It is customary on events of national importance like the Independence Day to think inspiring thoughts and write uplifting prose. This is a culturally mandated time for optimism, and a certain form of processed wisdom. Given the context of last 12 months, this is not easy; indeed it seems downright foolhardy to even attempt such a slant. For we seem to live in a world fringed by dark clouds of several descriptions- one where even NAJIB and his team has let us down. Optimism at a like time like seems like an empty act of lying to oneself, and doing so with great determination and an utter disregard for the reality that surrounds us.readmore
For the last few months one would be forgiven for believing that the lunatics have been running the asylum called the umno, so inconsistent and muddled their actions have been. But after yesterday, it is worth asking if even the lunatics are in charge. Enough has been said about the incomprehensible strangeness of the government’s actions, and in any case this level of mismanagement is so self-evident that additional comment is unnecessary. What is interesting however is to ask what would make a group of reasonably savvy, seasoned politicians used to exercising and staying in power act in such a self-defeating manner.
It was October 1962, and the United States and the Soviet Union were eyeball to eyeball. The Russians had just placed missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles from the United States. If they did not remove those missiles, there could have been a nuclear war between the world’s two superpowers.
In the middle of the crisis, President John F Kennedy received two messages from the Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev. One was positive and conciliatory. The other was harsh and belligerent.
What to do? Kennedy’s advisors thought that perhaps there had been acoup d’etat in Moscow, and the right-wing was now telling Khrushchev what to do. That is why they received the second, negative message.
President Kennedy’s brother Bobby gave some very interesting advice.
Reply to the message that you like.
Hold him to his word
And so it is in Malaysia today. Prime Minister Najib has suddenly announced that he is ready to establish a parliamentary committee to examine electoral reforms and ensure that Malaysia’s next elections are free and fair. He says that he does not want to rule Malaysia if there are doubts about the fairness of Malaysia’s elections.
The “other” Najib says that Malaysia’s elections have always been free and fair, and that UMNO has never cheated. When Bersih 2.0 dared to call for electoral reforms, he unleashed a police crackdown against his own people that was far more excessive and violent than what Britain’s police have used on the looting hooligans who are rampaging through London today.
The “other” Najib – the “bad” Najib – has even dared to compare Bersih’s peaceful rally for electoral reform to the riotous mobs of London.
So which Najib are we talking about? The new “liberal” Najib, the “good” Najib — or the “bad Najib,” the one who is afraid of right-wing ignoramuses like Ibrahim Ali?
Let’s take Bobby Kennedy’s advice.
Let’s pick the Najib we like, and then hold him to his word.
Then let’s insist that he follow through with his promise of an impartial parliamentary committee.
Let’s insist that the credibility of Malaysia’s electoral reforms will be enhanced if he invites Bersih 2.0 and other NGOs to participate in the process.
Let’s insist that he invite international observers to Malaysia’s next General Elections.
Let’s insist that he ”walk the talk.”
And if he doesn’t….
Well, you know the answer.
We will see his true colors. We will know which Najib we are dealing with. – Malaysia Chronicle
– John Malott is the former US ambassador of Malaysia and currently president of the Japan-America Society of Washington DC