Stand up and be counted, and let us join the many Malaysians who are fed up with the prevailing culture of corruption, nepotism and cronyism, writes K Haridas.
The issue of ethnicity and religion often blinds Malaysians from seeing the wood for the trees.
There are definite issues that we need to be clear about in Malaysia. We should not be distracted from the red herrings that have often tripped us in the past. Never in the history of this nation have we been led by such a discredited leader nationally and internationally. The whole world cannot be wrong and the Barisan Nasional right.
Yet one must ask the question why good people become good-for-nothing. Money, positions, titles and the search for security may provide some plausible clues. There is also fear especially when certain people are known to indulge in nefarious practices.
While one can blame Najib for most things, others must also take a share of the responsibility for the creation of such personalities in our midst. We develop them because those who know better have remained silent.
Why are intelligent people silent? Why have the MCA, the MIC, Gerakan and the other parties that constitute the BN coalition not expressed a clear position on what is right and important for the future of this nation. They have individually and together failed the trust Malaysians put in them.
I just shudder when I read comments made by BN politicians. They are all complicit in all that is going on.
The same can be said of the civil service. Give them more goodies, and several of them might sell their souls. Some of those in the civil service today seem to be mediocre individuals easily caught up in the trap of security and other benefits they enjoy.
They all know what is happening, and maybe there are many for whom the limit has been reached. Their vote will be of significance if conscience is returned to the heart of our civil service and pride restored to the nation.
We all know the crimes that have been alleged, and in some instances these have been allegedly covered up by various institutions out of fear. The former Bank Negara governor alluded to this in one of her press interviews. There is fear and there is greed. There are those who believe that everyone has a price.
What an insult to Malaysians – in particular, the approach to use money politics and to give out money to the poor. This is an indication that their policies have not worked. Some in the opposition are also employing this tactic.
Pre-election handouts demean Malaysians. No developed country does this – and yet we aim to be in this category. If I were one of the recipients, I would feel so demeaned that there are politicians who think that my vote can be bought. In the coming general election, we have to send a singular message to the BN that we have had enough of such demeaning behaviour.
Meanwhile, the international media have ‘slandered’ Malaysia, and anyone who goes overseas will hear negative comments and questions regarding our nation. The lifestyles of some of our leaders overseas and those who facilitate the rot in the country have to be to be investigated; they have to be held to account.
A life without a cause is a life without effect. Democracy requires vigilance, and this is an opportunity for Malaysians to reclaim the democratic traditions of our nation.
Let us champion the cause of getting rid of this BN-led government – a government based largely on politicians’ rhetoric with little performance and substance. They claim a lot but not much is felt on the ground. Instead, they imagine it in the airy fairy atmosphere where many BN politicians operate.
Handouts would not be necessary if we had development plans targeted at the rural and urban poor. An improvement in their living standards is a major vote bank. When money is swindled and siphoned out of the system, then all of us suffer. This is a great country but we are perhaps nearer a crisis similar to Greece’s than we can imagine.
The trust deficit in Malaysia is serious. Which of our national institutions can be respected? Everything is subservient to a powerful executive, and in some instances, things are done by the leader without due process being followed.
Yes, we do have an Institute of Integrity which promotes a ‘national integrity masterplan’; we have integrity offices in most ministries; we have integrity pledges; and more recently, we have the birth of a ‘Department of Integrity’.
The fashion is there, and there are people who would claim that we are one of the few nations in the world that have a Minister for Integrity. What does all this add up to when no one takes a stand and our position in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index continues to drop. It is courageous to be ethical, but in our instance perhaps loyalty has taken precedence and silence has become a virtue.
Loyalty is a much-valued principle in the underworld, and the Mafia values it immensely. But loyalty breeds blindness and gossip about the leader with no effective remedy. We do not have examples of committed values-based leaders who stand up for integrity, honesty, unselfishness, national pride and genuine patriotism.
Instead, there is so much religiosity with an emphasis on compliance with rituals and obligations as though this is the very basis of faith. When you have Pas playing the religious card and seemingly quiet about what is really going on, then one may be forgiven for asking what the party really stands for in essence.
Consider, too, what is happening across the world. The Brazalian leader Lula is now in prison as is the previous Korean president. The South African leader is facing corruption charges. In most of the above cases, the judiciary appears to have been vigilant.
Here we are, facing the world’s largest corruption fiasco and nothing happens in Malaysia. What does this say about our country, our institutions and our leadership?
Integrity is a cause to be championed and not an idea to be believed. Pledges are not worth the paper they are written on if practice is not evident. Basic to this is personal honesty, and when this is missing there can be no integrity. Integrity is the application of honesty across all sectors of one’s life. If it does not contribute to courage to take a stand, then what is it worth?
Stand up and be counted, and let us join the many Malaysians who are fed up with the prevailing culture of corruption, nepotism and cronyism that has brought the reputation of this nation to such low levels.
Let us vote for real national integrity and change.