As we draw near to Merdeka Day, I begin to reflect on the real meaning of Merdeka. We may have gained independence from the British in 1957 but have we gained true freedom from our colonial masters?
Have we grown as a nation united with one common goal or vision? Or have we become more disunited since 1957, having lost our direction as to where we are heading to as an independent nation.
Despite 54 years of independence, are we really free when we have oppressive laws in place, such as the Internal Security Act (ISA), the Emergency Ordinance and The University and University Colleges Act (UUCA)?
For me, the real meaning of Merdeka is achieved when we have freedom to determine our destiny through a free and fair electoral system. As a young Malaysian, I realise the importance of being an agent of change, not because we want change for the sake of change, but because we want real change that will transform this nation to be an Asian tiger once again.
Many took part in the Bersih 2.0 rally because they know how unjust the Malaysian electoral system is. On July 9, Malaysians braved tear gas and water cannons because of their strong desire to see real change for a better Malaysia.
These are the true present generation of Merdeka warriors in the 21st century. It is simply incomprehensible that as a nation, we still have to rely on archaic laws, such as the recently used Emergency Ordinance on Malaysians who had no intent to declare war on His Majesty but merely to demand free and fair elections as a tax payer and as an ordinary citizen.
It is simply unacceptable for a modern nation like Malaysia to depend on such laws which are increasingly being used as a political tool for oppression to scare Malaysians into submission when they have done no wrong but merely to wish for a more transparent and corrupt free electoral system.
It is with this backdrop, that the BN government has clearly lost its moral authority to rule with their brutal crackdown on Bersih participants during both pre and post-July 9peaceful rally.
What moral authority does BN have when freedom of assembly and freedom of speech under the Federal Constitution is rendered meaningless? Instead, oppressive laws such as the Police Act are being used as a political tool to deny us of our basic human rights by giving flimsy and lame excuses such as protecting public safety and security.
We should not be cheated of our basic freedoms, but rather we must draw inspiration from the Bersih 2.0 rally when the true spirit of Merdeka was on display, when Malaysians from all races walked together hand in hand demanding free and fair elections.
These are the true Malaysians who have overshadowed the celebration of Merdeka Day this year.
Merdeka to me means freedom from fear, as well as freedom from oppression. It is a precious personal characteristic that we must have as ordinary Malaysians fighting for our basic freedom in determining our destiny as Malaysians.
If we truly love our country, we must take up the fight for freedom and justice in our land. The most basic fight for freedom now is for free and fair elections. It is only when this is achieved, that we can at last experience the real meaning and true spirit of Merdeka.