Marina Mahathir wrote an interesting piece in her column today where she called out the Malaysian government for its double standards when it comes to the Bersih 2.0 rallies (Malaysia’s NGO-driven movement for free and fair elections).
She criticises comparisons made by leaders between Bersih and the London riots…
“Now, this is why that schizophrenic inability to think logically comes into play. Despite evidence that none of the 30,000 or so peaceful marchers last July robbed, raped, looted or pillaged, our leaders insist that we would have. They must be looking at mirrors.”
…and she essentially defends Bersih 2.0′s cause:
“So what is the message here? We may be trusted to peacefully protest as long as the subject of our protest is in sync with the Government’s. Otherwise, if we should protest for free and fair elections, against corruption or anything else that the Constitution gives us the right to, we are labelled as unpatriotic thugs out to disturb the peace and destroy the economy and image of our country.”
It’s always interesting reading Marina’s column because she is probably one of the most honest and controversial voices The Star has. This definitely has something to do with the fact that she is ex-PM Dr Mahathir’s daughter and therefore has a lot more freedom to say what she wants without reprimand (though one of her columns didn’t actually get published. But her criticism of Malaysian press for being cowardly was slightly unfair given her privileged position).
But then again, she is someone with strong, individual opinions that often differ greatly from her father’s.So if she’s going to use her name to get those opinions out there – and they really need to be out there – why not?
There’s a great interview of her on Al Jazeera’s 101 East (that I’ve posted below) about the whole “‘Allah’ can’t be used by non-Muslims” issue last year that demonstrates her position and personality. I remember it took me by surprise when she so skillfully put her fellow interviewees in their place – UMNO and opposition leaders alike – without any inclination toward either.
Anyway, her column today is worth a read. Hopefully, all Malaysian journos will be able to write with that kind of freedom one day.