LETTER | I waited for Aug 31 to pass before posting this letter.
We were inundated the whole day with various "feel good" slogans, songs, videos, etc, from well-wishers. And we all saw TV/online commercials (including the insensitive one by a Muslim welfare authority… who else would dare to be this insensitive, publicly anyway?) doing the same.
I feel I am well qualified to comment on the comparisons because I have lived (not just a holiday) in Singapore, Australia, Canada, China and the US for some years in the past 30 years or so. I love Malaysia because:
1. Our food is really the best… even when compared to food capitals like Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris. Heck, the best Chinese food is in KL (some say Ipoh/Penang but ok lah, still in Malaysia), the best pizza I've had is in KL, the best lobster thermidor is in KL, the best briyani is in KL and so on;
2. The cost of living is about the cheapest when you take purchasing power parity. RM1 can still buy you a kuih in KL;
3. The people are about the friendliest - I dare say we are friendlier than the Thais;
4. We can get anything done the "Malaysia boleh" way and the MCO has shown that some people are above the law; and
5. Most of the people I consider friends/family, live here.
Country is in a mess with rampant corruption...
But is this enough for me (and maybe you, too)? Have we no shame? The country is in a mess with rampant corruption, political shenanigans, judicial inequity, police inefficiency and bias, racial intolerance and every possible negative thing that we can think of as a society:
1) We have religious "leaders" proclaiming nonsensical edicts that shame Malaysia;
2) We have cabinet ministers uttering sensitive and usually asinine comments and getting away scot-free;
3) We have GLC/Industry leaders stealing money and getting acquitted;
4) We have politicians siphoning funds and the law turns a blind eye to their actions;
5) We have failed MPs with tainted records being appointed to powerful positions;
6) We have a former PM publicly revealing that he was pressured to interfere in judicial proceedings and the authorities have not (yet) acted on his nationally telecast confession;
7) We have convicted/charged MPs who do not turn up in court in flagrant disregard to the law and even worse, the judges appear unable to charge them with contempt;
8) We have political frogs who jump camps and then blackmail for choice positions;
9) We have the courts returning stolen monies to convicted criminals… crime does pay?;
10) We have persons with 50 charges being acquitted. Look, I can understand if the prosecution wrongly filed one, two or even three charges but 52 is something that even a 10-year-old kid will disbelieve, what more the rakyat;
11) We have institutionalised racism (bumi vs non-bumi) after 64 years of "independence" and;
...too many others to itemise.
I feel borrowing some words of Balwant Singh sums up my feelings nicely:
"It's not that I love my country of birth any less but that I love good governance, accountability, the well-being of the rakyat and tempered meritocracy more. The real meaning of Merdeka now is liberating ourselves from corrupt and self-serving politicians, ensuring a competent and rakyat-centric government is in power, the rule of law is enforced truly, and equitable treatment for all Malaysians is made supreme - where the brightest minds are given the opportunity to design Malaysia's future."
Giving power to proven has-beens and utter idiots (I won't even identify them as everybody knows the duffers in our system) to mould Malaysia in year 65 is a sure recipe for "ruining tomorrow from today" (yes, it's a pun of Browning's quote… used by another dufus recently). The level of barrel bottom scraping has been achieved by the present regime.
Having said the above, can you blame me for not being excited over "Independence Day"? It's more like the same rubbish over and over again. Does anyone really believe that if we have the present system of government (and governance) - the country will be a better place for our kids and grandkids?
It's no wonder why in a recent survey, 65 percent of Malaysians said they would leave the country, given the chance. Now, assuming we adjust for national demographics, even one in three Malays want to leave Malaysia. Isn't this alarming?
Malaysia is for ALL Malaysians and nobody should be made to feel they are inferior or superior. There should not be any form of discrimination, perceived or real. After all, everybody came from Africa and whether you arrived 20,000, 2000 or 200 years ago, we are all immigrants in one way or another.
We cannot have the rights of one community placed higher than another community's, simply based on the majority rule. The greatness of a society is shown by how it treats the minorities and the less abled.
If we do not change now, then it's really Groundhog Day after all. So what then is there to look forward to, come "Merdeka" day every year? Just lip service and "syiok sendiri"?
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.