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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Poll Position: Merdeka Statement reactions

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Related post: Poll: Your thoughts on The Merdeka Statement

Apologies for getting this out later than intended. Usual excuse - work. In any case, a quick recap of what this is all about, then we'll jump right into the results, and some thoughts by Walski.

On August 2nd, 2007, the Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) of the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) released The Merdeka Statement (link downloads a PDF copy, opens in a new window), a non-governmental initiative towards a better and stronger Malaysia.

Reactions to the document have been mixed, with opposition coming from, among others, Muslim NGOs, claiming that it is an attempt at "renegotiating the social contract and validating apostasy" (as reported by Malaysiakini). Opposition also cam from Lord ZAM (via The Malaysian), stating, among other things that the Merdeka Statement was "it is a clever attempt to disunite the people in the country" (go figure... but then again, this is ZAM we're talking about).

So, back to the results of the straw poll. The majority of the 66 persons who voted agree that The Merdeka Statement is the way forward.

Image hosting by PhotobucketAn overwhelming majority say Yea

But rather than a structured program of actions, to Walski, The Merdeka Statement is merely a blue-print of how we should trudge forward. From the get-go, Walski's expectation was for there not to be detailed programs and specific actions. Rather, it would be an outline, written out as a wishlist.
(the way forward, or not, in the full post)

Walski was already half-expecting opposition from the Muslim NGO coalition on the document. Why? Because it's par for the course, whenever anything is mooted (by anyone) that promotes more civil liberties across the board.

But IF the poll results were to reflect the opinion of Malaysia as a whole, then it is only about 6% that feel there is a hidden anti-Islam agenda. Then again, the mind under seige will see threats in just about anything, so Walski's not at all surprised, particularly since 4.5% out of the 6% haven't even read what's contained in The Merdeka Statement. How they know there is an anti-Islam agenda, only they and God can answer.

The People's Parliament also criticized ACCIN's and Pembela's stand on The Merdeka Statement, stating that it is ACCIN/Pembela and their cohorts that are trying to "re-write the social contract". A challenge has also been posed to ACCIN and Pembela - which to date has not been answered (as far as Walski knows). If there is any hidden political agenda, Walski would probably be more prone to believe that ACCIN, Pembela and the like are the ones that have one.

A regular myAsylum commenter, Vedder, thought that the document was spot on in some instances, but didn't include enough, particularly pertaining to fighting corruption, the EC/SPR, IPCMC, and other pressing isues. Walski agrees - but then again, blueprint statement documents usually are vague in certain areas. More than anything else, though, it sets a direction.

It should be obvious where Walski stands - he thinks that The Merdeka Statement is a landmark attempt at steering back Malaysia to a course leading to better things. Yes, it is sketchy in parts, but most blueprint documents are. It does, however, lay the groundwork on which more definite and precise programs can be built.

But only if it is even accepted by the powers that be...