Tuesday, September 16, 2008

‘Can we go for some teh tarik, Dollah?’

While I sit and sip my cup of tea and, like most Malaysians, await with anticipation on this Malaysia Day, I ponder about Anwar’s remarks that he has requested for a meeting with the prime minister. Now, I doubt if he has actually asked if the PM would be interested in going out for a teh tarik and to chat about the future of the country. (Come to think of it, I’m not sure if either of them even like teh tarik. Oh, well….) But I think for the sake of the country, it would actually be a pretty good idea if they could in fact get together and have a candid talk about it.

Anwar seems to imply in no uncertain terms that the time has come – well, maybe not today, September 16 – but that ‘he’s got the number’ and there is an inevitability about BN losing the support of a majority of the MPs in parliament. There is a strong case for calm heads to prevail and for the communication channels between the two camps to be clear and wide open. This is one of those times in our history when we can least afford any breakdown in communication between competing voices and interests.

We know bad judgment and miscalculations are quite a common occurrence in this Badawi regime, and frankly, we’ve seen enough of it in recent weeks – not to mention the past few years. What we don’t need at this critical moment is to have bad decisions further compounded, and for the stability of the country to be jeopardised.

If Anwar has, at this stage, indeed reached out to dialogue with Badawi, the latter has an obligation to the citizens of the country not to spurn or rebuff the initiative by the former. It would be a sign of maturity and sensibility to meet and to hear the other side and to judiciously assess the gravity of whatever circumstances the government is confronted with. Failure to proceed in such a manner will not only be another public relations faux pas for the regime, it will in fact truly undermine his regime even further.

So, for goodness sake, we hope you show some good judgment and meet with the leader from the opposition.

Who knows, perhaps there might even be some teh served during the meeting? I’m a believer that it helps diffuse tension.

Oh, and a very Happy Malaysia Day to one and all of you!

G. Krishnan