Friday, October 9, 2009

John Lee: "Until you walk the walk, you're just talking cock..."

Too much is enough
John Lee | The Malaysian Insider

OCT 9 — Today, Barisan Nasional promises us change and reform — a stark difference from its previous insinuations that Malaysians want and need more of the same. But Barisan has blatantly failed to deliver, even under the leadership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak. All we keep getting is the same old — pardon my French — crap.

Barisan says it will clean house, tossing out the corrupt and criminal. It’s said that before; Tun Dr. Mahathir entered office promising a slew of reforms, as did Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. We know what they gave us; their protégé, Najib, is giving us more of the same. I need not elaborate on Isa Samad’s rehabilitation; that speaks for itself.

Just permit me to add that we have known about the multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone debacle for years now, and that to date, nobody has been collared and held in the MACC offices overnight for non-stop questioning. We can question a lowly state assemblyman’s aide about the petty sum of RM2,400, but we can’t even bring ourselves to hold ministers and tycoons accountable for wasting billions — this has been the case since the time of Mahathir, and it remains the case today.

Barisan promises to unite the country. Again, we have heard this before. Dr. Mahathir’s Bangsa Malaysia has gone down the drain, with nothing accomplished. Abdullah promised to work for all Malaysians, but try as he did, he delivered nothing except a handful of intensely racist Umno party conferences. Until you walk the walk, you’re just talking cock.

Perhaps the most telling incident under Najib’s regime so far has been that of the cow’s head protest. I dare not imagine what would happen if an Indian group had done the same to a Quran — if they had mutilated it, dragged it along a road and then trampled on it. This is exactly what laws like the Sedition Act are meant to prevent — and yet the incident met with terribly muted response from Umno leaders, who are content to pretend they speak for all Malaysians, while really only speaking for their own kind.

Najib promised instant action on the cow’s head incident — and yet nobody has been jailed, no Umno member has been reprimanded. The standard refrain of “Let the courts and police do their job” rings hollow when it is used to cover a multitude of injustices and sins. Does anyone honestly doubt that if something similar had been done to the Quran, the men behind it would be languishing right now in Kamunting, or worse?

Barisan, you ask us for the benefit of the doubt, to give you another chance. How many more bloody chances do you need to prove that your party is just too stricken by arrogance and graft to govern? We have given you more than enough chances — we have returned you to power in every general election since Independence.

We need to stop pretending that Barisan is worthy of consideration because of all these nitpicks you can find with Pakatan Rakyat. Yes, Pakatan is not perfect. But I would much rather have an imperfect Pakatan government than vote for the perfectly consistent dishonesty of Barisan. The biggest corruption scandal in Pakatan to date involves a few cows and petty cash amounting to a few thousand ringgit here and there; the biggest scandal in Barisan involves a multi-billion ringgit white elephant. Let’s not even talk about racism — not when the ideology of Barisan’s largest component party is Ketuanan Melayu, and the ideology of Pakatan’s largest component party is ketuanan rakyat.

There is absolutely no reason to keep voting Barisan back into power. Barisan is as predictable as clockwork; each prime minister promises us the things we want, and each prime minister delivers the exact opposite of his promises. There is no dilemma here; we know exactly what a Barisan government will deliver. We have yet to learn what exactly Pakatan can accomplish. If you really are fed up with billions of your ringgit going down the drain, if you really are fed up with leaders more obsessed about the colour of your skin than the content of your character, you ought to vote for Pakatan.

John Lee is a third-year student of economics at Dartmouth College in the United States. He has been thinking aloud since 2005 at