It has now been a week after the unconventional but nothing new, street demand in Kuala Lumpur for a good cause. It was unconventional because the country has not expected a full fledge determination by the organiser of BERSIH 2.0 to demand a correction to the wrongs that they have perceived and experienced. The organiser, all along has wanted the government to take drastic changes to what they feel is an unfair and less than clean election process. I can feel their frustrations as more information has surfaced over the internet lately over claims of phantom voting, postal votes irregularity and unfair delineation of voters’ constituency, just to list some. In all justice and fairness to the organisers, which comprised of more than 60 NGOs, this is a case or an effort to correct the wrongs. Their effort from the past however was not fruitful and this time they were determined to seek the interference of the highest authority of the land, the King. They want to send a simple eight-point memorandum outlining what they have always thought should be done to ensure a fair and clean election to the King, in a very peaceful way. Is this wrong? An effort trying to correct the wrongs?
My perception to date is that the government has not denied the wrongs but has made an attempt to block people from correcting the wrongs. Of course given the benefit of doubt, maybe the government has all along thinks that there was nothing wrong with the election process. Would it be case that the wrongs is right to them? But denying the organisers a right to correct the wrongs may seems to a great violation to democracy in the land. At least what the government can do is to adopt an approach to acknowledge that there were weaknesses in the election process; working gradually to correct the wrongs while creating a mileage of co-operation in the eyes of the organisers. It surprised me as I observe the aggression and determination by the government to block the demand for correction. It’s unconventional to see the government has chosen to re-act this way. I have not seen this re-action before in our over half a decade independence. The whole episode has reflected patchy work and decisions by the government which disheartened me because the crises management was a failure.
For now, the bigger challenge for the government is to find solutions that continue to back their actions before and during the street demonstration. Both parties, the organisers and the government have raised the bar or stake so high that neither, in my opinion would be able to back down. But I reckoned that there was a failure of the government’s crises management. Wronging the right ones may not be the best option but my perception tells me it has happened. Outlawing the demonstration, blanket detention of NGOs and politicians, indecisiveness of government in allocating in-door venue and the disparity in understanding between the government and the palace are some apparent signs that should not be the outcome of a good crises management. This is a wronging the right ones approach in the management, of course this approach will create more unsatisfaction among those that so adamantly thinks that they need to correct the wrongs. I reserve my judgement (but do have a political view) but instead chose to write on how the government has handled this crisis.
It appears, from the massive writings on blogs, the people in the land have been divided further. Each taking a view on how the situation should be handled, as the mishandling does have a very long term consequence politically. The few prime ministers before the current one (again I reserve my judgement on their wrongs and rights) probably have chosen a better approach of solving crises. They have probably chosen options that appears to be co-operative enough, an approach as important as part of negotiation and compromising. Perhaps conditions have changed and the current one has far too many reasons for his action, a defensive one as I see. Or could it be a case that the people in the land has matured politically over time that they have more stands on the leader’s approach?
As a leader I would have allowed the people to demand corrections unless I have something to hide. I would seek co-operations, I would let the people maintain the confidence in me and I would want the people to see that I have corrected those wrongs in the days to come. I would not choose approach to anger my subject further, I would not want them to see me in an untrustable situation and of course, I would still need them to support me. Unless the stake is too high I wouldn’t want to think or re-act as the government has reacted. What we have seen, from a lay man perspective has increased the awareness for clean and fair election; and of course in the (dis)process has divided the people further. The people will now be more alert to see the wrongs and be able to distinguish them from the rights.
Given a choice of Correcting the wrongs or Wrong the right ones, I will choose to correct the right ones as a leader. Correcting the right ones demand the ingenuity of the leader in crises management where the leader must acknowledge firstly, that’s what the people wanted. He, the leader is a servant and must be able to work things out for the people and in the process gradually correcting the perceptions of the people. This approach may satisfy the people and the leader’s own. Having said that, the leader must show that he is trustable and I like many others, would like to see.