Monday, May 08, 2006

Sharir's resignation - the larger question

As I said earlier, I always admire Sharir's outspokenness and courage to share common platforms occasionally with the Opposition on some critical issues even as a member of ruling coalition. I also did my fair share to ensure his overwheming victory in the 1988 Johor Baru by-election.

Personally, I have no regret for sleeping on the kaki lima outside a 'massage parlour' in Taman Pelangi even though he later joined the party he had fought so bitterly with the assistance and sacrifices of thousands of PAS, DAP and PRM leaders, members and supporters.

Indeed, after joining Umno Baru, Sharir did continue to voice up without fear or favour occasionally some issues that were, and still are, of concern to the people and the Opposition. So, my respect and admiration for him also continue. However, personal respect and admiration aside, I think we have also to ask and answer a larger question now in the light of his second resignation as the Chairman of the National Front's Backbencers Club.

This question is: is the ruling coalition or any components of it reformable through individual outspokenness and moral courage like those displayed by Sharir?

This is, of course, not a new or very brainy question but it is certainly a critical one that should be thought about seriously not only by Sharir himself but also all fellow Malaysians because many other Umno, Umno Baru, MCA, Gerakan and other ruling politicians also claim that, while they do not like the system like many ordinary rakyat, they have opted to join it and operate within it with the noble or even sacred objective of "reforming it from within".

One such group of politicians are Gerakan's Dr. Koh Tsu Khoon and his very learned and intelligent friends like lawyer Kerk Choo Ting. Another one was ex-DPM Anwar Ibrahim. What have happened since 1982 when Dr. Koh Tsu Khoon and Anwar Ibrahim first joined the ruling coalition?

All the oppressive laws like the Internal Security Act, Printing Presses and Publications Act, Sedition Act, Universities and University Colleges Act and Official Secret Act are still around. Some of these laws were used by ex-PM Dr. Mahathir Mohamad against Anwar Ibrahim, and now Dr. Mahathir himself complains about the lack of press independence and freedom while Anwar Ibrahim still suffers from mainstream media's blackout.

Of course, a segment of the working class is still demanding for legislation of minimum wage as many of our forefathers and foremothers did in the Straits Settlements (SS), Federated Malay States (FMS) and Unfederated Malay States (UMS) because there are still Malaysians earning only RM400-600 a month.

There has also always been not unreasonable or unintelligent argument that a few even well-meaning and even personally amicable good men (or women) joining or working for a bad system as "inside-the-system reformists" only serve to perpertuate the bad system because they give wrong impression and false hope to the people who only look at or merely feel things from a distance or through a controlled and manipulated mainstream media. They could be used for only window-dressing.

There are also reformists who have finally been 'reformed' by the system they once hoped to reform and some of them become as rotten as, if not more than, the original inside-the-system hardcore they first wanted to reform. Ultimately rejected by the original hardcore, they also find no more friends among the consistent reformists who feel betrayed.

It is certainly time to line up or group together the dots to see a picture as Anwar has done after the 6-year life-threatening trials and tribulations which have dialectically renewed his credential as a committed reformist.

Vox Populi: Kudos to Shahrir!

Hadi says Shahrir acted on principle

Shahrir puts Backbenchers to shame

Press freedom: 'Pak Lah, learn from Dr M'

Mistaking Sarong Pelakat For Samping Sutra

PKR pushes ministry for permit

Umno... never again, says Anwar

Where to, Malaysia?

Sothinathan suspended as deputy minister

Lim, Kerk agree to end open attacks

No ‘kampung heroes’ please, says Jui Meng

Gerakan’s dilemma: Split between ideals and realities

Gerakan at the crossroads

Does MCA politics really matter?

Democracy is good


Blogger The Malaysian. said...

To your very pertinent question I don't think that individual moral courage will make an iota of difference. My belief is further strengthened by the PM's statement that the BN principle of not supporting opposition motions remains. If at all after this episode the BN stance will harden.

5:33 PM  
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