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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I’ll wear a yellow baju raya

I’ll wear a yellow baju raya

Semakin lara kita didera bara,
kita laungkan juga pesan merdeka,
demokrasi sebenderang mentari,
sehasrat hajat semurni harga diri

– A. Samad Said.

Yellow symbolises wisdom.

July 9th is just around the corner, and talks get heated up in every corner, from Facebook urbanites to long house foyers. Thanks to RTM and Utusan Malaysia for the free publicity.

People may differ. However, one thing in certain, all eyes are set on the upcoming saga.

Suhakam, as a custodian of human rights in Malaysia, has called on the authorities to allow the planned peaceful assemblies to be held, and on the parties intending to hold these assemblies to exercise their rights in a peaceful and responsible manner. Yet, we hear the “threat to national security” excuse to cordon the march.

“The gathering would not only disturb the peace but also cause traffic chaos”, says a senior police officer.

Yet, you have KL folks stranded in traffic jams following days of rehearsal and actual parade at Dataran Merdeka. I am one of them, stranded at Jalan Loke Yew while listening to the morning radio show. As a responsible citizen, we do not complain. And please, no road-block rehearsal prior to July 9th.

“Democracy attracts FDIs. Freedom attracts tourists.” But says another, “Investors will shy away because of the domestic chaos”. Well, investors are smart enough in assessing the investment viability, political transparency being the key.

“Organisers of the Bersih 2.0 rally should consider the effects such an event will have on traders and consumers along the route of its march”, says one minister. A Bersih spokesman then assures, “At least RM30 million of cashflow will be generated within the 3 hours march, counting on possible 300,000 participants with cash in pocket of RM100 each.”

Adding-up the ticketing revenue accrued by PLUS, MAS, AirAsia, KTMB and bus operators over the weekend, let’s get PEMANDU to bring their spreadsheet.

Demonstration is un-Islamic? Not part of Malay culture? Yet, Muslim scholars note, “It is obligatory upon every Muslim to support whatever actions, words or stand taken in defence of truth”, plus "It is forbidden for the demonstrators or police to provoke anyone, resulting in riots. The police should realise that the demands are good for the country and not only for the betterment of the people but also the police". Also, “Many were imprisoned as a result of their criticisms against authorities of their time. We are the inheritors of this tradition, which provides today’s Muslims with a storehouse of democratic ideas".

William E. Simon famously said, “Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote”.

I then find no excuse for me not to support BERSIH 2.0 Walk For Democracy. It calls for 8 immediate demands, namely 1) Clean the electoral roll 2) Reform postal ballots 3) Use of indelible ink 4) Minimum 21 days campaign period 5) Free and fair access to media 6) Strengthen public institutions 7) Stop corruption 8) Stop dirty politics.

SUHAKAM, in its statement reiterates that “it is the right of members of the public to assemble and to express their views in a peaceful manner, as provided under Article 10(1)(b) of the Federal Constitution, as well as Article 20(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).”

Still, wearing a yellow shirt is an offence in this country, at least until July 9th

Nevertheless, yellow is the colour of preference for my baju raya this year. Hopefully, I won’t be arrested while carrying my kids, wearing yellow baju melayu complete with sampin and songkok, in queue for duit raya and ketupat, at the Raya open house organised by our Pak Menteri.

My intention is sincere, only to shake hands with my democratic leader. A courtesy visit, that is.

* Harakahdaily reader Mohd Syahir Sulaiman, and his two kids, see yellow as symbol of wisdom, and advocate 'Negara Berkebajikan'.


- Harakahdaily

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