Thursday, March 4, 2010

Confessions of a Fence Sitter

From here on, I surrender my neutrality

Goh Keat Peng
March 4, 2010

Of all the places one can think of, the fence must be about the most uncomfortable place on earth to sit (or perch) on. To sit on the fence for a while may be alright but certainly not for long. Fences will poke and scratch us on the most tender parts of the human body. Sooner than later, you will find it better to get off the fence and take your rightful place on firm ground.

It is for me to decide to get myself off the fence. Getting off the fence constitutes a conscious decision on my part as an adult person where I wish to place myself, that is, on which side of the fence I wish to be on. That is a decision I make for myself. Nobody can or should do this on my behalf.

Likewise, it is for others to decide to stay on the fence or when to get themselves down from their respective fences and when they finally do, to decide which side of the fence will best reflect their own views about life. That is each person's human right, each person's freedom to choose when to get off and on which side they wish to place their feet.

As for me, in the present context wherein we as a nation have found ourselves in, quite clearly despite its very human imperfections, Pakatan Rakyat's stand on all the critically vital issues of grave national concern - press freedom, usage of the world 'Allah', the judiciary, ISA, local government, civil service, police, MACC, '1Malaysia', gender, religious, ethnic and cultural issues, elections laws and practices, economic policies, etc, most certainly reflects most closely my own political aspirations and vision for the nation.

I constantly remind myself (and am reminded) that as and when Pakatan forms the federal government, it may not (probably will not) be able to resolve fifty-plus years of abuse and anomaly. As is clearly evident at the state level, the civil service for one is not always cooperative or open to change and reform.

Be that as it may, I am satisfied that in the main, the Pakatan agenda for institutional change and reform is by far to be preferred than more of the same. Quite honestly, speaking for myself, despite the rhetoric, sloganeering and even good intentions on the part of some in the present administration, more of the same is not tenable and in my opinion, disastrous for the nation and its people.

Yes, in choosing to go with the Pakatan I could arguably be bluffed by them once they form the federal government. But you know what? For me, it is better to be bluffed once if it comes to that than to let the bluff of fifty plus years continue.

If anything, the Malaysia I see today is far worse than my Malaysia during my schooldays some forty-five years ago. The intensity of the abuse of the resources and the institutions of state is indescribable, unfathomable, despicable and contemptible.

No amount of semantics and spinning can make such vast scale wrongdoing become sensible or acceptable or good by any definition or yardstick.

A country of such rich resources, human and inanimate, could and should have made our nation world-class. My nation, Malaysia, has instead become a country of missed opportunities and unfulfilled triumph. If we the people allow things to go on as it is, our children and grandchildren will live in a terrible and horrible cultural environment of disrespect and intolerance in a climate of fear and distrust.

My prayer and aspiration is for the nation politically to evolve a two-party or coalition system of governance whereby there is no monopoly or iron-clad dominance of political power but that each side would be given a fair chance to compete thus making reform and desirable change a constant need within each of the parties and coalitions. Democratic elections is when either side has a fair and equal chance to win office.

Is this the smelly end of BN?

Therefore, today, when several individuals for reasons best known to themselves leave the party and badmouth the party, etc, I as a free individual person would like the world to know that I am here and now choosing to identify and state in an unequivocal manner my support and re-commitment to PKR and Pakatan.

I feel and think that Pakatan, for the grave political risks it has taken and the resolve it has, deserves my vote and my energies. I hope that for every departure, there will be many more arrivals to the cause of needed change.

From here on in my journey in life, I give up my non-partisan stance. I surrender my neutrality. That does not mean that I shall cease to be fair and reasonable to anyone regardless of his or her political association.

That does not mean that I shall just simply shout out abuse or whatever at anybody or rush to condemn persons or their roles and initiatives. That does not mean that I will be blind to wrong and silent to abuse wherever it is found. That does not mean I won't listen to or be corrected by persons on the other side of the political divide.

There is a cost to my decision, however, a price to pay. In making my choice, to be fair, I am hereby withdrawing my association from any group or body where political non-partisanship is necessary. As for me, I have made my choice.