The title of this post has two meanings. The first refers to the following message from TRH about the TBH tragedy which the PM should take heed. If the PM continues to do nothing and still allows his spin factories to spew shit, he might one day wake up to find "TRH for PM" a reality.
This TRH message closes the door on any justification that the government may be tempted to hide behind to conceal any truths. The question remains; will he close the door on PKR too? After all, he had a front row seat when we saw the original UMNO Lama implode 2 decades ago to be replaced by Mahathir's party, UMNO Baru. Please read:
by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
Mr Teoh Beng Hock’s death marks a watershed in the attitude of the public towards their government. The government has plumbed a new low in loss of credibility. Many people have come up to tell me in anger or despair that they feel their country has gone off the rails. People who previously considered themselves apolitical have been roused into active engagement.
There have been too many deaths under custody. But this death is particularly disturbing because Mr Teoh died after interrogation by a specially commissioned watchdog agency, inaugurated with fanfare last year by the outgoing administration. The very agency set up to combat the abuse of power has become in the public eye a symbol of the abuse of power.
Mr Teoh was a mere witness. He was questioned about the possible misuse of funds by his employer, a state assemblyman, to buy flags for the last Merdeka celebrations. The sum in question was RM2,400. He was questioned for eight hours through the night. He was found dead the following day outside the MACC’s headquarters.
Mr Teoh, 30, would have registered his marriage last weekend. His fiancée is two-months pregnant.
If the Perak debacle reminded us of the importance of the Constitution, the death under suspicious circumstances of Mr Teoh Beng Hock has brought home in a heart-wrenching way how much we need our public institutions to be independent and law-abiding. A shocked public is demanding answers, and rightly so.
Questions about how Mr Teoh died cannot be shut down with the usual warning that it is “liable to confuse the public” because the public is already confused. We are confused about how an idealistic young man with everything to live for can enter the headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission as a witness one day and be found dead outside the next.
Questions about the death of Mr Teoh cannot be swept aside with the paternalistic instruction to “leave it to the authorities to investigate,” because the death of Mr Teoh appears to be just the result of “leaving it to the authorities investigate.” It is precisely the independence of the investigating authorities that people are questioning.
Questions about the death of Mr Teoh cannot be suppressed with the warning “not to speculate” when the investigating authorities were apparently able to prognosticate, ahead of their own investigations, that foul play was not involved, and some leaders appear to have special knowledge that Mr Teoh jumped to his death of his own accord.
Questions about the death of Mr Teoh cannot be evaded with the low tactic of racializing the issue because the death of Mr Teoh touches us all as citizens, brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers. None of us wants to live under a government apparatus that cannot be trusted to be independent and to tell the truth.
Questions about the death of Mr Teoh cannot be suppressed with authoritarian prohibitions because they are about the integrity and independence of institutions that belong to the people. Those ministers who talk down to the people may have forgotten who put them into government and pays their wages, and whose questions they were put there to ask. And to answer.
To ask such questions is not to “politicize” the issue but to exercise our ownership of an issue that touches each and every one of us as citizens: our basic institutions are rotted out, and we are headed down the path of a failed state.
It is our right and indeed our duty as citizens to keep asking questions when someone dies under circumstances that put the entire government under a shadow. As we ask these questions let us accept our joint responsibility to push uncompromisingly for an overhaul of the key institutions that have rotted through under exactly the kind of authoritarianism that would prohibit discussion of the circumstances of the death of Mr Teoh Beng Hock.
UPDATE: 4.18 PM
As reported in The Malaysian Insider
Why I shall not be accepting Zaid’s offer
JULY 22 — I am honoured that Datuk Zaid Ibrahim should speak so highly of me, and consider me worthy of national leadership. He invites me to join PKR, and to dissociate myself from a party which he now finds fascist and racist.
I am under no illusions that Umno is bound for destruction on its present course. Neither do I hold unrealistic expectations about the possibility of reform when the rot has gone so deep.
I offered myself for the Umno presidency last year on an agenda of thorough-going reform. I proposed a complete democratisation of Umno by opening all positions to election by every ordinary member and abolishing quotas on candidacy. I said Umno must do this to be consistent with the principle of democratic governance demanded by the Federal Constitution. Every member’s vote must count, and every member must be free to offer himself for leadership. I was stopped by the quota system that I opposed.
I am the last person to entertain illusions about the ease of reforming Umno. The party that I joined half a century ago as an idealistic young man has indeed lost its soul. It has become corrupt, this corruption has weakened it, and as it grows weaker it is tempted more and more to fan racial feeling and abuse public institutions to maintain power. This is a death spiral.
I am aware of Umno’s weaknesses. I have not failed to point them out from a sense of loyalty to the cause for which Umno was formed in 1946, a cause which our present corruption betrays.
I am not in Umno because I “harbour hope of saving Umno” in its present incarnation. I remain because the cause for which Umno was formed, and the principles which guided its promotion, has not gone away just because we have lost our way 60 years later, and they need to be upheld.
The high principle of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Ismail, their devotion to nationbuilding, their incorruptibility, their sense of fair play and their devotion to duty, exemplified for me as a young man the meaning of this cause, and how it could be both Malay and Malaysian, nationalist and cosmopolitan, traditional and contemporary, at one and the same time.
The Malay cause was not premised on an eternal zero sum game between the native and the immigrant. We meant to build a nation united by a prosperous, confident and enlightened Malay community, not a permanent state of divide and rule by political lowlife. We meant to foster Malay leadership worthy of national leadership, and we looked to our common future as Malaysia rather than to our past as people accidentally brought together by colonial history.
So much is ideal. Yet it is important that we hold up ideals in today’s moral chaos. The future of our political system lies in a healthy, competitive democracy. If so, whether or not it looks realistic right now, we shall need a reformed incarnation of this nation’s most important political party. The Umno ideal which I embraced half a century ago has a role to play in the future we hope for.
A second reason I shall not be accepting Zaid’s kind offer is that things have deteriorated to the point that party affiliation is really not the issue anymore. The issue is how we are to save our country.
Our major public institutions and our political system have degenerated to the point that the public no longer trusts them. A democratic system of government cannot function below a certain threshhold of public confidence. The suspicious death of Teoh Beng Hock under the custody of a watchdog body reporting directly to a prime minister who has his own public confidence issues may have pushed us below that threshhold.
What we must do now goes beyond political parties. We need the rakyat to rise up to claim their institutions, and demand that our public institutions are answerable to them. We must wake up to our sovereignty as citizens, reclaim the constitution which constitutes us as a nation and guarantees our rights, and demand a comprehensively reformed government to restore public confidence. We must do this before it is too late.
UPDATE 23rd July
I like this response from steadyaku47:
Why I will not be accepting Ku Li’s decision to not accept Zaid’s offer…
With respects Sir your personal want’s matters not at a time when the country requires your guidance and wise counsel. We have need for an elder Statemans to sit within our midst to ensure that the path we take is the right one. We have need for a voice of reason to take us on a ‘steady as she goes’ course as Pakatan Rakyat sails into uncharted waters not knowing what it will encounter in the need to ensure good governance of our country in the days to come. Who else will do that for us? Who else will have that strength of character to stand up against the likes of Anwar, Tok Guru. Kit Siang and Kapral if not you Sir? Who else will not turn and run when push comes to shove in the hurly burly of the ‘take no prisoners’ politics of UMNO? Who else but you Sir.
I am past listing the litany of abuse and deceits of UMNO. I am past trying to understand the stupidity of those in power to constantly abuse the trust we have place in them. I am past being angry at the audacity of those whom are sworn to protect us continue to time and time again, do us harm and cause heart aches to those whose love ones have died in custody.
Let me not belittle our call to you Sir by equating it to a call to National Service. As you said the situation we have now transcends party politics. Will you then Sir, rise above party politics and lead us for as long as you physically can and then we will allow you to retire with the thanks of a grateful nation and its people….and if it does any good at all Sir, this heartful plea comes from a Budak Kolet despairing of what our country has become.