|Laman Webantu KM2A1: 4724 File Size: 9.2 Kb *|
ATimes: 1,001 Malaysian Nights ...
By Anil Netto
14/6/2001 11:53 am Thu
[Mahathir tersilap besar mengaibkan Anwar sehingga orang melayu
sudah semakin meninggalkan Umno. Dia tersilap juga kerana menggunakan
ISA yang telah mencetus kebangkitan kaum hawa. Kini dia tersilap besar
lagi kerana mengusik Nanyang yang telah mencetus kebangkitan masyarakat
Cina sehingga MCA sendiri sudah meretak sehingga sukar bertakup semula.
Dalam waktu yang singkat sahaja satu kumpulan pendesak kebebasan akhbar
Cina telah ditubuhkan dan selang beberapa minggu kemudian tiga laman siber
telah muncul untuk memerangi pengambil-alihan Nanyang.
Perhatikan kebangkitan masyarakat Cina menyanggah Nanyang yang akan
seiring jalan dengan perjuangan reformasi kerana ada banyak persamaan
tujuan. Jika majoriti masyarakat Cina beralih selera - alamat tamatlah
riwayat Mahathir dan BNnya kerana undi mereka itulah yang memenangkan BN
dulunya. Pengundi hantu nampaknya sudah sukar menjelma kerana Hakim
Muhammad Kamil sudah menggegarkannya. Lagipun perbicaraan pengundi hantu
Lunas di Kulim nanti bakal memeranjatkan lagi.
Mampukah Mahathir menghadapi gelombang kebangkitan hakim yang berani,
tindakbalas cendiakawan Cina yang cepat sekali, dan orang melayu serta
Islam yang sudah terlalu sakit hati. Itu belum dikira lagi sentimen para
peniaga yang sakit di BSKL dan pengekspot yang terpaksa membuang pekerja
dan menutup kilang kerana kerugian. Juga belum dicampur dengan peladang
kelapa sawit yang merana dan pekerja kilang yang terbuang serta penganggur
dari sektor perbankan. Bukankah mereka itu semua dulunya yang membuat BN
1,001 Malaysian Nights ...
By Anil Netto
PENANG - On the evening of September 20, 1998, as
Malaysia's former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim sat
talking to a throng of reporters in his residence,
police with balaclavas and submachine guns smashed
into his home and hauled him away, in the process,
changing the course of Malaysian politics forever.
It will be 1,000 days on June 16 since the momentous
day in 1998 when Anwar led tens of thousands of
Malaysians into the center of the capital to
thunderous cries of reformasi (reforms) and Mahathir
undur (Mahathir resign).
On the surface, little has changed since that dramatic
day, which ended with Anwar's arrest. Now suffering
from a slipped disc and cervical spondylosis, he is in
prison, serving terms totaling 15 years. His
one-time-mentor turned arch-foe, Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad, 75, is into his 20th year in power
and shows little sign of clearing his desk.
But scratch the surface and the undercurrents are
revealed - in politics, in the media, in civil
society, even in the judiciary. And figuring
prominently in this state of flux is the man once
regarded as Mahathir's heir apparent, despite more
than 32 months of incarceration, largely hidden from
the public eye.
Increasingly, Mahathir's vision of reaching developed
nation status by 2020, which once captivated much of
the national imagination, looks jaded. The economy
grew by only 3.2 percent in the first quarter of this
year - a far cry from the 8.3 percent posted last
year. Apart from the US economic slowdown, which has
been blamed for the slower growth, there is a sense
that political confidence has dipped. Today, few talk
about Mahathir's "Vision 2020".
On June 1, Mahathir's key ally, the powerful Daim
Zainuddin, resigned from his post of finance minister
- ahead of the annual assembly of Mahathir's United
Malays National Organization (Umno) on June 21. Daim's
tenure was unpopular in some circles and was plagued
by scathing criticism over several controversial deals
that were widely perceived as bail-outs favoring
well-connected firms and individuals. Analysts say his
departure may help to deflect any potential criticism
that may surface during the Umno assembly.
As growth prospects dim, Mahathir has tried to
entrench his hold on power with the detention of 10
reformasi activists in April under the harsh Internal
Security Act. Four have since been released.
Worried by the dissent sowed in cyberspace, the
authorities are also said to be drafting laws that
would cover material that appears over the Internet.
Since Anwar's ouster, the Internet has played a key
role in keeping alive the reformasi movement though
they have had to put up with unexpected hazards. In
recent days, for instance, Laman Reformasi, the
standard-bearer of the reformasi websites, was hacked
for a second time, this time with a pro-Mahathir and
Independent cybernewspaper Malaysiakini, meanwhile,
continues to draw a huge following. Print media
freedom, however, looks less encouraging with two
relatively independent Chinese newspapers taken over
by the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), the second
largest party in the ruling coalition. But within
days, an Independent Writers Alliance, comprising many
of the 90 contributors who quit contributing to the
two newspapers, has been formed. And within two weeks
of the takeover, three independent Chinese language
news websites have sprung up.
The takeover of the Chinese newspapers has split the
MCA as dissident factions try to force an
extraordinary general meeting to block the takeover.
The MCA played a key role in delivering the majority
of the Chinese votes to the ruling coalition in the
last general election. If the Chinese community, which
accounts for 25 percent of the population is divided,
it could spell trouble for Mahathir's ruling
coalition, especially with Malay support for Umno
already eroded following Anwar's ouster.
Indeed, in the 1999 general election, opposition
parties, especially PAS (the Islamic Party) and
Keadlilan (the National Justice Party) led by Anwar's
wife Wan Azizah, made sharp inroads into Umno's
traditional ethnic Malay support base. A fledgling
united opposition front is set to pose a major threat
to the ruling coalition in the next general election
due by 2004.
Sparking the Malay disquiet was the black eye -
literally - given to Anwar while he was in custody, as
well as distaste over repressive laws. The police
chief responsible for the assault on Anwar, Rahim
Noor, was forced to quit and was recently jailed for
two months. However, he received the customary
one-third remission of his sentence for good behavior
and was quietly released from jail last Saturday.
The anti-ISA and anti-media takeover movements, for
example, reflect the new activism in civil society in
the reformasi era. Although large sections of society
remain apathetic, the intertwining of Malay and
Chinese grievances could put the Mahathir
administration under renewed pressure.
As if that were not enough, the judiciary appears to
be breaking out of the mold it was cast in after the
sacking in 1988 of the country's then top judge,
Salleh Abas, ahead of a politically sensitive case
involving Umno. Salleh's sacking and the subsequent
suspension of five Supreme Court judges who tried to
come to his aid left the judiciary in disarray and
mired in controversy, which it never really shook off
in the years to come.
But in recent weeks, judges have raised eyebrows with
some surprisingly bold decisions. The latest came last
Friday, when a judge in Sabah state ruled that an
election for the Likas seat, which was won by the
ruling coalition, was null and void as the electoral
roll used included non-Malaysians and phantom voters.
It was a decision that struck at the very heart of the
electoral process in Malaysia. But the real bombshell
came when the judge, Muhammad Kamil Awang, mentioned
that he had received a directive to strike off the
election petitions without a hearing - a revelation
that shook the legal fraternity and sparked a storm of
controversy. He later revealed that the person who had
phoned him in mid-1999 to instruct him to strike off
the petitions was his superior in the judiciary at
With individual judges staging something of a revival,
there is an air of expectancy over the land, although
few dare to hope that radical changes are in sight.
Indeed, Mahathir's continues to wield power from
Putrajaya, the administrative capital, but the country
he has ruled for over two decades has changed
It is increasingly more difficult to put a lid on
public discontent. Perhaps that is in no small way due
to the defiant prisoner in Sungai Buloh whose
influence continues to shape the political landscape
as it has done for the last 1,000 days.