Exemplary M'sians who inspire and give us hope
OUTSPOKEN: Najib Razak must feel like the wrong man, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is in jail and the Pakatan coalition has fragmented. This is what Umno Baru wanted, but at what cost?
In the end, Najib was as much a casualty of Umno Baru's war against the Opposition; more importantly, Umno Baru's infighting, which was caused by greed and the lust for power. In addition, Najib is being attacked by former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Umno Baru scandals, from all parts of the globe, have caused him further embarrassment.
When the judiciary jailed Anwar for five years, for sodomy, in February this year, it reduced his unifying influence on the component parties, PAS, DAP and PKR. The nation was deprived of a credible, experienced leader, who had once been a deputy PM, who was equally comfortable in international political circles and the kampung folk, who could pacify the diehards in DAP and PAS and was well-versed in the dirty tricks of Putrajaya politics.
Admittedly, none of these elements 'saved' him from a jail-term.
Najib's overtures to PAS' Abdul Hadi Awang about uniting the Malays and protecting Islam, under the guise of a unity government, and the prospect of hudud law in Kelantan, worked. Najib should have been celebrating Anwar’s removal, the downfall of Pakatan and the breakup of PAS. Luck is not on his side and he has been denied an easy premiership.
While he was busy plugging holes in his leaking Umno Baru boat, Najib ignored the vulture circling overhead. Mahathir's assaults were assisted by the attacks on Najib's flanks, by the restless Umno Baru divisional heads who demanded immediate 'soothing', lest they jumped ship.
Around him, scandals about corruption, ranging from 1MDB to people trafficking, to dubious property deals overseas, continued to rock Najib’s boat. Umno Baru's 'false' win in GE13 was exposed with foundations steeped in corruption and cheating. Instead of celebrating, Najib witnessed the implosion of Umno Baru.
If this was elsewhere in the world, a PM with an ounce of integrity and self-respect would have tendered his resignation; but this is Malaysia, where it is business as usual and the rakyat's well-being is immaterial.
Najib is aware that the office of PM affords him a degree of physical freedom and immunity from arrest.
From his Sungei Buloh cell, Anwar believes that like a phoenix, a stronger Opposition can emerge from the ashes of Pakatan, and said, "I have no doubt that the Opposition, reorganised with new forces including NGOs, will emerge united and stronger from these troubles.
"I assure you, that I will never give up this struggle as long as there remains breath in this body."
Anwar is not the only one who has faith in a stronger Opposition. Below are some of the people, who over the last few weeks, have given the rakyat renewed hope, for a better Malaysia.
Adam Adli, the student activist and future Malaysian leader, has just returned from the 29th United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) session, in Geneva, where he highlighted the arbitrary use of the Sedition Act and the Universities and University Colleges Act, to curb the rakyat's right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.
He has a court appearance the day after his return from Europe, and is being investigated under the Sedition Act, because of remarks he made during a forum at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, on May 13 2013.
Adam said, "After 58 years of this government, we are still struggling and fighting among ourselves. We love to look at ourselves as superior, despite being unproductive, even when compared to our nearest neighbour, Indonesia.
"We must understand how the rest of the world works and start reflecting. We should be more humble, and earn our respect, by working hard. We are too comfortable in our society. The sacrifices of the many people should not go to waste.
"It is time for us to admit that we have a problem. We must examine the way we look at ourselves and how we treat others".
Despite facing a possible jail-term, Adam represents the youth in Malaysia, who demand change, for a better Malaysia, and are resolute, despite the many challenges.
Farah Ann Abdul Hadi captivated the world with her performance in the South East Asian Games. She has made many sacrifices to achieve her aspirations.
Her grit and determination is an inspiration to young Malaysians everywhere. It is easy for the bigots to mock her sporting attire and criticise her for exposing her 'aurat'. Farah put down her critics with a withering, “Empty cans make the most noise", and showed Malaysians the true meaning of being strong, confident and disciplined.
Zunar, the satirical cartoonist faces nine charges of sedition, and if found guilty, faces a possible jail term of 43 years. If he had toed the line, and drawn complimentary cartoons, he would lead a comfortable life, earn his datukship and retire a rich man; but he is principled. Despite being arrested, having his books seized and his staff intimidated, he continues to draw. Zunar signifies perseverance in the face of adversity.
Noor Farida Ariffin is considered an Establishment figure, but several incidents of intolerance and injustice in Malaysia, have prompted her and her gang of 25, which has now expanded to 40, to speak out and appeal to the leaders, to act before the country goes further downhill. Noor Farida gives us renewed hope.
Mariam Mokhtar is "a Malaysian who dares to speak the truth".
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