Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Let Malaysians be warn that what happened to the Tunisian President Zine El-Adidine Ben Ali, could happen to any other country, when the leader of the state is overcome by greed and cares little for his subjects, and the wife is too immerse in leading an opulent lifestyle that is likened to Philippine’s Imelda Marcos. We have seen far too many similar incidents in the past, and some leaders today still have not learnt that being powerful (even with military backing) and excessive wealth, they can be toppled like a deck of cards, by the very people that had voted them in.

What led to President Ben Ali being ousted is his sheer ignorance of the fact that his fate lies with the people. Even the mightiest military power that is protecting him cannot diffuse the people’s anger that resembles a raging burning forest, where everything along its path is smoldered to the grounds.

Closer to home, we witnessed the downfall of the all powerful Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and his sad demise while in exile in a foreign land. We also saw the powerful Shah Riza Pahlavi of Iran who despite having the mightiest military force in the region and with US backing, was forced to go into exile by a people’s revolution led by just a Mullah, where Shah later died a stateless person.

Now, will we ever see a likening of people’s power in this country today? Are we not being enlightened with stories of abuse by those in power i.e. by irresponsible politicians and government officials alike? Gathering thousands as a show of solidarity over some issues in this country is not too difficult. Demonstrations held in the past have been mild though, when compared to those held in Thailand or even Indonesia. Violent protest on the scale of what was seen in Thailand recently has not taken place in this country. And our leaders ought not to be too complacent about it.

I read so much about the abuses of the Sarawak Chief Minister and his crave for personal wealth. If the reports are true, he needs to rethink and take quick remedial actions to placate the people of Sarawak. The same can also be said of Sabah’s Chief Minister who is said to have amassed a lot of wealth. They ought to realize sooner that power is not forever theirs. It will be relieved off them at some point in time, and what former Selangor Menteri Besar Khir Toyo is going through now, is an example to ponder. Clearly, Khir Toyo has lost virtually everything i.e. pride, respect, honor and his integrity is being severely questioned. Now, only the court can save him his lost pride, respect and honor.

Today, Malaysians are faced with rising costs that do not seem to level off. It gets steeper by the day. My wife tells me that with RM100 will get her nothing at the market. Every bit of item is pricy, and I just wonder how my kampong folks are keeping up with their meager income. They too have a family to feed, and I do not think they could afford a RM100 in a single market outing.

I do not wish to dwell on the many faceted issues affecting ordinary Malaysians today. It is enough for me to just touch on one simple ‘bread and butter’ issue as I have alluded above, for I believe that people’s anger will peak when their stomach is empty. We may not see a revolution happening in this country, but we will certainly see a riotous people out to demand that they and their families be fed.



cheng said...

The effects are pretty obvious; even to the blind. But don't you think the symptoms are as clear as daylight and have a familiar ring to it..
Clearly Tunisia is kleptocracy of the 3rd millenium at its worst.
Haiti's occurred in the 2nd; but what about Malaysia?..It looks like a continuum from the 2nd into the 3rd ad infinitum!!!
Thank God we do not have to encounter the Papa Docs and Baby Docs here or do we actually?
I know of a certain Doc whose children are doing not too badly in both business as well as politics. One just won a fat contract from Petronas,( no doubt courtsey of the Advisor) and another becoming a Deputy Minister despite losing out in the UMNO Youth leadership race.
Word has it that there is a list of bank account details belonging to the illustrious family flying about...Maybe Dato you can catch hold of it.
On thing is very clear though, in Malaysia, things are done subtly.
But the fact of the matter is kleptocracy, in whatever form, is still grand theft carried out by people in power from the very people who put there.
So who do we blame here? Do we want to follow the way of Tunisia?

maurice said...

It was reported the Tunisian military leadership refused to obey the orders of the ex President, Ben Ali to fire onto the street protesters that led to his eventual downfall.

It is significant case study of an action taken by an Army facing a popular revolt.No doubt in the case of the Tunisian Army, the decision not to fire on their own people is guided by its national constitution which in any democratic country the military is always a non-political organization.

Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear Cheng and Maurice,

I wrote this article simply to remind ourself that that what happened in Tunisa, can happen to us. It simply means that the people's voice is important and that our leaders must know that the power is with the people.

Being a former military person, I hate to see our troops being made a political tool and to serve the whims and fancies of our political masters. Soldiers must remain apolitical at all times and only to be the protector of the King and country, and nobody else.

The role played by the Tunisian military during the tumultuous period is right.