Wednesday, August 5, 2015

When you disagree with the government

Salleh Said Keruak

On 3rd August, the British government sold off 5.4% of the shares that it owned in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) at £3.30 per share that it bought seven years ago at £5.00 per share. This resulted in a loss of more than £1 billion for the UK government.

The British government was forced to bail out RBS in 2008 at a cost of £45 billion plus give it access to cheap funds to keep it afloat. However, after seven years the bank has still not turned around and is still losing money.

This latest move attracted criticism from the opposition that felt the bank should be nationalised instead of privatised. It also questioned the government’s decision to ‘lose’ £1 billion in sell off.

The reason I am raising this is to bring to your attention that such things do happen, even in so-called more advanced and transparent countries such as the UK. And actually it was not the first multi-billion loss that the British government had to suffer.

But the British opposition, while it objects to the move, does not ask the people to take to the streets and riot so that the government can be brought down through violent means. It disagrees with the government action but it still can look at the whole thing with maturity.

It is time that the Malaysian opposition, too, became more mature and not treat any disagreement with any government decision as a reason to take to the streets and riot.

This street culture is what brought down governments in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries. However, the changes that happened after that were not always for the better and many times the country became even worse.

Malaysia needs an opposition but an opposition that is more responsible. History has shown that any government that is changed through violent means is later also brought down through the same violent means. And Malaysia’s racial balance is too delicate to take such risks.

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