Chandra Muzaffar, Chairman of the 1 Malaysia Foundation and a leading BN ‘thinker’, has leapt onto the front pages of the news issuing dire warnings of ‘foreign plots’ to destabilise the government and indeed ‘global security’!
In the process he has astoundingly associated BN with a whole slew of slimy dictators, whom peoples across the world have been pleased to see the back of over the past several months and implied that getting rid of Mubarak, Gadaffi, Ben Ali and others was a bad thing because it might ‘destabilise’ Malaysia!
Plainly forgetting that Malaysia is supposed to be a democracy already and therefore supportive of such key aspects of the free world as press freedom, the right to freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest, Chandra has also engaged in a rant against some of the world’s most respected pro-democracy foundations such as the Open Society Foundation and the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
He blames these institutions for their modest and open grants to civil society groups such as Bersih and Suaram and other groups who have been working to expose corruption and oppression in Malaysia.
But, what about the huge sums that have been channelled by UMNO/BN into his own organisation, 1 Malaysia Foundation? And what about the vast illegal sums that are taken secretly from state coffers to support his own political party’s 50 year stranglehold on government?
Such forgetfulness and double standards on the part of Dr Chandra are regrettably self-damning in the eyes of most onlookers. However, even more self-revealing are his warnings of the ‘dangerous effects’ of small grants by organisations like the NED, drawing attention to their support of pro-democracy organisations in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria:
[NED have] “played a significant role in attempting to destabilise legitimate governments and replace them with client proxies”
“We know of their activities in several countries as what has happened in the Arab world, leading to the Arab Spring uprising.
“There is also proof they provided assistance to groups opposing leaders in South and Central America at one time with the excuse that the leaders were tyrants and undemocratic.
“Similarly, they were believed to have assisted rebels to oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin.”[New Straits Times]
Clear, Dr Chandra regards criticism of tyrants as merely an excuse! He is much more concerned over his apparent conviction that governments should never be opposed or destabilised by organisations that speak out with the truth.
With these words Chandra is lining up BN on the side of despicable past regimes like Libya, Tunisia and Egypt and showing solidarity with remaining dictatorships like Syria and Putin’s Russia! What is more, he is showing a real fear that enlightened people in Malaysia could turf out BN just in the same way that has been happening with the Arab Spring!
Today Sarawak PKR leader Baru Bian, himself a distinguished practitioner of the law, courageously denounced Chandra’s hysterical attacks on Malaysia’s civil society organisations:
“The cheek of the Barisan Nasional to equate its governance and hanging on to power with being a “legitimate government “is laughable and any right-minded citizen of Malaysia would see right through this contemptible claim”, he stated.
“I would like to remind Dato’ Seri Najib that rigged elections that go unchecked, a judiciary that is manipulated, a monopoly of ownership of the media and press to the point that there is no freedom of the press, repressive laws that instil fear in the populace, smear campaigns, unjustified police brutality, royal commissions that are prejudiced and now blatant scare-mongering do not equate to a legitimate government.”
Chandra Muzaffar has made a fool of himself and his 1Malaysia Foundation with these remarks, because he has revealed the deep-seated fear within the cash-rich and power-soaked BN party over tiny little organisations, whose only weapon is to speak the truth.
Malaysia, thankfully, has elections and they are due very soon. So no need to fear a Malay Spring or destabilisation or any other such nonsense.
There should be nothing to prevent a very orderly and normal transition of government, as long as BN does not start behaving like Dr Chandra’s dictatorial friends and break all the rules in a crazy attempt to hold on to another 50 years of power!
That would indeed be highly destabilising and it would be BN whom the world would hold responsible not the champions of democracy.