Before fingers are pointed at Pakatan for doing a bad job, it will do BN good to take a good look at itself and realise how how bad a track record it has.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the country’s former longest-serving prime minister, wants the rakyat to vote for Barisan Nasional come the 13th general election. His reason is that the federal government under the Barisan Nasional was all ears and had changed many laws and policies to bring a better future for the people.
Thanks but no thanks, Mahathir; had BN been listening, there would have been no reason for the “Bersih” saga to take place.
If all was well at the polls, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections or Bersih, would not have taken to the streets, not one or twice but thrice.
And did the BN government listen then? No!
Why then must the rakyat vote BN back into power, if all BN does is to “monopolise” its existence and hoodwink the people into believing that it cares?
Had BN been a good listener as Mahathir is desperately alluding, there would have been much peace and harmony among the people.
In the over five decades that BN has held the nation’s fort, much damage has been done, all because its leaders chose to give in to corruption and their never-ending hunger for more power.
On the contrary, the opposition under the Pakatan Rakyat banner has only had a taste of “calling the shots” since 2008; has it in just four years done as much damage to the nation as BN has been doing for the past 55 years?
For Mahathir to brag that only BN can determine the survival of the nation is implausible as the fate of the country does not lie in the hands of BN; likewise, Pakatan too should not claim it can do wonders for a nation whose people are slowly but surely being torn apart by racial slurs made by the very politicians who had once pledged to keep the nation united.
Too many mistakes made
Still, given time and experience, the opposition can deliver, provided it ties up all “loose ends” and all three parties under it – PKR, DAP and PAS – work in unison.
Any attempt by Mahathir or the likes of him to conjure up a “prima facie” case in the favour of BN is not going to work. Too many deliberate mistakes have been made by BN time and again, a reflection of its disrespect for the very voters who ensured its survival over the years.
Is BN willing to “repent”, to take cognisance of all its wrongdoings and pledge never to take the rakyat for granted? Can Mahathir give the people the assurance that BN has turned over a new leaf?
Clearly, the former premier is unable for the “sludge” covering BN is beyond cleansing; the repeated acts of corruption tell the people that BN has become “too big for its shoes”, its arrogance shrouding all promises made to the rakyat.
The instances are one too many. The controversial listing of the Felda Global Ventures Holdings is aimed at putting BN in the good books of the people; but really, why will the rakyat bother trusting the federal government when it knows, come what may, BN will never put an end to corruption, a scourge that is here to stay.
BN had no qualms appointing Isa Abdul Samad, the former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar who was suspended from Umno for engaging in money politics, as the chairman of Felda.
Is this what Mahathir means by “BN listening to the rakyat”?
The day BN gets serious in wanting to “listen to the rakyat”, it will make an end of corrupt politicians like Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.
Until then, it is pointless for Mahathir to beg for the rakyat’s support in ensuring BN’s victory in the coming general election.
Before fingers are pointed at Pakatan for doing a bad job since it came on board four years ago, it will do BN good to take a good look at itself and realise how how bad a track record it has.
Post-May 13, 1969 racial riots, did BN learn its lesson and work at strengthening unity among the people? No; instead, the racial divide became wider to the extent that the non-Malays have been made to feel “out of place” in their own homeland.
Was it not Mahathir who last year cautioned the non-Malays not to get carried away with the life enjoyed in this country, saying they owed it all to the Malays, the real “owners” of this nation?
Did it ever bother Mahathir how the non-Malays and maybe a handful of Malays must have felt each time Umno at its general assembly promised to wage war against the non-Malays should they dare question Article 153 of the Federal Constitution which safeguards Malay rights and privileges?
Is this how BN pays attention to the rakyat’s woes?
Mahathir has also made the mistake of giving BN the credit for changing many laws and policies to bring about a better future for the country. Had that happened, why would “Bersih” come into being?
Had BN changed many laws, the families of those who suffered death at the hands of the authorities would have received swift justice. If listening to the rakyat is BN’s strength, then no time would have been wasted in setting up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission to curb abuse of power by the Royal Malaysian Police.
Had BN believed in serving the public welfare, it would not have put in place laws that come with caveats, as is the case with the Evidence Act 1950. On Aug 14, concerned Malaysians held an Internet blackout day to protest and raise awareness about legislation that could threaten free expression on the Web.
The protest concerns two amendments to Section S114A of the Evidence Act, which covers “Presumption of Fact in Publication”.
“S114A, entitled ‘Presumption of Fact in Publication,’ holds (1) those who own, administrate, or edit websites open to public contributors, such as online forums or blogs; (2) those who provide web-hosting services or Internet access; (3) those own the computer or mobile device used to publish content online, are accountable for the content published through their services, on their sites, or “in their name'” unless the contrary is proven.
When the federal government decided to go ahead with Section114A of the Evidence Act, it is yet another example of it not willing to listen to the rakyat, putting paid to Mahathir’s tacky claim that BN “listens to the rakyat”.
Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.