An open letter to Pakatan’s defenders

Don’t pretend to be any better than the Umno and BN mouthpieces you so despise. Don’t pretend you want to save Malaysia. What you crave is not genuine change, but regime change.

Sebastian Loh, Malaysia Impact

Do you want change? Or do you just want to be proven right? This is my question to Pakatan’s most vocal defenders – the NGO activists, the online columnists, the academics, the social media partisans. I’m trying to understand what makes you tick.

You profess your unflinching loyalty to principle and integrity. You say you’re not like the ignorant, narrow-minded, dedak-eating cheerleaders of Umno and BN. They’re the sell-outs. They don’t know better.

You do. You’re educated, you’re informed, you’re capable of processing the truth however inconvenient. For a better Malaysia, you’re willing to hold politicians – of all stripes – accountable for the things they say or do.

So, why haven’t you behaved this way? Why have you practiced double standards time and time again? Is there no red line as long as you’re against Najib and the government?

You’re furious, banging away at your keyboards, that Deputy PM Zahid Hamidi would highlight Mahathir’s Indian heritage. Where was your self-righteous outrage when Anwar Ibrahim did the same?

You regularly attack Umno leaders for their racially offensive and crass language. Yet you were curiously silent when Mahathir used the word “keling” – a notorious pejorative for Indians – in a political speech.

The Internet would’ve exploded in flames if Najib had said “keling” in any context. Malaysiakini columnists would’ve been busy hammering out lengthy pieces, demanding that he resign for having a regressive mentality. In fact, it was Najib who told Malaysians to stop using the word “keling”, fully aware of the hurtful stereotypes it conjures.

You mock the government for banning the popular song ‘Despacito’ from RTM radio and television stations. You lament that your freedoms are being eroded by religious zealots and “Islamofascists” in the government and in PAS. You warn that we’re fast turning into Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

But you conveniently ignore the fact that Amanah’s women wing had publicly called for the ban. Yes, this is the Pakatan component party that we’ve been repeatedly told practices ‘moderate’ Islam. Funnily enough, we were told the same about PAS when it was part of Pakatan. Déjà vu?

What does Pakatan’s army of committed secularists and liberals have to say about Amanah’s affront to freedom of expression? Why the deafening silence? Where’s your courage? Where are your precious principles?

You demand that Najib resign over the 1MDB fiasco – even though he has never been charged for any crime in any country over the matter. I wonder if you’ve applied the same standard to Pakatan leaders.

Pribumi supreme council member Mohd Zahid Mat Arip was recently arrested as part of a corruption probe into Felda Investment Corporation (FIC). Have you called for his resignation from his party position?

And what about Lim Guan Eng? He’s currently being tried for corruption over a bungalow purchase. Have you demanded that he step down as Penang chief minister?

Are you serious about fighting corruption and racism, and protecting our freedoms? Because it sure doesn’t look like it. Perhaps you’re just looking for an excuse – any excuse – to hit out at the government.

If so, don’t pretend to be any better than the Umno and BN mouthpieces you so despise. Don’t pretend you want to save Malaysia. What you crave is not genuine change, but regime change. At least you don’t have to admit you were wrong – and what could be more terrifying than that?