Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Apathy of the majority?

The Apathy of the MajorityRaja Petra in his recent 'No Holds Barred' column commented on the apathy of Perakians in the standoff against the authorities concerning Perak’s Constitutional Crisis.
He said that if protesters could come all the way from Kelantan and Kuala Lumpur, Perakians have no excuse not to be there.I wholly concur with RPK.The few I called to join in the protest had ready- made excuses why they could not. I wasn’t surprised; just angry.But this is nothing new about Malaysians in general. We have a ‘not in my backyard’ attitude on everything from the location of incinerators and telephone relay discs, to human rights abuse and even the simple matter of littering – as long as it is ‘not in my backyard’ and does not affect me directly, it does not concern me. Ergo, I do nothing about it – let someone else protest.What is wrong with Malaysians? Is it because of our feudal mentality that we don’t challenge our government? Is it cowardice? Or selfishness? Or are we too busy ‘cari makan’ that we cannot spare a little time to protest against any injustices.
Go to Indonesia and you can engage the-man- on-the-street in political discussions and you will be surprised how clued on he is . . . and how prepared he is to defend his rights.Koreans would have demanded that their prime minister step down in the same situation that our prime minister is in. They would never accept a prime minister with the kind of question marks hanging over ours.And it must be said, a Korean politician in office would probably have resigned or stepped down until the matter is resolved. They have a tradition of honour which our politicians lack. The same code of honour binds the Japanese and British.The Thais would never countenance the kind of power-grab that BN is guilty of. Nor would they expect interference from their monarch in the politics of the state like what the ......... of Perak has done.In Malaysia we are only just seeing signs of political activism by the populace. But still it’s largely centered in the Klang Valley and to a lesser degree in Penang.
And it must be said, it’s always the same people who storm the Bastille so to speak. Where are the others?While this is generally a Malaysian malaise; on the matter of the Perak Constitutional Crisis Perakians should be ashamed of themselves for their apathy. Do we expect the Kelantanese, Penangites or KLites to fight our battle? In a way it’s their battle too it must be said, but it is foremost our battle.
No one is asking Perakians to break the law but at least if they had turned up in numbers and stood silently in the prescribed mourning black, it would have sent a powerful message to the powers-that-be.This is not a matter of taking sides – it’s not a case of PR vs BN.
This is a matter of the rape of our Constitution. It should concern all Perakians whichever side of the political divide they are on. This is a case of the 'rakyat' having the final say in who they want to govern their state. Not who the .... wants? And if that cannot be resolved in the State Assembly then we should go back to the ballot box.Sometimes we have to act, because silence only encourages the tormentor. If we don’t speak up when others are being unfairly persecuted our turn will come and who will speak up for us then?
To paraphrase Dr Martin Luther King - the greatest sin is not perpetrated by those who have destroyed the Constitution or who have used force against peaceful protests, but the vast majority who have sat idly by.
Yin Ee Kiong A Proud Perakian

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