Let’s try not to be ultra-heroic. There are limits to democracy and limits to being liberal.
Sometimes, I feel that many Pakatan Harapan leaders, NGOs and even some government institutions have stretched democratic principles too far. They want to provide lots of leeway to the opposition to carry out their roles.
But has it ever occurred to us that May 9, 2018 was a long hard-fought battle of many years and decades? Don’t ever for a minute think that it was power delivered on a silver platter through democracy.
Of course, the opposition today can say a lot of “ear-soothing” stuff on democracy and fair play. Conveniently, they will claim democracy and right to free speech as their overarching principles. They will claim how much they care for the welfare of the people and how they must be treated fairly in the democratic process.
But have we forgotten how they behaved and governed this country when they were in power? They even routinely banned politicians from Peninsular Malaysia from campaigning in Sabah and Sarawak.
Why then must the present government be so eager to meet democratic standards and credentials? If the government is generally honest, it should focus on governance and reforms and not be unduly troubled by claims of being “undemocratic”.
The present opposition are no angels and they have interfered too much in the government in the name of democracy. I think it is about time for the government to stop debating ethics and principles with the opposition or to provide more leeway for it to hit out at the government.
To me, seditious laws and anti-fake news laws should stay to deal with rotten people. Don’t try to be ultra-liberal heroes. Singapore maintains its Internal Security Act (ISA) till today.
Sometimes, even the Election Commission and Bersih talk too much. They should know their place and stop criticising the government unnecessarily.
I think it is better for all of us to be careful. It took us 60 years of struggle to change the government. I think we should let the new government govern for at least a term or two without interruption.
It is too risky to be liberal and democratic to the fullest and in the process lose power to the rotten people again.
The next time these rotten people take charge, it may take us 120 years to change them.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
The views of the writer do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.