Otai Reformasi: A Reminder to Reform

Happy Sunday to all. I am at the Reformasi Convention organised by the Otai Reformasi group, the elder members of PKR. Both Anwar and Kak Wan are here. This is an event where the average age is 65 and almost everyone has had battle scars with riot police!

On my left is a 59 year old who has been arrested twice for protests. On my right is a 74 year old, and to his left is a 83 year old gentleman. In 1998, they were all at the streets.

I vividly remember, in the aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis and the months after the firing of Anwar in 1998, I was in a corporate office negotiating a rescue deal for a company near Dataran Merdeka, when a great commotion broke out on the streets below.

I witnessed the police chasing and beating up protestors relentlessly near Masjid Jamek. The incident left a very deep impression on me. I remember thinking, surely this is not democracy, and what the hell was I doing working to support a corrupt crony capitalism system.

In those months surrounding the incident, the Reformasi Agenda was born. Today, 21 years later, the Reformasi Agenda of anti corruption, democracy, good governance, separation of powers, is still very relevant and in fact more urgent than ever. We must make sure PH sticks to the path of real systemic reforms.

Coming to this convention is a great reminder of the many policy reform works that we need to do ahead. It is also a humbling and touching experience, hearing stories from elders of the deep and consistent sacrifices made for the Reformasi movement. They ask for nothing. Not positions, not money, not power. In their elder and twilight years, they only hope for a better future for the generations to come.