Learn from protests in emerging nations

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The last three weeks saw large scale protests in three forefront countries of the emerging markets.

The first protest, which began in Turkey, was sparked when the Erdogan government decided to demolish Gezi Park, one of the last remaining green spaces in Istanbul, to make way for a new shopping centre.

Across the Atlantic in South America, 200,000 Brazilians came out during the opening night of the Confederations Cup to protest the high cost of the World Cup, which they claim should be earmarked for public welfare instead.

The protests, sparked by a hike in bus fare, were the largest seen in Brazil in 20 years.

Closer to home in neighbouring Indonesia, crowds protested over the rise in fuel price.

Indonesian opposition politicians suggested that if the government could instead work on improving cost recovery in the oil and gas sector, this hike could be avoided.

These protests in three of the forefront emerging markets show an underlying trend, not too unfamiliar with what we see back home - that there is a growing public angry discontent of citizens against governments misuse of public funds, corruption and disregard for public welfare.

Back in Malaysia, we will be seeing the Black 505 rally on June 22 to protest electoral fraud.

But along with protesters in the other emerging markets, the core of Malaysian urban public discontent rests along the very same lines - corruption and misuse of public funds as well as disregard of human rights and freedom of expression.

While we do not have a World Cup or Olympics to fund, Malaysians are indeed upset with the continued bloated costs in public infrastructure as can be seen in the cases of the MRT, KLIA2 and PKFZ.

While we do not have a Gezi Park, our very own Bukit Kiara, one of the last green lungs around KL area is being cleared to make way for development.

And while our oil price isn't being increased, we understand that the government is looking into invoking GST, inherently reducing the money in our pockets.

As can be seen in these emerging markets, the protests serve as a wakeup call for present-day governments to buck up.

And as with the growing trend of more widespread and immediate information, the public are now more aware of what they deserve and what their governments fail to deliver.

With the similar ring across these emerging market protests, the public demands better management of public assets and more welfare.

They assert that they will no longer tolerate misappropriation of public money in favour of enriching party-linked circles. That they demand a government that listens to the people and that does not act for its own self-interest.

The BN government will do well to learn, observe and realise from this growing protest trend in emerging markets that the same discontents lie within their own people.

And like the governments of these other countries, the consequences for them are the same - act according to the will of the people or face their wrath.

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