916…. 916?

I read with amusement, this statement by UMNO Youth Secretary:

“Where are the voices of NGOs, Bar Council and bloggers who had voiced loudly the need to protect the rights of people?”

“Why are they not coming out to criticise Anwar and tell him it is morally wrong to grab power? Does their silence mean that they are being used by Anwar?”

More HERE.

I’m a little lost on why he “concluded” that their silence is tantamount to being “used by Anwar”, simply because I see no relation at all. To assume that the many NGOs and bloggers are “silent” because Anwar is controlling them from behind is absurd, to say the least. How Anwar as an individual, or even PKR as a political party is able to control the diverse crowd that is the NGOs and the bloggers is beyond me.

That being said, perhaps it is worth thinking, what exactly does 916 mean to you?

Perhaps, too, the “silence” can be translated into approval? Although I cannot speak for those “voices of the people”, as the UMNO Youth Sec has called them, I can most certainly speak for myself as an individual, and hence make up one small but significant part of the voices of the people.

I was asked a question through an email recently:

Everybody’s waiting for 16th September. Are you?

My answer in general was that I’m not too comfortable with the idea of “hopping politicians”.

My answer now, after having the privilege of time to ponder over this question, seems to remain the same. I’m still not comfortable with the idea, nor the image, of politicians “jumping”.

There have, of course, been tons of articles and views questioning the morality and ethics of getting the BN MPs to defect over to Pakatan Rakyat to form a new government. Chandra Muzzafar has been one of the more vocal ones who have made known their piece.

However, there have been equally strong arguments for these defections, among them Irene Fernandez, who had her letter published in Malaysiakini not too long ago. The question of ethics and morality of defection was seen to be overshadowed by the ethics and morality (or lack of them) by remaining in a political party that was essentially robbing the people of their wealth.

From recent events, like the “running away” of the 40-odd BN Backbenchers for an 8-day study-trip overseas that so ‘coincidentally’ coincided with the September 16 deadline, to the ‘apology-no apology’ of the Ahmad Ismail saga, to the blocking of Malaysia-Today and arrest of Penarik Beca, and the threats of using the Sedition Act and ISA, I’d say that I’ve had enough of BN rule. (Add to this list the latest about the BTN and what they’re doing to our young minds, and you might be convinced that we do need a change, badly.)

But does all this give warrant to massive defections from the BN camp over to the Pakatan camp?

In all honesty, I don’t know. I don’t even know if I’m for, or against the idea.

Perhaps Lim Kit Siang’s stand is a good one to put in mind:

The DAP will not accept Barisan Nasional (BN) members of parliament crossing over to the opposition to form the next government on Sept 16 if they are driven to do so by money and power.

Its advisor Lim Kit Siang said the party would only welcome BN MPs into Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition pact, if they decided to cross over on the principle of wanting to bring about change to improve the lot of the people, and not for their political rice bowl.

However, one very difficult thing about this proposal is, how does one determine the “real motive” behind the defections?

I have but one strong stand amidst all this, and that is that I am FOR the formation of a new government.

However, WHEN this happens, is the main question.

September 16 2008 would be a good time, really.

However, if I had things my way, I would probably require that all the MPs who wish to defect would have to first relinquish their position in Parliament, and get re-elected by the people under a new flag.

This, unfortunately, is not doable. Basically because the law states that any MP who resigns cannot contest as a candidate in the same constituency for the next 5 years.

Then perhaps the MPs who want to defect could go back to their grassroots and get the response from them. Whether or not they are willing to support his/her defection to the other side.

This, again, is unfortunately, equally not plausible. Showing their hand prior to any real action to defect would only further jeopardise their chances of defecting successfully.

So then, how do I propose that this gets done?

I have no idea.

Perhaps, instead of the BN MPs taking the initiative step to defect, the people of the constituency can be the ones to start the motion. Perhaps they can collectively start a signature petition, and get the constituents to sign their approval of the defection of their representative. Perhaps in this way, the people can show their solidarity behind the defection of their MP, should that take place. And this would also ensure that the people’s concerns are not “tossed to one side”.

Perhaps, this is doable. But it would take guts from the people to start it, and get the ball rolling. One petition for one individual MP. Anyone game for it?

You would realise that I’ve started almost every other sentence with ‘perhaps’. It’s because I myself don’t know how plausible this is.

If we live in a democratic country, we must prove ourselves to adhere to democracy. We live in a land where the ‘majority rules’. If the mandate that was given to the BN government has significantly changed since the March 2008 General Elections, the people must let their voices be heard. If they want a change of government, perhaps they should take up the initiative to say so.

Tell the BN government that the majority is no longer on their side.

Otherwise, 916 will just come and go like any other day. (Though the date is not really all that significant for me – It may be important for Anwar)

**Note: I may be viewed as some sort of “hypocrite”, seeing as how I’m sitting some 8500 km away from the heart of all the action, and dishing out opinions and ideas on this issue. Know, however, that it matters not where the physical body is, but where the heart and soul is. If anyone else is game to taking up this initiative of doing the groundwork for this petition, I’m more than glad to do the write up. I just need some guidance on how to do it right.


5 Comments on “916…. 916?”

  1. alibaba says:

    somehow I share the same uncertainties as yours. as far as I am concerned, if DSAI become PM and all his menteries behave the same like the current, then might as well remain as it is.

  2. […] are willing to support his/her defection to the other side….’ – Michelle Yoon, in her ‘916…916?’ […]

  3. YeinJee says:

    I am strongly against direct cross-over.

    The more proper way should be vote of no confidence against the current government and force them to hold a new General Election.

    I will be happy if Anwar managed to take control of the government after the new GE… but not via crossover. The defection could seriously dampen the democracy system which in the end could create greater problem than it is now.

    The number of bloggers that are against the crossover are in minority, but there are a few here and there… just that Umno didn’t bother to check us out.

    They just focus on the few mega blogs and ignore others… just like in real life where big guns are getting attention while commoners and sidelined… typical Umno style.

  4. walski69 says:

    Truth be told, I’m not very comfortable with the idea of taking over government via cross-overs. It raises all kinds of ethical questions, as you’ve rightly put it.

    But do we really want another 4 years of BN rule?

    And that’s where the conundrum lies. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    So, here’s another suggestion. Jump, but as soon as the new Pakatan government gets into office, call for a national referendum. And if the referendum says, “Nay”, dissolve parliament and call for a fresh General Election.

    It’s risky, true, but at least it shows the sincerity of the Pakatan government to take the People’s voice into account.
    Sounds good. But somehow, I don’t see it happening…

  5. LightsInTheDistance says:

    My two-cents worth. I’m sure most of the ordinary rakyat are FOR a change and a new government. So the question of ‘When should this happen’ should not caused so much debate as to the morality of it.

    “If we live in a democratic country, we must prove ourselves to adhere to democracy”, of course. The keyword is “if”. No, we do not lived in a democratic country. We lived in an authoritarian ones. Those in power do not care for the voices of the majority any longer.

    There’s no separation of power as the Judiciary is controlled by the Executives; it is rule of men, and not rule of law. The media is an instrument of the state where it is used to spread propaganda and not news. Election is fair (even this is arguable) but not free. There are no civil liberties and oppositions voice are often crushed. Rampant corruption could be seen everywhere. There’s a large bureaucrat to serve the powers-that-be. The citizen’s guardian-the police force are used against the rakyat and not to protect them. No, this is not the ‘democracy’ that all of us want.

    Change, especially in the current political and economic context is a good thing. Change is always difficult, even on a personal level. We do not know if the change is for the better but it is a risk all of us are willing to take. It is the only only right thing to do if we really care about our country and its future generations. We cannot delay any longer this ‘wind of change’ that is blowing. As to the morality of lawmakers defecting to the opposition, it is an issue that is blown to a huge proportion by the current government to stifle the change to a more democratic system.

    In the end, why do we need to make things so complicated? Thinking in simple terms and from the common peoples’ viewpoint; if it is for a more democratic society, let this ‘defections’ happen. After all, with all the racists remarks and hatred the current administration is sowing in the hearts of the common people, is ‘morality’ a keyword that those in power now hold dear?

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