There has been much said about this time’s Bersih 4.0. I was there personally over the 2 days, and based on what i have seen and heard, with the follow ups on participation rate, and the ever widening race based influenced public relations, i felt the obligation to write this. The demonstration was quickly translated into a racial issue by some medium, saying that it was dominated by Chinese, and echoed by counter arguments after that. But here’s the obvious fact, aside from the repeated crowd, the motive of this time’s Bersih 4.0 is clearly motivated by the dissatisfaction of our government leadership and 1MDB and donation scandal cases. Fair enough! But it is really not something in line with the totality understanding of Bersih that i know of. The fundamentals are not being discussed this time around.
I participated in Bersih 3.0 Penang 2 years ago, where the motion was driven by clean governance and fair election. But this time around, we know the sentiments is quite radically different. By all means, i am all together for the justice call as answers are not being made to the Rakyat, but my understanding towards politics has taken a twist lately to recognize that it’s not about who’s ruling the government, but what check and balance system do we have in this democratic country?
It’s Not about What but How
I am not someone with particular expertise or interest into politics, but as an observer into the arguments of the public. To me, it is simple. Based on the sentiments on internet social media as well as the dozen of street protesters i have met, i came to a conclusion that the public at large is conveniently accusing corruption, without any idea of what the solution should be. I see a lot of anger on the street, i hear a lot of chanting of reformation and Bersih around the corners, and also never ending Ceramah taking advantage to the society pessimistic being talking about the endless problems of the government, but what does all of this mean? Changing a new government or leader without having a proper system in place most probably spells the same disaster right? The very simple fact that the Rakyat in general doesn’t understand the operation of the government and agencies at all different levels also means there’s a fundamental flaw in people practicing their citizenship or their responsibilities.
I think this is a trouble, greater than the scandal alone. Bersih is and should be a gathering in the aspiration of changing the system of government, to enable a better check and balance governance across the few layer of governments. I do not exactly know the solutions as well, but i do know that there is too much federal power and there is a need to decentralize decision making to relevant local and state government agencies. I wrote a piece on this previously on local governance which i was attending the Federal Territories day talk with Liew Chin Tong spelling out the urgent need for people to elect their own mayor of local council. It is an urgent call to formulate the recipe to decentralize monetary aspect such as annual budget and even land matters such as forestry department in a justified manner to all state government and let the meritocracy takes place.
Do your part as a Citizen
I am just a concern citizen trying to balance out my perspectives on politics in a holistic manner. Don’t get me wrong, i am all out for clean and fair election, and i know i will be there again as Pemantau in the upcoming GE just like last GE13. But to date, neither of any political party has impressed me enough with their policy framework, particularly things like energy & food & water security, long term welfare programs, instead of short sighted cheap promises. Even so, i used to think that the single vote is very important, but after participating a lot of government related briefing and forums, i came to know that actually voting might seem to be not as important as the participation into local governance. Your citizenship participation is not represented by solely a vote once in 5 years, but a constant engagement with the local authority and government as a whole to feedback on how to improve things on the ground. And it is very unfair to push all of our responsibilities and expectations to government and folding our arms thinking we have nothing to deal with the daily affairs. It takes two to juggle and understand how each other work better to run the country really!
So the take away point is, yes i find Bersih 4.0 this time is abused and carried away from the main theme of clean governance and fair election. It would’ve been much better if the stage is open up for public debate on the way to improve transparency in the existing government rather than harping and feeding in more hatred to the ever pessimistic crowd, which does no good really. I admire the whole carnival like atmosphere during this Bersih 4.0 really, but that’s as good as it can get. This is really not about BN or PR, it is all about Rakyat. The Rakyat reflects the Government, and in this sense, i am looking at the public in general who has a lot to do in living up to the responsibilities of citizen participation into local governance. Speaking of which, yes i am still learning as well.
Sorry i just had to post a selfie with my make shift bicycle signage lol. And no i don’t go with the idea that authority is going to hunt me down just because of me wearing a yellow Bersih shirt seriously. There is nothing more important than living up to the name of justice because i believe the moment that i have forsaken other people’s right, i have also forsaken my own’s.