pre-script: Just for encouragement, can anyone who is going home to vote tomorrow leave a comment saying so? Or any voter from those areas who are currently outstation for that matter.
People as diverse as Kian Ming and Sayuti Omar are saying that the outstation, returning young votes might just swing these by-elections.
I’m not really into predictions and punditry, but my gut tells me that these are going to be close fights.
If any, any of you are registered to vote in these three constituencies, you are carrying the hopes, dreams and aspirations of millions of Malaysians.
It’s not too late to take leave!
If there are a few takers, I’ll even make the slightly absurd offer of driving you north from KL if transport is a problem. Just leave a comment here, or e-mail me at nat[at]jelas.info. (if anyone else is willing to be a driver, can also let me know?)
To recap what’s at stake here: If BN prevails, a strong signal will be sent to the BN leadership that -
a) That it is ok to usurp power via unconstitutional, morally bankrupt ways.
b) That it was ok to intimidate Arumugam (ex-ADUN for Bkt Selambau) to the point where he had to resign just to safeguard his life and family.
c) That it is ok to rape Sarawak repeatedly and live like kings while its natives live without running water or electricity.
And that’s just locally.
So much remains at stake. Dozens more ISA detainees linger in permanent detention, water scandals threaten to cost the rakyat billions, hundreds of Kugans still lie at the mercy of the police, Umno grassroots still call for the blood of non-Malays.
I have some thoughts on Najib, that I hope to share by Wednesday, but for now:
Some may be encouraged to hope that Najib is ushering a new era; he’s certainly taken some pains to give that impression. I’ll elaborate more later, but wanted to highlight this: let’s not forget that all the announcements that Najib has made have been made under pressure.
Let’s remember that the release of ISA detainees, the call for a more genuinely united, non-racial Malaysia, and so on, were all things that Pakatan has been calling for for years and years.
I don’t think any of us can claim to peer into Najib’s heart and say for sure whether he is sincere or not, or whether he plans to truly see these reforms through.
That said, I don’t think any of us can deny that his actions are the *direct* results of the March 8th general elections and subsequent by-elections.
Najib felt the heat that you helped to create, and has finally responded to safeguard his political survival. Let us search our hearts and ask: would these announcements have been made if not for the electoral success of Pakatan?
The choice now falls to you, voters, as to whether you want to keep that heat on him - the pressure for Malaysia’s new PM to stop abusing repressive laws, and to stop racial fearmongering - or whether you want to give him reason to think that rhetoric alone, and not long term action, is sufficient to fool the voters of Malaysia.
After 50 years, some semblance of real, effective political check and balance appears to be emerging, albeit in a fragile, still decisive state. Help make these elections a show that Najib must do even more, if he ever hopes to gain the trust of Malaysians.
Help keep the voices that have forced Najib into the position he is in alive, loud, and aflame.
I’m serious, if there are even a handful, I’ll drive you to the polling stations myself.
A quick word on the ISA releases. Firstly, hearty congratulations to their families, whose joy I share.
One other angle, in addition to the many views expressed. Many have said: how can these people have been threats to national security one day, and suddenly no longer the next?
To this I want to add: the scenario was obviously that Najib had long planned to make a gesture and release some, but definitely not all, of the ISA detainees in conjunction with his ascension.
The question is, how did he decide who to release and who not to?
Let us not forget that while some were released, active decisions were made to keep many more Malaysians behind the bars of Kamunting.
Najib did not seem to calculate on the basis of justice, but on the basis of political expediency. In essence, those souls in Kamunting were nothing but political pawns at the mercy of Najib’s political calculations. The release of the 13 were welcome, but it looks like regardless of the merits or lack thereof of their cases, the rest just weren’t so lucky.
Now, should a man’s liberty be nothing but a question of luck? Subject to the whims and fancies of those in power?
Again, I hope voters will send a sign that it is the very principle of detention without trial that is unholy and abhorrent. Use your vote to say: charge them in court, or release every last one!
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Monday, April 6, 2009
Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau Voters, Please Read This Important Message
Its very crucial, its very critical and its very important. I am reproducing an appeal request from Nat of jelas.info. Please read and forward this information far and wide. We must not allow racist umno najib do as he pleased by allowing him to win these three by elections.
Posted by Richard Loh at 12:42 PM