Written by Francis Siah
Saturday, 13 August 2011
Foreword by Dr Lim Teck Ghee
Readers who have been following the progress of the MoCS ‘Walk for Democracy and Reform’ assembly in Kuching will be as disappointed as we are that the event has been called off. This development, though disappointing is not unexpected given the extraordinary pressure on Francis and the small group of stalwart supporters during the last few weeks. The perverted use by the government of the law enforcement agencies for its political ends has long been a feature of Barisan Nasional rule in Malaysia; and this has proven to be the case once again. It will not be the last time.
Refusal to provide permits for legitimate public gatherings and events organized by the opposition is part of the standard operating procedure of the police force. Other not so subtle forms of denial of our constitutional right to freedom of assembly are the use of restraining orders, which with the connivance of a sycophantic judiciary, is meant to prohibit leaders and supporters from gathering anywhere close to the vicinity of any planned rally that is perceived as drawing attention to the corruption, abuses and bad governance of the ruling elite.
Increasingly, our men in blue and black in the police and judiciary (not to mention immigration, education, and other government agencies) are no longer the neutral civil servants which was the intent of the federal constitution when it was drawn up. Increasingly they appear to be the private police force, private judicial officials and private civil servants of the current ruling political parties.
Predictable and disappointing though the turn of events has turned out to be, what is more disappointing is the response from Sarawakians and other fellow Malaysians to the decision to call off the rally. These people should know better. Instead of casting stones at MoCS chief Francis Siah and the MoCS movement and directing their bile at the wrong target, they should get off their fat backsides and do something – anything – to show that they are part of the movement for change.
In the letter of explanation by Francis Seah which we are reproducing below, he drew attention to this quote by G. E. Woodberry “Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure”.
In addition to this, I would like to add the following: If the mountain does not move, let’s work together to move the route around the mountain.
‘Why I called off the rally’ by Francis Seah
Dear MoCS fellows and friends,
So this is how it ended — an anti-climax. I am also very disappointed with my decision. But I had to make one for MoCS.
Only God knows why I finally decided to call it off.
The past month has been a confrontation with the police when it should have been the ‘termite’. It’s not worth it in this case. The real ‘enemy’ is not the police.
Deputy Commissioner Law Hong Soon advised me to think over the responsibility and burden on me personally (and not on MoCS because legally, MoCS does not even exist although we managed to register the name as a company.)
I have thought this over and over again. Personally, I have no experience in organising a public rally of this scale (contesting an election is different). Anyone gets hurt, injured or maimed, I am responsible. Anyone get arrested, I will be responsible.
I feel responsible for my fellows and friends. The eight who were served the Restraining Order (RO) are all my good friends. One is a cousin. Even Mohd Salleh Ahmed who has absolutely nothing to do with MoCS was somehow caught in the crossfire. He is a businessman and I don’t wish to bring trouble to him or his family and business or to any of my friends.
I have to be honest and say that if any of the eight were to be arrested because of the rally, I have no personal resources to help in any way.
So far, no one here or elsewhere has told me that they would assist should anything happen to the eight served with the RO. Here again, the burden is on me.
Already, armchair critics in their comfort zone have started lambasting me in web portals and blogs, as expected.
Here are a few samples:
“What a coward Siah… Already have millions in his pocket I guess.”
“Francis Siah bo lan pa. Coward. Full of excuses. Why can’t he walk alone?”
“No guts to do, don’t talk so loud. You should know what’s coming even before you announce the rally, why back off now, citing a flimsy excuse of public safety? If you don’t march, there will be more longer-term, more entrenched danger to public safety, and the arrests will still continue. Coward!”
I won’t pretend by saying that I’m not hurt by those insults.
The only thing I can do to console myself is to say that these critics will never be able to accomplish what we have so far. These people will never lift a finger to help if MoCS gets into trouble or faces constraints. They just sit comfortably in front of their PCs and enjoy hurling insults at others. So why should I worry so much!
I’m glad I’m not a politician running for public office. I do not need public support to attain a political goal. Why bother whether they want to support me or not?
FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF MoCS
It is now 2.15am on Aug 13. Today is the first anniversary of MoCS. I recall this day one year ago when I sat down together with See Chee How and Jasmine at a press conference at Kuching Airport to announce the establishment of MoCS.
Little did I realize how difficult and turbulent the journey would be. I have no experience too in heading an NGO. But it was one hell of a ride, and unfortunately, an expensive one too.
I’ve also given my word to the original eight initiators of MoCS that I would take a year off work to head MoCS.
I also recall that I would set a one-year time frame, perhaps a too ambitious one, to lead the MoCS campaign to oust the termite within 12 months.
The deadline is up today and I’ve failed to get rid of that old insect. But I’ve kept my word and today, I’ve completed my ‘term’.
Now it’s time to pass the baton.
Yes, CHANGE WE CAN,