Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Party and Government are not the Same

Written by johnleemk on 1:38:48 pm Apr 29, 2007.

The foreign press recently drew flak from Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin. Their offense? The dreadful crime of paying attention to the opposition parties.

Zainuddin's eminent reasoning? Because Barisan Nasional has been elected to form the government, it has been democratically chosen by the voters, and thus is the only party worthy of any attention from the press.

Now, Zainuddin, I don't know if you forgot this, but I've got news for you: there are three opposition parties with elected members of Parliament. Why should their voices not be heard?

Is a democracy a tyranny of the majority? The point of a democracy is to create room for dissent, not to stifle it under the sledgehammer of the majority.

The people of constituencies like Ipoh Timur and Seputeh have their elected representatives in Parliament. Should these people not be heard, be relegated to total ignorance by the press, simply because they happen to be part of the opposition?

In the first place, is this not the very antithesis of democracy? By ignoring elected opposition parties, Zam, you are effectively saying their votes don't count! Their voices don't matter! You can run roughshod over them, democracy be damned!

Of course, this attitude is nothing new. Zam is just the latest in a long line of Information Ministers who have decided to quell dissenting voices. After all, in the 1999 general election, the long-running tradition of allowing opposition parties to broadcast their manifestoes on the radio was ended.

Why? Because the radio belongs to the government, and thus should only support the government. That was the eminent reasoning of the Information Minister then — a person so inconsequential I can't be bothered to find out who he is.

Well, I've got news for all you politicians out there: the government belongs to the people, not to the party. The radio (at least, the government-owned stations) is owned by the people, not the party. The radio should broadcast information to help the people decide who to vote in next, not broadcast propaganda to manipulate the people.

Of course, the BN politicians will all ignore this good sense. After all, they don't believe in democracy. They believe in subjugating the Malaysian people to their tyrannical will. After all, Malaysia belongs to the government, not the people. Semuanya ok!

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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

Infernal Ramblings is run by John Lee. For more, see the About section. If you have any questions or comments, do drop him a line.

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