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20 years on – Malaysians still blinking like Magoo

In Blogging, Mainstream Media, Malaysia on September 12, 2008 at 5:48 pm

I know I said I’m going quiet.

But this is where we are today – 20 years after the dismissal of our Lord President Tun Salleh Abbas and 2 other Supreme Court judges (Tan Sri Wan Suleiman and Datuk George Seah).

A report was released 2 weeks ago, ‘Review of the 1998 Judicial Crisis in Malaysia (26 July 2008)‘ and 20 years on, Malaysians are still like blinking Magoo, the famously nearsighted character who always admonished himself, “Oh Magoo, you’ve done it again!”. Sound familiar?

Oh Malaysia, you’ve done it again Raja Petra of Malaysia Today was detained today under ISA (Malaysiakini).

There are many who see the event in 1988 as a political cause celebre – the famous Karpal Singh asking Mahathir to apologise, a blogger believing Mahathir has every right to condemn the report, and Malaysia’s Bar Council members posing for photos and getting authographs on the report.

Is that it? Politicians writing letters, Bar Council Presidents (current and former) taking photographs and others issuing statements? Let’s not pass the buck so much anymore, and raise the bar a little this time – let’s understand what happened in 1988 and repercussions it has on Malaysia today, 20 years later.

We expect our media to write strongly against our government whenever they use ISA but the media is called the fourth estate for a reason – there are 3 other institutions more important, more fundamental than our media and we need them to exist for society to function.

Without all 3 functioning – just functioning reasonably, not even perfectly – we cannot make it as a community of Malaysians because, without our independent judiciary, we will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, be subjected to arbitrary authority. Its not Raja Petra’s Malaysia Today that got him into trouble. Its our government’s unchecked power that allows them to decide who can be detained under ISA.

Malaysians, particularly bloggers, civil society activists and our Bar Council, you can protest all you want – but the system is broken. It’s like asking the Coast Guard to do their job and save your ship when both parties (Coast Guard and ship Captain) cannot navigate. We can own the ship, like we own Malaysia (it’s yours to decide what’s next) – but we will lose the ship and our country because we cannot navigate.

Our judiciary – learned individuals with honourable intentions – can help us navigate the issues of our complex society. Therefore, we need an independent judiciary to balance out the Legislature (parliament) and Executive (government).

4th estates, 5th estates, 6th estates … are absolutely irrelevant if you do not have honourable judges. What can protest letters and civil demands by NGOs do?

The Bar Council of Malaysia should know better.

Lastly, I did not use DEMOCRATIC society in this post because that’s a loaded term used wrongly, frequently, and often, self-righteously by many in Malaysia. But I bet you’ll get 1000 blogs in the next few days about MT & ISA screaming about our democratic society. I’ll discuss democracy in a later post but here’s a short statement.

≈≈≈

A Preview on Democary:

  • Hitler was not a dictator, he was elected democratically.
  • Socrates was not punished to die under some arbitrary lawmaker, it was the Senate and it was done under the banner of democracy.

(I’m so frustrated I cannot even be bothered to link the 2 points I just made above – go check up Stanford Encyclopedia, Wikipedia, etc)

The point is clear – understand clearly what democracy is.

Many honourable generals have served (Manstein) and died (Rommel) believing the democratically elected Hitler. Many more Malaysians, well-meaning Malaysians, will suffer the same fate because they did not understand the concepts and arguments about governing societies under a democratically elected government.

≈≈≈

Malaysians, STOP being a blinking Magoo. Don’t be so damn nearsighted. Think 20 years down the road. Think clearer. Think further. THINK!

If you want to start thinking, and understand how Raja Petra can be detained under ISA today, 20 years after 1988 – you can start by first reading the report. It’s spine-chilling.

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  2. […] of ISA . They also released a report recently – see my earlier post, “Malaysians still blinking like Magoo“. I can fill this post with 1000 ‘things’ – a statement / report / discussion by […]

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