At long last, PM Najib has buckled (for good reason) to the demands of Bersih and where he announced the setting up of a parliamentary select committee to discuss electoral reforms before the next GE. He also said that the members of the select committee will comprised of both BN and opposition, but made no mention about including Bersih and selected members of the civil society. In fact, it was Bersih that had started the demand and protest for an electoral reform, but it now seems that Bersih in particular, is not privy to the membership of the select committee. I find this strange and totally unacceptable.
Now even the EC has awakened from their slumber and persistent denials. The commission is said to have started the process of cleaning the electoral roll for phantom voters. And isn’t this an act of self confession and guilt that there were indeed phantom voters in the EC’s electoral roll previously? If there were phantom voters, then both the EC Commissioner and his deputy are deemed to have lied to the public all the while and they should rightfully resign. What is worse is that they have breached the trust bestowed upon them by the King; and in more direct terms, they can no longer be trusted with the job.
The decision made by Najib, I know will come under severe criticism; not from civil society or the opposition, but from within his own party. I am quite sure in the next few days dissenting voices in defence of the righteousness of the EC can be heard aloud. Certainly such dissenting voices will not come from Bersih, civil society or the opposition, but from those who feel threatened by the decisions likely to come off the select committee. I do hope the select committee will seriously look at the complains made against the EC in states that are controlled by the opposition in particular, in light of the strong statements made by Najib himself that the opposition controlled states has to be retaken and won by all means (or words to the effect). As I have said in the past, such strong statement by Najib could backfire and placed him on the defensive, and this what we see happening to him now.
Henceforth, Najib has to be extremely careful not to be intimidated by his party members and those of his inner circle (including Perkasa)into retracting what he had announced. Another U-turn, denial or excuses would only widened the gap of mistrust that civil society has had in him, besides further alienating him from the believers of the cause of Bersih. I believe Najib is strong enough to take on the foreseeable challenges from dissidents to his announcement, and if he can withstand and rebut such challenges, he will surely have the support of the thousands that were out gathered on July 9th , and certainly me included.
This is indeed a critical moment for Najib, and he must know that leadership is all about taking challenges. Najib has no other choice but to exert his leadership now over his party members. Even if Najib were to fall out of favor just because he is trying to defend what he think is best for the nation and its people, he falls with grace and honor. In this particular instant, it is not the party members to judge him, but it is the people i.e. the voters; the very people that will finally decide the fate of the party during the election.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION