Articles, Opinions & Views: Is the government afraid of local council elections? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Is the government afraid of local council elections? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Malaysiakini : "The ultimate goal is to bring back local government elections. Within the next 100 days I will try to come out with the legal framework and mechanism for this." – Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng.
COMMENT | The Harapan grand poohbah Dr Mahathir Mohamad comments that local council elections could lead to racial strife because of the urban/rural divide is the kind of horse manure that some Harapan operatives are pushing in lieu of policies that would enhance democracy in this country.
They say all politics is local and with this in mind, the continued reluctance of some Harapan political operatives to strengthen and enhance the democratic processes should convince rational thinking Malaysians that Harapan’s neo-BN polices are the framework for this New Malaysia.
When the prime minister claims that local council elections may produce the “wrong” results, what exactly does this mean? While the prime minister does not define what a “wrong” result is, it is pretty clear that a wrong result would mean that whatever racial formula that politics in this country is defined with would be chucked aside.
When political operatives clutch their pearls about the rural/urban divide, what they are worried about is that the rural demographic, which is continuously screwed over by the federal bureaucracy, would react in predictable ways to upset the apple cart when egged on by opportunistic political operatives. The federal government prefers it when it is the opportunistic political operative.
Kudos to the chief minister of Penang who stated his position without the predicable waffling of some political operatives who go against the federal line. Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow – by clearly stating that Penang has been preparing for local council elections for the last couple of years and is ready to go – is demonstrating the kind of change that many Malaysians voted for in the last general election.

It is also indicative that the current Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (photo) was laying the groundwork for local government elections (if I am wrong please correct me), which is something to commend, unlike his recent obsequious behaviour when it comes to diktats from the corridors of power in Putrajaya.
The quote that opens this piece by Lim Lip Eng should tell you the importance of local council elections when it comes to the democratic process in this country. It should also tell you that, at one time not too long ago, Harapan political operatives were interested in restoring the process that was shelved decades ago. Why? Because they understand that this system works. They understand that this process repairs the democratic foundation of this country, which has long been eroded during Umno/BN’s administration.
For far too long, the federal government through their proxies have engaged in corrupt practices and destroyed the environments to satisfy commercial interests, while people who live in these communities have had very little say over.
Cynthia Gabriel wrote this: “It is troubling to see that Dr Mahathir appears cornered to racialising the issue as was done by various parties and by the BN previously” about Harapan seemingly taking local council elections off the table.

Remember when Lim Kit Siang said the same about Abdul Hadi Awang (photo) and the BN regime? In a speech in 2015, Lim Kit Siang neatly demolished the mendacious racial arguments put forward by certain political operatives to curtail the democratic process in this country.
Hadi, like many other political operatives, claimed that local council elections could lead to another May 13. This was Lim Kit Siang’s response: “It is, therefore, a great fallacy for anyone to assert that the restoration of local government elections could result in another May 13 race riots. However, with Hadi opening the way, I will not be surprised if this will henceforth be used by reactionary Barisan Nasional leaders as an additional reason for opposing the restoration of local government elections.”
Funny, right? I wonder if Kit Siang is surprised that reactionary Harapan leaders are opposing local council elections using the same argument?
Kit Siang’s formidable argument
Read the whole speech and you will discover that Kit Siang makes a formidable argument for restoring local council elections. He rightly points out that the urban demography is changing. It has been changing for years. Agreeing with Ong Kian Meng, Kit Siang wrote this: “I don’t think Kian Ming can be faulted when he concluded: “While the Malays may be slightly under-represented in the voting population in some of these urban areas because of their younger demographic profile, it is clearly wrong to say that the DAP will dominate local elections on the basis that urban areas are largely Chinese-dominated.”
Claiming that the current prime minister may not have the latest statistics as Kit Siang does now is a disservice to the powerful arguments that he made in the past - and a disservice also to political operatives, civil society, academicians and the spirit of the Harapan manifesto that promised a renewed spirit of strengthening democracy in this country.

Also, see the recent comment of Kua Kia Soong (photo): “In the 1960s, many towns and cities were run by the Socialist Front. This was the real reason for not wanting local elections and not because of the so-called “racial divide”. Anyway, Mahathir now heads the old “opposition”, so there is no reason to fear such competition.
This, of course, leads me to think that the real reason why some political operatives are concerned about local council elections is because it would demonstrate that the Malay community would desire to have clean local governments, contrary to the claims of mainstream Malay political dogma.
Local council elections could act as some sort of non-partisan political catalyst because ideas would be transmitted from the urban Malay demographic to the rural populace.
What would happen if the rural folk suddenly have all these fancy urban ideas about good governance, local activism and sustainable solutions to local problems, instead of the big federal government’s racial and religious solutions? What if they realised that they controlled the levers of powers instead of the people they elected?
More importantly, this would empower civil society actors, who may not have allegiance to the federal government, political parties or corporate interests but who genuinely want to serve the community. Local elections could also be a stepping stone for young people and their political activism, concentrating on local issues instead of attempting to grapple with larger issues that are mired in “Big Politics” which, truth be told, is not result-orientated.
So it is good that Mahathir’s statement is getting blowback. Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin statement that her ministry would continue pushing for local council elections is a welcomed departure from some of the statements by the other champions of democracy.
But there is no need for further study. Civil society and politicians have been talking about this for years. It is not as if we did not have local council elections before it abruptly ended. We know that it has worked before and what is needed is fine-tuning. Maybe.
DAP’s Phoong Jin Zhe, pleads that we should discard the racial lens for policy decisions – when it comes to something like the local council elections for example – but more importantly, his piece demonstrates that there are some Harapan political operatives who publicly disagree with the racial reasoning of the current prime minister when it comes to policy issues, instead of bending over. What Harapan needs is the DAP of the Old Malaysia as a vanguard for New Malaysia, not as a rear guard for Neo-BN policies.
Bringing back local council elections is going back to our democratic roots. If anyone is making the argument that it could lead to racial discord, or that we are not ready or there are bigger issues at play, we have to ask: do these people really want to “save Malaysia” or do they want to serve their partisan interests?
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:47 AM  
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