Firdaus Tarmizi

SPR vs BERSIH Debate: Apa Selepas 9 Julai

In Politic on July 26, 2011 at 9:24 pm

1.  Perhaps, unbeknownst to the majority of us, there was a stimulating SPR vs BERSIH debate today, and I only knew about it from YB Sim Tze Tzin’s Facebook page.  Maybe, the timing of 2:00pm – 5:00pm is not convenient for a lot of us.  Beats me why they can’t broadcast a debate on a topic as important as this at prime time.

sprbersih - from YB Sim's FB

Apa Selepas 9 Julai? Exactly the question to ask.


2.   This debate was a pleasant development for me because I did mention here that I was looking for an intellectual debate on the issue.  I was hoping the opportunity will be used wisely because from what I can see, since the moderator managed to be non-partisan, this should be a good platform to understand the view from the opposing sides.

3.  I won’t be going through all the points made in the debate.  Perhaps you can catch it later from somewhere like Media Rakyat.  What I want to do instead is highlight some interesting points, and perhaps sums up what I think in the end.

4.  Points to highlight:

a)  Wan Ahmad, the deputy-chairman of SPR, is a brave man.  I say this because it was not so much a debate between Wan Ahmad vs Ambiga, but more of a showdown between Wan Ahmad vs the opposition/BERSIH-biased crowd.  He had to go through a grilling from the audience during the Q&A session, and most of the points he made was booed or shouted down.

b)  Wan Ahmad, however, did seem condescending towards the crowd, which might explain the their belligerence towards him.  His admonition such as (not verbatim) “See, you don’t know the law but want to debate here.  Go and learn the law first”, or “The opposition is too confrontational.  BN is nicer when dealing with us”, though might be on point, would seem a tad tactless.

c)  Quite a lot of the defense given by Wan Ahmad was along the line of “we do not have the power to change things”.  If so, who has the power?  Who should take the lead in reforming or improving the electoral?  If they do not have the power to change things, why vehemently reject BERSIH instead of channeling the demands towards those who has the power (the AG chamber, and the parliament, in this case)?

d)  I hate the argument of “if the opposition becomes the government, they would certainly do the same to guard their interest”.  This is related to the previous point, when/if the matter of changing the law is brought up to parliament.  The point is, it doesn’t matter who the government is.  If we disagree with a policy, we’ll disagree.  Perhaps, BERSIH 3.0 will be against the new government instead.  Who knows?

e)  Something very true was said by Wan Ahmad.  It was in regard to a question from the audience of “Why is it that the majority of people distrust the SPR right now”.  Wan Ahmad correctly responded by saying “How do you know what the majority thinks?”

I hate it when anybody, be it the government or the opposition, says they are representing the silent majority on an issue.  Such arrogance.

f)  The audience heckled like primary school kids, on any points they disagree upon.  Third world mentality.

g)  Lastly, a dumb ass from UNISEL stood up and, despite the fact that he is in a multicultural and multi-religious forum, spouted some crap about how demonstrating is Haram in Islam.  Good thing the moderator didn’t even bother to entertain the “question”.

5)  I would like to sum up the entry by something said by one of the observer.  This is not exact and I might even be misunderstanding it, but in short, he said our country had went through a couple of circles of democracy/politics.  The first circle is made up of the Merdeka generation, and the second circle consists of highly educated, well-informed, technological savvy generation.  The first circle perhaps will find it hard to understand the reason for freedom of expression, of open debate, of the right to disagree and to dissent.

It just made me wonder in which circle our politicians are in.


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