COMMENT | This Merdeka day every concerned citizen at home and abroad may want to spend a moment of silence in thinking about their nation's sorry state and commit to change the status quo.
It is time to unburden the nation from the yoke of corrupt politicians. The political war is clearly the classic story between good and evil.
Pledge not to support or vote for a politician who is corrupt. Spread the word and save the country from thieving scoundrels who masquerade as politicians.
There is no Merdeka when corruption ruins the country. Why remove foreign colonisers only to have them replaced by local ones? That is not the idea of Merdeka.
Is the game up for the politicians lost in a free fall into a moral abyss and unable to correct its downward spiral?
Will it soon be game over for those who are self-vested and run a government of politicians, by politicians and for politicians?
Not only are politicians unfairly demonising and victimising the opposition but one another.
It is not unusual though for a cartel of backdoor conspirators to be characterised by backbiting and backstabbing. It is in their nature.
The cliche has been overused, but it won't hurt to reiterate that a leopard does not change its spots. Neither do corrupt politicians. They are a citizen's nightmare, a nation's curse, and the reason why a nation fails and people suffer.
Don't expect this motley band of corrupt politicians to change because black sheep cannot turn white. Leaders have lied to the people, and many have stolen from them.
They keep making false promises, effusing false hope. Shared prosperity will yet turn out to be shared poverty. Remember the "bastardised" National Economic Plan? And who can forget the Future Fund and the scandalous 1MDB?!
The Malays have to wise up and realise the non-Malays are not a threat. When Malay politicians are trying to destroy one another, forget the Chinese or DAP bogeyman. They may want to insist that true religion is about loving your neighbour (every Malaysian regardless of race or religion) as yourself and not be swayed by the lies.
They have no conscience, no shame, no morals, no concern for their poor country but have lots of stolen money.
The world saw the loot recovered from a police raid on a former leader's residence. Even then this convicted thief is allowed to roam free and act as if he is still lord of the manor.
There is not only an urgent need for structural change in government but a complete ouster of corrupt politicians who are the nation's public enemy.
A new Malaysia will only happen when decent and dedicated politicians are in power. One or two of the corrupt might have a positive change of mind if they were struck by lightning.
A celebration of Merdeka is meaningless when the government of the day is seen as corrupt, unjust and dictatorial. The late Tunku Abdul Rahman -"Bapa Merdeka" - was a strong critic of unfair, unclean and undemocratic governance. He died disillusioned at what happened to his Merdeka dream.
That legacy of disillusionment like a polluted river still flows across the entire nation, corrupting everything in its path. The endless haze is a stark reminder of a region under the curse of corruption. We reap what we did not sow when the corrupt got their way.
The image of a towering Musang King durian tree being chopped down symbolises the fall of the people's livelihood when the unilateral action of the state is deemed unfair. Today it is durian trees, what about tomorrow?
The idea that a government can simply take over what many have toiled with their blood, sweat and tears to build appears grossly unjust. This form of nationalisation is simply wrong. And no wonder the farmers felt robbed and resorted to a "scorched earth" reaction. A fair solution is needed.
Talk is cheap. It is time for Malaysians to feel outraged and act. A video doing the WhatsApp circuit of lawyer-activist Siti Kasim rousing the people offers hope. But hope deferred makes the heart sick.
Malaysians did it once before in the 14th general election, and they can do it again. Between now and the next polls they have to start organising themselves to put up the right people to get into Parliament. Beware "the Ides of March" and ostracise the promise-breaker, the betrayer and the mesmeriser.
The idea of a political party for youth is flawed in principle. A caring, competent and clean government will consider and enact sound policies for everyone. The youth will grow old. And do we need a political party specifically for women, seniors, and the disabled et cetera?
If every affinity group starts its own political party, the result is clusters of self-vested groups looking out primarily for their interests.
A good government looks after the needs of the youth and everyone. What is sorely lacking in Malaysia is a clean, efficient and trustworthy government. To get that you have to keep out the failed leaders, the devil you know, and blatantly dishonest politicians.
Merdeka in 1957 saw the backs of the colonisers known for their "divide and rule" practice. But the nation has seen similar shortcomings for 60 years under the deposed National Front. Its divide and plunder practice by certain corrupt leaders has impoverished the nation not only of public money but morals.
In fairness, successive BN governments have delivered good services in some sectors but for the corrupt politicians who have bastardised the government. There are good politicians, but they could not stop the bad ones.
In the durian land grab scandal, many Malay farmers also feel betrayed by their state government. They were promised land no one wanted because of the communist threat. But they feel betrayed now because of the government's broken promise.
Merdeka was a historic event on Aug 31, 1957. It probably doesn't mean as much for Sarawak and Sabah. But it ought to be a shared struggle today for all Malaysians to see the spirit of Merdeka in the governance of their nation.
Governing is like parenting. You provide for them, make sacrifices and prepare your children for their future. But bad parents neglect their children. They self-indulge and abuse them.
A bad government abuses the people, self-indulges and leaves the nation in hardship. Children cannot disown their bad parents but citizens can kick out a bad government.
The political conflict is nothing more than politicians doing a con job to inflict more pain on one another and the people.
Merdeka time is for all Malaysians to call out the scam of the corrupt politicians and stand behind every decent politician and activist soon-to-be politicians who will deliver the nation from the evil grip of the conniving, conspiring and criminal politicians.
Malaysia is worth saving. The Malays are great people. The Chinese are the most admirable nation-builders. The Indians are integral to the land. The Orang Asli own the land. Sarawakians and Sabahans can teach us how to love our neighbours as ourselves. Foreigners are part of the Malaysian family.
What more do we need to build a great nation but a good government? Righteousness exalts a nation.
Merdeka. Merdeka. Merdeka.
STEVE OH is an author and composer of the novel and musical 'Tiger King of the Golden Jungle'. He believes good governance and an engaging civil society are paramount to Malaysia being a unique and successful nation.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.