(Malaysia Chronicle) The Malaysian political landscape is getting rather crowded, with not only political parties but also various NGOs that are slanted in different political directions. Somehow, one cannot but get the feeling that some of these newly-established NGOs are actually foetal political parties. But rather than having the gumption to say it right out and from the beginning, the people behind them appear to be using the NGO platform as a trial balloon for public support. If it is promising enough, the next step would be to apply to become a fully-fledged polticial party like Kita and Makkal Sakti, two of the newest kids on the block. Another reason for sudden springing-up of these NGOs is that the leaders do not want to cut all ties with their political parties – yet. After all, there are clear examples from Perkasa and MCLM, which despite professing non-interest in becoming political parties have failed to shake off the suspicion that they are covertly eyeing such a target. The latest NGO to hit the local scene is Angkatan Amanah Merdeka or Amanah.
But with the likes of Perkasa already destabilising Malaysian society, it makes one wonder if we need another high-profile NGO, especially one with a rather starry personality as the head. Expressing alarm at the country’s increasingly fractious politics, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah or Ku Li has together with veteran and young leaders from all sides of the political divide formed Amanah for racial unity, good governance and respect for the constitution. The purpose and function of Amanah, according to a statement sent to media organisations is to “to reaffirm, to inculcate and to re-ignite the sense of togetherness and true family spirit that prevailed among all Malaysians during the time of our common struggle for national independence.” Amanah central committee member Wan Saiful Wan Jan said that the non-governmental organisation (NGO) wants to ensure that politics in the country “strictly observe and respect” the country’s federal constitution. Razaleigh has already lent his support for Bersih, a move which would have ruffled a few feathers in UMNO and with the formation of Amanah, UMNO may start paying close attention to what his next move would be.
Razaleigh said Bersih’s demand for 21 days of campaigning for the general election was reasonable because the current 7 days campaign period was too short and as such the people could not make an informed decision before going to the polls. “If it’s seven days, it’s not enough, so how can we say it is fair when one side is not allowed to appear on radio and television. “Hence the demand that all parties are given fair amount of time to give their comments or views on certain matters on television and mainstream media controlled by the government,” added Razaleigh. The former Finance minister also condemned the police action during Bersih’s massive rally in the capital on July 9, describing the actions as violation of human rights. “How can we say we are developed when our mentality is not developed? Control here and control there … we should not do this. It is against human rights,” he added. A different tune Ku Li is singing a totally different tune to the one UMNO sings. But would Amanah be merely a critic of UMNO?
Is it placing itself as the guardian of good governance in the country? What sort of influence would Amanah have in making sure politics of the day do not undermine the federal constitution? For the biggest abuser of the federal constitution has been UMNO itself. In the 50 years that UMNO has been in power, the federal constitution has seen 650 amendments made to it. The current document is but a mere shadow of the original federal constitution drawn up by the country’s founding fathers. Are we then, going to see the federal constitution being brought back to its former state? But this would go against all the things UMNO has been working on. Indeed, Amanah is destined to go head to head with UMNO and their leaders. Ku Li is still an UMNO member and it would need to prove that his influence would be able to accord change to the current system. Yet, Amanah can be the most neutral ground for young leaders from both sides of the political divide to gather and voice out their concerns for change. Expect Khairy Jamaluddin to make his presense felt in Amanah, for of late, Khairy seems to be speaking along a different script than UMNO. And this alone would be enough to worry those within the ruling UMNO elite. For all it has been saying, Amanah certainly has big aspirations and but it needs to prove that in a crowded playing field like Malaysia, it is a game-changer that it says it is.
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]
” . . . the sense of togetherness and true family spirit . . . among all Malaysians . . . ” ;can only exist with the endorsement of the 3 items for *equality* OR perpetually deluded and uneducated and corruptible citizens as is currently the case in BN. Would Amanah make it’s stand clear on :
1) Freedom from Apartheid/Fascism
2) Freedom from Religious-Persecution/Religious-Supremacy.
3) Equality for all ethnicities and faiths in all aspects of policy, Law and Constitution.
Remaining in BN without condemnation of Bumiputra APARTHEID and update of antiquated Emergency or Section377B and non-Muslim entertainment relevant laws does not set Amanah apart from any other BN related NGO or Party. Lambast BN’s racists or leave BN to make clear your stand Tengku! If anyone has the independence of mind to endorse the 3 items, it should be the apex classes or those with such pedigree that Asabiya and APARTHEID or socialized oppression is beneath their dignity to tacitly much less overtly be part of !
Over to you Ku Li . . . a ‘rather starry personality as the head of Amanah’, can do no less and make clear the stand on the 3 items !