Kajang By Election and Recent Court Case Decisions: First Shots in Bringing About Political Change
Recently I was honoured to be asked to speak at a political rally organized by the Pakatan Rakyat in support of the PKR candidate, Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who was contesting the Kajang by-election. In my address to the crowd which I kept short, since I was sharing time with Kak Azizah, Saudara Anwar and other PR politicial leaders, I chose not to speak on the political issues which should influence the way that the Kajang electorate should vote. Instead, I focused on my personal experience with the MCA and explained why a vote for the MCA candidate was an exercise in futility.
Political Change in the Air
That night was a memorable one for me. Firstly, it was the first time that I have ever made a speech from the roof of a truck. Secondly I did not expect the crowd of enthusistic supporters cheering the speakers to run into the many thousands gathered there. To be honest, when I made the trip from Ipoh to Kajang, I had expected election fatigue with the by election coming so soon after the 2013 national elections. Instead I saw sheer energy and commitment – from the top political guns to the volunteer party workers and all the way to the people gathered patiently in the padang. Most important, I felt a tremendous sense of camadarie among the multi-racial crowd. I had beeen afraid of the sense of racial unity and solidarity in the opposition, given UMNO’s latest attempts to play the divide and rule game in Selangor focusing on the Allah issue. I was also concerned that the PKR’s and PR’s credentials as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious party and coalition may have been eroded by the propaganda BN war. I can honestly say that what I saw took me by surprise – the multi-racial support for PR and PKR is not only strong but growing!
I left the rally that night fully convinced that if Kajang was an example of the political sentiment in the country, we will definitely have a change of government during the next elections.
As it turned out. Kak Azizah won the by election with a handsome majority despite her campaign being heavily outgunned by the big spending and no-holds barred campaign of the BN. Perhaps because the national spotlight was on this single election and the result in Kajang did not threaten BN’s majority in Parliament, there have been few reports of dirty tricks attempted by the BN to ensure a victory for its candidiate, Chew Mei Fun.
Beware of More Dirty Tricks Ahead
Today, the BN coalition is in power despite receiving only 47% of total votes cast in the 2013. elections. During the next elections, we can expected that percentage to fall down even further. I am confident from what I witnessed in Kajang that the majority of Malaysians – Malays and Non-Malays; East and Semenanjung Malaysians – want political change and have the stamina to outlast the BN. But at the same time, we must be fully prepared for an even more unfair, unprincipled and unethical election the next time round.
The Conviction of Anwar and Karpal
In fact the conviction of Anwar on the second sodomy charge and Karpal on the sedition charge can be seen as the opening shots by the BN for the next national GE. The two charges are nothing else but pure political persecution aimed at removing two of the most charismatic and potent opposition leaders and sowing dissention in the ranks of the PKR and DAP. Much has been written by the international media on these two trumped up charges which have led the United States Department of State to issue a press statement expressing concern in the following way
United States Department of State’s concerns
“The decision to prosecute Mr. Anwar and his trial have raised a number of concerns regarding the rule of law and the independence of the courts. In this high-profile case, it is critical for Malaysia to apply the rule of law fairly, transparently, and apolitically in order to promote confidence in Malaysia’s democracy and judiciary.”
BN Government’s Miscalculation
Anwar’s conviction was arrived at with unprecedented and indecent speed by the appeal court judges; hence triggering Kak Azizah’s nomination. If the Government thinks that this will finish off Anwar and PKR politically, it has miscalculated.
During the Kajang election campaign, ordinary people I spoke to were incensed that the Government would stoop so low to using our courst of law to kill off the two highly regarded and veteran politicians. The subsequent PKR victory showed the extent of the voting public’s anger with this dirty trick.
In the months and years ahead, I am sure that Anwar’s sodomy 2.0 conviction will prove to be a rallying point for Malaysians outraged with the way in which the courts of law are being treated as political courts to score points by the BN government against the opposition. BN may appear to have won the court victory; they will find out that they will lose the war.