Hope Never Faileth Us! Ubah!

Posted by M ws On Saturday, May 4, 2013 0 comments

Here's something that one of my former students wrote recently. Shailender Bhar, a lawyer practising in Kuala Lumpur, his younger brother Dr. Dheeraj Bhar and younger sister Natasha Bhar, also a lawyer and their cousin, cardiologist Dr. Justine Bhar - were my students in the 1990's.

Shai, I am VERY proud of you and your siblings! Well done! I hope that you and Dheeraj will stand for elections one day! Way to go!

Hope, Change and Difference by Shailendar Bhar

In a matter of hours, Malaysians will be heading to the polling booths. The 13th general election is no ordinary election. It is about hope. It is about change. It is about making a difference.

Over the last few weeks, many of us have heard what the two coalitions have had to say about their economic reforms in the coming years. Each has presented its manifesto albeit not simultaneously. Each aspires to reach out to different segments of society. However, the current regime has refused to debate. We are told that it is not our culture to debate. Why shouldn't those aspiring to win our votes engage in a debate? Is it not part of our legitimate expectation to hear both sides exchange their views? Are not debates, which includes exchange of views and opinions, one of the cornerstones of democracy? If it can be done in other democratic nations, why can it not be done in Malaysia? Not being part of our culture remains nothing but a feeble excuse at best.

In Malaysia, public perception plays a pivotal role in politics and, perhaps, everyday life. There are no doubts that the current regime failed to take avail of the numerous opportunities offered to them by Pakatan Rakyat. It sent out the impression that the current regime was afraid and scared of engaging with those canvassing opposing political and economic views. If it came to public perception, the current regime showed that even after 55 years of ruling the nation, they really had not heard the heartbeat of the nation. They failed to understand the citizens of this nation. They failed to understand the voters sentiments.

Instead, what we are constantly reminded of by the current regime is how grateful we should be to them. We should be grateful that we live in peace, harmony and tranquility. We should be grateful for the economic benefits brought to the people. Yes, the people will be grateful but only if you have led with honesty and integrity.

What have Malaysians from all walks of society seen over the years? Malaysia has never been more racially polarised than ever before under the current regime. Malays and non-Malays have been constantly pitted against each other. The current regime talks about Pakatan Rakyat eradicating Malay supremacy. Ask yourself this question. Apart from a handful of Malays, who are mainly cronies of the current regime, what have the Malays really benefitted? They still remain poor and economically disadvantaged. All they get is a once-every-five-years handout of a few hundred ringgit. Is that fair? The current regime has failed virtually every Malay in this country. The New Economic Policy introduced more than three decades ago is one of the biggest failures of the current regime. It hoodwinked virtually every right thinking Malay into believing that they would get the economic assistance that they deserved. They did not.

The current regime has also pitted Malaysians against each other through its other component parties. They have attempted to sow seeds of fear of PAS' hudud agenda knowing very well that it will take much more than a simple majority in Parliament for it to be implemented. We have already been told that it would require a minimum two thirds majority in Parliament in implementing any form of hudud laws. All the current regime does is try to increase hatred and discourse amongst Malaysians.

Even the usage of the word "Allah" was eventually politicised by the current regime. In all honesty, what need was there for them to politicise this issue? For several decades and for generations, Arab Christians and Christians of Sabah and Sarawak have been using the word "Allah" in their holy bibles. Sikhs have used the word "Allah" in their holy scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, for more than 500 years. Will the current regime, if re-elected, ban the Guru Granth Sahib as well? What is wrong with the current regime? We are supposed to live in peace, harmony and tranquility. Whatever happened to the protection of freedom of religion and it's practice under our Federal Constitution?

We had people from Perkasa calling Malaysians, "pendatangs" and "kelings". Perkasa's Zulkifli Nordin made fun of hinduism and its deities. Ibrahim Ali attacked Christianity and threatened to burn bibles. What happened? Did they get charged for inciting racial hatred or sedition? Did they even get questioned? Instead, the current regime hand picks Zulkifli Nordin as its candidate in Shah Alam by the Prime Minister. The same Prime Minister who has been propagating that he is the PM for all Malaysians. He is supposed to be Malaysian first then Malay. His rhetorical slogan of 1Malaysia was announced everywhere. These were nothing but all lies. All clearly designed to hoodwink every Malaysian in this country. What happened to his candidate in Pasir Mas? We were told that each candidate would be hand picked and be winnable. Instead his so-called winnable candidate failed to submit his nomination for a racist bigot. All lies by the current regime. There is no such thing as one Malaysia. The current regime and its leaders have divided Malaysia for their own gains. Is this the Malaysia that we were trying to build for so long?

What happened to the Malaysia of yesteryears when all races ACTUALLY lived in harmony? Back then, we never questioned each other's religion or motives. We accepted each others religion as our own. As one writer pointed out in a recent article, back those days people from all races could sit down together have char koay teow, nasi lemak and nasi kandar in a coffee shop without having fear. Calling each other names was always taken in jest and good heartedness. It was a different friendship back then. A different bond. Now it has all changed. All destroyed under the current regime.

We are always told to be grateful about the economic benefits given to us under the current regime. What have we really benefitted? Petrol subsidies? Yearly cash handouts? Handphone rebates? Is that what Malaysian citizens are worth? Whilst, Malaysians are handed the crumbs, those in power and who enjoy peerage, literally loot and rape the nation's coffers with bizarre and ridiculously drafted and lopsided contracts. Malaysians have experienced the PKFZ scandal where more than RM12 billion was looted, the highly scandalous MAS buy back deal worth more than RM8 billion, the purchase of two Scorpene submarines worth almost RM7 billion, the NFC scandal of RM250 million, the multi-billion dollar highway concessionaire contracts, the RM2.2 billion to ex top judge of Malaysia and much more. Our Malaysian history is littered with these scandals. Even one Sarawakian is worth more than RM40 billion after looting the state's natural assets. When does it all stop?

Are average Malaysians not entitled to share the economic pie? Does every Malaysian not deserve an equal opportunity? An opportunity to succeed in their working lives and businesses? Or should you only be allowed to succeed because you happen to know a, b or c? There must be equality and meritocracy in society for all to do well economically regardless of race or religion.

All we see is the constant public hounding of Pakatan Rakyat members. Anything that they dare to question is wrong. Karpal Singh was charged for sedition for expressing his legal views and opinions as a lawyer. Do we not as ordinary members of public turn to noted public figures to help guide us as to the legal aspect of the law? So, why charge him? Are we not allowed to question certain laws anymore? Ask yourself this. Has freedom of expression and speech not been eroded under the current regime? As the world gets bolder and open, we move in the opposite direction.

Look at the example of Rafizi Ramli. He led the expose on the NFC scandal. He provided proof by way of documentary evidence given to him. Instead of being given protection under the Whistleblowers Act 2010 and being given a pat on his back for bringing this to public attention, he was charged under Bafia. How do you then expect any member of the public to come forward and disclose any form of abuse of power or wrong doing? But just because he disclosed the misuse of funds by an ex minister's family, he got charged.

There are several other examples of Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng, Azmin Ali, Tian Chua et al. All have stood up for everyday Malaysians in one way or another over the years. And, in return, they have one way or another been punished by being arrested, charged and jailed. If public figures are not going to question the government of the day, then who is expected to do it? The citizens only make their choices once every 5 years. We put our faith and trust in the opposition of the day to question every move and step of the government of the day on our behalf. In a way, they are supposed to be our custodians and guardians.

What happens when the authorities are fault? Look at the well publicised Teoh Beng Hock's incident? So, who got charged? Who was held responsible? The best the authorities could come up with was that he committed suicide. No right thinking member of the public agrees with this reasoning. No justice was delivered to the Teoh family. Till today, they live in the hope that one day, someone will be held accountable.

What about the Ahmad Sarbani, the customs officer? He is supposed to have committed suicide as well according to the authorities. What about the numerous deaths in custody? So many Indians have died alongside other Malaysians. They are all supposed to have deaths of natural causes? Does the current regime take the Malaysian public as fools? There are just too many coincidences. Today, virtually everyone just assumes that there has been some form of abuse of power by the authorities.

Over the decades, a mockery has also been made of the social justice system. In 2008, we expected a complete overhaul and clean up of the judiciary after the video that was leaked by Gwo Burne. We were promised major changes. But soon after 2008, we saw the dereliction of that promise in the Perak fiasco case. The current regime somewhat illegal engineered to overthrow the Pakatan state government. This showed complete disrespect to the people's choice of whom they wanted to run the state. It was subsequently expected that the courts would uphold justice and it did happen in the High Court. But was eventually reversed in the Appellate courts. Democracy was once again damaged. And, in the eyes of the people, the image of the justice system tainted. Many other cases such as Lynas has followed in the same manner and public confidence in the social justice system remains at an all time low under the current regime.

There are so many other issues and matters that can be raised where there has been complete and abuse of power by the current regime. The public is just fed up. Can you blame them? Does anyone expect the public to still trust the current regime after all this? Can the current regime expect the people to vote for them again tomorrow? 55 years is a very long time for any party to be in power by any democratic standards. At the end, unfortunately, they have nothing to show for it.

Tomorrow, when you go to the polls, you should have the above issues at the forefront of your minds. Whether change happens is in your hands. Malaysia's hopes lie with you.

Today's Malaysia owes it to tomorrow's Malaysia. We owe it to our future generations.

Vote wisely!

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