Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bersih 4.0 is on the march for democracy

Malaysia's political turmoils are reaching its boiling point. We don't usually do political piece, and we are no intending to. But still, the protest rally that's happening in Malaysia right now have taken a new turn as it reaches to all four corners of the world.

Also, one of our author is from there. So, he hoped that at least the pleas of his people would be heard. To avoid conflict with any parties involved that may or may not offended (we are very neutral people), so we used orange color instead of yellow for the protest rally banner above.

Now, before we get to the meat of the matter, the protest rally is dubbed as 'Bersih 4.0' and scheduled to last from Saturday 29th August to Sunday 30th August. The rallies are happening together with many other diaspora of Malaysian community throughout the world, including in Singapore, China, Taiwan, Mongolia, New Zealand, Canada, United States of America, and many more.

Those who are out of Malaysia, snapped pictures individually or in groups while wearing yellow shirts with the word 'Bersih' on it, and share it in the social networks, to show their supports for those in the country. Although Malaysian Foreign Minister warned that those abroad that joined the protest would be identified and handed over to relevant authorities for action, the protest kept going despite the threats.

The Noble Malaysian.

This is what really amazed me. You see, the 'Bersih' (Clean) protest rally is not happening in Malaysia for the first time. Its had happened 3 times before, and yet it had never blown over to a fully fledged civil war other than some small skirmishes between the protesters and the law enforcers, despite that their protest rallies didn't really make any significant changes to their government's policy and administration. Ultimately the protest rallies were brushed off as an attempt to 'tarnish' the country's image, and corruptions reign freely.

Malaysian people are incredibly patient. Too patient for their own good, perhaps. They claimed that their country practiced democracy, simply because they can vote. But in the history of their country since its independence from 1957, the country have been ruled by only a single political coalition called the National Front (Barisan Nasional).

In fact, it is the longest continuing ruling political coalition in the democratic world. At first, it was good. Because the coalition comprise of a lot of communal political parties that represent the diverse people of Malaysia. But over time, it became bad. Because the entirety of Malaysia's racial demographic become heavily segregated.

From the view of outsiders like us, we thought that the people of Malaysia REALLY loves Barisan Nasional. Because the population have been voting them like crazy, putting the political coalition in power for over half a century, where their Prime Minister always comes from one of the key component parties in the coalition, called UMNO (United Malays National Organization).

The Sparks.

Turns out, not really. Malaysian people actually have been resenting their government quietly for some time. The reason that they kept voting for the Barisan National until today, is because they believe that their government can pick up the slack if given time, and also, no other political party have ever run the country in half a century hence the lack of confidence in any other party or coalition than the ones from Barisan Nasional.

Due to the lack of opposition over all these years, the ruling political coalition grew decadent. Their government officials abuse their power like crazy. And weirdly enough, the Malaysian citizens accept it, like its a normal thing. In recent case for example, is when their Home Minister banned any yellow colored shirt and printed materials that have the word 'Bersih', in effect since yesterday, in order to curb the protest rally.

And to add fuel into fire, Barisan Nasional have been depicting and demonizing the opposition parties as unpatriotic and some as downright traitor to the nation. One of the most popular case was when one of their national laureate, Datuk A.Samad Said, publicly revealed that he's joining a political party that's not part of the Barisan National coalition. He was shunned and scolded by the Barisan Nasional supporters, which some of them are his own friends.

I mean, really? This guy is 80 years old. That means he had lived long even before the country's independence. And now the country is free and adopt democracy, he can't choose what party he wants to join in? He's not some nobody, he's a national laureate (sasterawan negara), one of Malaysia's own national treasure. And they treated him like trash simply because he wanted to exercise his civil rights.

Its like Malaysia is in a perpetual state where the Cold War era is still around. The kids are probably being told that if they are not careful, the Red Commie might sneak up through their bedroom windows and poke them in the butt hole. Vote for UMNO and Barisan Nasional, they said, or Communism will take over.

But it's the recent events that finally blown the head gasket open. The 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad) scandals, and the 'private donation' of $700 million received by their Prime Minister recently, while their currency dropping to 17-year low, government special task force that was investigating the 1MDB scandal was disbanded, their cabinet of ministers have been reshuffled again, with the Deputy Prime Minister was replaced, and the list goes on and on and on.

The Goals.

I don't think that their goals have really changed from the previous rallies. Pretty much what they wants are, to have clean elections, to have transparent and accountable government, and above all else, to rid the corruptions inside the government. Oh yeah, this time they also want their Prime Minister to resign.

Bersih themselves are actually a coalition of non-governmental organisations. Although they do receive supports from the opposition political parties, but ultimately they do not advocate any certain political agenda. Well, at least that's what they said.

Honestly, I think their protest rallies are justified. It should be part of their civil right, if Malaysia truly practiced democracy. In case you doesn't know, civil rights also includes freedom from involuntary servitude. The people are angry, their economy is in bad shape, and they don't want their ministers acting like king and treating normal citizens like shit. So its normal to have people protesting in the streets, demanding changes and whatnot so their voices would be heard.

The Voices.

Then again, I'm not representing the people of Malaysia. I will not even pretend that I know Malaysian's law. But I do understand some Malaysian are concerned regarding how their ministers just willy nilly making up laws. I mean, really? No yellow colored clothing that contained the word 'Bersih 4'? You can see the copy of government gazette online here.

What else that they can just ban? They claim that the rallies and protests are detrimental to their parliamentary democracy. But they also said that exposing the 1MDB scandals are detrimental to their parliamentary democracy. What else is detrimental to their parliamentary democracy?

At this point, I don't know what democracy even means to Malaysian people. They might as well just adopt communist socialist single-party state, like the People's Republic of China, and nobody will even know the difference. I know I don't.

UMNO have been in power since the country was founded, UMNO is the government, and the government control whatever that they wanted to control on the aspect of the Malaysian citizens livelihood. I don't even understand what's the point of letting the opposing political parties to exist at all.

Hopefully, their protests will be heard by someone, or anyone for that matter. I have nothing but respect toward the people of Malaysia. They really are patient. Is it really already half a century? If Mahatma Gandhi had to do a strike hunger that lasted that long, India will never gain its independence.


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