Let’s keep thuggery out | Selangor Times
Issue 118


Let’s keep thuggery out
Writer: Fahmi Fadzil
Published: Fri, 01 Jun 2012

I have been working for Nurul Izzah and Parti Keadilan Rakyat since October 2010.

When I began, I did not know what I was really getting myself into. I am, by training, a chemical engineer.

But over the years, I’ve donned the hat of a writer, a theatre practitioner, a graphic designer, a teacher, and many others.

Suffice to say that a political activist is but one other hat (or blood-stained medieval helmet) I’ve had to wear.

Before I started, I asked some very close friends if I should get into this thing called “politics” (I’ve come to see it more specifically as “party politics”, because in almost every field of life you will come into contact with politics - office, at home, the theatre, at work, etc).

Some said don’t get into it “because it’s dirty”, while some said the things that I’ve been doing all this while - my writings, The Fairly Current Show interviews, the theatre productions - are all indicative of my own latent and emergent political activism.

In any case, here I am: 20 months of formally working in politics.

Definitely not long, even if I considered my volunteering in the 1999 general election as the start of my political activism.

I’m still relatively a greenhorn, attached to ideals and the ideas of justice and equality still.

Yet these past months have surely tested many an idealist’s resolve.

In particular, let’s reflect on the way in which certain parties have responded to Bersih 3.0.

I refer, of course, to the “butt exercises”, the Merlimau incident where cars were pelted with eggs, and the straight-up intimidation tactics employed to try and cow Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan into silence.

That these parties have specifically targeted Ambiga and not Datuk A Samad Said, a co-chair of Bersih 2.0, is particularly telling, so much so that  Samad has come out to ask if these parties are making issue of Ambiga because of her gender, ethnicity, and religion.

If that is the case - and for many it appears to be so - then such thuggish politics must stop.

In Lembah Pantai as well I have witnessed many examples of thug politics.

In the case of the eviction of residents from the PKNS flats in Kg Kerinchi, several youths who were trying to protect the rights of the remaining residents were physically assaulted by “outsiders” who had been brought in by irresponsible parties - to this day, we have not received word if these “outsiders” will be charged.

Likewise, the case of a threatening SMS received by Nurul Izzah, with a veiled reference to harming her daughter.

And again, more recently, when Nurul Izzah was to do some programmes in PPR Pantai Ria, the hall was blocked at the very last minute by unknown (influential) parties.

What is it about Ambiga and Nurul Izzah which frightens their opponents so?

To the point that their positions and political ideas can no longer be confronted by words, but by fists and/or rear ends? To the point that acts that obviously cross legal lines appear to bring no reprimand against the perpetrators, bringing to fore the lack of political will by the authorities in curbing thug politics?

Malaysia is very obviously at a crossroad, and we must be very careful in picking the path with which we will go forward.

Whatever our ideological differences may be, whatever partisan persuasions we might have, let us be committed and work hard to ensure that we keep thuggery out of politics.



 Selangor Times



Also by Fahmi Fadzil:

Awaiting local, federal elections

THE Malaysian political scene feels like it fits right in with the work of absurdist playwright Beckett’s play entitled ‘Waiting for Godot’, where two characters – Vladimir and Estragon – wait patiently for the arrival of Godot, who never arrives.

New beginnings

Farewell 2012, Hello 13GE

WHAT a year it has been! Who would’ve thought that much of these past 11 months would have sped by with such ferocity?

Reconsidering elected representatives

What is the role of a member of Parliament? A state assemblyperson (ADUN)? A local councillor? 

The day after...

In my last article, I wrote about the need to imagine the hours, days, weeks, and months following the 13th General Election (a most enigmatic event, whose precise date is and will forever be a mystery... until it is called!). 

Change must come but not with violence

A few days ago, I read an article by Liew Chin Tong, the MP for Bukit Bendera, entitled “The Last Mile” (The Rocket, July 2, 2012).

Cleaner, freer, fairer, better

It’s been a good nine months since the epic Bersih 2.0 rally of July 2011. I still remember the days that came before that mammoth gathering - the tension, the stress, the uncertainties, and most of all: the unyielding desire of the rakyat for free and fair elections - and realize that, given the special circumstance that we are in today what with polls being weeks or months away, those thunderous days may not be repeated verbatim.

Tale of two gatherings

This past week saw several different yet, from my point of view, important gatherings of people standing up for what they believe in. I want to write a little bit about two gatherings in particular, and highlight what we may (hopefully) learn from each.

Of sacred cows and secret condos

It’s been a while since my last article appeared in Selangor Times - things have been moving a tad bit faster than usual; even now I’m writing in between completing other tasks, but no matter.

What a year!

“Buka tutup buka tutup mata, dah habis satu tahun.”

TTDI residents ready for futsal 'match'

A few Fridays ago, I received an email from my neighbourhood security-watch committee about a new project that had suddenly mushroomed in our little corner of Taman Tun Dr Ismail: a futsal court.

Neighbourhoods under siege

OF late I’ve been thinking a lot about neighbourhoods – all these places where we grew up, started our own families, and basically watched the nation go by.

Cleaner, fairer, better?

PRACTICALLY everyone who is reading this already knows about the July 9 rally organised by the Bersih 2.0 coalition. I believe that many of us were there on the streets on that historic day.

Maafkan kami

I’m not sure if you’ve been following the news, but earlier in June I was kind of in the news as I had to apologise for some things that I had tweeted in January.

Times of change

Of late, we’ve been inundated with talk about withdrawal of subsidies and subsequently the change in the price of sugar, RON95, gas, electricity, etc – some of which has happened, and some of which (for whatever economic or political reason) has not.

Sarawak, show us the way

The recent Sarawak state elections were such a learning experience for many Malaysians. Irrespective of whether we were active participants in the political battles on the ground, or just curious observers reading the news on Twitter, it is clear that Sarawak – and the rest of the country – can never be the same again.

The Malaysian resistance

These are “artistic impressions” of thoughts circumambulating the increasingly controversial Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
project. I chose to say “increasingly controversial” because we all know we need this infrastructure and thus any opposition to it appears to reject a very public need.











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