The 10th of November, to quote a friend’s LJ post.
On 10th November 2007, about 10,000 to 30,000 Malaysians marched peacefully to the King’s Palace to demand electoral reform (aka clean elections). For some, they demanded the King to take action. For others, it was a final plea to the only uncorrupted authority in Malaysia left. In recent months, the Monarchy has taken an unusually loud stance on matters in Malaysia. They have spoken out against corruption, on the need for integrity to return to this country, on the need for judicial reform.
The Monarchy has been tarred for many years, since the days of Mahathir, if tongues are to believed. Despite this, there is still a fear of the Monarch’s powers, or Daulat in Malay. It’s hard for me to express it in English; it’s the right to rule, but the Monarch also has divine powers, even though they seem to have been ridiculed and demeaned in Malaysia, but they still hold a mystical power over the people.
Some have painted the Monarchs and their families as living off the State and are no more than wastrels; I sincerely doubt that. After all, one of our Sultans (King) was once the head of the Judiciary in Malaysia (before the executive came down hard on the Judiciary for doing its job). Raja Nazrin, the second in line to the throne of Perak (a state in Malaysia) has come out strongly against corruption and spoken to the urban common man (because the rurals are still more concerned about bread and butter issues, which is the domain of Abdullah).
Coming back to the Rally…
I did not go. At 3pm I was sitting in Food Foundry with some friends having lunch and listening to their stories of horrible traffic jams. I would only find out the reason for the traffic jams when I got home; the police had blocked off major parts of the roads and entrances to the city center in anticipation for this rally, expecting a riot. There was one, at the Masjid Jamek entrance, but honestly, from what I’ve heard, it was the fault of the police; they were being far too trigger happy, but I suppose when you have 10,000 people in yellow in support for the monarch (Yellow is the official colour of the Monarchs), marching on you, who wouldn’t be scared?
But according to reports, I’m proud to hear that other places passed without incident. The police let them march, and when ordered to disperse, they did. Thank God for that. Malaysians are by and by a passive and law-obeying lot. We don’t usually fight against authority. But in this case, the demand is there and clear.
With the elections slated to arrive within the next few months, I know which way I’m voting. I can only hope the elections will be clean. Do YOU know how you’re going to vote?