TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION
by KJ John
One of the ways South Africa overcame its black-white struggle was through a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. According to Wikipedia, “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a court-like body assembled in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid.
“Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution.”
The TRC, the first of the 19 held internationally to stage public hearings, was seen by many as a crucial component of the transition to full and free democracy in South Africa. Despite some flaws, it is generally (although not universally) thought to have been successful.”
What did the TRC do? It basically was a process for “overcoming the generations of hurts and pains caused by the White Supremacists in Black Africa’s southernmost state.”
What exactly did this process of healing hurts and pains involve? There were several keys steps:
- They had a court-like body with similar authority and legal protections (including amnesty) to investigate and ascertain truth,
- Witnesses who were victims were identified through a process, and;
- Some of them (presumably the most severe ones) were selected for public hearings.
The final report of the TRC is filed somewhere, but only for the record. Absolute and total truth on all such matters will never be known on this side of God’s earth.
Presumably, if there was enough evidence for criminal intimidation or violation of some form, a due process of punitive justice must be pursued. Nevertheless, for crimes of a moral or spiritual nature, the only recourse seems to be restorative justice of human forgiveness and never only punitive justice.
Translate words into action
Now, why am I suddenly talking about the South African TRC process? Frankly, for many years now, many of my close friends and I have felt that such a process is needed for the many issues and concerns in Malaysia.
Maybe the foremost of this is the May 13th 1969 racial riots. Therefore, agreeing with Kee Thuan Chye in Malaysiakini, I would also argue that if Najib Razak is serious about his 1Malaysia rhetoric, he has to move from words into action.
I dare say that within the BN, there will never be a consensus on what exactly happened on the fateful day in 1969. Such a TRC would not be to establish a cause and effect hypothesis, but to review and acknowledge the difference between ‘bad politics’ from ‘good politics.’
For example, all Malaysians, even Umno stalwarts of the extreme bent know, that keris-waving in 1Malaysia is ‘bad politics.’
Hishamuddin (left), often called ‘Kerismuddin’ in blogsphere had to take the Umno Youth keris home as his memorabilia and to forever keep it in his private space; so that there would never be such a display of bad politics in public again.
If Najib Razak feels strong as an Umno leader and Prime Minister after Bagan Pinang and the recent Umno general assembly, I sincerely request that he consider a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with all hurt and pain of 1Malaysian-minded individuals and groups who have ‘truth’ issues.
For another example, how can it be that after 52 years of independence that there are about 150,000 Malaysia-born Indians without birth certificates, and therefore, no citizenships. Now, is that a truth based on evidence, or is it merely fiction being perpetrated by the Human Rights Party; from which I received such an e-mail assertion?
Limited version of 1Malaysia
What Najib (below) needs to realise is that his sloganeering also makes him responsible for these ‘non-1Malaysia’ cases. It has absolutely little or nothing to do with the Umno, MIC, MCA or Gerakan, for they are all designed to protect or preserve their limited version of 1Malaysia.
Therefore, Mr Prime Minister of 1Malaysia, you have run out of options. Please do the necessary to sincerely realise your 1Malaysia.
September 16th being made a Malaysia Day holiday is a good start. I believe you can exercise real leadership if your alphanumeric form also has mathematical efficacy. We are always Malaysians first; because we all can only carry the Malaysian passport going abroad; there is no an Umno passport or even a Tanah Melayu passport.
For real and true 1Malaysia to happen, as I have said before, we need to recognise five layers of our multiple Malaysian identity and personality which each of us possess; regardless of whether we are Melayu, India, Cina or Kadazan or Bidayu or even Orang Asal.
These are: Malaysian first by passport and citizenship; Ethnic by heritage, genetics and culture; Religious by birth and of no personal choice; Different by personality-type from birth; Human and with a conscience in the image of our creator.
The only race that we all belong to is the human race. May God bless Malaysia!
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