Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Tengku Razaleigh: No more statements, please. It is Time for You to Act
Tengku Razaleigh: No more statements, please. It is Time for You to Act
September 24, 2008 · No Comments
Statement by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
September 23, 2008
I write this as a Malaysian, as someone who, over forty seven years of political life, has had the privilege of playing some small part in the formation our country, the building of its institutions, and our achievement of a degree of economic sufficiency. I write out of deep concern about the present state of our country.
In the lives of nations as of individuals, there come moments of profound possibility, when the potential for self-transcendence and for self-destruction are simultaneously present.
As before some critical examination in our youth, we come to the daunting realization that we hold our future in our hands, when how we will fare many years hence, and whether we shall flourish or languish, will depend on how we conduct ourselves now, in this small window of time.
We are in a political impasse that threatens to metastasize into a Constitutional crisis. Political crises come and go, but the present crisis might well be the beginning of a cascade of failures leading to long-term instability and destruction.
1. Our impasse occurs at a time of heightened economic, political and security challenges. The global economy faces the prospect of a meltdown on a scale last seen in the Great Depression of the last century. As a trading nation, we are strongly exposed to its effects. Meanwhile, while we seem to have slept, the global economy is undergoing an epic transformation that we must either adapt to or are marginalized by.
2. This year’s ground-shfiting General Election result signaled a public sentiment that cannot be ignored. Malaysians want fundamental change, and they want it now, whether from within the ruling coalition or from outside it. The Malaysian demographic has changed dramatically over the last fifty years. We have seen the birth of a more sophisticated, demanding electorate that has rightly lost patience with incompetence and dishonesty.
3. The grievances of Sabah and Sarawak, which found only partial expression in the General Elections, remain unaddressed. This risks the very integrity of our Federation.
4. Misunderstandings over race and religion are ripe for political exploitation, with potentially disastrous consequences.
Post election promises notwithstanding however, the government now commands even less confidence than it did post March 8.
The public is in near despair over the prospects for change from within the ruling party. Rather than share the public’s sense of urgency, our present office-holders have redoubled efforts to frustrate renewal, cut off reform, and silence criticism. These efforts only underscore the weakness of the administration and its will to change.
We can no longer deny that in its present form, and under present leadership, the government, led by the party to which I have given my life, is now structurally and inherently incapable of providing the direction and confidence that the country needs, whether over the long or short term. The indications are there for all to see:
1. The government has been unable to respond to the economic crisis with even a basic plan of action. Business confidence has plummeted as capital flees the country. Our economic policy remains as uncoordinated and directionless as it has been in since the beginning of this administration.
2. The recommendations of two Royal Commissions of Inquiry have been ignored or watered down into insignificance.
3. In this context, Umno’s constitutional provision for the renewal of its leadership by triennial elections might have been expected to provide some hope of renewal. Instead of embracing this opportunity, however, the leadership of the party has retreated into the fantasy world of a “transition plan” which rides roughshod over the party’s constitution and the rights of its members. This risible attempt to treat public office and party trust as a private bequest between two individuals, one of whom wishes to hold office beyond his democratic mandate and the other to ascend without one, and the continuing effort to force feed the country with this notion, fools no one. Instead, and against background of rampant money politics, it kills the public’s hope of national renewal via Umno. Behind the babble about a “transition plan” the Prime Minister continues to be subverted by members of his own cabinet and subjected to thinly cloaked power plays to force his resignation.
This resort to a “transition plan” betrays a disturbing failure to grasp the meaning and purpose of public office. In the more mature society into which we aspire to grow, persons who demonstrate and moreover propagate such disregard for constitutional and democratic process would long ago have been disqualified from public life, let alone from national leadership. The news appears not to have sunk in that the public rejects leaders who shun the open light of democratic contest in favour of staged plays and backroom plots.
Given Umno’s core role in national politics, this is a dangerous state of affairs. Meanwhile the Opposition has made undeniable gains in the number of parliamentarians it commands. Beyond the hype and inflation, and regardless of whether Pakatan Rakyat now has “the numbers” to command a majority, what we cannot doubt is that support for the governing majority continues to erode, and that this erosion continues so long as there is no hope of real change in the type of leadership Umno provides. There is now a credible threat that the present government may at some time fall by a vote of no confidence, or by some otherwise constitutionally legitimate demonstration of parliamentary majority. After fifty-one years of rule by a single party, this is not a possibility that is well understood. It is justifiably viewed with trepidation. Neither sheer denial on the one hand, or inflated claims on the other, help the situation.
To all appearances, we are beginning to lose grip of the rule of law. The use of the Internal Security Act and of Sedition Laws to target particular individuals further erodes the credibility of the government. Our actions exacerbate rather than calm the fear that stokes civil and racial strife. In the present context of a leadership struggle within Umno and against a strong Opposition it is impossible to dispel the notion that these extreme measures are calculated to maintain certain individuals in power rather than to address verifiable threats to national security. Nothing does more to undermine the legitimacy of a government than plainly unjust acts. The ridiculous justifications given for some of these detentions has further undermined public confidence that the awesome powers of state are in safe hands.
We cannot afford to allow these disturbing trends to play out their destructive course while we suffer a de facto leadership vacuum, and while the rule of law is uncertain and the Constitution not upheld.
Against this background I appeal to all parties to come together in humility, beyond party politics, to hold an honest discussion, in the spirit of shared citizenship and with the gravest attitude of common responsibility towards a longsuffering rakyat, about what is happening to our country and how we might agree together on a peaceful way beyond our impasse. We need to come together to find unity and direction out of this dangerous situation. In doing so, we might turn our crisis into an opportunity and renew our unity and sense of direction as Malaysia.
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
31 Jalan Langgak Golf
55000 Kuala Lumpur
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Michelle Yoon: Save Raja Petra
September 23, 2008 · 15 Comments
RPK in Kamunting for 2 years
RPK was due to appear in court to have his habeas corpus presented today. Syed Hamid Albar signed the papers yesterday night to send RPK to Kamunting. I’m not sure of the nitty-gritty details, but if RPK was to appear in court today, but the minister signed the orders yesterday, I’m guessing the “bringing forward” of the court appearance was just ‘for show’.
And just for the record, I’m pissed with those who say things like “It’s okay, Anwar is going to form the government soon, and RPK will be released immediately”, or “Let RPK be ISA hero!”
Detention under the ISA is no small matter. I don’t care if Anwar’s going to be the Prime MInister tomorrow, I just want to know if RPK is alright NOW! …Let RPK sit in detention for a few days, and you’re alright with that? I sure as hell am NOT! Wait till Anwar becomes Prime Minister, or Pakatan Rakyat takes over, and there will be rainbows in the sky? I’m definitely not as optimistic as that!
We say we want ‘freedom’, we want ‘change’, we want we want we want. And what do we do? Nothing. We let RPK take the brunt of it. We let RPK go into detention.
Sure, we are ‘waiting’ for Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat to take over the Federal Government. And the definition of ‘wait’ is ’sit and do nothing’.
HAH! A bunch of hypocrites we are. And especially me too. Here I am sitting in the comfort of my own home, typing on my computer, 8500km away from everything, while RPK goes to Kamunting because he was fighting our fight. OUR fight. OUR battle.
Haris and co are planning a Hartal to show protest against the abuse of ISA. I don’t know what I can do, but I’ll be doing everything I can.
Published in: on September 23, 2008
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Haris Ibrahim: BN lost the moral authority to govern
September 23, 2008 · 6 Comments
Power is with the people. Will you join me and use it?
September 23, 2008
I believe that the BN regime has lost the moral authority to govern our country.
They have lost all authority to tell us what to do and what not to do.
Were it otherwise, Pak Lah would have confidently directed the speaker of the Dewan Rakyat to convene that emergency sitting today.
If Pak Lah thought he could survive the no-confidence motion, the requested emergency sitting of Parliament would have proceeded today, Anwar’s no-confidence motion would have been soundly trounced and every mainstream newspaper would be trumpeting the greatness of Pak Lah and BN.
We had no emergency sitting today.
What we’ve had of late, though, is talk that BN are trying to stir up enough strife so that they could lay the foundation to declare a state of emergency. Those of us who have lived through any state of emergency know what this entails.
Amongst others, a curfew that restricts our movement according to such times as the dictators will allow. No shopping, no schooling, no movies, no nothing! Sounds a bit like the hartal that we’re contemplating except that its enforced on us by a regime that has no business telling us what to do!
So if I understand the reasoning I am seeing coming through the comments, many of you would do a hartal of one day, but a sustained one would not meet your approval?
Is that right?
Yet if this haram BN regime declares a state of emergency, you will all stay at home like good obedient school boys? Or do we beat this unholy regime and first declare a state of emergency? A Hartal ISA state of emergency? A ‘we won’t work whilst oppressed by an illegitimate regime’ state of emergency?
Power is with us to be rid of the scum in BN!
Posted by Haris Ibrahim
→ 6 CommentsCategories: Democracy