DANIEL TAN’S OPEN LETTER TO THE UMNO PRIME MINISTER
I am your average Joe guy in my late 40’s, living a comfortable life in a quiet suburban of KL. I call myself a political agnostic with no particular inclination to any political party. You can call me the fence sitter or the middle ground voter. In the last 20 years of my voting life, I have always voted based on issues, swinging my votes between BN and the opposition depending on the hot issues of the day.
I voted BN in 2004, giving your coalition a massive mandate post-Mahathir and the reverberating message of Change espoused by your predecessor. And when the message Change remained a message, 4 years on, I voted for the opposition, and what follows is history.
I understand you are trying very hard to court people like me and I supposed all this alphabet in the soup moniker- ETP, GTP, NEM, etc. are part of your big strategy to win urban voters like me Honestly, I am not sure I am thoroughly convinced. I will let you know why. Deep down in my guts, I am not sure whether your message of Transformation is real or not.
Not so easily swayed or fooled
And even if you are sincere, I am not sure whether your party UMNO is behind you or not. You see, Dato Seri, we bunch of urbanites are a whole lot of skeptic people. I am aware you are trying to change, modify or remove old archaic laws like OSA, Printing Press & Publication law, Assembly law, etc, in time for GE 13.
All that seems good only on paper. Yes, some part of the draconian laws are repealed but it’s a half measure efforts at best. Worse, the new revised laws are more harsh with many punitive clauses opening the possibility for abuse.
You see Dato Seri, many of us are educated overseas or have worked outside the country – in short, we are fairly connected to what’s happening around the world. Through internet and our network of friends around the world, we know what is the free press, freedom of assembly, rule of law, etc. – so giving the old furniture a veneer shine without removing the termite infested part is not going to excite us very much.
So on Apr 28, I decided to walk for the first time for Bersih. I was never part of Bersih 1.0 and 2.0 as I was not clear what is the message of Bersih in the first place. The last thing I wanted is to be used as pawn by any political parties.
But Bersih 3.0 message was very clear to me. After Bersih 2.0 , I followed closely the development on the demands of Bersih to EC, the formation of PSC, etc. I was stumped over and over again at how your EC brushes off the allegation of dubious voters list, the non-committal response to clean up the voting process – I made my conclusion that EC and your coalition BN are never serious about electoral reform in the first place.
A very big step for Malaysia
To be in Bersih 3.0, is a very big step for me as a political agnostic. I just want to be there, to feel the environment and be part of something good for the country.
Who doesn’t want a clean and fair election, let alone you the Prime Minister who has been quoted more than once that you too want a clean election and not want to win by fraud – so how bad can Bersih 3.0 be - although I have friends warning me that violence may happen. How wrong I was. ( or naïve ? ).
The violence I witnessed from 3.00 pm onwards on that day, completely put me off. Never in my mind, I imagine our PDRM can be so cruel and inhuman to attack the rakyat who are there just to be part of the nation’s aspiration for a clean election. To witness the beating with my own eyes, makes it even more painful.
I am spared from bodily harm but my heart is hurt. Hurt for thinking we had a caring government and a responsive Prime Minister. All completely vanished under the smoke emitted from the tear gas.
I walked away home with only one resolution – that I will give my vote to the federal opposition and this is one middle ground vote that BN have lost on that fateful day.