by Vijay Shanmugam
I agree to disagree with the views put forward in the article “We must fix this electile dysfunction” published by Aliran.
The writer said: “We must work together to liberate our beloved country from all that ails it so that we can celebrate with a liberated spirit.”
This reminded me of the quest for a Utopian state, where citizens have no fear of the outside world (read, the Jews and the Western world). In such a state, citizens would live harmoniously, embracing and revering the natural world and its social and moral ideals.
But this ideal society that we strive for is not even close to what has transpired in Malaysia since independence. The reality is far from this.
It reminded me of the political coup masterminded by the powers that be, through the infamous “Sheraton move” in 2020.
This grab for power undermined the ‘magic blue pill’ administered in the aftermath of Pakatan Harapan’s win in the 2018 general election.
The PH coalition had tried to solve the maladies accumulated after six decades of Barisan Nasional rule.
But the nation had already received a lethal overdose of Umno-led rule. Many among the majority ethnic group had been ‘brainwashed’ by their leaders, the so-called champions of the race. Through a divide-and-rule strategy, some of these leaders spewed lies and imaginary threats that ruined our beautiful country.
The nation has been set back, economically and politically, since independence. I may sound pessimistic, but the truth is it’s hard to turn back the clock.
It is said that there is no honour among thieves. Their relentless greed for power and money turns our system into a pseudo-democracy, ie a kleptocracy or kakistocracy.
So, who is the “we” among Malaysians? The author is right in pointing out that the majority race (read Malay) isn’t homogenous.
A non-homogenous (read heterogenous) collective of a race that professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom as per Article 160 of Federal Constitution is what I have mentioned as the majority race – although the natives of Sabah and Sarawak have their own customary norms and religious beliefs.
When we look at post-independence Malaya and Malaysia, we haven’t succeeded: other Asian nations that were behind us economically and politically have forged ahead.
These nations were previously engaged in strife, bogged down by a lack of natural resources and even plagued by impending civil war. Back then, we were definitely better off.
But now it’s the other way around. Malaysian federal government debt has soared above RM1tn or 63.8% of gross domestic product (GDP). And then, we have the littoral combat ships scandal.
What’s transpired here is that the leaders we have chosen – or shall we put it bluntly, the leaders who ‘hijacked’ their way to power – have taken the nation along the wrong trajectory.
Someone said that the road to progress is never a straight line but often moves forward in circles or cycles – two steps forward, one step backwards.
But then again, the shortest route between two points is a straight line.
Unfortunately, we are moving in circles and we keep doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results. This is a dystopia with a subset of insanity in its finest form.
Vijay Shanmugam is an Aliran reader based in Taiping