Leadership by Example Were Mandela-Gandhi Virtues, Zambry!

Press Statement by Member of Parliament Klang Charles Santiago in Klang on 13th May 2009
Academics, legal experts, rights activists, opposition politicians and the public have spent long hours zeroing in on every crease and crinkle of the political impasse in the northern state of Perak. Their verdict has been unanimous in calling for a fresh mandate in the silver state.

Either that or the back and forth political wrangling, which has now been brought to the courts, would continue to the detriment of the people and nation.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his UMNO-led coalition government must take a realistic look at the political mess in Perak and call for new state elections. Perakians must, once again, be given the opportunity to choose their government.
Furthermore, Najib cannot afford to add more scandals to his ever expanding list. Or the shock value of the last general election would be amplified at the next polls.
Let’s look at Najib’s brand of leadership:
1)      a) he is intolerant towards alternative thinking and resistance;
2)      b) he used the police to drag out speaker V Sivakumar at the May 7th illegal assembly sitting;
3)      c) he ordered the police to arrest scores of people who had turned up outside the Perak Secretariat building to oppose the illegal assembly sitting;
4)      d) he ordered the arrest of political scientist and activist Wong Chin Huat for calling on Malaysians to wear black to mark the death of democracy following May 7th.
Then he tries to gloss over his political highhandedness by conditionally releasing the detainees held under the Internal Security Act. This shift to diplomacy would not go anywhere as the people are not easily fooled.
Najib has to work really hard to win the confidence of the public. He could start with allowing for another election in Perak. It is certainly the right thing to do.
Instead, the premier’s recent announcement saying there would be no snap elections in Perak contradicts his rhetoric which seems poised to break new political ground.  But, increasingly his 1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now slogan begins to sound nonsensical.
First we have the High Court deciding that Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin is the rightful Menteri Besar of Perak. But the very next day, the Court of Appeal grants a stay of execution on the High Court verdict, leaving the state government in a limbo.
But what does Najib, the premier who talks about unity, democracy, credibility and putting peoples’ interest above everything else, do? He passes the responsibility to the Perak Ruler saying it is his prerogative to call for fresh elections.
Najib must understand that UMNO can no longer cash in on its legacy of Malay rights, affirmative action policies and special privileges. The people are aware that these slogans now denote corruption, nepotism, and cronyism and only helped to line the wallets of the elite.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, fondly known as Mahatma Gandhi, is reported to have unleashed the most powerful instrument for gaining the trust of the people – leadership by example. In line with this Najib, who took over the leadership of the country amidst dwindling credibility, has to allow for another election in Perak.
But would he choose to lead by example? Or would he prefer to use the existing laws in the country to curb dissent and any other opposition to his rule?
This is a million dollar question that only Najib could answer.
Charles Santiago
Member of Parliament, Klang
Vice-Chairman Selangor DAP