The prime minister’s words and actions can be summed in this cliche: he does not mean what he says and he does not say what he means.
Those whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad – this is a well-known Greek saying rooted in Greek tragedy and mythology and proven true by the present batch of Barisan Nasional leaders.
Their over-consuming fear of Bersih 3.0 taking place has prompted them to support the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 in order to prevent another round of protests by Bersih for the cause of free and fair elections.
As the BN leaders intend to hold on to power at all costs, this prediction, if it is to come true, will bring dire consequences to them.
Introducing draconian laws and curbing intellectual freedom are the hallmarks of a despotic regime bent on clinging on to power.
No doubt they are trying to prevent turmoil from erupting because they fear that rigged elections will anger the rakyat and cause chaos. And rigged elections seemed to be a great possibility due to the very dirty electoral rolls.
Moreover, the opposition Pakatan Rakyat electoral rolls monitoring teams have detected that the Election Commission (EC) has moved around more than half a million voters, with Selangor being the worst hit state and hundreds of thousands of phantom voters all over the country.
PAS Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad has termed the recent events of barring intellectual discourse and enacting draconian laws as “The Great March Backward”, referring to these moves by the BN federal government as stifling democracy and curbing intellectual freedom.
According to Dzulkefly, the Myanmar Parliament has just this month passed a law allowing protests in its “Peaceful Assembly and Procession Bill” with only five days’ notice required to be given before a protest is due to take place and involving citizens of all ages.
The Myanmar Parliament has also re-enacted Labour Law to allow for union protests! It looks like Malaysia is now behind Myanmar!
In addition to that, although the Appeal Court has pronounced Section 15(5) of the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) as unconstitutional, the BN federal government is appealing against the decision while at the same time maintaining that it wants to grant intellectual and political freedom to students.
This confusing and contradictory stand by the government is none other than a con-game or scam to hoodwink the rakyat in view of the coming 13th general election.
Not allowing intellectual discourse by banning Professor Dr Aziz Bari, Professor Dr Farish Noor and the Deputy Minister of Higher Education from speaking in the UIA (Universiti Islam Antarabangsa) campus only reveals the BN federal government’s penchant for double-speak.
The BN leaders always say that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak always walk the talk but what the prime minister says is always the direct opposite.
For instance, he says that he wants to give more freedom for the citizens to hold peaceful assemblies but the laws he wants to implement are in fact making it more difficult to hold peaceful assemblies.
In short, his words and actions can be summed in this cliche: he does not mean what he says and he does not say what he means.
This type of leadership loses credibility very quickly and reduces his status to that of a despotic ruler.
Curbing intellectual discourse and dissent is one of the means commonly employed by those wanting to stay in power forever.
In 213 to 212 BC the first emperor of China, Emperor Shihuang of the Qin Dynasty, had burnt Confucian classics to prevent scholars from criticising the government.
This aroused protests and opposition from the scholars which in turn enraged Emperor Shihuang who then ordered more than 460 scholars to be buried alive in the surburbs of the capital, Xianyang. This event was referred to in history as “burning the books and burying the scholars”.
In the era of New Politics, Malaysia is definitely not in tune with the times. Najib has said that the “era of the government knows best is over” but it seems that he has forgotten what he has said and he is now bent on making more stringent efforts to control the minds of the citizens via the mainstream media and various laws soon to be implemented to suppress dissent.
In suddenly taking greater steps to quell intellectual discourse, the government has shown that it is bent on oppressing the citizens and putting the lid on democracy.
Why the fear?
This coming so close to the general election certainly creates a suspicion that the government has something to hide and there is something not quite right.
If everything is above board, why is there a need to fear?
Therefore, this means that the rakyat must be ever on the alert to the government’s various shenanigans.
Remember, the Perak power-grab was executed in a most cunning, cruel and Machiavellian manner which took everyone by surprise with its speed in the turn of events.
It must be emphasised that no Malaysian citizen is that stupid to want to cause chaos and unrest.
The BN government must not have this irrational fear of the citizens asking for what is fair, just and good for the nation.
If the government thinks that the citizens are out to topple them, then perhaps in their sub-conscious minds they realise that they have wronged the citizens.
If the BN government has been running a clean, honest and transparent administration, it has nothing to fear from the rakyat nor from the Water Dragon of 2012!
Selena Tay believes in giving a chance to the Pakatan Rakyat to rule the nation. She is an FMT columnist.