Did the signatories score an own goal ?


Is the Citizens’ Declaration a one-day – or at best, a one-week – news story that is now already stale and forgotten? Or can it really galvanise the opposition and public?

Lim Teck Ghee, The Heat Malaysia

Will it spell the beginning of the end for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the BN? Or has it had the opposite effect of fortifying Najib’s and BN’s hold over power in Malaysia? These are among the questions that concerned Malaysians are asking.

There is another set of questions being asked by activists from civil society, and the answers to which are being viewed apprehensively, by leaders from both sides of the divide. This is whether this latest version of an opposition front, hastily put together, represents a breakthrough in Malaysian politics? Or will the desperation, idealism, opportunism, hypocrisy and the many other motives ascribed to the group that has consummated this unexpected marriage of formerly bitter enemies backfire?

Defenders of the declaration, including Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from his prison cell, and those who have signed it, argue that the strength of the declaration lies in the call for institutional reform to restore democracy, and protect the separation of power of the executive, legislative and judiciary.

But to the casual reader, this call for broad political reform appears as an after thought.

An examination of the declaration which is available in the internet for the public to support shows that only one or two of the 37 paragraphs of the Declaration calls for a repeal of recent laws that violate fundamental rights, and for the restoration of the integrity of institutions such as the police, MACC and Bank Negara.

The major focus of what has now been renamed as the “Save Malaysia” campaign is the removal of the Prime Minister. This is the sole objective of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the prime mover of the Declaration, and apparently, its author.

Following the signing of the declaration, we have seen Mahathir, Muhyiddin Yassin, Mukhriz Mahathir and others from the UMNO ‘dissident’ side reiterate that the main objective is to rid the country – and Umno – of Najib’s leadership. Then, presumably, after that, it will be business as usual for Umno and BN in its running of the country’s government?

Read more here