I can understand many Malaysians’ anger at Israeli aggression and their heartfelt support for the Palestinians’ desire for nationhood. Any rational and reasonable person anywhere in the world would feel the same. What I don’t get is why Malaysians don’t express the same intensity of emotion when it comes to abuses at home.
Israel’s justification for its actions is self defence. That’s a fair position but when it has to be achieved at the expense of Palestinians’ rights, it becomes an untenable position. No doubt the issue is not as simple as Palestinian rights vs Israel’s rights.
The West Bank and Gaza, which are inhabited by the Palestinians, are controlled by the Hezbollah and Hamas respectively and both are supported by Iran. There are legitimate concerns to ensure that these two areas are not used by Iran to train its guns on Israel or turned into a battleground for a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia as is happening in Yemen in the effort of both countries to assert their influence in the Middle East.
The Palestinian-Israel issue is a complex one and to understand it for a real solution one needs to consider the roles Iran and Saudi Arabia play in the Middle East as well. The Internet is full of information on the complexities of the Middle-East and anyone who is truly interested in it can easily get all the information they need. My point here is not to discuss the Palestinian issue but to use it as a backdrop for what’s happening here in Malaysia.
Many of Israel’s actions may be seen as violations of international laws and the human and democratic rights of the Palestinians. But Israel does not see its actions as violations but as necessary acts of self defence. It is a stand similarly taken by the Prihatin Nasional (PN) coalition. PN is an unelected, self-appointed coalition in government without the mandate of the people.
Malaysia under the PN coalition has abandoned democratic principles. It has enforced emergency to rule by decree, not by the mandate of the people, and has suspended Parliament.
In that sense, how is the PN any different from Israel? Or Myanmar or Thailand? Like Israel, the leaders of these nations have interpreted the laws of their respective countries and human rights in a way that justifies their action to seize power and to remain in government. Like Israel, they don’t see what they are doing as wrong.
So, if Malaysians are quick to see the wrong of Israel, why don’t they as swiftly see the wrong of the PN coalition in justifying themselves according to their own interpretation of the Federal Constitution? Why this seeming silence? Only the Opposition protests and a small number of people. But the majority seem to be accommodating the PN coalition.
If something like the Sheraton Move and the coup that followed took place in Indonesia, Indonesians — like the Myanmarese — would have spilled on to the streets by the thousands and demanded the restoration of democracy. But, Malaysians? We make a lot of noise when it comes to another nation or a Muslim nation but remain coy and tolerating of constitutional infringements in our own country.
We need to get our own house in order first. Then, we can confidently go to the rescue of another nation in the spirit of solidarity. We need to fight for our rights of self-determination through the democratic processes and demand that these processes are complied with with the strictest of commitment. When we have succeeded, we can speak up for other nations and we will be heard and respected!
I hope our fighters are in hiding rather than not being in existence and will come out when the current surge of covid 19 subsides! There must be a nationwide cry to restore Parliament and the democratic processses. If democracy is what we want then we should be willing to fight for it. We should no longer trust the leaders to make decisions on who should rule but demand the restoration of democratic processes and rule by the mandate of the people.
Malaysians, let’s fight to get our house in order first.