MAY 26 — Can you hear it? Listen closely. Now can you hear it?
I am talking about the deafening silence from the prime minister downwards on the burgeoning violence and thuggish behaviour by Umno and its subsidiaries.
What happened at the PKR ceramah in Lembah Pantai, where blood was drawn after rocks, eggs and bottles were rained on PKR leaders by Umno Youth affiliates, was not the first show of state-encouraged violence.
It is not even the second or third time, but the umpteenth time in recent months that groups affiliated to the ruling party have shown disdain for the rule of law.
Nurul Izzah Anwar and Mat Sabu have faced stones and thugs before while speaking at Felda events, Lim Guan Eng faced thugs during the anti-Lynas demo in Penang recently, and Bersih organisers in Merlimau had their vehicles damaged. And the list goes on.
Never before have Malaysians witnessed state-sanctioned violence on this scale against Malaysians. At Lembah Pantai the other night, the police stood by and did not lift a finger when the Umno affiliates pelted PKR leaders. The same thing happened in Penang.
When the police send a “message” to thugs, political parties and silat groups that no action will be taken against violence, it is only natural that these elements will be emboldened further.
When the national leaders “encourage” the violence through their silence, is it any wonder that the establishment forces are using violence?
Khairy Jamaluddin told Malaysiakini that the party leadership did not send out a memo asking that opposition rallies be disrupted. They don’t have to; their silence and quiet enjoyment is evidence of their complicity, desperation by politicians who have forgotten that they serve at the rakyat’s pleasure.
It is clear that the violence will escalate. Umno wants Malaysians to be cowed, to believe that there will be trouble if they are kicked out of power, that our personal safety will be compromised if we support the Opposition. They want us to go back into our shells, quivering in fear.
But why should we? No one ever said that change would be easy or painless. There are many Malaysians today who are willing to stand up and fight. Let us honour them by standing side by side with them. And to hell with those cops; they are as useful and competent as the security guards in your neighbourhood.
* Jacob Sinnathamby reads The Malaysian Insider
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.