I would like to post a commentary by one of my friend on my article: “Rotting of the Roots”, and my response to it.
Your articles are very interesting and to some extent, historical facts which can be educational at times, especially your piece on the origins of Malays etc. Thank you for such an insight.
The latest on the rot in UMNO however seems too politically motivated and for the opposition to take power in the country. Whilst i see your point on the need for change and the historical beginnings of the rot, the political rhetorics uttered by both those who are in power as well as those who wants to grab power by whichever means are very discomforting to laymen like me. The instability created after March 8 seems to benefit everybody else except us Malaysians and especially the Malays. The greed by all parties even in UMNO in this quest for change, are making our politicians looking more like a bunch of fools who don’t seem to know where they are heading except being blind followers of just one or two “leaders” and looking towards their own perks and benefits through fool-hardy and blind loyalty.
I am for change and agreeable that change must begin at the very top, not at the roots as the latter are mere followers. However these changes must only happen without having to hold the Rakyat to ransom by either party; as bottom line in mooting such changes especially in the methodology of governance and moral values that are acceptable (mind you, I reiterate, acceptable) for the majority. As citizens, we all should discard the herd mentality that seems to prevail and more so among the Malays. Do we want or have to be like our neighbors and go round rowdily asking for this change; or are we not civilized and responsible enough for the well-being of our own country so as not to pawn away our independence in the name of perceived “democracy”… but by whose definition, perception and brand of democracy? At the end of the day, the “democracy” we want is one that takes into account our own ways, culture and differences; blended into a harmonious recipe of peaceful co-existence among all, a democracy we call our own and for us, acceptable to all Malaysians and not propagated by just one party or two.
In all our enthusiasm for this “change”, threats and counter-threats is front-paged with literally no respect for each other; something that is so very unlike us Asians, let alone Malaysians, “cultured” as we are. However the parties are all hell-bent on trying to protect their gains, be it for power or monetary, to ensure their political survival.
At this juncture, my advise to all who are jostling not only to grab power but to hold on to power…. is that we all are blessed and have a responsibility to the country n ourselves, our children and grandchildren included for their well-being in the years ahead. As I did mention before, a ship can only have one captain so as not to go astray or capsized due to being pulled by different forces with a couple of opposing captains.
Lest we forget. we will not be here on earth forever! We are all here on earth and TEMPORARILY at the pleasure of God. When it is our time, we will go whether we like it or not.
My Dear Friend
Thank you for the complements. I am trying my best to bring as much senses to the issues at the core of our discussions as I possibly could. I know I am still short on many counts, but I believe there is less harm in trying than not trying at all.
First of all, deep in my heart, in reference to the current political situations: I have more hope than despair, more confidence than delusions. As I am very much well aware of the insides of both sides (UMNO and PR): I can state that the crisis (or whatever other name we want to describe it) is actually very much an “elitist” in nature. It concerns the very top echelon of our society, namely at the leadership of the political parties. Unfortunately, this crisis is just something that is bound to happen, need to happen, predictably will happen, and hence should not be cause for regrets. All that I wish and hope that it remains and will end at the elite level and will never drag the whole society into a mob game and agenda. I have predicted and said this to my Reformasi colleague in 1998, that if changes is going to happen, it will happen as a crisis of the Malaysian elites (and not by way of street demonstrations). I don’t think anyone (on all sides) want to see anything goes to the street anymore.
Off course, I have to admit here that my bias is for the opposition, and I have no sympathy with the ruling elites. My main reason being I have the advantage to know a lot more of what Anwar is doing and what he holds on to; as well as what he is capable of doing in bringing our country forward. Despite what being hurled to him, his focus remains on the nation, the people, and the economy, rather than someone else conduct. At the same time, I have lost my hope on the current ruling elite as they has lost the plot and continuously moving towards a totally self serving system. Some may criticize Anwar as power hungry and for that my answer is: I guess we can criticize all politicians including Nik Aziz, Pak Lah, Najib and all UMNO stalwarts as power hungry. (For example, this so called transitions deals are nothing more than to preserve power among the few, and not much because of their love of the people, and what more of power hungry behavior can that be). That is not what worries me, knowing that political agents will and expected to behave as such: it is about what damage they are doing to the country and to the future generations of Malaysians, are my concerns. (This is precisely what being argued by Popper: It is not who should rule be the most damning questions for the people, but how would the damage by the rulers be curtailed, so as more benefits will prevail). To me, the current ruling elite, is delivering exactly that: more damages to society, and one thing that I am at least very sure of, Anwar and PR, however limited they are, are definitely less damaging in comparisons. Why: because that is what they have to do, and it does not matter whether it is done out of their sincerity or political expediency, as long as that is what they are “forced” or “volunteered” to do, it is should be sufficient for you and me – because we are the eventual winner.
Now, after having that hypothesis laid down, let me then move to next hypothesis: namely, that Anwar and PR will serve the country (and Malays) equal or better than the current ruling elites (i.e. we are no worse off, but can be better off). [Note that first hypothesis is about less damage; this second hypothesis, is about performing no worse off or better]. This is a major and untested hypothesis, and may be a source of worry among many (and especially a major source of worry among Malays – i.e. will the Malays be no worse off under PR than under UMNO). I have to admit that, for this, we all are taking a gamble. Then the question is: is it worth it? What are the odds? This then led me to another hypothesis: Are we Malaysians (and Malays) ready to embrace this new environment and conditions? Are we going to act and react, such that the outcome is positive and a win-win for all? or are we going to digress backward into anarchy and direction less society? The answer to this depends a lot on our confidence in regards to the maturity of the Malaysian Society. I am of the opinion that we actually has matured a lot, and we are ready to thread far into the future; I am of the opinion that we shouldn’t put too much hope on what Anwar and PR can do. Our mistakes in the past has been our dependency on the government, being the main determinant of our future has proven to be futile in the longer haul. What we can hope for Anwar and PR is to serve us by freeing the Malaysians from bondage and political shackle of the past. That will be their greatest contributions. Left to our own accord, many of us are capable to push ourselves far to excel in whatever we do. Our major constraint in the past has been the political interventions and impediments, and rent seeking behaviors. This believe and confidence is a big leap of faith on my part – but I am willing to stick by it and hence I am fully confident that the gamble should be worth it (that is, the odds are favored for you and me, rather against you and me).
Finally, I still have one question not answered: Will the Malay benefits more (or lose more) if these changes happens? Yes, they will benefit more; but only conditionally. The conditionality here is what’s most important, because it sets the frame for the results to be favorable. It need longer explanations than what I intend to write here. So I will leave it for another time.