Friday, March 07, 2008

Make your vote count!

Remember this picture?

The reason I am saying NO to BN is simple: checks and balance. My conscience will not let me do otherwise. No agency or institution on earth deserves unmitigated authority and complete power to rule. Common sense and a cursory survey of history is enough to tell you why: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as Lord Acton said. Malaysia has witnessed the effects of a virtual one-party rule for far too long and we the rakyat is to be blamed.

BN's 50 years of rule is increasingly authoritarian in character - if not entirely in law - and its arrogance has led it to ride roughshod over everyone else. There are too many things wrong with the country and too much of denial by the present government; almost nothing has been done to address widespread corruption, racial schisms, judicial misdeeds, and above all, the virtual hijacking of the national constitution evident in the declaration of Malaysia as an Islamic state.

How else can you defend the razing of temples and churches, the burning of Bibles, the confiscation of Al-Kitab and Christian publications, the banning of the use of 'Allah' ? What would God have the church to do in the face of such relentless drive to marginalise other races and cultures in a plural society that is uniquely Malaysia?

Why must a people born and raised in Malaysia constantly have to endure threats by UMNO parliamentarians who unashamedly unsheathe krises, threaten bloodbath, and dare non-Malays to ‘get out’ every time their arrogance is challenged?

After having tasted the debilitating dominance of BN for 50 yrs ('material' progress notwithstanding) it is simply naive to imagine that the road ahead will be better. It is not going to be better, because every indication points to a deliberate hijack of the country's secular constitution by BN to advance UMNO's notion of an Islamic state and the vested interests of party zealots. Whatever one may say about demographics ("non-Malays already outnumbered"), it is irresponsible to uphold a supposed 'coalition' that does not even stand up boldly to such an outright conspiracy. All this makes the coalition a sham - MCA, MIC completely toothlessly subordinate to UMNO’s oppressive racial policies.

How long must the wool be pulled over our eyes, or do we have eyes that do not see?

In a day and age when ethnocentric governments are shunned as outdated, discriminatory and unequivocally racist, it cannot be right to say we have to 'accept' it.

What basis do Christians have for accepting and promoting a racist government?

When do we begin to take into consideration the greater interest of a Malaysian Malaysia? Or are we to admit as our politicians would want that there is no such thing as ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ – and this by elected parliamentarians whose job is to advance a united nation?

How do you tell your children that the government does not consider them worthy to be numbered as Malaysians because of the colour of their skin? Do we tell them to ‘accept’ it? If I may say, it would be analogous to admitting that because sin in all its expression is inherent in human nature, we too have to 'accept' it, instead of resisting it or even better, to overcome its hold on us.

No, we accept a racially fractured society reluctantly in the meantime, but we are beholden to work towards dismantling its shameful grip on society. We may all disagree on how to work towards it, but we certainly have to unite against it.

There is a tendency to say that BN is the only party that is able to deliver and that all its present failures are merely glitches, or small flaws in an otherwise benevolent government. The truth is these are not just flaws; they are structural evils that have been perpetuated because good people have decided not to do anything, believing naively that the system we have knows how to correct itself. But how, when we have surrendered the basic system of checks and balance in the first place?

So I say NO to BN to stop the bullying tactics of a ruling party that has lost sight of its obligations to society. Not for anything, but to reclaim the ideals that any good healthy society is built on.

If we are to practise Micah 6:8, 'doing' justice would require us to do all we can to prevent injustice from multiplying and prevailing. Our vote is the least we can do to love our neighbour, display solidarity with all people, and seek their well-being in the land we call our own.

There is a need to vote against BN to rein in their dominance in Malaysian politics and to ensure that checks and balance are maintained for the sake of transparency and good governance. Remember that in 2010, Malaysia will hold another delineation exercise. A vote against BN is a vote against more gerrymandering and the redrawing of electoral boundaries to favour the ruling powers.

Let me say it again: Say NO to BN to protect the plural and secular character of Malaysia, so that racism is resisted, other voices are heard, corruption is checked, and the good of all is assured.

I'm saying YES to Barisan Rakyat, because it would be unconscionable not to vote against BN.

Say NO to BN!

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