Friday, July 01, 2011

Let the people march

I like what Steve Oh wrote in Malaysiakini:

The July 9 Bersih march is an event worthy of support.

It is a march of the people, for the people and by the people.

Everyone who believes in the integrity of the democracy in the country should take part in such an event because it strikes at the heart of their nation and its integrity.

What is there to fear from an event that seeks to uphold the integrity of the electoral process?

It is not a political ceramah. It is not a political event.

It is a civic happening for the benefit of the nation.

What bad can come from it except from those who are bent on causing trouble, those who have much to fear and lose from seeing open, fair and trustworthy elections?

The police, among the best in the world, for controlling large crowds, should be able to control a peaceful march and take it in their stride.

In fact, the police are also voters and citizens and should have a stake in the integrity of their nation's electoral process.

Malaysia is fortunate to have citizens who will get out of their comfort zone to participate in the process of ensuring their country has an electoral system that will be second to none anywhere else in the world.

In fact rather than putting a wet blanket over the march, the government should be encouraging it as strong proof that it appreciates the rakyat's contribution to the country's public life and in trying to make the country better and it has nothing to fear from an improved electoral process.

Every political party should be sending representatives and ensuring that open, fair and trustworthy elections are guaranteed.
No electoral system is foolproof or without flaws and every attempt at ensuring there are improvements should be welcomed not opposed.

What has anyone to fear from the people asking that the voting process is open, fair and trustworthy?

It does strike every integrity-loving citizen and even any outside observer as odd that anyone who believes in a 'clean, efficient and trustworthy' administration should be opposing the people's contribution in enhancing it.

Why are those people opposing what is fundamentally good, and what will be good for the people and the country?

The stark incongruity in what is promoted and what is practised does create a problem of credibility for the government which may not want to open itself to the criticisms of hypocrisy, or worse, duplicity, if it is seen as afraid of calls for fair elections.

But it has much to gain in walking alongside the people on July 9.

Ultimately the electoral commission still has to ensure the system meets high standards of integrity because a march itself does not achieve that and no government can claim to have a mandate when gerrymandering and other voting irregularities exist to make a mockery of democracy.

No one who upholds the highest standards of public accountability, transparency and integrity ought to fear such an event except those who may have something to hide or will fear that if elections are open, fair and trustworthy, they may have to suffer the consequences.

It is pointless to paint the event as anything but the passion of the rakyat to elevate their country to a higher level of public accountability and integrity of the system that decides who gets the mandate to govern.

This is year 2010 not 1969.

There is no way and nowhere to hide the truth without it surfacing in the most uncanny manner sooner or later.
Many Malaysians are already marching in their hearts behind the integrity that is necessary for their survival. Nothing will not stop them from believing that open, fair, and trustworthy elections are in their and their country's national interest.

Malaysians march on their national day, they march in religious processions, there are long processions during the funerals of the famous and wealthy, and every day there are hundreds of marches and processions occuring throughout the world involving millions of people without any untoward incident.

A peaceful procession is a legitimate form of expression, a freedom and lawful activity guaranteed by the Constitution and we have seen the most vociferous crowds hold opposing rallies in countries
where the rule of law is properly upheld, the people's freedoms upheld and the police do their job of upholding law and order without fear or favour.

Let the people march and let them do good for their country - it is their country.

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