Side Views

The right to choose — Lim Sue Goan

NOV 19 — The most valuable part of a democratic and pluralistic society is the right to choose. Everyone can choose to support anything they think is right.

The United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) rally scheduled on November 25 with the objective to pressure the government is a choice of struggle.

The United Chinese School Teachers Association (Jiao Zong) and the Federation of Chinese Associations of Malaysia (Hua Zong) have the right not to participate and choose to correct the unreasonable content in the National Education Blueprint preliminary report through communication and follow-up.

Similar to anti-environment movements, some people chose to take part in the 300km Kuantan-KL Green Walk. Their persistence and perseverance has won respect and admiration.

In politics, people also have the right to choose whether to change the government, strengthen the two-party-system or maintain the status quo.

Changing the government is an ideal and it can hardly become a reality if only a small number of people is supporting it. Therefore, the ruling and opposition coalitions must convey their political programmes and policies to the public through various platforms, including mass assemblies and annual general assemblies to fight for more support.

To me, the Pakatan Rakyat’s performance has not yet reached my personal demand. However, as I believe that democracy requires checks and balances, I support the two-party system. If the majority supports the two-party system, it is possible to bring a major change.

In a democratic country, everyone has the right to choose based on their own judgement and cognitive thinking. Therefore, it is not necessary for others to be so nervous or intimidate them to change their stands.

Many people have been confused about the meaning of democracy due to the intense political struggle. Some people have been excessively fanatic to the extent of slandering and labelling those who have made a different choice.

French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher Voltaire said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Who can still remember the words? Many people have instead lost their magnanimity and tolerance and attack whoever says something unpleasant. Democracy should never be like this.

All people make mistakes, regardless of how just they claim themselves to be. Calling themselves just does not mean that they cannot be criticised and corrected.

Barisan Nasional has indeed made many mistakes and there is much room for improvement. Similarly, the Pakatan Rakyat state governments also have many inadequacies in governance. Being overly emotional has caused everyone unable to see the reality clearly.

Back to the Dong Zong rally, it is a peaceful civil demonstration and it is not necessary to label it as an “anti-government” movement. Adopting the path of dialogue to fight is not “heinous crime” either. Why can’t the Chinese organisations work together to achieve the same goal since all of them are serving the Chinese community? Without tolerance and the sense of balance, it could end up following the path of politics, namely people categorise those who are not called friends as enemies.

Most Chinese affairs are of voluntary or conscience nature. If it evolves into a life-and-death game, the Chinese community will first collapse before the winner of the political game is decided.

Life was boring and monotonous in the past when people were not granted the right to choose. It is good to have choice. But choices also bring us confusion and distress.

As the general election is approaching, people become more and more impetuous. We must first calm down to avoid being diverted by “choices”. — mysinchew.com

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

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