Home 2012: 9 Time for change

Time for change

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It is janji tidak ditepati – think of the rampant corruption, rotten education standards and faltering national unity. And so, it is our duty and responsibility to bring about change, asserts P Ramakrishnan.

It is my pleasure to welcome all of you to this Aliran function. We are happy that so many of you have turned up not only to hear Datuk Ambiga speak but you are also here in a symbolic manner to show your concern for this country and express your solidarity for efforts undertaken to change the destiny of this nation. Thank you very much.

Friends, we kept our promise. We said that Datuk Ambiga will be here to speak to all of you and today she is here. Inilah janji ditepati – sungguh-sungguhnya!

Our promise is different from the Barisan Nasional’s misleading and false ‘Janji ditepati’. Their slogan should actually be ‘Janji tidak ditepati’ because their promises have not been fulfilled concerning the core issues that matter most.

Let me very briefly touch on three areas:

Rampant corruption

They promised to wipe out corruption but today corruption is rampant. It is pervasive and encompassing. Its tentacles are everywhere, in almost every contract, in almost every procurement of the Defence Ministry, in almost every agreement involving projects that are given out to cronies.

In 1994 – 18 years ago – Tun Dr Mahathir amended the Umno Baru Constitution to clean up money politics. He correctly understood where the problem of corruption was emanating from. But this action did not wipe out corruption.

In fact, he was a victim of corruption itself. On 9 September 2006, he failed to be elected as a delegate of the Kubang Pasu Umno Division and blamed money politics for his defeat. It was such a devastating and humiliating defeat for him.

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He had been Kubang Pasu Divisional Chairman for 30 years, president of Umno and Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years but corruption is no respecter of personalities. Mahathir’s name was No 1 on the candidates list but he came out ninth out of the 15 candidates who contested.

Judging by this, you may say, corruption is safe and sound in this country! Indeed it is.

Rotten education standards

They promised us world-class education that would put us on the world map but we are not even within the ranking of the 200 top universities around the world. It seems that we only produce unemployable graduates!

Marina Mahathir pulled out her children from the national schools claiming that these schools have become Malay schools. National schools are no longer what they used to be in inculcating character and ethics, building up friendship that went beyond race and creed, cultivating social graces that respected the elders and the teachers, eradicating arrogance and boorish behaviour.

That was possible because the composition of the teaching staff then reflected the multi-ethnic make-up of this nation. It allowed for different thoughts and views to be shared which enriched the experiences of students. That ennobling feature of school life is no more there.

Our education system – instead of improving under the various Ministers of Education – has nose-dived in terms of standard and stature. All the well-known and respected schools have lost their lustre and have become ordinary school buildings! That’s how rotten the system is now!

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Alarming threat to national unity

They promised us Bangsa Malaysia by 2020 – the emergence of a citizen who will simply be identified as a Malaysian without reference to his ethnicity. Unfortunately, the person who mooted this noble idea abandoned his ideal mid-way. He is now the patron of Perkasa that spews venom and hatred which threaten our national unity.

Our national unity is not Umno’s paramount consideration. The racial slurs in schools, the racial indoctrination undertaken by the BTN, which condemns the other ethnic communities as irrelevant and immigrants and not deserving to be treated as equal citizens are indeed worrying trends of bigotry. Through actions and policies, we are kept apart for political expediency.

It is a political ploy to project the Malaysian situation as Malays vs the rest. This is the game played by Umno and Perkasa. We must not fall into this trap.

It has never been Malays vs the rest. The reality is Umno vs the rest. Yes, Umno has no monopoly over the Malays. Every Malay is not an Umno member. Umno alone does not represent the Malays. Let’s bear that in mind.

Time for change

If we want all this to change – rampant corruption, rotten education standards and alarming threat to our national unity – the BN must be defeated; Umno must be turned into an opposition party. That would be a redeeming factor. Only then will there be hope for this nation.

Government servants until recently used to retire at the age of 55. Umno has ruled this nation – mind you, it has not governed but ruled for 55 years. It is time for them to retire. For the good of this nation we must force this retirement upon them.

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Friends, it is truly time for change. It is time for citizens to empower themselves. We should be the one to decide who will form the next government. Let Umno and the BN come with their bags of money and all kinds of promises to buy your vote. Accept the money and give them a good hard kick and send them packing.

For a change, let’s give the Opposition a chance. Let’s see how they will perform. If they do not live up to our expectations, let’s kick them out and bring in the BN. But they deserve a chance at least once.

Whatever happens, in the final analysis, it will be we who will be deciding which party will govern us. Let’s hold on to this right.

This is the only way to drive home the fact that we, the voters, are the masters, and the politicians will forever remain our servants.

Friends, we are the torch-bearers of freedom. It is our duty and responsibility to bring about this change. We must not fail ourselves.

P Ramakrishnan is the immediate past president of Aliran. He presented this speech at the forum ‘Elections and Democracy’ in Penang on 7 October organised by Aliran.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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18 Jan 2013 5.30pm

It is truly time for change 3 generations put in exile of freedom of speech my grandfather my father and me we had no say but to wait and see for the better days ahead for the freedom of this country no matter of which origin as long as we the inheritance of our forefathers who were not allowed to say a word at all Now the time has come 3 generations and so forth we will voice and the truth is left to be won that we should dare to expose what so ever kept our forefathers from coming to the forefront but time will prevail that those who were and are corrupted and have no decent respect for all men and women, difference of colour or race that we could have been made equal and better if not for the few men who stood for so long So let us come forward be it you are the man on the streets or at the highest in your thoughts like those who have strived to this day, let us join them and seek the best… Read more »

Albert Choong
6 Dec 2012 6.29pm

Ong Eu Soon, do you need to change your pair of glasses to see the difference of the governance of the states between BN and Pakatan! The majority of true and loyal Malaysians have been enlightened by Pakatan after the 2008 GE, and now they want UBAH or CHANGE in the federal seat of government.
Don’t split hair with DAP in Penang over your personal vengeance or problems. Don’t pour cold water over the efforts of like minded leaders among the many social minded leaders among the NGOs, professional associations and genuine opposition leaders to bring CHANGE to our LIFE and HOPE for a better Malaysia!

time to change
time to change
23 Nov 2012 8.12pm

yes00 its time to change,, make KUANTAN a DUMPING gROUND for the LYNNAS rare earth>> ha ha h hi hi time for change

najib manaukau
20 Nov 2012 8.23am

There is no question that it is time to change, in fact the whole system should have been changed decades ago, if not for the frauds, deceits and false promises the morons made all these years.
It isn’t because the people were stupid and ignorant but it were because of our trust in them plus also the rural folks being kept as illiterate as possible just so messages of their misdeeds would never reached them. That were especially true when they owned and have controlled of the media who main job was and still is to misinform the folks with false and twisted informations to reflect the true being told.
But the frauds and deceits can only be held for these many decades, far long enough, now that the people are ‘woken’ and all their deceitful actions are exposed. It is time to kick them out of Putrajaya in the coming GE once and for all time !

19 Nov 2012 11.45pm

next time be careful if a m… becomes the PM.
his children becomes (MULTIMILLIONAIRES OR) BILLIONAIRES, your children cant even get decent education, no?

Ong Eu Soon
19 Nov 2012 11.19pm

From June to end of July, Penangites have witnessed how I battle out with the state government over the hill slope development issues. Since then, more than 50% of the journalists started to question the man in power. From June until now, there were average 1 critical article against that man every 2 days. The latest poll by a Penang based Chinese press saw more than 70% of the readers voted against the ideas proposed by a henceman of the man in question. Some thing that is unprecedented since 308. The journalists were told that they were BN agents for writing against the state government. The man in power has forgotten that those journalists were the one that made him the famous Tokong in Penang! Now Penang DAP want to have a dialog with those journalists to mediate the differences and misunderstanding that have arise over the last 6 months. Is change really on it’s way?

Ong Eu Soon
19 Nov 2012 10.49pm

Time for change? Change what? Policies or parties? A pro-developer approach which is totally bias against the people is not a corrupt act? An approach towards development that encourage speculative investments is not an immoral act? Total disregard the need of the people is call people-centric? A tendency to perpetuate the wrong and refuse to right the wrong is call change?
Are we changing a gorilla for orang utan? With the orang utan expect us to hang on the tree for shelter?
Competing to throw our money to buy votes is call populist policy but not corrupt act? Tell me what are we try to change! Rama, it is time to wake up!

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