GE 13: Defending Democracy in Malaysia

4 May 2013

Citizens,

We stand at a crossroad, a juncture, and a choice between liberty and tyranny. Tomorrow, the men and women of Malaysia, will march to vote for the future of our country. A not to distant future that is within our reasonable reach to change and shape according to our present actions. Who we vote for will determine the course of our future and the future of those too young, too old, or too occupied with themselves to vote. It is by no means a small duty, not a small responsibility but a larger than life one that have been entrusted to us. Ours is the power to change our future and to set an example to our countrymen neighbours.

The reason is pure and simple for the truth is that there is something terribly terribly wrong with this country. Our economists tells us or annual economic growth, yet the common citizens feel nothing but the rising costs of living. And inflation, mind you, is taxation without legislation. We no longer see opportunity but depravity. Where once our parents in their starting days of work could purchase a house of their own given their salary, many of the youth today are like living dead, using he bulk of their financial resources to repay education loans and to repay high debts on their credit cards. Economic growth may be for the few, well-connected, privileged, or corrupted, but we have created economic decline for the many, hardworking, true-hearted, incorruptible citizens. We do nothing at our own peril.

It is no rumour or misconception that crime rates have gone through the roof. Yet instead of addressing the problem with a viable solution, authorities have been in denial and have diverted badly needed funds for the fight against the ‘perception’ of increase in crime. If I was in a crowd all seated comfortably, I would ask them to stand if they knew someone who have been robbed, cheated, threatened, or worse. And by the end of it, I assure you, everyone would be standing rather uncomfortably, thinking of the horrors that our brothers and sisters have face at the hands of criminals still roaming free in our lands. Crime is no illusion and we cannot deny the truth of it any longer.

Citizens,

The list of problems we face does not end here. Take a walk in our cities and villages, eat in our finest diners, visit our most historical sites. Everywhere and anywhere you will find faces foreign to us. Illegal immigrants live and walk amongst us. They probably, by now, number in the millions. And I am sure that they use of our public facilities without paying taxes. Instead of strengthening the defence at our borders, and making it harder for them to enter our country, we have instead seemed to encourage their presence in Malaysia with open arms. The Minimum Wage Act seems to be targeted at increasing our hospitality to these foreigners instead of giving them the Order of the Boot.

In many ways, our confidence of the very authorities meant to safeguard our interests have been eroded. Many an individual have entered the certain Commissions by the door and yet exit through the window. Coincidence? Suicide? An attempt to escape? An attempt to jump from roof to roof like Neo in the Matrix? I am sorry, but even with the benefit of the doubt, there is a limit to my imagination as surely as there is a limit to yours. If the people who enter the building cannot stand the methods of interrogation, then I suggest we review the methods and ensure that the maxim, ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is upheld at all times.

In Malaysia, we owe many things to one individual. An individual whose business empire stretches from transportation to plantation, from property development to defence and armoury, from engineering to power generation. He is probably worth at least USD 2.5 billion and has a monopoly over rice, power generation, and ports. Why? I do not know. All I know is that it is hard to even eat my morning bread without thinking of him making money while the rest of us Malaysians are left with bread crumbs.

In Malaysia, we privatise without thinking. Every student of economics know that elementary economics state that public goods should be provided by the public sector. Yet we choose to privatise public utilities like our water supply. The outcome? There was massive water shortages in my state a few weeks ago even though it was raining almost every single day. This is not one single isolated incident but two. Do our authorities not learn economics? Would there be even water shortages if the water supply have not been privatised? Do you think us, citizens, stupid?

Democracy comes from the Greek word demos and kratia. Translated loosely, they mean people and power. Malaysia is a democracy. We have elections every four years (albeit a very late one this time around). But our democracy itself is under siege. Three times have our brothers and sisters called for fair and free elections. Three times have the citizens answered these calls with increasing commitment. And yet any reforms to the Election Committee is slow forthcoming. It is as though some people in this country are against the very principles of democracy and rights of citizens.

Our mainstream media in Malaysia have only shown us a side of our country that certain authorities want to portray. There is no free and fair access to mass media for all parties. Everyday we are bombarded by a hail of one-sided arguments and opinions. While I won’t call it brainwashing, certainly this is not a fair use of our media either. To our mass media authorities, I have this to say, “The educated citizens of Malaysia are educated enough to weigh the advantages and disadvantages or your actions. The mainstream media in our country have lost all its credibility in the eyes of many Malaysians. The good news is that the most creative of us have taken to the internet where our voices can be heard. The bad news is that even the craziest rumours on the net have found numerous believers because some of us do not know what to believe anymore!”

Citizens,

Tomorrow we must vote for the preservation of liberty, law, order, justice, and reason. Engrave in your hearts and minds that we vote for no other reasons. Some people, of whom you know and of whom I need not mention by name, will attempt to incite the fear of instability, racial disharmony, and economic decline. But as Franklin Roosevelt said, ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ It is fear that paralyses us and prevent us from making a better Malaysia. Fear not for wrath and ruin, for it is within us to ensure the continuity of freedom, harmony, and stability. For some, you would rather the tranquility, serenity and repetition of your current life continue. Rest assure, that your illusions that such good times will continue will be shattered like a rock flung full force into a mirror. It is in your hands to determine whether history will record us as the cowards who failed to act at the opportune time, or the heroes who would rather suffer and change for the better.

Victory lies not in the triumph of a distinct party. To change a government is by no means easy, but it is not the victory of democracy. True victory will come when we safeguard the very principles of democracy, liberty, and the right of every man, woman, and child to the pursuit of happiness. So I bid you to arm yourself with the spear of truth, the sword of reason, and the shield of duty. March boldly into tomorrow and carve into the hearts of the cronies and corrupted that our people are not afraid of our government; our government should be afraid of the people. Let not democracy die with thunderous applause.

Live long and prosper.

~ James Ee

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