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Feb 17, 2008

On Illegal Protests,

a reaction by a law-abiding Malaysia

It is impossible to complain about the rules of the game against the person who made the game, umpires the game and controls most of the players in the game, without breaking some of the rules.

It is easy for Abdullah Badawi, and everyone else in BN to accuse others of breaking the law, because they define and decide who breaks this law. It is his government that decides what is a peaceful protest and what is not. They do this both technically (because the Home Ministry gives the permission) and practically (because they send troops and spray chemical water that make people run because their eyes are on fire). If they gave the permit, or didn't send troops, all that would happen would be a large assembly of people, sending a memorandum and roses. They'll come, speak their voice and go home.

So to accuses a rally of being illegal, without telling us why specifically this rally was disallowed, is hypocritical and self serving. Quite simply, why is okay for UMNO Youth to rally, shout and scream outside the US Embassy, but not for common Malaysians to walk the streets with roses and a memorandum?

Thus there are two points to be made here
a) the government's specific behavior in permitting protests are self-serving and hypocritical. It is designed to support themselves and force the Malaysian society to believe only what they want them to.
b) it is a logical fallacy to accuse and abuse protesters of illegal behaviour solely for the illegality of that behavior, when you are the person who created the illegal behaviour to begin with. It is like an abusive parent punishing you for drinking juice, without telling you why only you cannot drink juice and other people can.

To fully obey the letter of the law in Malaysia means to only criticize the government when they allow you, and only in a way in which they allow you to. Malaysia wants to be the center of the World, a World leader in technology, business, education, sport; but if in this age 5 people cannot have a meeting without a permit, then the only truth is the Government speaks in the language of today but thinks in the dark ages. It is a brutal insecure Government, a bully who feels strong because they have guns and troops, but are unwilling to trust and teach people. Unwilling and maybe even unable to convince and persuade people to do the right thing.

So the question us Malaysians must ask ourselves is, are the rules fair? Are they equally applied to us? You may not have been the unarmed man on the street, being beaten by a policemen wearing a helmet, shield and baton, sadly all paid from his (and our) tax money. But you live by the same laws he does, your children educated by the same system, your company controlled by the same laws, your religion observed by the same officials, your IC and passports issued by the same ministry. When your goverment does something that you feel unfair, will they let you speak out at them or will they beat you in the street like a dog?

Act now before you are left with no choice. Vote for change.


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