In any regime change, the greatest fear isn’t the dismantling of old policies and institutions. The greatest fear is that the new powers to be will go on a witch hunt and treat the previous leaders as they were treated under the previous regime.
Sometimes, I wonder if that’s what’s going on in Malaysian politics. We are in transition, moving from a singly-party rule to a two-party or multiple-party rule, but we, apparently, are not managing the change well. Perhaps, we need to learn a thing or two from the more developed Western democracies. They went through the instability of change centuries ago and have learnt from their experiences and have institutionalised laws so that change is implemented without or minimal turmoil or violence. The election of black president Barack Obama of the United States is a case in point.
In Malaysia, it appears as if both sides are in fear that the other side will eliminate them or get them in deep hot soup or, worse still, use laws to get the old powers to suffer the same fate the new political forces have suffered.
The incumbents are, naturally, insecure that they are losing majority hold. Added to that is the fear that the antagonistic opposition may get rid of them should the former rise to power. So, they would rather eliminate the opposition than co-exist with them and conform to the democratic process.
The opposition, meanwhile, can only see the injustices done to them and react to make the incumbents even more insecure. So, we have this scenario where both sides are making the other side more insecure and no one is making any headway and the country drifts in this maelstrom of insecurity.
For the sake of the country, these boys’ brawls between the two sides should end. Politicians should man up and start doing what they have been elected to do!
What I have described is just one undercurrent in the volatile political situation we are facing. There are many other factors involved but this could be an underlying motive.
We can go on fighting but to what end? It’s like boxing air! For the sake of the country, may be, it is time to make peace now. Both sides have to give up something for a livable compromise. The incumbents have to come to terms with the fact that they are losing majority support; the opposition has to give up a deep-seated agenda to take revenge.
In this context, I believe, Christians on both sides of the divide can play a key role in bringing about reconciliation and stability. We can encourage our side to give some assurances to the other side for the sake of political stability. Perhaps, that is what is now demanded of Christian politicians, whether in the ruling alliance or in the opposition — to be peacemakers.
Doesn’t Jesus say in the Beatitudes (Matt 5: 9), “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”? If we want to be seen as children of God, perhaps, we need to first be peacemakers. Perhaps, that is also how we will see righteousness in our own lives and in the lives of others, as James 3: 18 states that “peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness”.
Perhaps, that is the call to the Church of Christ in Malaysia in these trying times: Be peacemakers.