When the Barisan Nasional government ignores a problem it festers. It will continue to fester until it explodes in the nation consciousness and the weight of public opinion makes it necessary for the government to do something - anything! As is now happening with corruption, manipulation of the Judiciary, the abuse of power by those in power etc. We must not forget that all the stories and cases coming out into the open now did not happen under Najib’s watch. It was allowed to take root during Mahathir’s regime. It peaked during Mahathir’s time and whatever damage done to the nation was done during Mahathir’s time. Why has it taken so long for these wrongs to make an impact in the consciousness of the people?
This was also the case with the ISA. Under Mahathir Ops Lallang came and went with hardly a ripple except amongst those who were directly affected. Now all the Government has to do is arrest one individual under ISA and the whole nation knows and many thousands will demonstrate against it! When this happens then attention is focussed on the issue simply because even the mainstream media cannot ignore the matter anymore and has to report it. What the public cannot get from the mainstream media they can now get from cyberspace and from international media that has no qualms about reporting such happenings. Once these demonstration is over the government still cannot hope for interest in the subject to disappear. So there is talk from the government about allowing demonstration to take place is certain places – stadium etc while there is also talk about the ISA being looked at - hints of a change perhaps or simply playing for time? The reality now is that to put any individual under ISA would need careful thinking on the part of the government lest the people take exception to its action and demonstrate again.
The nation’s shock at the death of Kugan and Teoh Beng Hock and the resulting suspicions of authority among a vast majority of the people in the country should not have shocked anyone familiar with racial tensions and injustices. Surely we are all too familiar with revelation of death in police custody and the inability of any Anti-Corruption agency to make any significance difference to the corruption landscape. And yet Teoh Beng Hock and Kugan’s death are now the cause celebre of all custodial deaths!
What I think has happened now is that there is real anger at what happened under Mahathir misrule, with the ISA and with Teoh Beng Hock and Kugan etc. Now the People are aware of many things that are wrong in this country There is now the realization that nothing has being done to bring the wrongdoer to justice. More important is the realization that we could not do anything about it. There was simply no mechanism in place that would allow for those guilty to be brought to justice.
Many of these wrongs are being discussed openly – with documentations and relevant individuals involvement being public knowledge because of the Internet. But this is only part of the issue. What angers the vast majority of the people in this country is the realization that those guilty or suspects of complicity in these crimes against our nations are not being brought to trial – and if brought to trail were allowed to go free. Eric Cheah is no longer with us. Amin Shah and Razak Baginda are no longer in the country. Lingam is free! Najib to all intent and purposes was never a suspect in the Altantuya case despite his direct connections to Razak. Bala disappears. Lingam main witness is nowhere to be found. We all know that the Toll and IPP agreements are very much in favour of the contractors, Proton buys a motorcycle company for millions and sells it for a pittance. Who is responsible? Trengganu stadium collapses? What happened to the Wang Ehsan for Trengganu? So many questions and NO answer. This is what is fuelling the anger against the Barisan Nasional government. No accountability.
If anything the wheels of justice were rolling in the direction against convicting these wrongdoers for what they have done. And the judiciary invariably ruled in favour of the wrongdoers. And when something was being done through Royal Commissions or investigations - what findings that were made created more problems then solving them!
But the reporting of TBH and Kugan’s deaths did define the problems that lead to these deaths. Yes there was the outpouring of grief and anger that these two young people died but what was addressed was that their death was the manifestation of years upon years of a government that used these agencies / institution to do its dirty work for them. The killing of these young people became simply a means to an end –MACC and PDRM could not have been able to comprehend the effect it has on the people of the nation – theirs was not to question why - theirs was to do and lie.
The same can be said about the routine killing of robbers by the police. To the police these killing is simply their way of getting a job done in the shortest possible time. They got rid of these undesirables at the least possible costs. To their mind they are doing the public a favour in getting rid of these dregs of society. But as the public outcry at these incidents are becoming more common – so will the incident of these shoot to kill become less – because now we are making our feelings against these killings known. We think it is unfair – at the least these suspects or robbers are entitled to a fair trial.
The Government does not understand that Public Opinion now demands that those who are tasked with finding the truth –whether it be the Judiciary or the various commissions appointed must not cover up the misdeeds of the guilty ones. It would seem to me that the reason why Mahathir needed so much time to finally retire was the need to find someone who would cover his wrong doings during his tenure. Unfortunately for him Pak Lah was not the one. Now that it is all out in the open, nothing, and I repeat this, nothing, will make it go away. You cannot make PKFZ go away. You cannot make the killings by PDRM go away. You cannot make the bailing out of your son shipping company by Petronas to the tune of RM1billion go away…nothing will make it go away. We will wait for the final truth.