Who is this mysterious Andrew, who has been criticised by a few readers of this blog? Here, the academic-activist explains where he is coming from:
Let me clarify that I am first of all, a Penangite and a Malaysian who believes in democratic discourse. Thus, unlike some of those who have attacked me on a personal basis above (and previously in other posts), I am more interested in the substantive issues at hand. So, let’s focus on the discussion instead of personalities. Consequently, I see no reason why I should give anyone my IC number or my full name if I choose not to do so in my comments to Anil’s blog. This is my democratic choice just as I do not demand anyone to disclose their full identity if they criticise me. I would honestly prefer if we addressed the issues.
Hence, I find it disturbing here in Anil’s blog to read postings that reflect die-hard partisan positions towards those whom we disagree with. One would have hoped for better considering that many of us who post comments are from the educated middle-classes; the enlightened intelligentsia of our society if you please.
I am a voter who has consistently voted for the opposition since 1981. And despite this, I think it as important today to criticise the DAP/PR government in Penang as we did before when Gerakan/BN was in government. And I criticise this state government today because in my opinion, they are NOT PERFORMING and NOT LIVING UP to their election manifesto and the CAT commitment they made to us Penangites. Indeed, the DAP/PR government today is beginning to look more and more like Gerakan/BN in their cosying up to big business interests, especially contractors and building/housing developers, in the state – and at our expense! As well, CM Lim Guan Eng seems to me to be more interested in scoring brownie points against the BN at every opportunity instead of getting on with his job as CM of Penang overseeing good governance.
For me, it is important that citizens who believe in democracy consistently play a role in checking those we have elected to power irrespective of where our political persuasions lie. Just because I voted opposition does not mean I should support the opposition unthinkingly to the hilt and not criticise them no matter what! Indeed, to take such a position would mean giving up my intelligence and my commitment to democracy. This I am not willing to do so. After all, I got too good an education in St. Xavier’s Institution under the La Salle Brothers from 1970 – 1980 to do this. I am thus, even though a DAP/PR supporter, NOT WILLING to give this DAP/PR government in Penang a free pass. But if Sarah, Penangites, Periperichickeneh and others want to give this DAP/PR state government a free pass, that is their free choice. But not me. As an activist-academic, I have no desire to allow any government to do as it chooses. So, please don’t attack me personally for exercising my free choice in a democratic society. After all, I do not believe nor engage in personal attacks. But it would certainly help if those who disagreed with my views instead engaged with me (and with others reading Anil’s blog) by commenting substantively in favour of this DAP/PR government. I am certainly happy to read what others think about this Penang government.
In this light, I also see nothing wrong in MCA/Gerakan members who lost the last election also voicing out their opinions, views and/or criticisms of this DAP/PR government. What’s wrong if they want to criticise or speak up in a democratic society? Just because they lost the state elections does not mean that MCA/Gerakan members and supporters have lost their democratic rights, does it? Thus, if Koh Tsu Koon wants to speak his mind that’s his right. (Of course, that does not mean we need to listen to his rantings, does it?) Indeed, I would hope KTK and his Gerakan/MCA members continue playing an active role in keeping this DAP/PR state government of ours on the straight and narrow path, i.e. in fulfilling their manifesto commitments and CAT to us Penangites. As I see it, Penang will be all the better for this. Failing which, I am afraid that our discussions shall only deteriorate into grubby mud-slinging which does nothing to advance the cause of our democracy.
Finally, two clarifications. First, Penang NGOs and individuals have been plugging away at all state governments even before Merdeka in 1957. Penang NGOs and individuals have been enhancing Penang’s civil society for years. CAP and ALIRAN are current living proofs of this. For readers to suggest that NGOs and individuals have done nothing for the last 50 years during BN’s tenure in Penang is a blatant lie and smacks of maliciousness. Second, it is also a blatant lie to suggest that the Tg. Bungah folk who banged pots and pans on Valentine’s Day in Chee Seng Gardens have never protested against hill-slope development when Gerakan/BN was in power. Just because the protests were never carried in the mainstream newspapers previously DOES NOT mean that there were NO protests. Had the internet existed way back in 1993 when the Chee Seng residents first confronted Koh Tsu Koon and his administration one quiet night in a Chee Seng Gardens Residents’ Association meeting along Jalan Chee Seng 8, the issue of dangerous hill-slope developments would have gone public and global even then. :))