For too long now, the serf-feudal lord mentality of many Malaysians – especially Malays – have treated the people elected officials of both, the state assemblies, and the Parliament, with respect and fervor almost fit for a king. In many cases involving the Cabinet Ministers, even more! The ego of the ‘YBs’ are continuously fed and feted not only by the public, but by the civil servants including the Police force who by law, are supposed to act neutral, but yet they scrounge the very grounds where these ‘YBs’ step on almost in worship. Nay! Make that in worship.
Perhaps to the Malaysians mentioned above, their state of mind can be forgiven for day in and out of the life they have been living, they have been subjected to subtle brainwashing of the mainstream media, extolling the virtues and righteousness of those people in power. And unless there is a political game afoot within their ranks, the media would never expose any scandals or abuse to the public. And when you come to think about it, it is as though we are living in a communist/socialist regime, where the media is used to its fullest to subjugate the minds of the people.
Or, remember ‘The Gang of Four’ in the big C? Before Chairman Mao’s death, they were untouchable! And they remained so for a short while until the unthinkable purge happened within the ranks and a new Chairman was elected. What happened to ‘The Gang of Four’? The regime used every means of the media then to vilify them in the open before sentencing them to lifetime imprisonment. And the public was made to believe in the evils of ‘The Gang of Four’. It did not matter who was right or wrong there. What mattered was what their government wanted to portray and put into the minds of the people within and out of the big C! And it worked!
Or, have we forgotten how the media was used rather successfully in US to justify an invasion of Afghanistan over the 9-11, and later Iraq for the still unfounded Weapons of Mass Destruction?
Closer to home, there’s the infamous trial of DSAI. No matter how many times the prosecuting team blundered during the trials, a large number of people continued on to believe he was guilty, overlooking the actual facts which were buried by tons and tons of media coverage condemning DSAI, and by itself already a verdict even before the court announced it
Similarly with any campaign, be it General or a by-election, the mainstream media will be used to the fullest by the incumbent party, throwing lies about the opposition while extolling their deeds whilst in office. Deeds, what deed? If any, in Islam, the deeds of an office bearer is by virtue of holding an ‘amanat’ from the Allah s.w.t., a trust that was handed to him from the people, by the people, and to the people he serve. And if he manage to fulfill such a trust which by all means is sacred, only truly then he is worthy of respect and the calling of ‘Yang Berhormat’. Unfortunately now, even as a party member of those goons in power steps into office, it has become a tradition and expectation for him to be called as such. But no more.
All these while ever since Malaysia obtained its independence, the so called people's representatives in either State Assembly or Parliament have been carrying out their duties without fear or favour, rather without fear and plenty of favours to be exacted in return. There have never been at any point of time a yardstick to measure their performance in office except for the General Elections, and that too - due to too many doubts within the system - can be argumentative...until now.
Earlier today at around 11am, a group of concerned citizens invited all the political parties in
The People's Declaration is actually a benchmark meant for the public to measure the performance of their elected representatives. Based on an abandoned 'Barisan Alternatif' 1999 manifesto, it was improved after an in depth study made on the matter, and as I have come to know it, was led by Haris Ibrahim of The People's Parliament (Please go to Colour Blind and download the declaration from there). Perhaps to put it in simple terms: We (voters) have the right to expect the product(service) we bought sold to us by the sellers(elected officials). If the seller fail to deliver on their product, we have the right to get a refund or change.
In other words, 'YB' will no longer mean 'Yang Berhormat, but 'Yang Berkhidmat'!
*Off note: Haris Ibrahim was my senior in secondary school. Apart from the 2 of us being visibly active in politics, I felt a tinge of pride when his name was mentioned as one of the leading figures in this move today. Before leaving, I shook his hands and said "Haris, you make me proud to be a Victorian!"