Everyone should take it easy this weekend. The last week has been a real drain on people – since the arrest of Raja Petra on Friday.
Sept 16 has lapsed, a parliamentary session is being asked, the PM is no more finance minister, not enough for the Umno leaders who want him to resign and Teresa Kok stepped out of a jail cell.
Everybody probably want the weekend to digest all of that – not to mention eminent racist Mahathir’s asking for all of us irrespective colour, creed and taste to come together to bring Abdullah Badawi down.
So digesting is the weekend’s theme.
Political volatility vs political violence
Italy has had more than 40 changes of government since 1945. It is one industrial powerhouse.
The US Presidency has moved back and forth between democrats and republicans seven times over the same period.
The key observation in Malaysia is that for years falsely those in power have equated political activism and action as something antithetical to our democracy. Abused terms like “appropriate channels”, “stability” and “law and order” are the placed as barricades to expression, discourse and choice.
So for years those who seek to alter the status quo have been categorised as ‘Enemy of the State’. They are the dangers within, funded by the evil empires abroad.
A vibrant democracy is loud, because its constituents are expressing themselves. They learn through experience that many have to take turns listening while some speak – but everyone gets to speak and we all learn to listen.
The existence of ideas won’t destabilise the country, the lack of them would.
The major failure of those in administration has been they spent all the decades dissuading expression, when in truth they should have fostered it. And a nation deprived of the tools for dialogue, is now struggling to reinvigorate its democratic planks.
The asking questions
A party out of power must seek means to secure power democratically. The clear distrust within the BN ranks built by decades of reckless Umno domination has made the allure of bolting attractive.
PKR or Pakatan Rakyat are being political, but the question often unasked is, are they underhanded?
I’d say no, but you are entitled to your opinion.
Keeping the Borneo parties in the fold by making them learn through pain – see PBS in 1990s, see the manifold Dayak parties submitting to PBB etc – that they can only operate effectively as part of BN, not outside it.
That is blackmail, in any language.
That is why the loyalty is testy.
How can Anwar realise a no-confidence motion to be debated, if there is no session in Parliament?
Let’s say you are completely unimpressed by Pakatan, and think they are lying outright about it.
Call for the vote.
You have a 58 majority in Parliament. Surely 31 MPs would not be able to go over without you knowing, not with the Special Branch and Military Intelligence under your care.
Why? Two simple reasons. The economy is struggling with the uncertainty, and your people would like to get on with their lives, and as prime minister you have to act.
Enough analyst are out there to ding-dong the issue.
What citizens need to stay strong to, is that a democracy does not collapse overnight – if it is one. And we have a resilient population. Call friends and family over the weekend to talk about this issue.
Not to convince them either side is right or wrong, but more to assure each other that talking about the issues of the day is a normal democratic occurrence – with nothing lost. Like a bunch of New Yorkers screaming at – not for – presidential candidates.
We need to build a sense of indefatigability to change – political change. Our families need to stop thinking, everything can end in an ash-heap in a moment.
That calm will spread if enough people speak up in their immediate community.
This is what we can do this weekend. Chill.