No one is listening to rakyat

Jeswan Kaur | May 15, 2012
Free Malaysia Today

Can Najib help enlighten whatever happened to his promise that the government could only work best if it listened to the people?

In some South Pacific cultures, a speaker holds a conch shell as a symbol of temporary position of authority. Leaders must understand who holds the conch – that is, who should be listened to and when. – writer Max De Pree

There is a reason why human beings have been blessed with two ears and one mouth – so that we listen better and speak only when need be. However, looking at the chaotic political scenario of this country, the opposite seems to be in motion.

From Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to his team of ministers, none is listening to the rakyat. These politicians seem to have made up their minds who they will lend a listening ear to.

Joining them is former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad who, for reasons best known to him, has never learnt the virtue and value of being a “good listener”, both back when he lorded 22 years over the nation and now when as a “retiree”.

In Mahathir’s case, less than a week ago he accused the events of April 28 as attempts to discredit the ruling government under the Barisan Nasional flagship.

April 28 was when Bersih 3.0 came to be. Like the rest of the BN “loud hailers”, Mahathir’s take on the rally has ended up as myopic. He has blamed the opposition of trying to tarnish the good name of the BN government because the former is not confident of winning the 13th general election.

Who better than Mahathir to admit the hanky-panky that BN undertakes each time faced with an election? But then, the good doctor being the typical politician that he is, has decided to do his bit to discredit Bersih 3.0.

In Mahathir’s words: “….so they want to topple the government through the demonstration and Nik Aziz Nik Mat (PAS spiritual leader) said it is permissible to bring down the government in this manner [demonstration].

“They want to make Malaysia like Egypt, Tunisia, which were brought down through riots and now Syria… when the government does not fall, [they] can appeal to the foreign power to help and bring it down, even if it means using fire-power.

“The people must think and should not allow this thing to happen by giving a big win to the BN in the next general election.”

Does Mahathir honestly believe the people are out to topple the BN government under Najib’s leadership? The protest was all about seeking positive changes to the electoral system of this country. How on earth did Dr Mahathir jump to the conclusion that Bersih 3.0 was about turning Malaysia into Tunisia or Egypt?

Start listening, BN

Enough lies have been spread to malign the efforts to seek electoral reforms. The crux of the matter was simple – for the government to not indulge in “unhealthy” practices to win the country’s elections.

But instead the BN government revealed its true colour. Bad enough that listening to the rakyat has never been of any interest to it, the government decided to “play by its rules” – its Parliamentary Select Committee a mere whitewash, failing to resolve key issues pertaining to electoral reforms as demanded by Bersih.

Can Najib help enlighten whatever happened to his promise that the government could only work best if it listened to the people?

Why then such propaganda work to portray Bersih 3.0 and its key players as going against the establishment? The move to denounce the rally by roping in the National Fatwa Council is a step backward.

Instead of politicising the council which, in turn, politicises Islam, the nation’s dominant religion, BN has to muster the courage to engage in a series of introspection and retrospection and learn from its mistakes.

Sadly, the Umno soul-searching post-2008 that Najib talked about has not helped one bit. Like its major “shareholder” Umno, BN too has become stagnant, unable to move in the “right” direction.

Had BN been centred on reality and actuality, the Bersih 3.0 could have been avoided. Instead, it has always been the ruling coalition’s arrogance that has made life difficult for the rakyat.

Take cognisance post-April 28

Bersih 3.0 came and went but that does not negate the fact that the people are no longer in the mood to tolerate corruption of any kind. No more sweet talks or handouts to conceal the truth. The rakyat knows it all too well already.

To continue to fool the people is an old trick that BN can no longer play. The setting up of the independent advisory panel to investigate allegations of police brutality is yet another “trick of the trade” the rakyat have become familiar with.

Only time will reveal whether it is yet another gimmick to fool the rakyat in view of the impending general election or is well-intended.

But then why the panel when the country has its own human rights commission, Suhakam? Does the BN administration worry that the commission will do a good job at unearthing the truth, hence the hastily-created panel?

Najib has said the panel would comprise “credible, experienced and respectable” individuals. Does Suhakam lack such “credentials”?

In any case, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s remark that the panel was set up to uphold the rights and freedom of Malaysians is an insult to Malaysians.

Had the rights and freedom of the rakyat been BN’s concern, the police brutality on April 28 would never dare happen.

And were the rights and freedom of Malaysians indeed been the government’s concern, the rakyat, especially the non-Malays, would have never have been treated as persona non grata.

  1. #1 by Winston on Tuesday, 15 May 2012 - 3:08 pm

    It’s not so much the toppling of the government that these people are worried about.
    It’s the toppling of the gravy train that goes with it!
    That’s the really worrying part.

  2. #2 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Tuesday, 15 May 2012 - 4:01 pm

    Bersih 1.0 came with 30,000 participants and went away.
    Next Bersih 2.0 came with 50,000 participants and it too went away.
    Recently Bersih 3.0 came with 300,000 participants and like the previous two occassion, it also went away.

    Umno is still around. Tunisia-like or for that matter, egypt-like scenario was no where to be seen. Hoi, mamak apa u cakap? Topple gobermen. Topple gobermen. Pordah!

    Another self-evident lie spun by dr mamak & gang.

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 - 9:01 am

    Its not about Najib listening or not listening. He simply is NOT good enough as a leader.

    You take for example what he has done since news of his approval rating is high while that of UMNO is very low. The logical thing to do would be to spend the political capital to fight his party for real reform to make decisive steps that will yield ultimately benefits to the people and ultimately him and his party. Instead his party was the one that managed to hoist the insecurity of their low ratings on him and he did nothing in reality, playing to the same old script that he had been doing from day one – appearing to reform but not really..

    The fact is Najib is going to do something real only if he gets both a high rating for his party and himself. Its NEVER going to happen. If he can’t spend his own popular political capital, he has nothing for us, for the people. Anything we get is a lie, a cheat, a hustle.

    Forget about listeing, the problem is one of character. One of ability of which Najib does not and will never have..

You must be logged in to post a comment.