By P Ramakrishnan
21 November 2012
My dear PM,
You sounded like a great statesman when you urged Malaysians “to disregard political difference and work toward nation-building”.
That was simply fantastic!
It was very heart-warming to hear you say, “We must build the nation together. Irrespective of the political differences that we have, at the end of the day this country is ours.”
That was simply unbelievable!
How we wish that you really meant what you said. If that was your philosophy, by now you would have been proclaimed as the greatest Prime Minister this country has ever had. If that had happened, you need not now scramble around the country desperately trying to get the Barisan Nasional returned to power.
If you had put this rhetoric into practice, this country would have moved forward in leaps and bounds, astounding the rest of the world. We would have achieved so much during your three and a half years of premiership that would have helped you to walk through the coming 13th General Election without a sweat.
But when we assess you and try to match you with what you said at the launch of the Genovasi Challenge in Kuala Lumpur on 14 October 2012, we are gravely disappointed. You come across as a hollow politician who is not capable of living up to your words.
If you truly meant that “at the end of the day this country is ours” why is it that a vast majority of citizens are not made to feel that way? Why do you tolerate and refuse to take to task those narrow-minded Umno petty politicians and Perkasa poison-spewing ultras who refer to the rest of the citizens as ‘pendatang’? This is as much the country of the ordinary citizens and they have as much right as these name-calling despicable and loud-mouthed politicians who claim sole ownership to this right.
If you truly meant that “we must build the nation together”, why is it others are not given their chance to contribute as well? Why is it that those outside the Barisan Nasional circle are excluded and denied their legitimate right to voice their opinions and articulate their policies and promises?
Why do you punish those had voted for the Opposition by denying their MPs and state assembly members the allocations that you lavishly make available to your BN MPs and assembly members? Aren’t these elected opposition representatives also citizens of this country? Don’t the voters who elected these opposition representative have the same voting rights to choose whoever they prefer – just like those who elected the BN MPs and assembly members – without being punished for their choice? Why then this discrimination? What has party affiliation to do with the democratic process and the benefits that are due to the citizens?
And yet, hypocritically you declare, “We must build the nation together.” How do we do that when you don’t reach out to the others; when you completely shut them off and punish them?
You don’t even bother to consult the Leader of the Opposition before introducing new Bills to parliament as is done in mature democracies. You don’t give sufficient time for citizens to comment on these policies that are bound to impact them in various ways. Very often you rush through these Bills with super speed and with very little debate. How do we build this nation together? It has always been only your way and no other way! If there is no room for inclusion or co-operation, how then do we work together?
“Irrespective of the political differences that we have, at the end of the day this country is ours,” you say. But how is it that others are not allowed to work together with you for the common good of the nation? Why are you so divisive in your policy and approach?
You have done nothing to stop Utusan from spreading its venom and lies. You have never reprimanded them or replaced the editorial staff responsible for creating discord and hatred. They seem to have a field day. How do we “disregard political differences and work toward nation-building” when we are constantly bombarded with vile and vicious and divisive commentaries without any let up?
How is that those who disagree with or who have different views from you are hardly given the space to operate democratically? They have to contend with the police and the hooligans who turn up to disrupt Opposition events and activities. How do we “build the nation together…. Irrespective of the political differences that we have”?
How do we bring the various communities together and strengthen our national unity for the good of the country when the entire fabric of BN policy is racial? It is never based on justice irrespective of ethnicity – it is always based on racial quotas and racial handouts. It is a policy designed to keep the poor and the helpless dependent on the BN charity and not to rescue them from their poverty to lead a life of dignity. That is how the BN has thrived as a saviour of the rakyat for more than half a century, deluding the people that they don’t have a life and hope beyond the BN.
But you are not partial even to all the Malays even though you claim to represent the Malays. You only look after the cronies and the elites in Umno. When the Malays don’t belong to these groupings, they don’t get any benefits. But Umno will always speak in the name of the Malay community as if it is the benefactor of all Malays. The reality is that the Malays in Pas are almost completely ignored when it comes to receiving benefits; the Malays in Parti Keadilan Rakyat are treated as enemies. They get hardly any goodies.
How do we work together? How do we believe you when you say “at the end of the day this country is ours”? Do we all equally have a share in the wealth of this nation?
In spite of the much touted BR1M magic that you introduced, in spite of the greatly proclaimed 1Malaysia delusion that you created, Malaysians are not brimming with joy!
If after more than half a century of nationhood, we can’t rise above our racial identities and political differences and work together as citizens of this country then we have failed ourselves miserably. For this the BN must be solely held responsible. It is their divisive policies that have kept us apart and never brought us together.
The BN policy has failed this country and its people. They are not capable of any alternative policy that will benefit every citizen. The wealth of the nation really has not been equally distributed among the people – only cronies and certain leaders at the top have harvested benefits beyond the wildest dreams of the ordinary, common man.
The BN’s so-called nation-building efforts have not yielded the results this country deserves. We have to turn to an alternative policy to achieve this and this opportunity will be available at the 13th General Election.
P Ramakrishnan is the immediate past president of Aliran