Democracy. It’s happening!
|Zan Azlee is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, New Media practitioner and lecturer. He runs Fat Bidin Media www.fatbidin.com|
APRIL 27 — The heat of the general election can be felt. Rumours have been rife about it happening in June, then September, and now back to June again.
Squabbles are happening between the political parties. Squabbles are happening among the NGOs and squabbles are also happening among the normal rakyat.
Each political party is claiming itself to be the righteous one. NGOs are pushing their agenda, taking advantage of the heightened social awareness.
The rakyat are scattered. Some are just blind faithful to the side they are supporting. Many are on the fence while more just think that there’s really no quality choice.
Then there’s the media. We all know how all these years the mainstream media has always been tightly controlled (or self-controlled) in favour of the party in power.
But it looks like things are changing. Last year, I was a “live” guest on a radio station and I happened to mention Bersih 2.0. I was immediately interrupted and censored.
This year, that same radio station, on the same show I was on, actually had a whole episode discussing the upcoming Bersih 3.0 quite openly and honestly.
Certain newspapers are starting to publish articles that give a more balanced political view of things in the country. Sad to say, television still hasn’t got on the bandwagon.
Even the party in power seems to be taking its role more seriously. They have done many things to try and improve their own performance as the government.
They have formed agencies to study and implement plans to improve the development of the country and raise the quality of the lives of the rakyat.
Heck, they even seem to be playing by fairer rules seeing that they are allowing Bersih 3.0 to happen by stating that “it is not a threat to national security.”
Although to be frank, they are doing quite an about-turn now (with the help of DBKL) that the date of the planned gathering is creeping closer.
And also, suddenly out of the blue, debates seem to be the popular trend among politicians to prove their points and agendas. This has never happened in Malaysia.
We’ve seen these debates happening between high-profile politicians and even activists. And these debates are even getting quite the mainstream attention.
But what I would really like to see is the main leaders such as the prime minister and opposition leader face off, which has yet to happen.
Why is this all happening? Is it because there is a real chance that the party in power (which has been in power since independence) might be out of power soon?
Does this mean that media organisations now need to start playing the neutral card just because they might have to kowtow to new masters?
Do all the businessmen and entrepreneurs in the country now need to form new allegiances if they want to continue to receive government contracts in the future?
Do the normal rakyat now have to start choosing the sides they take carefully, seeing that it might be a big danger to be on the losing side once the war is over?
To me, it all has a simple explanation. This is what I call a true democracy. Well, to be honest, it’s still not there yet, but I think this is all a step in the right direction.
Being a journalist, many people are always asking me why I am always on the side of the opposition whenever I discuss social issues and current affairs.
This makes me want to get all pretentious and quote the writer Haruki Murakami:
“If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg.”
I am humbly of the opinion that for a proper democracy to exist, there needs to always be a strong opposition and a strong minority.
With a strong opposition, the party in power will always have to be on its toes since there will always be a loud voice keeping them in check (and hence, balance).
So with that being said, no matter who wins and becomes the party in power, I will always be on the other side. Someone has to throw the eggs, right?
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.