Rakyat’s will be done

TOMORROW we will be 60 years as a nation. As we approach this auspicious event it is opportune that the issue of "dictatorship" finds space in the media.

Though it is not news, it is very much welcomed that it is now deemed "politically correct" to discuss it publicly.

Lately, we learned that not all "dictatorships" are necessarily bad. Many Iraqis for example are clamouring for a strong leader like Saddam Hussein, including those who toppled his mighty statue not too long ago.

Some even regarded him as a hero in the fight against foreign intervention. They must be right given that the US-imposed "democracy" post-Saddam is evidently far worse. In other words, what the post-dictatorial regime brings forth as a substitute is what matters most.

Whether the "dictatorship" is to be "cursed" or otherwise, especially when one is part of the apparatus, can be a matter of convenience rather than principle. Meaning, when it comes to the crunch one has no hesitation to support or even practise "dictatorship" under various guises. This is historically the case in desperate moves to cling to power. The end justifies the means is well entrenched in all forms of dictatorship.

For some developing countries, dictatorship is "celebrated" as a form of "benevolence" in their rush to become wealthy. Malaysia and Singapore are said to be notable examples, enabling them to speedily develop albeit more so materially. And at the expense of civil rights causing a state of affairs that is quite the reverse.

That said, dictatorial practices are not just limited to any individual. They include the whole system that lends sympathy to the dictator where the supporters, including businesses, benefit immensely from it. More often than not, they are happy to sustain the system in line with the axiom: the end justifies the means. Thus unless the entire ecosystem is dismantled, the "dictatorial practices" are kept alive in "spirit" come what may.

A good example is a "prisoner of conscience" who suffers from unjust detention without due process (as in the case of the ISA or any new variant). That is to say even in the absence of similar draconian laws or legislation in the ecosystem, it does not automatically translate that there is no "prisoner of conscience" among the citizenry. This is because dictatorship can exist in many forms – some more explicit than others.
As such it is fair to assert that abuses of any law and legislation to suppress civil liberties are also deemed as "dictatorial". Communist states are well noted for this, which without doubt are "dictatorships" – commonly identified with "dictatorship of the proletariat". The "workers" are empowered to rule in the transition to allegedly establish a more just "classless" community. At least this is the theory, which in reality is oppressive and violent.

For this reason, the concept is gradually being discarded blurring the distinction between the "modern" communists and their capitalist counterparts. Ironically, the lifestyles and preferences among the elite in both systems are equally opulent and extravagant. Yet, they are generally accepted and befriended by many including those who otherwise blame all things on the "dictatorship". The double standards are unmistakeable yet as a matter of convenience rather than principle, pushed by the need to survive politically or otherwise.

Regardless, there is no room for any resemblance of dictatorship at any level in our midst – explicitly or otherwise. As we progress we must struggle even harder to achieve a truly just democratic nation as envisaged in Wawasan 2020.

No one should be allowed to desacralise our deep respect for those who had gone out of their way to bring freedom to this nation long before Merdeka was declared. Henceforth, take not their names and sacrifices in vain by ensuring that our Merdeka is one that is undeniably of the rakyat, by the rakyat and for the rakyat as it was intended to be. Salam Merdeka!

With some four decades of experience in education, the writer believes that "another world is possible". Comments: letters@thesundaily.com