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Where is Malaysia heading?

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Mt Elvira hopes that the change that many of us are working towards and hoping for can come about without turmoil.

Those of us Malaysians who are aware of the state of governance in our country can only hold our breath and pray that the recent political alignments within the opposition ranks will finally evict the Umnoputras from Putrajaya in the coming general election.

No point rehashing here the litany of evils the government of the day has visited on the populace. Readers will be more than aware of them. In a more vibrant democracy, at the very least, the head of this government would have been a different Umnoputra!

No, please don’t misunderstand me – I am no die-hard opposition supporter, and I am not blind to the good this government has done. Yet, our position in the community of nations would have been much higher if not for the misdeeds of the Umnoputras over the years – and especially under the current administration.

Recently, a powerful drama caught my attention. Bleecker Street’s Eye in the Sky grapples with the moral implications of modern warfare. I see implications for our security forces should the opposition win the next general election.

The Umnoputras’ rule of our country has been so long that they feel it is their right to rule, and as Dr Mahathir has warned, with the National Security Council provisions, it is not unthinkable for certain elements to ferment trouble to deny the opposition a famous election victory, should it happen.

In Eye in the Sky, American pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) refuses a direct order from his superior to fire a drone air-to-ground missile that would have killed several high-profile terror suspects, including two being prepared for a suicide-bombing mission, when a nine-year old girl enters the kill zone. The incident triggers an international dispute that reaches the highest levels of the US and British governments, over the moral, political and personal implications of modern warfare.

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Here in Malaysia, do we have men and women of conscience within our security forces who will put their oath of service to our nation over and above their allegiance to the Umnoputras’ chain of command?

If the order is given by commanders to carry out the wishes of their political masters, will there be any Steve Watts among our rank-and-file security forces to think of the harm it would cause to innocent civilians? In this scenario, there will be no international deliberations; only the rank and file of our security forces would have to decide.

In the drama, Steve does finally fire that missile (and another to ensure the high-profile terror suspect is killed) but only after he is lied to by his superior that the girl was in the 45 per cent fatality zone, when another missile impact point was chosen.

In the end, the girl still dies, and the superior officer’s justification is that the end justifies the means. Yes, from the story line, many innocent lives undoubtedly may have been lost had those two suicide bombers succeeded in their mission.

In the general election context in Malaysia, what if samsengs without any moral scruples are used to create trouble to justify the use of the National Security Council Act? With the vast powers vested under the act, imagine what an unscrupulous, desperate and immoral leader might do.

Of course, I hope the change that many of us are working towards and hoping for can come about without that sort of turmoil.

Mt Elvira is the pseudonym of a regular reader of Aliran.

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