Only the uncaring will not care | Selangor Times
Issue 118


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Only the uncaring will not care
Writer: Azmi Sharom
Published: Fri, 04 May 2012

If the government is not quaking in their boots after last weekend, then they must be in total denial.

Conservative estimates put the number of people at the Bersih gathering in the 80,000 to 100,000 region. That is at least twice as big as Bersih 1.0 in 2007.

Commentators, including myself, were doubtful that any significant number would turn up at Bersih 3.0.

Rally fatigue we said. To be proven wrong and in such a huge way, is humbling.

The people of this country are fed up and they are willing to let their feet do the talking.

I refuse to take part in speculation that there were those in the rally planted there to cause trouble until much more evidence is shown. But what is clear is that even though there was trouble, the fact that only a handful of policemen were hurt only goes to show that the vast majority of people at the gathering were there with peaceful intentions.

No matter how much the government may spin the issue, the facts speak for themselves.

The chaos would have been indescribable if 80,000 people set out with the express intention to create havoc. This was clearly not the case.

What we have are Malaysians from all walks of life, from differing ethnic backgrounds and from different social strata, getting together demanding that their right to choose their leaders not be undermined by corrupt and unjust laws.

Which makes the recent changes in election laws, taking away the right for candidates to have their own observers at polling stations and at the vote counting to ensure that all is above board, an ironic recipe for disaster.

It is ironic because any government which harps on about how fair it is, can’t possibly be expected to be believed if they make such a law which is the complete antithesis to fairness and transparency.

It is a recipe for disaster because if there is any doubt at all that the next elections are not clean and fair, the people of Malaysia have shown that they have the courage and the fortitude to demand what is right.

What concerns me at this time is that the government not only doesn’t care about making sure our electoral system is fair, they also don’t seem to care about the consequences if that same system remains unfixed.

I have said many times in the past that a clean electoral system is a diffuser of political chaos.

When people feel that a party has won or lost fair and square, there is no need to take to the streets. There is after all the next time an election is called and you can make changes then.

It is only in the face of a brutal and unfair system that anger spills over.

It happened in the Philippines, in Indonesia, in Egypt and many other places where people felt they either had no voice or their voice had been disregarded by a flawed and corrupt election.

A government that truly respects democracy understands this.

They will be willing to lose an election in the hope and expectation that they will be able to fight another day and win back the power they lost if they have the right ideas. They will also understand that a lasting peace depends on a sound democracy.

Only a government that is totally obtuse and totally uncaring about anything else except their own precarious clutch on power will fail to realise the importance of a fair electoral system.

It is now up to the Najib administration, over the next few weeks and months, to show what kind of government it is.


 Selangor Times



Also by Azmi Sharom:

Ethics, morals needed more than ever

SOMETIMES reading the news makes one rush to the bathroom for a long hot shower. 


We live in warped logic

DON’T get it. I just don’t get it.

Greater professionalism in police

Peaceful is as peaceful does

1AI was sitting in Merdeka Stadium on Saturday with a couple of friends, watching the venerable old lady of independence fill up with people, I playfully wondered if  photographers from the mainstream media had been there earlier to take a photo of an empty stadium to be used as “evidence” that no one turned up.

Rotating parties for better governance

IN my last article I wrote about the importance of changing the system of local government that we have. By that I meant we should reintroduce local government elections as well as overhaul the Local Government Act in order to ensure a more transparent and accountable local authority.

Importance of local government elections

THE Batu Caves condominium project has raised some interesting talking points. The most obvious of these, the one taken up by the many comments I have read on the internet, is the sheer bald faced cheek of the BN government.

Can bully boy tactics win?

Oh what a glorious night! Twenty-three years of humiliation, with nothing but self-deprecating humour to comfort oneself, finally laid to rest on that one glorious night.

New wine, old wineskin

It is telling that during the Suhakam inquiry into the Bersih 3.0 rally a police officer revealed when questioned that he did not know that the right to assemble was constitutionally guaranteed for the people of this country.

Really, you can’t make it up

Rais Yatim should be given a present from people like myself who write current affairs articles. 

Scripts for Tinseltown

Hollywood, having run out of ideas, has turned to Malaysia for inspiration. Below are two potential blockbuster movies which draw their plots from the pages of Malaysia’s newspapers.

And so it begins...

The scare tactics that are so beloved by the ruling coalition. We have seen it before of course. Like an evil babysitter, the BN has constantly thrilled at telling horror stories to keep us in our place.

Informed, not phony, reasons work better

There have been two consistent arguments used by the Barisan to persuade the electorate to vote for them. The first and more popular claim is that we should vote for them because they have experience.

Nation of idiots in the making

We are on the brink of becoming a nation of idiots.

When silence implies consent

Hope Springs eternal

THIS year, the most amazing political event to have occurred in the world could very arguably be the Arab Spring. Popular uprisings all over the Middle East have seen dictatorships fall like ten-pins in the centre of of a camel race. The process continues still.


Lack of respect for the Constitution

It’s quite apt that it was during a mass circumcision ceremony that Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz made his announcement that Section 27 of the Police Act 1967 is going to be removed. We, the people of Malaysia, just like the poor little nippers at that ceremony, are going to be rid of something.











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