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Must Read: Why Shouldn't The BN Gov. Be Toppled?
By Kim Quek

8/3/2001 7:39 pm Thu

[Satu tulisan MESTI BACA dan MESTI SEBAR oleh Kim Quek. Tidak salah untuk menjatuhkan kerajaan selagi cara yang digunakan mengikut perlembagaan. Tetapi adalah salah untuk polis bertindak ganas dan menangkap muat tanpa melakukan siasatan atau memberkas berdasarkan kabar yang agak kesamaran. Begitu juga sekadar menyatakan hasrat untuk menggulingkan kerajaan bukan kesalahan kerana demokrasi ialah menaik dan menurunkan kerajaan. Apa yang dilakukan Ezam bukan untuk menimbulkan huru-hara tetapi mendedahkan mereka yang mempurak-purandakan ekonomi dan sistem negara. Itu bukan satu ancaman kepada keselamatan negara - sebaliknya ia satu tuntutan dan kewajipan sebagai rakyat yang sayangkan negara untuk menyelamatkan kekayaan dan keadilan yang telah ternoda.

Rencana ini amat baik dan mungkin akan diterjemahkan... - Editor]



The arrest of Keadilan Youth Leader Ezam brings forth a rather ridiculous and ironic scenario. A corrupt regime that has long avoided being toppled by resorting to suppression of democracy should now be using a breach of democracy as pretext to arrest an opposition leader whose avowed platform is to topple the country's leader through democratic means. Sounds complicated? Not so.

Ezam has just launched a nationwide campaign of 'Movement to Save the People's Money", after the Nation was stunned and flabbergasted by a series of multi-billion ringgit government bail out of political cronies at exorbitant prices without proper basis (latest cases being Tajuddin Ramli of MAS and Halim Saad for the Light Rail Transit). As the local mass media is either too muzzled or manipulated by the ruling party to bare the truth, the Youth Movements of the Alternative Front have decided to do a weekly road show from one State to another to alert the Nation to the full impact of these continued atrocious raids on the people's coffers.

To counter this campaign, Mingguan Malaysia, a newspaper acting undisguised as the ruling party's propaganda machine and agitator, promptly pounced upon an occasion to interview Ezam to allege him (on Sunday 4th) of having 'admitted to planning to launch wide-scale demonstration to topple the Government chosen by the people'.

Acting in cohort with Mingguan Malaysia, the police quickly arrested Ezam in the next evening (Monday 5th), in spite of Ezam's instant denial of having made the alleged statement in the same newspaper the following day, Monday 5th.

In arresting Ezam, the police have erred gravely on multiple score.

First, it is not an offence of the law for wanting to topple a government, if the means of doing so are constitutional. In this respect, all the component parties of the Alternative Front have vowed to use only constitutional means to carry out their political struggles. They have never done anything unconstitutional. Nor is there any indication that they will resort to any unconstitutional manouvre.

Second, giving public speeches and attending public meetings is a constitutional right of every citizen, be these political in nature or otherwise. In fact, it is the police that have breached the Constitution in their present partisan role in repeatedly disallowing Opposition rallies without proper reasons, while unreservedly allowing all ruling party rallies, including those with obvious intention to incite racial animosities.

Third, it is wrong police procedure to arrest some one without proper investigations, when the alleged offence is over a statement, the authenticity of which is under dispute. The correct procedure is not to arrest the alleged offender, but to interrogate both parties concerned.

Fourth, mere utterances of intention to breach a law do not constitute a breach of the law. It is through actually carrying out the offensive act that the law is breached. Hence, even if what Ezam intends to do is illegal (though it is not), the police have no justification to arrest him for merely expressing a wish. Police can only warn him from carrying out the act.

Against this blatant abuse of power by the police, what does the Minister in charge of police, the Home Affairs Minister Badawi (also Deputy Prime Minister) has to say?

Badawi defended the police action by claiming Ezam to be a 'threat to national security' for having made a newspaper statement of 'toppling the Government through demonstrations'.

Firstly, it is shockingly irresponsible and unfair of Badawi to condemn Ezam over a statement that the latter has publicly denied. Badawi owes Izam and the Nation an apology unless he can prove Ezam has lied.

Secondly, who is a real threat to national security - Ezam who proposes to expose, through a series of public rallies, massive corruption and high level abuse of power exemplified in the latest Government payout of 1,800 million Ringgit to Tajuddin to buy his MAS shares at more than double the market price without any proper valuation, OR the police who, upon receiving such police report of high level abuse of power from Ezam, instead of acting against the culprits, have arrested Ezam on an untenable offence, using an indefensible procedure?

Have the police been reduced to mere henchmen of the ruling party to torment and persecute the reformers who are committed to save this Country from the corrupt rulers through constitutional means?

Mahathir and Badawi often condemn street demonstrations as the cause for driving investors from Malaysia's shore. Nothing is further from the truth. The barren state of new investment that Malaysia has found itself in today is caused entirely by Barisan Nasional's misrule. The Prime Minister himself has powerfully projected to the world that Malaysia is totally unrepentant from the ravages of the recent Financial Crisis. Instead of recognizing our own structural weaknesses and instituting remedial political and economic reforms, Mahathir has indulged in an orgy of anti-West vendetta. The worst was yet to come in the merciless and unjust persecution of Anwar Ibrahim, when Malaysia's last pretenses as a democracy were destroyed. None of our democratic institutions is spared of subversion by the Executive, and the world now recognizes Malaysia as a land without the rule of law of law, where police and the judiciary are instruments to persecute political reformers, and where increasing corruption and abuse of power are blatantly and unashamedly committed with impunity. Against this backdrop, occasional street demonstrations by peaceful reformers only illuminate, not darken, the Malaysian scene, signaling to the world that hopes of democratic reforms in this Country are still alive. And dedicated and selfless reform leaders exemplified by Ezam should be honoured for their courage and sacrifice, not imprisoned and punished as 'threat to national security' as alleged by Badawi.

People who love this Country are entitled to ask: why shouldn't we have the right to get rid of this corrupt leadership, and as soon as possible? Why can't we campaign peacefully in the only means available to us which is public rallies, since the mass media is blocked, parliament is blocked, police and the judiciary are against us? Does Barisan Nasional expect us to keep silent and do nothing while it plunders the Nation's wealth and leads the Nation down the drain, helpless and hopeless in a world fast transforming by globalisation and IT breakthroughs? With so much damage done, and with so much time lost in steering this Country to the right course to meet the current challenges, not a day is to be lost in changing our leadership.

Some reformers have set a target to oust Mahathir this year. And Mahthir calls his critics traitors who are out to destabalise the Country and to topple the 'democratically elected' Government before its term ends and for this 'breach of democracy' they deserve to be punished. In doing so, Mahathire has equated himself with Malaysia.

What's wrong with asking a prime minister to quit if he happens to be a liability to the country? What is so unconstitutional about building up enough public opinion through peaceful means to the point that the prime minister feels obliged to step down? If campaigning for a discredited leader to step down is a crime, then the politicians in Japan presently asking the unpopular Japanese Prime Minister Mori to step down should all be prosecuted. Similarly, current Philippine President Aroyo and her colleagues should also have been charged for treason for asking former President Estrada to resign. Ditto present Indonesian political leaders asking for President Wahid's resignation. And ditto the people of Peru who have just ousted their 'democratically elected' President.

Two decades of autocratic rule has blinded Mahthir to the distinction between himself and the Country, and criticism of his misdeeds is construed as act of treason against the Country. When a leader has reached this state of the mind, it is the clearest signal that the man is unfit to rule and must leave at once before further damage is done.

In a corrupt autocracy like Malaysia, public rallies offer the last hope of change. Unless the people give their strong backing to these peaceful and constitutional means of political support to reforms, the days of a brighter Malaysia will continue to elude us. It is hoped that the people will see through the Government's false propaganda which paint the reformasi gatherings as disruptors to peace and economic development, and roundly condemn the unjust and illegal persecution of reformers such as the recent arrest of Ezam and others. Let these new arrests be an impetus to lift the reformasi movement to a new level.

-Kim Quek-