Friday, March 28, 2014

Kajang to bring about winds of political change – Koon Yew Yin

Side Views

Kajang to bring about winds of political change – Koon Yew Yin

Recently, I was asked to speak at a political rally organised by Pakatan Rakyat in support of the PKR candidate in the Kajang by-election, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

In my address to the crowd which I kept short, since I was sharing time with Kak Azizah, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and other leaders, I chose not to speak on the political issues which should influence the Kajang electorate.

Instead, I focused on my personal experience with MCA and explained why a vote for the MCA candidate was an exercise in futility. 

Political change in the air

That night was a memorable one. It was the first time that I have ever made a speech from the roof of a truck.

Second, I did not expect the large crowd. To be honest, when I made the trip from Ipoh to Kajang, I had expected election fatigue with the by-election coming so soon after the 2013 general election.
Instead, I saw sheer energy and commitment – from the top political guns to the volunteer party workers and all the way to the people gathered patiently at the padang.

More importantly, I felt a tremendous sense of camaraderie among the multiracial crowd.  I had been afraid of the sense of racial unity and solidarity in the opposition, given Umno's attempts to play the divide-and-rule game in Selangor by focusing on the “Allah” issue.

I was also concerned that PKR's and PR's credentials as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious party and coalition may have been eroded by the propaganda BN war.

I can say that what I saw took me by surprise – the multi-racial support for PR and PKR is not only strong but growing!

I left the rally that night fully convinced that if Kajang was an example of the political sentiment in the country, we will have a change of government at the next elections.

As it turned out, Kak Azizah won the by election with a handsome majority despite her campaign being heavily outgunned by the big spending and no-holds barred campaign of  Barisan Nasional.

Perhaps because the national spotlight was on this single election and the result in Kajang did not threaten BN's majority in Parliament, there have been fewer reports of dirty tricks attempted by the BN to ensure a victory for its candidate, Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.

Beware of more dirty tricks ahead

Today, the BN coalition is in power despite receiving only 47% of votes cast in the 2013 elections.
During the next elections, we can expect that percentage to drop further. From what I witnessed in Kajang, the majority of Malaysians – Malays and non-Malays, Sabah and Sarawak and the peninsula – want political change and have the stamina to outlast BN.

 But at the same time, we must be fully prepared for even more unfair, unprincipled and unethical elections the next time.

Conviction of Anwar and Karpal

In fact the conviction of Anwar on the second sodomy charge and Karpal Singh for sedition can be seen as the opening shots by BN for the next GE.

The two charges are nothing else but pure political persecution aimed at removing two of the most charismatic and potent opposition leaders and sowing dissention in the ranks of PKR and DAP.

Much has been written by the international media on these two trumped-up charges which have led the United States State Department to issue a press statement expressing concern in the following way:
“The decision to prosecute Mr Anwar and his trial have raised a number of concerns regarding the rule of law and the independence of the courts. In this high-profile case, it is critical for Malaysia to apply the rule of law fairly, transparently, and apolitically in order to promote confidence in Malaysia’s democracy and judiciary.”

BN government's miscalculation

Anwar's conviction was arrived at with unprecedented and indecent speed by the Appeal Court – hence triggering Kak Azizah's nomination. If the government thinks that this will finish off Anwar and PKR politically, it has miscalculated.

During the Kajang campaign, ordinary people I spoke to were incensed that the government would stoop so low to using our courts to kill off the two highly regarded and veteran politicians.

The subsequent PKR victory showed the extent of the voting public's anger with this dirty trick.

In the months and years ahead, I am sure that Anwar's sodomy 2.0 conviction will prove to be a rallying point for Malaysians outraged with the way in which the courts are being treated as political courts to score points by the BN government against the opposition.

BN may appear to have won the victory, they will find out that they will lose the war. – March 28, 2014.

* Koon Yew Yin reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

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