Friday, March 11, 2011

They Say Malaysia Is Not Egypt But Don't Be Fooled Yet!

This was Najib said on The Star on 7 February:

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has warned against any attempt to usurp power in Malaysia, using demonstrations like those in Egypt.

'Don't think that what is happening there must also happen in Malaysia. We will not allow it to happen here,' he said at the national-level Chinese New Year open house in Miri.

Egypt has seen 13 days of protests for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and the embattled regime failed to clinch what would have been a landmark deal with the opposition groups yesterday. The parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, rejected as insufficient an offer to include them in the political reform plans.

Many people including his ministers (all the yes man) said that no way Malaysia will end up the same fate like Egypt. But to some, the statement by these people reflect the state of denial that Malaysia is in, although it is not likely to be the same as Egypt. Famed Washington Post deputy editor Bob Woodward famously labeled on of his books as "State of Denial" reflecting on Bush's yet to tell the American public on the truth on Iraq. Like Bush, Najib and co refuses to believe that

Egypt bears some similarities that Malaysia have but the economic levels of Egypt is not the same as Malaysia. That is why people in Malaysia don't feel the same level of heat and emotion as in here. But the similarities that we witness from there are:

1. Both countries still have 'emergency laws' yet to be declared over in black and white. The last emergency law, the 1981, declared following Anwar Sadat's assassination has yet to be declared over. Likewise in Malaysia, the law that was declared in 1974 following the Baling uprising has yet to be declared over. To this day, it makes it impossible for people to gather in groups more than 5 people. 

2. Malaysia has the similar democracy system in name as with Egypt - election system, cabinet minister, prime ministers but no president. They are both elected from the parliament.

3. In Egypt, the constitution was amended to allow Mubarak to contest for another 6 years. This was amended in 2005. Similarly, here, the election law was amended that if there are any deaths three years after the election, there would not be any-election. Also, another election law amended was to bar anyone who resigned as MP or assemblyman for five years. In this instance, Wan Azizah, who made way for Anwar to contest in Permatang Pauh would not be allowed to contest until August 2013.

4. Similar detention laws are there. Malaysia is ISA, while Egypt has a similar set of laws. Political opponents are treated as enemies of the state and criticism at the government could not be tolerated at all and considered as "belot" or "dirtying the national image" as what some "Yes-Man" politicians would say. For Muhyiddin to say that it is wrong to compare African states with Malaysia, then he got it wrong. Or in a inverted statement, they are actually fearful of potential fate similar.

5. There are also secret police in both countries. Tunisia recently announced the dissolvement of the secret police. The method of operation and the perception is very somewhat similar to the Nazi's Gestapo.

I initially made the assessment that Malaysia can end up like Egypt if there is a national scale disaster that will hit everyone. But alas, when I recently listened to a podcast recording by RPK entitled: Beating Malaysian Authoritianism With People's Power (you can listen here as well), it seems that the scenario that plays out in Egypt is not going to be like in Malaysia. They said that Malaysia will not be like Egypt or any other Arab nations involved. This is partially correct. 

In fact there is another potential disaster that can start a potential revolution.


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