Fifty Five years ago we became independent. MERDEKA. The British handed over power to the government of the day – The Alliance headed by our beloved Tunku, and henceforth we had freedom! Freedom? Freedom to do what?
Free speech, free press, the freedom to earn a decent living, freedom of worship – all personal freedom that goes to make a decent and civilized society.
The freedom to extend a helping hand to the sick, the poor, the orphaned, the hungry, the homeless, the aged, the underprivileged and to those in the minority.
And last and certainly the least of our worries then, was the freedom to chose who governs us and the freedom to replace them if they do not meet with our approval.
Fast forward fifty years later to 2012.
What do we have now?
No free speech, no free press, no freedom to earn a decent living, no freedom to worship whom we choose. The sick cannot afford to pay for decent health care. The poor, the orphaned, the hungry, the homeless and the aged depend on the charity of the NGO's and benevolence of those that care enough to put in their time, effort and money to help them. The under privileged are left to their own devices. The minorities within our community are ignored and without recourse to plead for their own cause because they do not have representation on the electoral role - and the worse off amongst the minorities are the real people of the soil - the orang asli who were here before any of us!
And what fifty years ago was the least of our worries : the ability to chose whom we want to govern us : is today the issue that burdens us constantly. It burdens us because we were not wise enough fifty five years ago to chose a government that would have given us all the freedom that we had aspired to when we became independent on 31st August 1957! For we now know that the freedom to chose who govern us was the most precious freedom of all the freedom that came with independence! Now we know that the path our country and our people will take after independence is decided by those whom we chose to lead us.
Germany chose Hitler and he led them to a World War that killed almost 2.5% of the world population - 50 to 70 million - and wrecked despair and havoc all over the world.
South Africa chose Mandela and he took that rainbow nation down the path of reconciliation when he would have been forgiven if he had sought retribution from the National Party for apartheid : a system of racial segregation enforced by the National Party government and for imprisoning him for 27 years!
We chose UMNO to lead the government that govern us today. Can we now chose to change this government?
If we have learned from our past mistakes we must first ask our self this question: Who do we now want to govern us? Who will do better or worse then UMNO? Are we to jump from the frying pan only to land in the fire? What are our options?
The consensus is that there must be change. Anything but UMNO because fifty five years is long enough for any government to come up with something we want - even if it was to be found through a process of trial and error.
And there have been many trials and many errors by this UMNO led government - so much trial and error that our country and our people are now on its knees pleading for good, responsible and accountable governance! And good , responsible and accountable governance will not come from UMNO.
And so we look elsewhere. Will Pakatan Rakayt be that change that we want or are we so focused on ABU that all we want is change - and what comes with that change must be better then what we now have under UMNO?
The debate on this is robust and ongoing.
I want change but not at any costs! As in matters of this nature we will all have our thoughts on the issue and these thoughts are coloured by many variables that will have a bearing on the final outcome of what we will do as we hurtle towards the coming 13th general elections.
Do what you must but forget not the lessons we should have learned in the 55 years of independence that we have had under UMNO. It has taken us 55 years to lose our freedom of speech, lose the freedom of a free press, lose much of our civil liberties, lose the ability to have an accountable and responsible government, lose our freedom of worship and many many other values that we had aspired to have when we first gained independence from our colonial masters. So my friends let us not wait a minute longer to lose UMNO! ABU!