Never trust a person that has let you down more than 2 times. Once was a warning, twice was a lesson, and anything more than that is simply taking advantage, and in the Reformasi episode, they are simply taking us for rides.
For nearly two decades a generation of students, professionals, educated middle-class right to the average man in the streets have believed and supported the Reformasi movement initiated by Anwar Ibrahim when he was expelled as the Deputy Prime Minister after falling out with the premier Dr. Mahathir back in 1998.
They have braved themselves, traveled miles, risked their safety and security to join the massive street demonstrations. They have taken to the streets facing tear gas, chemically-laced water and bludgeons, and multiple arrests (some even carrying their near infant children with them) in the belief that their sacrifices will be able to bring some very much needed social, political and economic reform to the nation.
For the very first time, the country saw the togetherness of Malays, Chinese, and Indians fighting against preferential treatments to cronies, using state funds to bail out prominent conglomerates and lack of transparency under the perceived “tyrant” rule of Mahathirism.
Many leaders and supporters were also locked up, arrested and detained under the ISA for participating in the movement in the belief that this multi-racial unity and uprising of the middle class will end all abuse by the group of elitist lead by Dr.Mahathir and cronies who had manipulated the political and administrative system to their favor.
Slogans such as “Undur Mahathir”, Mahazalim, Mahafiraun etc was used to drum up support to end the 22 years of authoritarian rule under the Mahathir regime.
Muslims NGOs such as ABIM have put aside racial religious divide in an ideological call for reform against the multiple mega scandals and abuses of power by the much hated and resented Mahathirism regime.
The Reformasi movement was seen as an iota of hope to bring reform based on values and social justice and Anwar Ibrahim was seen as the “Renaissance Man”.
The desire for reform and social justice was a natural political calling for these largely idealistic youngsters and educated middle class who had craved for a cleaner political and administrative system for the future of the nation.
Many have broken out from the comfort zone of their home, campus and workplace in the belief that their sacrifices would suffice to bring about the much-desired change to a political-legal system that has been destroyed by Mahathir’s rule.
To these believers, it is not about Anwar Ibrahim alone but a means and an opportunity to end the two-decade rule of Dr.Mahathir, a man much hated and feared by politicians, judges, government servants etc.
Now after two decades and lots of murky water having flowed under the bridges, things have changed! Suddenly there was an air of despair and a sense of having been cheated when Pakatan Rakyat founded on the people’s movement referred to as “Reformasi” was changed to Pakatan Harapan to accommodate Dr.Mahathir’s racist party under pribumi. The People’s Pact (Pakatan Rakyat) has suddenly been changed to a Pact of Hope ( Pakatan Harapan). It sounds more like a “pack” of Hope for Mahathir and Anwar. What about the Rakyat’s hope?
Adding insult to injury, Mahathir was made the Chairman of the transformed opposition front for the Rakyat but butchered to only the Hope of two.
Either Mahathir has been transformed or he is now a Transformer.
As if Mahathir’s self-announcement that he is the top dog in the newly minted Pakatan Harapan is not enough.
Sources have conveniently leaked to the public that the man is now the nominee for the premiership in the event the Pakatan Of Hope wins the coming election.
Is this an attempt to test the market? It was strategically revealed that the political bureau on Dec 19 had reached an agreement that Mahathir will be the Prime Minister again. In a further surprise to the people, it was revealed that this time Mahathir is not going to jail Anwar but instead he has agreed to release Anwar Ibrahim from jail.
Isn’t this pushing the Reformasi babies a little too far to the corner?
The reformist movement is a calling and a desire of the people and it is not about the political charades of two “ old men”.
The nation had gone topsy-turvy for decades as a result of the political games of these two old men who had manipulated the Rakyat from race , culture to religion.
Will this paradoxical gambit spell the end of Anwar and Mahathir politically? Isn’t it about time that they should make way for younger more credible politicians with less political and personal baggages. Will these latest political trade-offs be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back?
Is this the END?
Can someone please bring the curtains down!