In the wake of the general election on 8 March 2008, Barisan Nasional looked to be well and truly on the back foot, having been deprived of its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time in 40 years and having lost five states into the bargain.
I recall the shock and horror that BN spokespeople expressed, and the urgent promises they made at the time that the coalition would reform itself and get closer to the people. But what has it done in the intervening two years to change its repellent ways? Nothing. In fact if anything it’s gone backwards.
Barisan Nasional is still the same old ‘National Front’ it ever was. Putting on the same false front as always to mask the ugly realities of the way it misrules, misleads, mistreats and shames the Malaysian nation.
The BN logo, for example, the scales borrowed or rather stolen from the classical figure of justice, remains a front for Barisan’s continued corruption of the judiciary and persistent perversion of justice for the dual purposes of persecuting its opponents and protecting its own members and cronies from prosecution.
The slogans created by Barisan’s publicly-funded professional liars are a front for the very opposite of what they proclaim.
“1Malaysia”, is a front for the traditional divide-and-rule tactics that BN continues to use to try and keep voters of all races and religions from uniting against it.
And “Umno Juara Rakyat”, the latest invention by BN’s publicly-funded flacks, is a front for the reality that Umno, almost alone in the coalition since the MCA, MIC and Gerakan have self-destructed, is the undisputed champion of taking the rakyat for a ride.
BN’s New Economic Policy, the desperate survival mechanism instituted ‘temporarily’ to sustain Umno following its disastrous electoral performance in 1969, still serves, as ever, as a front for enrichment of the self-styled elite and their families and friends at the expense of the mass of people it pretends to help.
BN’s forces of ‘law and order’, like the ‘Royal’ Malaysian Police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, are fronts carefully constructed to conceal the administration’s corruption, lawlessness and collusion with organised crime. And laughable claims like IGP Musa Hassan’s recent assurance that the police are not in cahoots with BN are fronts for the fact that the police are BN’s security force.
Just as so-called ‘investigations’ of assaults and killings in police and MACC custody are fronts for the BN government’s refusal to clean-up their enforcers’ atrocious acts.
BN’s so-called Electoral Commission is a front for concealing the fact that the ‘democratic’ process in Malaysia is plagued by ‘money politics’, roll-stacking, vote-buying and shameless gerrymandering of electorates.
BN Royal Commissions, like the inquiry into the activities of the police force years ago and the probe into appointment-fixing in the judiciary more recently, are fronts erected to give the appearance of intended reform, but in fact to ensure continued commitment to the disgraceful status quo.
BN’s ‘mainstream’ media are nothing but fronts for the prostitution of the press, TV and radio for the purpose of promulgating a ceaseless flow of official lies, spins, evasions and distractions that keep as many citizens as possible blissfully ignorant of government misdeeds.
BN government-sponsored ‘NGOs’ like Suhakam are front organisations specifically designed to deflect local and international attention from the fact that Malaysia’s ruling regime routinely fails to respect human and other rights.
BN’s mega-projects like the Port Klang Free Zone, massive dams to generate electricity that nobody needs and ‘development corridors’ that never quite come to fruition are fronts for wholesale waste, embezzlement and theft of public funds.
And every time a BN front-person makes a public speech or conducts a press conference, he or she has the sheer, thick-faced effrontery to utter total travesties of the truth.
Take the so-called “top-level” delegation that had the hide to front-up in Washington DC last week on a mission to represent – or rather mis-represent – Malaysia with a pack of lies about BN’s respect for the rule of law.
Then there was last week’s reported complaint by Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim that “although advertisers are required to portray Malaysia’s multicultural face and culture in their work, many of them have failed to abide by the guideline.”
Clearly the advertising industry is intended to be a front for the fact that, despite its “1Malaysia” slogan, BN is on a mission to spite Malaysia’s multicultural face at every opportunity.
By minimising if not entirely erasing the formerly multicultural faces of the armed forces, the police and every other branch of the bloated and blatantly mono-racial civil service. By downplaying the significance of attacks on non-Muslim places of worship, and by failing to prosecute sacriligious intrusions on non-Muslim religious ceremonies.
BN appears to be making progress in clawing-back lost territory from the somewhat disorganised opposition. But its royally-sanctioned, ‘legal’ recapture of Perak and the cross-overs of elected Federal members from Pakatan Rakyat are clearly just a front for the fact money talks so loud in Malaysia that rats can be persuaded to reboard BN’s stinking, sinking ship.
The prosecution of Anwar Ibrahim on a second sodomy charge is a front for the fact that BN is in such dire straits that it will stoop as low as it can go in its desperate efforts to destroy any opposition and cling to power.
And the recent refusal by Prime Minister Najib Razak to permit Pakatan Rakyat state administrations to hold local-government elections on the specious grounds that they would involve “too much politicking” is a front for BN’s fear of losing its grip on lucrative local patronage.
Let’s face it, Barisan Nasional doesn’t care how far backwards it has to take Malaysia as long as it can continue to feed its greed for power, privilege and plunder. So it will never be anything but a false, fake and fraudulent front. And a total affront to all Malaysians who long to replace its disgusting regime with with fair, honest, transparent, respectable and truly democratic government.