By Mariam Mokhtar | FMT
The Malaysians who oppose clean, free and fair elections, otherwise
known as Umno and their cronies, have claimed two casualties; democracy
and the rule of law.
In place of democracy, we now have mobocracy. S Ambiga and her
neighbours have been targeted. Now anything to do with Bersih and the
opposition are subject to mob attacks. How soon before the same happens
to ordinary citizens like you, should you disagree with Umno policy?
The harassment of Ambiga is a calculated distraction. For the past 54
years, Umno has broken every rule in the book to continue its
stranglehold on the country.
Then, along comes Ambiga and Bersih to reproach the government for
its shoddy election practices. Bersih stands in the way of the continued
Umno domination of Malaysia and the face which one normally associates
with Bersih, is Ambiga’s.
Umno wants us to focus on protecting Ambiga, so that we will forget
about Umno and the Election Commission’s (EC) electoral fraud.
It has been suggested that race, religion and her gender were in some way connected with Ambiga’s harassment.
To make these links is to overlook decades of known atrocities
committed by Umno to control the rakyat. We cannot ignore the wider
picture in an effort to seek easy answers and scapegoats to explain
these abhorrent actions.
The tragedy of May 13 was blamed on worsening Malay-Chinese
relations, the Memali incident on a banned Islamic sect and the murder
of Altantuya on a greedy vindictive woman. Scratch beneath the surface
and a different picture emerges.
The men who are intimidating Ambiga do so under strict orders from
the top. These men include the “butt regiment”, a group claiming to be
army veterans and the elite “petty traders” whose chief leads the life
of a Bollywood film star. Both are aided by their mercenaries, the Mat
Umno and their cronies have been spoilt by their continual abuse of
the constitution and other initiatives which were meant to help all
sections of the rakyat, not just a select few.
With a stronger opposition party, and with Bersih demanding free and
fair elections, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is backed into a corner.
It is no surprise that Bersih received a violent reception.
Malaysians face a tough future because extremist elements within the
government do not wish to relinquish power. The extremists have a strong
sense of entitlement because of their wrong and unshaken belief that
they deserve it; but why should one’s race and religious inclination be
the determining factors in education, financial aid and welfare
programmes? Why should others be held hostage by the extremists? Why
exclude legitimate Malaysians from sharing Malaysia’s wealth?
What did the police do to stop the petty stall holders who distributed free burgers outside Ambiga’ house?
The deputy chief of police, Khalid Abu Bakar, seems incapable of
distinguishing between right and wrong, and condoned the actions of the
petty trader’s group. He made a mockery of the rule of law. He does not
deserve his badge of office.
If he was more responsible, he could have stopped the thugs from
perpetrating their act of civil disobedience and there would have been
none of the farcical selling of lots outside Ambiga’s residence and none
of the “butt” displays from so-called veteran soldiers.
No servicemen would dishonour his old unit. The butt-exhibitionists
brought the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s name into disrepute, because all
soldiers swear allegiance to King and country. They also brought shame
to the Malay community.
Khalid’s stupidity was nothing compared to the silence of the
Malaysian leaders who were mute when it came to these personal attacks
on individuals. Did we hear our PM condemn the harassment? Did the Home
Minister, under whose purview the police come, rebuke the mob-rule?
Their silence gave tacit support to anarchy.
These mobs want to hold all of Malaysia to ransom. They are now
attacking any Bersih talk, and have targeted ceramahs by the opposition.
Last night, a senior citizen suffered head injuries when a talk by
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, was pelted with stones and eggs.
So who will accept responsibility should a death occur in these
attacks? One man risks losing the sight in one eye because the police
fired tear-gas canisters directly at the crowd during the Bersih 3.0
rally of April 28.
These Umno lackeys have defied the rule of law. They invade
residential areas, invite Mat Rempits to intimidate the public by
revving their engines and racing around dangerously; they deface public
property just so Umno can continue to govern. Reasoning with them is
like reasoning with a toddler in a temper tantrum.
The IGP has no grip on policing just as Najib has no clue on how to
govern his “best democracy in the world”. Mat Rempits are encouraged to
harass and intimidate the rakyat through their acts of civil
Najib tells the whole world he practises moderation but he is a
leader who is frustrated by the power-struggles within his party. His
government is weak and inefficient. Voting them in at the 13th general
election will be like voting for the lunatics to run the asylum.
Now, Malaysia is ruled by mobocracy or mob-rule. Najib has said that
he will “defend Putrajaya at all costs, and with blood, sweat and
tears”; perhaps the mob-rule will be used to fulfil this promise. If
mob-rule dominates, emergency powers will be swept in and Umno can
continue to govern. There would be no need for GE13.
The divisive tactics used against Ambiga are not new. They were used
in Memali and the May 13, 1969 incident. The reason has always been the
same: to divide and rule.
It is time Malaysians snapped out of their delusions and make a stand.
Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.