I've lived under 6 prime ministers and was a pre-independence citizen. I am qualified to say this, that the country I knew is no longer the one I can recognize nor proud of. The Malaysia of my youth was peaceful. I felt no racial nor religious tensions. When I became eligible I voted consistently for continuity. There was no reason not too. The government of the day was doing a fair job. The oppositions were juvenile by comparison. Sometime during the tenure of the 4th prime minister, my perception started changing. My Malaysia started morphing into a new society built upon favoritism, segregation, religious polarization, decline in education standard and pursuit of industry and excellence. The government policies encouraged materialism and external achievements. We became a nation ridiculed by the catchy phrase 'Malaysia Bolih' which imply that we can achieve anything by whatever means. This was our new moral standard that imbued the thinking of both young and old. As a result our moral values declined rapidly and today laws are defied and broken with impunity.
The failure of Malaysia was in sowing distrust among the different races and not uplifting the livelihood of the poor of all racial backgrounds. It is also our failure in not building pride and loyalty by giving every Malaysian a place under our sun. The government failed in not teaching our children to be industrious, failed in not harnessing our common strength to weather global challenges. Instead we lost our best after developing them, gifts other nations happily welcome.
We are family. It is normal to have different point of views but is it necessary to arrest those who disagree with you? Do you suppress family members who are less empowered? We may be yellow, tanned and brown but we have Malaysian blood inside. We may be opposite in our ideologies but that's no reason to use might and arsenals at your disposal to silent those you don't like.
Bersih 2.0 tries to right a wrong. They must be given space and right to express their dissatisfaction as long as the do so peacefully as they promised to conduct themselves. If they are denied does it means the government do not support clean elections? Or they admit indirectly that they had applied illegal methods before to win electoral seats and therefore oppose any move to regulate the process?
There appear to be growing anger against the police and home minister for preventing the rally from taking place on July 9. The organizers have gone into direct confrontation and willing to be arrested. It was a foolish strategy to deny Bersih their right to protest. Bersih has the support of citizens against abuse of clean elections to capture political victories. Even if they don't turn up for the march they will take their rights to the polling stations at the next general elections. It will be a very costly mistake in messing up with the rights of the people to demonstrate. Suppression is always the precursor to a downfall as most dictatorial regimes learned. The wisest move is to engage and resolve instead of threatening and arresting. Family members should look out for each other instead of running each other down. We must learn before it becomes another tragic event.