September 14, 2008

916 Is Inevitable

Malaysians await with bated breath as 16 September 2008 or 916 approaches, some with high expectations, some with trepidations and some with nonchalance. It is the day which Anwar Ibrahim has claimed, where there will be a change of government in the country. This will be triggered by the cross-over of some MPs from the BN to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR). If there are more than 30 MPs who decide to join PR it will have more than 112 seats, a majority in the 222-seat parliament which will entitle PR to form the federal government.

Some Malaysians are sceptical that the envisaged change will happen although the number of sceptics are diminishing. They say it is just political posturing, psychological warfare or an attempt to encourage more MPs from Sabah and Sarawak to make the transition since 16 September is Malaysia Day - the day Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaya to form Malaysia. They are also doubtful of the morality of such cross-overs.

However, Anwar has maintained unwaveringly that 916 will happen. Other PKR leaders have also declared that they have the numbers for PR to take over. Even BN has been shakened even though outwardly the BN leaders try to maintain a stoic confidence. The fact that they had approved the hurriedly arranged and chaotic study tour to Taiwan for 49 of the back-bencher BN MPs who are prime targets for defection indicates the disarray and confusion in the BN on how to preempt 916.

The despicable use of the the ISA to detain Raja Petra, Teresa Kok and Tan Hoon Cheng without justification also shows an increasingly panicky and desperate government trying to create diversions and fear. It is still not clear who is responsible for giving the green light to invoke the draconian ISA. However, it does not matter anymore because it has succeeded only to alienated the people further. Of course, this does not diminish the seriousness of the detention without trial of Raja Petra and Teresa Kok. Malaysians must still demand for their immediate release.

The use of the ISA has also served to dispel doubts anyone may have on the morality of forming the government by using the defections of BN MPs. In the face of such high-handed and immoral act of arresting these Malaysians without giving them the opportunity to defend themselves in court, it is no longer wrong to change the government since it has lost its moral authority to run the country. As Tunku Abdul Aziz puts it, the current government is in "complete moral decay".

Politicians in Gerakan and MCA have broken ranks and have openly condemned the use the ISA. Apparently, even UMNO politicians have expressed their doubts about the use of the ISA. The de facto law minister, Zaid Ibrahim, has just threatened to resign if the government continues to invoke the ISA. Even before the ISA arrests, there were already calls within some of these component parties for them to pull out of BN. The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) is just waiting to be sacked from BN after expressing support for a no-confidence vote against the PM and will meet on 17 September to decide its future signalling a likely withdrawal from BN.

All this means that the defection of more BN MPs is going to snowball and there is nothing which can possibly reverse this trend. The Pakatan Rakyat has proposed meeting with the PM ostensibly to discuss national security and the future of Malaysian politics. Perhaps, a surprise may be in store for Malaysians after such a meeting. It may be rather far-fetched to expect the MP for Kepala Batas to cross-over, but maybe a smooth transition may be worked out somehow. After all, despite the criticisms hurled at him the current PM may have the decency to put the interest of the country ahead of personal and his party's interest.

I believe 916 is inevitable. I believe that PR has the numbers to carry out the planned change of government and the list is growing longer. It may not be on 16 September, it may not be 17 September, it may not even be 20 September but it will happen soon. Hence, if we stop looking at 916 as a date, a slight delay should not be a disappointment. 916 as a symbol which represents the aspiration of Malaysians for a change to a better Malaysia where there is real freedom, justice and equality for all Malaysians and good governance, transparency and accountability in government will inevitably come true.

No comments:

8 March 2008

A New And Better Malaysia

Has Emerged