Malaysiakini Letter

On May 9, we must show that we will no longer be bought

K Haridas  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | The issue of ethnicity and religion often blinds Malaysians from seeing the forest from the trees. There are very definite issues that we need to be clear about in Malaysia. We should not be distracted from the red herrings that have often tripped us in the past.

Never in the history of this nation have we been led by such a discredited leader nationally and internationally. The whole world cannot be wrong and the BN right.

Yet one must ask the question why good people become good for nothing. Money, position titles and the search for security may provide some plausible clues. In addition, there is fear especially when the leader is also known to indulge in nefarious practices.

While one can blame caretaker prime minister Najib Abdul Razak for most things, others much also take a share in the creation of such personalities in our midst. We develop them because those who know better have remained silent.

Why are intelligent people silent? Why has the MCA, MIC, Gerakan and the other parties that constitute the BN coalition not expressed a clear position on what is right and important for the future of this nation?

They have individually and together failed the trust Malaysians have reposed in them. I just shudder when I read comments of politicians from the BN fold. They are all complicit in all that is going on.

The same can be said of the civil service. Give them more goodies and several will sell the nation. The civil service today seems composed of individuals of whom are easily caught up in the trap of security and other benefits they enjoy.

They all know what is happening and maybe there are many for whom the limit has been reached. Their vote will be of significance if conscience is to return to the heart of our civil service and bring pride back to the nation.

We all know the crimes that have been alleged and in some instances these have been covered up by institutions of governance because of fear. The former Bank Negara governor alluded to this in one of her press interviews. There is fear and there is greed. There are those who believe that everyone has a price and this can make a difference.

What an insult to Malaysians and in particular the approach to use money politics and to give out money to the poor. This is an indication that their policies have not worked.

Some in the opposition are also employing this tactic. It demeans Malaysians. No developed country does this and we aim to be in this category. If I were a Malay Malaysian I would feel so demeaned that there are politicians who think that my vote can be bought.

Through the forthcoming elections we have to send a singular message to BN that we have had enough of insults. The international media has slandered Malaysia and anyone who goes overseas will hear negative comments and question regarding our nation.

The lifestyle of some of our leaders overseas and those who facilitate the rot in the country has to be to be investigated and held to account.

A life without a cause is a life without effect. Democracy requires vigilance and this is an opportunity for Malaysians to reclaim the democratic traditions of our nation.

Let us champion the cause of getting rid of this BN-led government – a government purely based on rhetoric rather than performance and substance. They claim a lot but much is not felt on the ground but imagined by them in the airy fairy atmosphere in which many of the current BN politicians operate.

Handouts are not necessary if we have had development plans that have been targeted to the rural and urban poor. An improvement in their living standards is a major vote bank. When money is swindled and siphoned out of the system than all of us suffer. This is a great country but we are perhaps nearer a crisis similar to Greece than we can imagine.

The trust deficit in Malaysia is serious. Which are our national institutions that can be respected? Everything is subservient to a powerful Executive and in some instances things are done by the ‘kleptocrat’ without due process being followed.

Yes, we do have an Integrity Institute which promotes a National Integrity Master Plan, we have integrity offices in most Ministries, we have integrity pledges and more recently we have the birth of an Integrity Department.

The fashion is there and there are people who would claim that we are one of the few nations in the world that has an ‘Integrity Minister.’

What does all this add to when no one takes a stand and our position in the Transparency Perception Index continues to drop. It is courageous to be ethical but in our instance perhaps loyalty takes precedence and silence becomes a virtue.

Loyalty is a much valued principle in the underworld, and the Mafia world values this immensely. However loyalty breeds blindness and gossip about the leader with no effective remedy. We do not have examples of value-based committed leaders who stand up for integrity, honesty, unselfishness, pride of the nation and being patriotic.

Instead, there is so much religiosity with an emphasis on compliance to rituals and obligations as though this is the very basis of faith. When you have PAS playing the religious card and taking money and justifying their reasons than one is baffled to ask the question as to what do they really stand for in essence.

It is important that at this time we consider what is happening across the world. The Brazilian leader Lula is now in prison as is the last South Korean President. The South African leader is facing corruption charges. In most of the above cases the judiciary has been vigilant.

We face the world’s largest corruption fiasco and nothing happens in Malaysia. What does this say about our country, our institutions and our leadership?

Integrity is a cause to be championed and not an idea to be believed. Pledges are not worth the paper on which these are stated if practice is not evident.

Basic to this is personal honesty and when this is missing there can be no integrity. Integrity is the application of honesty across all sectors of one’s life. If this does not contribute to courage to take a stand than what is it worth?

Stand up and be counted and let us join the many Malaysians who are fed up with the BN culture of corruption, nepotism and cronyism that has brought the reputation of this nation to such low levels. A vote for the opposition is a vote for national integrity and change.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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