Aliran Monthly 30: 1 editor’s note

latest AM coverT’is the season of betrayal. In our cover story, P Ramakrishnan says forces are at work to subvert the voters’ choice in the last general election while fringe groups are playing up emotive issues of race and religion for political ends.

Hishamuddin Yahaya says racial sloganeering could become irrelevant if a new government takes over that is better able to promote democracy and socio-economic and cultural justice.

But for now, Malaysians could suffer even more with the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). GST-driven inflation would be a calamity that the struggling lower-income group could do without, says Jeyakumar Devaraj.  Migrant workers are already living in appalling conditions. Angeline Loh looks at Malaysia’s ‘migrant hell-holes’ – the immigration detention camps, where evidence of cruel, degrading and inhuman conditions is overwhelming.

Perhaps it is time for us to recall the Tunku’s legacy. After 52 years of nationhood, let us demand greater accountability, integrity and compassion, says V Chakaravarthy.  We also pay tribute to the legendary American historian and peace activist Howard Zinn, who spoke of small acts that could lead to real change, and Abdurrahman Wahid, described as the gentle, friendly face of Indonesia and Islam.

Over the long-term real change will be facilitated through a revamp of the education system which, as Teacher’s Blues describes, falls desperately short of expectations. Given the right guidance, youths can do wonders. Shakila Abdul Manan describes how a group of multi-ethnic youths brought George Town’s local history to life through an inclusive musical drama, ‘Ko-Tai’.

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