Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Catalyst for Change Come Christmas 2008


Raja Petra Kamarudin (LIVE FROM I.S.A.)

There are two types of changes: evolution and revolution. Evolution is the slow change. It normally takes years or generations. Revolutions are immediate, sometimes overnight or abrupt.

They say Malaysia can never see a revolution. This, they say, is because Malaysians are not revolutionary or violent. Well, yes and no. Malaysians may not be violent, at least the majority of Malaysians, but they can be revolutionary when they want to.

Revolutions should not be equated with killings and blood on the streets. You can have a paradigm shift, which is a revolution if done overnight, or a change of mentality, which would be a mental revolution.

Malaysia saw its revolution on 8th March, 2008. It is a revolution and nothing short of that. You can’t really call it anything else.

Revolutions are good, if it can be un-bloody. Bloody revolutions normally never end because there will always be the tendency for revenge. But when there is no other avenue and if a bloody revolution is needed then a bloody revolution it would have to be like in Indonesia and the Philippines who fought against the Dutch and Spanish respectively.

Malaysian at first were quite prepared to allow for an evolutionary change. In fact, they waited 50 years. Then, on the 51st year, they decided that the situation is getting from bad to worse and they can’t expect any improvements so they decided to go for a revolutionary change. And that is why Barisan Nasional did so badly on 8th March 2008.

This triggered other events. The Barisan Nasional component members realized that they too need to change or else suffer death and we began to see dissent in the ranks of MCA, Gerakan, and so on. Umno too is going through change, at least a change of leadership.

But Umno needs more than just a change of leadership. It also needs a change of attitude. It can no longer threaten “another May 13” or ask the “immigrants” to “go back to their own country” whenever they raise “sensitive issues”. Umno must realize that the Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Dayaks, Kadazan, Portuguese, Thai, etc. have as much rights as the Malays. They too have a stake in Malaysia. Did not Tun Dr. Mahathir say that 90% of the income tax is paid by the Chinese?

The fear is that Umno’s leadership change is just that and nothing more; Umno is not going to change its attitude or policies. And why should it? After all, it is not 26 million Malaysians or 11 million voters who decide the Umno presidency. It is 191 division leaders. 191 Malay Umno leaders decide who becomes the President of Umno and ultimately the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

So 26 million Malaysians do not matter. 11 million voters do not matter either. Only 191 division leaders matter. And what matters to these 191 division leaders is what counts.

And what do these 191 Umno division leaders want? They want Umno to continue to uphold Malay rights and special privileges and to defend the New Economic Policy “with the last drop of their blood”. And this is what the Umno President cum Malaysian Prime Minister will have to do if he wants to keep his job. If not then he will be pressured into resigning like what happened to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The Prime Minister normally forgets that he is a prime minister of all Malaysians. Most times he thinks that he is the prime minister of just the Umno members – not even the prime minister of all Malays. And this is not going to change when Najib takes over from Pak Lah.

It is not that Najib does not know. It is just that he has no choice. It is not 26 million Malaysians or 11 million voters who gave him his job. It is the 191 division leaders. The 191 division leaders who nominated him and gave Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah only a single nomination. So he has to cater to their needs and not the needs of non-Umno Malays or the 11 million voters or 26 million Malaysians.

And this is why we need a prime minister from Pakatan Rakyat. We need a Malaysian prime minister, not an Umno division prime minister. And until Pakatan Rakyat takes over and as long as the prime minister is a man nominated by 191 Umno division that would be how long the prime minister will be an Umno prime minister and not a Malaysian prime minister.

But is this going to happen? Will we see a Pakatan Rakyat prime minister? And when will that be?

Yes, I think it will happen. And it may not be too long away, probably even before Christmas. The 8th March 2008 revolution has not ended. It is still continuing. It continued into the Permatang Pauh by-election. It will continue into the Kulim by-election if they dare declare that seat vacant – which was why they dropped the case. And the revolution will only end once the Umno prime minister has been kicked out of office.

The incoming Umno leadership is a Mathathir leadership. Mahathir announced at Hotel Singgahsana in Petaling Jaya that the new prime minister will be guided by a Presidential Council. Who will head this newly set up Presidential Council? Can the people accept the fact that Mahathir will be back in power and will be ruling by proxy? This will be the issue debated these next couple of weeks and which will have a bearing on a Pakatan Rakyat prime minister taking over.

I know many are no longer holding their breath. Most Malaysians have given up hope for Pakatan Rakyat taking over the federal government. Well, it may be too early to give up hope. If by Christmas it has not happened then maybe it’s time to get worried. Until then keep hoping and plan for this year’s Christmas to be the best Christmas in 51 years since Merdeka.

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