The people's will

AS I write this another power struggle is well underway in Egypt which has known almost continuous turmoil for the last two years.

Democratically elected Egyptian president Dr Mohamed Morsi was toppled after a handful of citizens rejected him.

Previously they held rallies to topple long-serving president Husni Mubarak. At the time, renowned Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradhawi issued an edict that those who died fighting Mubarak were martyrs, thus boosting the spirit of the demonstrators.

But this time around, Dr Qaradhawi merely asked Egyptians to be patient with Morsi’s administration.

Morsi’s critics claim the “rakyat has spoken”, while his supporters insist that “the rakyat is with them”.

So, who is right?

It was said that a million Egyptians demonstrated against Morsi in Tahrir Square, while an equal number rallied in support of him at Rabiah Adawiyah Square.

But the two million demonstrators can’t speak on behalf of the 74 million citizens.

Where are the rest of the 72 million people?

It is obvious that the majority of Egyptians are not involved in the rallies.

Such a scenario is prevalent in many other countries including Malaysia.

The word “rakyat” is freely used by various quarters to popularise their plans although the Malaysian citizens are not with them.

Politicians often claim that they carry the voice of Malaysians, without even showing evidence they have full or at least majority support.

Many quarters talk about the rakyat. But few define its meaning. In the end the word rakyat is used at the whims and fancies of politicians.

Former Indonesian Education and Cultural minister Prof Daoed Joesoef defined rakyat as the individuals living in national territory, and abiding by the same rules of the law.

Those living in the same region, and agreeing to support the same framework of thought are called rakyat.

A country would affirm a person as its “rakyat” when the person residing there has met the stipulated conditions.

The word rakyat is derived from “rahayat” that carries the meaning of subservience, follower and supporter.

Therefore when called a “Malaysian citizen”, it means that the person has pledged allegiance to devoting himself to safeguarding peace and security of the nation.

Also pledging to support the country’s ambition and aspiration, as well as obey and follow the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Thus I believe that Malaysian citizens are those who have agreed and accept that the Malay ruler is their leader, Islam is the official religion, Malay is the official language and special privilege of the Malays and Bumiputras should not be questioned.

Some opine that the truth is always with the community at large or the rakyat.

King Louis XIV (1643-1715) of France, a tyrant leader, had always said: “Punishment is mine”.

To this, the people retaliated saying “Vox populi vox dei” (the voice of people is voice of god).

In the monumental book, The Misguided Justice (Grafiti Pers, 1983), Hermann Mostar related an incident that occurred in Eldagsen Town in Germany in 1854 where Charlotte Hartmann was found murdered with her jewellery missing.

The town with its close-knit community was known to be peaceful. Known thieves Busse and Ziegenmeyer were implicated although the prosecution had no concrete evidence to convict them.

When the court decided to throw the case out, the locals strongly objected.

Following citizens’ demand to behead the two suspects, a guilty judgment was passed.

The rakyat cheered, claiming justice had been served.

Ziegenmeyer committed suicide in custody, while Busse became paralysed following brain haemorrhage.

Nine months later another similar murder occurred.

Another man was found guilty of both murder cases, and sentenced to beheading in 1856.

The Eldagesan Town case is recorded in the global judicial dictionary.

Two innocent lives were lost because the people’s better judgment was clouded by emotion and instigation.

This is an example of how emotions can be fanned to the extent of clouding logical thinking and truth.

The rakyat can be easily instigated by political propaganda.

Every member of the rakyat must change themselves first and refrain from committing sins and evil deeds, before changing their family members, and relatives, and later the entire community.

Only then the country will see changes being made in harmony without turmoil and bloodshed.

Leaders too must appreciate the meaning of rakyat and stop using the rakyat for political ambition and individual interest.

Using the rakyat for self-interest is despicable, it is akin to prostituting the rakyat.

This is why the rakyat should accept legally elected leaders and not succumb to outside influences to topple the regime.

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