qualified persons to be fielded as candidates.

The Malaysian people are awakening - and are beginning to stand up for rights and/or to express their opinions - and this is something that the BN is getting worried about for they prefer an 'obedient docile fearful' voter who will not question or 'rock the boat'. In 1998, we saw the people take to the streets in the REFORMASI movement, and then we saw the Indian Malaysians come out in tens of thousands, then we have had the Christians coming out on their issues, then we have also continued having workers, urban settlers, etc coming out,....and we have also had migrant workers coming out in 'protest' for their rights. And, of course the Malaysian BN government is scared... about this awakening of the people. [The people, before, did stand up for their rights - but the approach taken was more 'quite' meetings, consultations, letters, etc to the Prime Minister and other government Ministers, agencies, etc - but today the change is that they are being more public in the communication of concerns, plights, demands of recognition of rights, etc ...and this is a good development in Malaysia...a movement towards greater democracy and a sense of being Malaysians]

No more is the concern of affected communities only their concern - but is today a Malaysian people's concern. No more is it just an issue to be resolved by the affected communities with the political leadership.... but today is an issue that is to be resolved by all Malaysians. No more can the leaders of government quietly  'put aside grievances, concerns,...' for a later time or the 'trash can' - today they have to speedily and publicly respond....and this is certainly a good thing.

Thanks to public highlighting of issues, concerns, rights violations it through public protests, handing of memos, etc, blogging, internet social networking, media, etc - these issues are getting responses and being resolved much speedily today. Procrastination....and lack of response by government is also getting highlighted...

BEWARE governments of the day - the people are watching and they will decide who to vote for come next elections based on their evaluation of government responses, actions and/or ommissions.

The floodgates of information, that have always been controlled by governments and other 'media' companies is slowly disappearing as people have found and developed other alternative forms of information dissemination - or 'more accurate' information dissemination. It was so difficult to get information to the public - because media agencies determined what gets reported and what does not. We had to 'protest' in large numbers sometimes just to get the media to carry the news - but alas, many a time the main issues and concerns that we wanted all to know never gets reported - or maybe even mis-reported - but today, there is the BLOG, websites, twitter, facebook, email lists, emails and so many other means to get our message across...The days of control by government and 'media companies/owners' is going....going....gone.

But the government wants this control back - and there is talk about internet censorship/control laws, etc. 'Official' 1Malaysia email addresses is also another means of control - whereby the government can know what people are mailing out (something they can already know - but psychologically this email will re-inforce the idea in people's minds that 'big brother is watching'). Many persons still chose to use pseudonyms and 'not their real name' in their postings, letters/opinions to media/alternative media, comments in blogs, etc - because there still is that 'fear' of reprisal by government or others... Much more empowerment is needed - but certainly it is a fundamental right to communicate in one's own name or a nicknama or a pseudonymn.

But the government wants this control back - and even all this 'Christian PM...dominance'...'maybe even the 'Anwar' sex scandal and other issues raised in some blogs, etc that have been highlighted by some media...and politicians ...may most likely be the strategy of a desparate government to wrest back control over free speech and justify laws that will control free speech and expression over the internet vide blogs, websites, alternative internet media sites, facebook, twitter, and other means of social networking and communications..

We need to be cautious that we do not fall into the trap of calling for laws and legal actions that will have the end result of curtailing freedom of speech and expression - hence justifying the government to bring in more laws that will curtail and control freedom of speech and expression.

Everyone has the right to freedom of speech and expression - and we must be mature to be able to evaluate what is being said by ourselves without the need for laws or the courts intervening and telling us what we can say and what we cannot. 

I must say that the BN is using a rather good strategy - but let us not fall into the trap of saying that we need laws to control what people say... We can accept or reject what is being said on our own - we need no new laws or the government to decide for us as to what can be expressed and what cannot. 

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