I was at the forum styled “Nothing to Hide 2.0”. It was quite a frightening moment for me. When the flares were thrown from the back of the hall and bottles were flying towards Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, I thought some people were going to harm him.
It crossed my mind that they might even burn down the hall. I rushed to a side door but it was locked from the outside. Someone was frantically kicking the door but we couldn’t open it. Panic set in. Were they really going to burn down the hall with us in it?
Fortunately, I was able to leave by the back door, and I felt relieved that I was safe from harm although my bad back hurt all that time we were rushing away from the mayhem.
The initial reaction of the Police was to say that they needed to talk to the organisers for what one of the officers described as “a security breach”. This is absolutely shocking. Whatever the organisers may or may not have done, the first thing the Police should do is to go after the troublemakers. That’s what they should have said.
But we live in a rogue culture. Our leaders behave like rogues and feel very proud of having such traits. Our young “political operatives” are trained to behave like thugs, disturb meetings and march to Parliament to assault MPs.
Our Police seem reluctant to come down hard on such behaviour maybe because they think it’s the kind of thing approved by the top. A magistrate imposed a token fine on the person who assaulted MP Khalid Abdul Samad, but in other more civilised countries, the perpetrator would have been handed a deterrent sentence. Even our magistrates must take cognisance of this rising roguish culture.
We should not be cowed. I urge the Parliamentary Opposition to continue having such “Nothing to Hide” meetings. That’s the only way to beat these rogues — who have everything to hide. Fear and ignorance are their only weapons, and the people of this country must not be afraid of them.
However, other leaders from Pakatan Harapan must participate in the “Nothing to Hide” gatherings. They must emulate Tun Dr Mahathir and not be afraid to answer all kinds of difficult questions. They must be willing to be open and transparent.
The people of Malaysia will be happy to have an alternative style of leadership. For many years, they have been accustomed to leaders who are prone to using bullying tactics and talking rubbish but who have always handed out money in exchange for political support. Thugs and rogues are the results.
To my fellow-politicians, I say this: let’s put a stop to this and start treating Malaysians with respect. Let’s give them the right information and the right perspectives. Malaysians are smarter than what politicians might think.