December 28, 2016
Imagine a world without activists
by Stephen Ng@www.malaysiakini.com
Free Riders Everywhere You Look
In the story, ‘Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, And Nobody’, the activists would not sit down believing that when “there was an important job to be done, Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.”
Since the Prime Minister and his Cabinet Ministers apparently care little to look into a certain problem, despite being vested with the power to do so, the activists would not accept the fate that at the end of it all where Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
This is why the activists have to cause a stirring in a situation. Yes, although their frequent campaigns may make the people in the corridors of power feel uncomfortable, the activists play a very important role in parliamentary democracy.
When the activists are barking, the powerful individuals and the kleptocrats no longer enjoy the ‘peace and tranquility’ to rape the rich resources belonging to the Malaysian people. Suddenly, the people become aware of what is happening to the natural resources God has endowed on this country.
Testimony of a failed system
The system, along with the people in the corridors of power, be it the executive branch of the government or those who are tasked with a job to protect the welfare of the people and the nation, has somehow failed to deliver what it is designed to do.
The Malay proverbial saying, “Harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi” (it is disappointing when the fence is supposed to protect the padi, it ends up destroying the crop) is an apt description of our politicians today, especially on issues that do not attract votes.
This is why activists like Shariffa Sabrina, Henry Goh (Malaysia Nature Society president) and others like Clare Rewcastle-Brown (Sarawak Report) have come to the forefront to highlight issues relating to the shrinking tropical rainforests.
We have always believed that our democratic system is upheld by the executive branch of the government, the Judiciary and the Parliament; however, activists like the media are also a pillar that upholds and protects the democratic rights of the people.
Shariffa Sabrina, for example, entered into the limelight when she was arbitrarily arrested for allegedly highlighting some tropical rain forest clearing which caused degradation to the environment; her efforts have helped us become more concerned about the way our government has been managing natural resources.
In short, the activists are the checks-and-balances within the democratic system. They will not hesitate to criticise or expose a lie, if they can.
In her capacity as Peka president, Shariffa Sabrina does her work as a volunteer. Like most other activists, she has great passion for her work. It is unlikely that she would give up the cause. Despite the arrest, Shariffa Sabrina and Norhayati are adamant to continue with their campaign to stop the indiscriminate clearing of tropical rainforests.
They would not put down their spade, but continue digging and exposing the people responsible for the deforestation until a few feathers are ruffled, and good sense finally prevails.
STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.