[Blog] The Paranoia and Fear of an illegitimate power. By Jose Mario De Vega

The Paranoia and Fear of an illegitimate power
By Jose Mario De Vega

I refer to Eileen Ng’s “Anwar radio interview ban counter-productive, egg on BN’s face, say analysts”, The Malaysian Insider, February 14.

Said report pertains to “the latest move by Putrajaya to bar local business radio station BFM from airing an interview with opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the Kajang by-election.”

Mario De Vega

I completely concur to the view of an analyst that said move “is counter-productive, and may cost BN crucial votes on polling day.” It is stupid, to say the least and utterly childish to the maximum!

For indeed, “it has also made a mockery of Putrajaya’s denial that the Malaysian media is freer than ever before after Reporters Without Borders’ 2014 World PressFreedom Index findings showed that press freedom in the country has dropped to an all-time low of 147 out of 180 countries.”

The analysts and political scientist Dr Jayum Jawan of Universiti Putra Malaysia said “that there were many avenues for Malaysians to access Anwar’s interview and already, podcasts of the interview have been downloaded and shared on social media.”

As he stated:

“People are angry and insulted. They are being treated as though they are not able to filter what Anwar says. The public can evaluate for themselves whether he is speaking facts or talking nonsense.

“It is not helping BN if they want to win the by-election…”

This is a clear case of political harassment and clearly shows a vulgar display of power of the powers that be.

Worst, the very act of silencing Anwar and banning altogether his interview is a direct assault on the constitutional right to free expression, not only of Anwar, but also of the said media outfit.

The victims here are not only Anwar and BFM, but all Malaysian citizens whose right to free expression and political information were brutally violated and savagely stifle by the bloody fearful establishment.

The media

The role of the media in any given society is to inform the general public on events and issues that affect them.

The Media as the “Fourth Estate”

It is undeniable that “access to information is essential to the health of democracy for at least two reasons. First, it ensures that citizens make responsible, informed choices rather than acting out of ignorance or misinformation. Second, information serves a “checking function” by ensuring that elected representatives uphold their oaths of office and carry out the wishes of those who elected them.”

In almost all civilized jurisdiction, “the media is often called the fourth branch of government (or “fourth estate”). That’s because it monitors the political process in order to ensure that political players don’t abuse the democratic process.”

In the words of the young Karl Marx:

“It is by profession the public watch-dog, the tireless denouncer of those in power, the omnipresent eye; the omnipresent mouthpiece of the people’s spirit that jealousy guards its freedom.”

The Malaysian Insider report also noted that another analyst, Dr Ooi Kee Beng categorically lamented that: “The move to silence Anwar is also a sign that the ruling BN government is afraid of the opposition leader, which will further drive a wedge between the electorate and the government.”

Bull’s eye!

The undeniable fear of the powers that be to the de facto opposition leader

Dr Ooi said said another equally bull’s eye that “the fear of Anwar was partly because the former deputy prime minister was the glue that holds the opposition Pakatan Rakyat pact and has the personality to enable Islamist PAS, secular DAP and multiracial PKR to work together.”

I overwhelmingly agree that Anwar “was an important factor in the development of Malaysian politics and coupled with the possibility that he might be the next Selangor menteri besar, it would elevate his status as a Malay leader with real power, away from his current position as a facilitator or power broker.”

Mr. Ooi, the deputy director of Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies also categorically stated that:

“It is not strange BN is shaken. Imagine Anwar with official power, even if he’s not prime minister, becoming the menteri besar will be a game changer…”

Only a stupid or worst an idiot of the highest order will fail to see the very reason behind the banning of the said interview: paranoia and fear of the ruling power!

The undeniable fact is that this grim paranoia of the establishment stems from their extreme fear of Anwar’s political power and natural charisma as the true leader of the masses and the Malaysian rakyat!

It seems to me that they will do everything within their power just to derail Anwar’s train in reaching Putrajaya.

Eileen Ng also noted that:

“Anwar PKR’s colleagues also denounced the ban, saying it was a clear indication of extreme intolerance and undemocratic conduct of the Najib administration.”

PKR vice-president N. Surendran said that:

“It shows their extreme fear of Anwar and Pakatan so much so that they can’t see any other way to counter him except by silencing him…”

Agree, but the problem with that is that, as I’ve already stated: the act of silencing Anwar is also an act of depriving the people to listen to his views and position. The act of the powers that be in depriving the people from listening to Anwar’s thoughts is unconstitutional, by virtue of the inescapable fact that it violates the provision of the fundamental law and negates the rights of the people to their freedom of expression.

The freedom of expression clause of the constitution as an inherent right of the people provides the following:

The freedom to speak
The freedom not to speak (to shut up)
The freedom to write
The freedom not to write
The right to broadcast
The right not to broadcast
The right to listen
The right not to listen (to walk away)
The right to join associations and organizations
The right not to join associations and organizations (to boycott or to ignore), etc!

In all these rights under the said constitutional provision, the government is mandated by the Constitution not to interfere or to encroach on the right of the people whether they will exercise said rights or not.

The government cannot exercise or carry out these rights on behalf of the people. For in truth and in fact, all these rights are exclusive privilege and subject to the personal discretion of each citizen.

I agree with PKR strategist Rafizi Ramli’s warning that “the ban was a sign of things to come, where the media would receive “interference” from the federal government in an attempt to stop Anwar from reaching out to the masses.”

Warning to the powers that be

You can ban all the interviews of the opposition, but you cannot ban the power of the people whose allegiance and support is with the opposition.

Do not ever forget that only 49 percent (even this is questionable) of the people believes in you.

You can ban the airing of whatever interviews which you deem inappropriate to your taste and view, but you cannot stop the people from getting the information in whatever means available at their disposal.

Yes, the revolution may not be televised, but be put on notice that people power will be launch and unleash again and again on various social networking sites.

You may ban any newspaper that you do not like, but you will be powerless to control the tremendous power of public opinion and the strength of an enlightened populace.

For you cannot distort the truth, twist the facts and lie to the people. The Malaysian people are well aware.

The days of race politics is over. Your power play is dead. Religious supremacy, racism, discrimination and intolerance, etc. are things of the past! They are dead and gone! So are you!
Game over! Hence, surrender power to its true owners and genuine source: the people themselves.

ALL POWERS TO THE PEOPLE!

HIDUP RAKYAT!

Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Philosophy lecturer
College of Arts and Letters
Polytechnic University of the Philippines

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