"Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under." - HL Mencken

COMMENT Apparently by writing for Malaysiakini, I am part of a plot to destabilise the government. Truth be told, Umno has been doing a good of job of destabilising the institution(s) of government for the past 55 years. To Umno, anyone who disagrees with them are traitors.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is a traitor to his race. The DAP are communist traitors to the country. PAS are traitors to Islam. People who march demanding free and fair elections or march against state-sponsored racism are traitors to the constitution. There are only patriots and traitors in 1Malaysia and if you do not support Umno, you are the latter. Also, you are most probably gay.

Under the vomit-inducing headline of 'Plot to destabilise the government', the New Straits Times (who I believe are propagators of a plot to destabilise rational thinking) outlined a chilling scenario of a motley group of new media types (which includes Malaysiakini) and social activist organisations who are apparently being funded by a nebulous American entity to destabilise the government and the implication being, to create chaos ... CHAOS, I tell you, in Malaysia.

You know they are scrapping the bottom of the credibility barrel when they quote Just World president Chandra Muzaffar who gravely intones that NED (National Endowment for Democracy, the nebulous American entity in question) is responsible for funding NGOs in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria "in the name of democratic freedom with the objective of making people rise up against leaders who were allegedly deemed to be cruel."

lebanon forum 050906 chandra muzaffarThe "allegedly deemed to be cruel" part is funny considering the well-documented cruelty of the regimes in question by their own citizens but the howler is when Chandra (right) questions the credibility of NED because it "could threaten global security".

This should give you the kind of ideas Chandra's Just World is promulgating. Of course, we don't have to imagine what kind of ‘just world' he envisions because we here in Malaysia having been living through it for the past 55 years.

And of course the usual, there's that added anti-Semitism when he reminded us that Zionist groups who maintain good relations with the Jewish government are behind NED - as if bigots ever made the distinction between Zionism and Jews. I mean really, the gays and Jews; one could imply that we are slipping into some kind of ... wait for it ... Nazi state.

Thank God, Kita president Zaid Ibrahim gets the joke with his ‘Any Jews want to donate to my party" tweet.

Same narrative

Meanwhile, I caught vocal independent (sic) MP Zulkifli Noordin (whenever Zulkifli spouts his nonsense I picture Tweety that Looney Tunes character rambling on. "I tawt I taw a Pakadan rakical." "I did, I did see a Pakadan rakical") on TV9 claiming insider knowledge of how Anwar was training his supporters to "take to the streets" because there is no possibility of Pakatan ever gaining the Putrajaya crown.

Chandra has been peddling this same narrative, which is kind of funny because even during the height of the reformasi movement (where I was milling about with my PAS comrades) there was never even the slightest inclination for the crowds to be violent in any way.

Indeed in every subsequent protest, the greatest anxiety caused was by the presence of the police, who everyone - Malay, Indian and Chinese - viewed as an impediment to free assembly and not facilitators of it.

hindraf british petition rally 251107 plaza ampang hosedEven in that dark day of the Hindraf protest when I felt the true malice of the state, nobody in the crowds meant to overthrow the government. The thought never crossed our minds. Whenever we go out to the streets, we go with the belief that our cause is just, that our means legitimate and without malice in our hearts.

There is always a genuine sense of brotherhood amongst the people who march, especially when it is a racially-diverse crowd. This is not a forced brotherhood; this is not a manufactured sense of belonging but rather a spontaneous eruption of "we are all in this together" vibe that no amount of Rukun Tetangga-ing can indoctrinate.

Do we want a change of government? Yes. Do we want it at the cost of blood? Absolutely, not.

By continuing to pursue this narrative, Umno only makes it seem that we have no other avenue for change, which is certainly not the case. We want to make our decision known in the ballot box, but it is Umno who is shy to pull the election trigger.

After all, the only people who have been violent are those who support the dogma of the current regime. And when we have a home minister who will not guarantee the safety of the opposition parties in this country, it just reminds us that the Umno regime is like a cornered animal bearing its fangs at those who it perceives as a threat.

We were traitors

Perkasa information chief Ruslan Kassim may blame the Jews for pitting Muslims against Christians, but it has always been Umno who has stirred the racial and religious pot.

Some still make the claim that there is a Christian conspiracy here in Malaysia but the reality is that for years there has been appeasement for the sake of living with ‘Umno's peace' but all that it has got us is the radical shrinking of our religious rights.

And now Christians, Hindus, Buddhists (did I leave out anyone?) are being radicalised by a sense of purpose not cultivated by the opposition but rather by the unjust treatment of Umno.

The horrifying fact for Umno is that there are Christians, Hindus and Buddhists in the opposition and all, if not most, of them are very firmly entrenched in their beliefs but yet they make it work. They demonstrate that no matter how difficult and contentious it gets, there is another way besides the Umno way of doing business here in Malaysia.

NONEThese are some of the traitors that Umno would have the world believe are attempting to destabilise the government and make every Malaysian wear V-neck T-shirts.

And as I have said before, every country in the world has elements that would want to violently overthrow their governments. What Umno has done is ruin the credibility of those institutions entrusted to weed out and destroy those elements. What Umno is doing is crying wolf against the very citizens who are doing what would benefit the country most, exercising their democratic rights.

I have been around. I know that there are many so-called organisations out there, mostly American, who under the guise of democracy promotes their own agendas. This is a fact.

But even if NED is one of those, what the government needs to do, is prove that an organisation like Malaysiakini is attempting through propaganda to destabilise the government. They could do this by pointing out where Malaysiakini has lied or invented stories that would create mischief and chaos in this country.

This is perhaps difficult to do when your own propaganda organs have admitted to spinning stories and engaging in outright falsehoods just to "support the government". These fabrications and spinning, which if the laws of the land were applied fairly, would be considered seditious and created to sow distrust and hate amongst the citizens of Malaysia.

But in the end, we were traitors. For 55 years, we were traitors to the principles of democracy. We were traitors to ideas that would have moved this country beyond what Umno had envisioned for us. But not anymore. Not anymore.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.