Fischer was also quoted as saying that they discussed
possible economic scenarios in the
future for Indonesia.
He said a meeting with Indonesian President B.J. Habibie had been scheduled.
The IMF meeting with the opposition leaders took place presumably because
Fischer is sure that they will form the
His directive is simple: follow the IMF
programmes adopted by the Habibie
In most countries, this IMF meeting with
politicians would have been seen as a
case of interference in domestic politics.
It is humiliating for the ruling
government, no matter how unpopular Golkar can be, because the vote-counting process is still going on.
But Indonesia has little choice. It has
sought IMF help and whoever forms the
government must now take orders from
It is a new form of colonisation.
Malaysian journalists who covered
the recent Indonesian elections
spoke of condescending Western
analysts and non-government organisation leaders who lectured Indonesians on how they should run their country.
A colleague told of an NGO leader who, having arrived in Jakarta barely 48 hours ago, gave his views as an expert, running down the country and the system.
The saddest part, he said, was that this
so-called expert was cheered by a group
of Indonesians and given prominent
coverage by the media.
A similar pattern seems to be appearing in Malaysia. Western countries are demanding the promotion of
human rights and democracy, in their style, before economic development. They
argue that these values can be transplanted
No Malaysian would argue that human
rights and democracy are antithetical to
the country's development. Those against gradual changes to improve our institutions are as
bad as those who insist on immediate
Human rights and democracy are part and
parcel of Westminster democracy. What
makes people cynical is the hypocrisy
and inconsistency on the question of human
Instead of a holistic approach, human
rights are defined from a narrow
perspective, focussing on civil
liberties and political rights.
The West, especially the United States,
continues to tighten its grip on the
media, international economic institutions and arrangements with the United
The US, for example, portrays itself as a moral crusader of human rights but allows certain authoritarian
governments in West Asia and South
America to function because they serve its military and oil interests.
In Algeria, a popular Islamic party
voted by the people is rejected by the military which backed a secular government.
In this case, the West closed its eyes
but a similar situation in Myanmar
became the subject of an intense
In some West Asian countries, elections
are a mockery with the monarchy reigning supreme but we
hardly hear any complaints from US
groups simply because they are client
It's the same with China, which the US
has been particularly tough on. Year in
and year out, the world is reminded of
the Tiananmen Square incident.
But the western media has never even
once explained why the student protest failed and whether the failure was due to the lukewarm support from the grassroots nationwide.
Neither has the US media, supposedly good at analysing events according to their own prejudiced view, explained why the protest was confined to Beijing.
Any visitor to China would realise that sweeping changes have taken place in China over the past two decades.
But it is still not enough for the US.
Perhaps, it wants to see China turned
into another Russia a former superpower
which has become a democracy but reduced to
an exporter of prostitutes.
Fact is, the US isn't exactly the
protector of human rights it wants
many to believe. The US has refused to sign, accede or ratify up to 144 of the over-400 conventions, treaties and other agreements under the
There are two important treaties that
have been signed by the US but yet to be
ratified, namely the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Why is the US dragging its feet?
By ratifying these treaties, signatory countries are required to make the necessary changes to their laws.
For example, the US has refused to sign
the Convention of the Use, Stockpiling,
Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and On their Destruction simply because it is one of the biggest
users and producers of landmines.
It has not signed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which requires war criminals to be handed over to a tribunal.
Despite preaching lofty ideals, the US
is prepared to bend rules, even ignore
them, so long as it suits its national
Contemporary history has shown that the
US is ready to work with dictators, if
they are prepared to takes orders from
So, Malaysians should be wary of