Rites of revolutionary rectitude

A good deed never goes unpunished.

— Gore Vidal, American critic and writer

America awakened to a new hope and trust in elected officials when John F Kennedy spoke of the “. . . revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought for . . .” in his inaugural address.

Tragically, bullet power silenced his dream which became a recurring nightmare for conspiracy theorists and crime investigators since that fateful day in November 1963.

Kennedy was not saying something new or groundbreaking but merely echoing the spirit that made America what it was, and probably predicted what it may become as a conspiratorial kitchen where a few carefully chosen chefs prepare the national menu of lies and deception through controlled poisoning and closing of the minds.

Most organised governments have experienced this time-tested tribulation when a popular revolutionary belief demanded an opportunity to be in power while robustly promising a new beginning at the voters’ expense.

It was not revolutionary beliefs that motivated Malaya to break away from the “yoke” of colonialism while communism and other regional expansionist threats loomed in the region.

Nationalists, patriots and extremists demanded freedom, liberty to choose their destinies (“independence”).

Malaya was ambivalent when it told the colonial masters to go but stay until the new wheels of government found traction while grinding through the marshy grounds of public opinion.

This was not the beginning of revolutionary thinking in Malaya, but a wake-up call to Malayans to exchange one tyrant for another. The proof is in the nasi lemak.

Today, Malaysians who remember the pre-Merdeka days, and those born after, yearn to live harmoniously with equal rights to opportunities and an equitable share of the national economy despite underestimating constitutional guilt.

“To each according to his need, and from each according to his ability,” is sensible Marxism.

It is certainly not revolutionary thinking when Malaysians today clamour for the removal of archaic colonial laws that have lost relevancy in this age of awareness where the law’s shrieking ghosts and screaming evil spirits scramble to enter another willing host.

Article 153 of the Federal Constitution (FC) reverberates with revolutionary zeal given the fact that the Reid Commission wove it into the fabric of the equality/equity consciousness when it equated the whispering rights of the immigrant labour force with that of the original inhabitants of Malaya designed to maintain the Orang Asli in the periphery of nationalistic consciousness.

The FC also forbade anyone from questioning the rights conferred by Article 153 despite the hazard-free zones offered by Section 3(2)(c)(i) and (ii) of the Sedition Act 1948 in which pointing out a defective law, and offering a remedial amendment to an unconstitutional law, is not seditious per se.

Being adherents to hero worshipping elected officials is an abominable shame that justifies the selection of cronies to positions of power and authority premised upon pre-election pledges and promises. Most are incompetent. It is not revolutionary thinking for the passage of the National Merit Act in support of Article 136 FC.

Article VIII of MA63 is a remarkably robust revolutionary rite guaranteeing autonomy to Sarawak that Putrajaya is uncomfortable with given the fact that this prominent treaty provision is validated under customary international law. Many misconceptions and misinterpretations have sprouted wings. Revolutionary thinking for the obedience of equitable laws defines and refines a civilised society.

Was it a revolutionary act when the FC was invoked to usher in the new federal government without elections? The message was crystal clear: why bother with elections if the FC — the supreme law of Malaysia — can be wisely employed to save unnecessary resources and acknowledging the Agong’s power to make a constitutionally mandated decision where money politics is rendered moot.

Malaysians, generally, want decent and affordable housing, healthcare, education and employment opportunities. Importing labour and paying minimum wages is not the solution.

But, paying Malaysian workers competitive and attractive salaries to preserve
the country from an influx of foreign workers, and their problems, is not revolutionary thinking.

Is it revolutionary thinking to demand equal spending on educational institutions given the intent and ambit of Article 152(1)(a) and (b) FC which encourages support and endorsement of all vernacular languages by the Federal and State governments?

The rites of revolutionary rectitude must unite to support the FC when it is on the verge of collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.