Right to dissent a prerequisite for progress

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For our society/nation and its institutions to be strengthened, there must be dissent and the freedom to question, to doubt, to probe, to criticise and to object, writes Abdul Rashid Hanafi.

There is nothing sick about dissent and criticism. Dissension and criticism are not tantamout to disloyalty. On the contrary there is a great need for both in present-day society.

The stifling of dissent is not only a negation of our constituitional guarantee of free speech, but also a renunciation of the most basic and precious of democratic principles. Only if there are open discussions and arguments based on uninhibited constructive criticism can there be an end to the growing public discontent and the trend towards complacency.

Only when complacency disappears will it be possible for our country to fully exert and exploit its vigorous, individualistic drive to achieve progress, betterment and world leadership.

NOW, as never before in our history, it is essential that we, the average concerned citizens, as well as the intellectuals not allow ourselves to be swayed from seeking much-needed reforms from entrenched leaders, bureaucrats, selfish minority groups or organisations that have their own and far-from-altruistic reasons for wishing to preserve the status quo.

For our society/nation and its institutions to be strengthened, there must be dissent and the freedom to question, to doubt, to probe, to criticise and to object – all for the betterment of the nation.

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