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Saturday, March 07, 2009

PopTV: Truce, the whole truce, and nothing but the truce...

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If you recall, last week, Walski's friend and LRTQ cohort, Anas Zubedy, commissioned a full page add in The Star, appealing to the politicians at large to get down to work. If you don't recall, you can read Walski's posting about it here, and a follow up ad day later here.

The ad caught the attention of many, both in the real world, as well as in the bloggerhood and other parts of cyberspace. Including PopTV, who decided that their latest episode should be an interview with Anas.

Apart from on-the-Net media, Anas was also interviewed by business-oriented radio station BFM 89.9 (a podcast in two parts can be found on BFM 89.9's blog).

It also caught the attention of the political world, and from the very people whose attention Anas was trying to get - the politicians. And it came from both sides of the divide...
(what both sides are saying, and more, in the full post)

Well, catching the attention of the politicians is a good start. More importantly, however, are they taking heed?

Let's look at what they had to say to the full page ad that Anas took out. That's the best way to determine whether or not it's a case of just blah-blah-blah, or yes, they really are listening.

In the BN corner, the acknowledgement comes from none other than PM in waiting, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, from his blog 1Malaysia.

A full-page open letter published in The Star on Thursday caught my eye and compelled me to respond via this quick and short blog. I applaud the determination of one Anas Zubedy for making public his sentiments on the recent developments in Malaysian politics. His letter was not only fair, but clear in pointing out the real issues that we as a nation must focus on to move the country forward.

The intensity of the situation this past month has been widely covered in traditional and alternative media. Indeed, while politics is a necessary ingredient in building Malaysians a more ideal democratic country, I cannot say enough how truly disappointed I am in the unpleasant exchange that occurred in Parliament on Thursday. This latest incident only serves to highlight how important it is for policymakers to understand the underlying fundamental needs of the Rakyat, particularly in these economically challenging times. Our growth of 0.1% in the fourth quarter clearly has sent a signal of what is to come.

To Anas Zubedy and fellow Malaysians: I acknowledge your call for a united and effective front among Malaysians. Together, we will strive to make Malaysia a better, stronger country that we can all be proud of.

(source: 1Malaysia)

Acknowledgement? Yes. Acknowledgement of the current economic state of affairs and that it's not going to get much better in the near future? Also yes. A clear commitment to really get down to work? That, Walski thinks, leaves much to be desired.

Ok... so, as far as Najib is concerned, "together" we must strive to make Malaysia stronger. Which sounds more like PR than anything else. At least, that's how Walski reads it.

On the opposite side of the ring, representing PR, is YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad. His reaction to Anas Zubedy's full-page ad is significantly longer than Najib's 3-paragraph acknowledgement. You should give the whole thing a read. The key points, however, are that:

  • "Anas, we hear you". Which is another way of expressing acknowledgement.
  • The PKR government of Selangor recognizes the plight of the people. That's why every household gets 20 m3 of free water every month. Among other things.
  • The state government is being proactive in handling the issue of economic slowdown, rather than retroactively addressing retrenchment.
  • Takes a stab at the Federal Government for being in denial about Malaysia facing recession (but we all already know that, don't we?)
  • Acknowledges that there are politicians from both sides who are committed to working together towards a better Malaysia

Having said that, however, Nik Nazmi adds that there are real challenges towards the prospect of working together.

Unfortunately, just as we grapple in trying to find the best ways to help the people, there are some quarters who continue to try to derail it for short-term political gain. From the Federal Government’s rejection of the Selangor State Government’s efforts to take over our water concession in order to avert a 30 percent hike in the tariff to the prohibition by Federal Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to all Federal officers from attending meetings with the Perak State Government (prior to the coup in Perak), they seem at a loss on how to deal with the emerging two-party system in a maturing democracy.
(source: Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad)

Bottom line?

The people, however, should not be at a loss. We should not postpone change only for our children to have to undergo the same turmoil and uncertainty. Delaying the inevitable may result in an outcome that none of us find desirable. Giving up now is not an option.

We hear you Anas, and that is why we are fighting for change.

(source: Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad)

In other words, Pakatan will not desist, because it can't. Or that's how they see it, anyways.

Walski's analysis is that Nik Nazmi's longer write-up means to show that Pakatan is trying to live up to the expectations of the state residents where they have democratically secured the right to govern since March 8, 2008. How well they've succeeded so far, apart from their own efforts, is a function of external factors as well.

Now, here are 5 questions Walski has. And in answering them (which Walski will leave as a reader exercise), perhaps it will be clear which side needs to be more magnanimous in letting up on the eXtreme politicking.

  1. Who is it, since March 8, 2008, that has been using every means possible to unseat the 5 states that are no longer under BN control?
  2. Who grabbed Perak, via a coup de hop exercise?
  3. Who has been using race and religious sentiments to incite the people?
  4. Who has on the one hand, suddenly used the royal establishment as a rallying point, while on the other hand, has a track record of being anti-royalty when it suited them (via KTemoc Konsiders)?
  5. Who is it that just cannot get over March 8, 2008, and being less than introspective about the way things turned out on that day?

If only one side is willing to concede to a truce, while the other continues with the relentless politicking, the resulting situation is, as they say, a no-brainer.

As the often heard and overused saying goes, it takes two to tango.

To tap-dance like crazy, on the other hand, only requires one...