Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mahathir is wrong - Pak Lah saved us

Mahathir has totally missed it (when he blamed Abdullah Badawi for BN's problems).

On the contrary, it was Abdullah Badawi who freed the rakyat from the shackles of modern colonialism. Looking back now, history has proven Abdullah to be the greatest reformer in the Malaysian psyche. Look back at the time prior to 2008. Recall our fears, deception and hesitation to say anything against the government. It was the Mahathir era which showed us the cruel and harsh side of government. Malaysians prior to 2008 were truly afraid. We were a fearful bunch. We did not understand our own constitution and the possibility of a two-government system. We were shackled under the constant fear of racial unrest. Our colonial masters told us that if we were to speak anything about race, religion or special privilege it was considered sedition and the ISA was swiftly used upon us without hesitation. The reminder of May 13 was always on the lips of our colonial masters. While we cowered in fear those aligned to the ruling elite raped and squandered government coffers. GLC's were abused and poorly run, to enrich the cronies. It will be good for us never to forget this dark time in Malaysian history. Abdullah opened the space for discourse. There was an exchanging of ideas and thought. Many began to see that Malaysia belonged to all of us and that we needed to reclaim this land from our oppressors, those who ruled the executive, the Parliament, the judiciary, the police and virtually every branch of government. Abdullah was also compassionate and dared to do what was right. He allowed the court of justice to free Anwar Ibrahim. He did not interfere with the work of the judiciary. Abdullah curbed spending and reduced the deficit. They were hard, lean years and perhaps he paid for that, but at least the deficit was reduced. Now Najib has taken over the reins; it appears we are going back to the days of Mahathirism when political opposition is intimidated and public discourse narrowed. There is once again the outstretched arm of the executive intervening in the police and the judiciary. This week we saw the re-emergence of ego projects that seek form over substance. The days when our country was shallow and sought after the tallest, biggest, fastest, longest are back. We now know that this is an exercise in futility. What we need are state of the art public schools. Well equipped and functioning, like the private schools we have now in Malaysia. Why can't it be done? Instead of spending on a 100-storey building, invest the money in our children's future. We only need to look south of our border and look at the public schools and their facilities there: state of the art, well equipped labs, IT and gym facilities. Every school in Malaysia could be like this if the RM6 billion were to be channelled towards this effort. So Mahathir, you are wrong, outdated and your whip over Malaysia has waned. We are no longer afraid of our own shadow. We are no longer shackled by the fear of racial tension. In fact we are healing our wounds of racial suspicion cast upon us by decades of deception and threat. The spell has been cast away. We now see Malaysia as it truly is and it is not Najib's 1Malaysia, but more perhaps our founding father's Malaysia, of those like Onn bin Jaafar and Tunku Abdul Rahman.

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