When healthcare, housing and education are seen as money-making opportunities

A long queue waiting at the crowded Penang General Hospital

Who will dare stand up and say that the right to decent healthcare, housing and education are fundamental human rights for all, JD Lovrenciear.

We live in a world where the fundamentals for the progress of human civilisation have been turned into business opportunities.

In Malaysia and the world over, investors are pumping money into highly profitable businesses, namely, healthcare, housing and education.

These days, we face the stark reality that if we do not have the money, we do not get quality healthcare, decent housing and a valuable education.

We should not be surprised to hear arguments in defence of oligarchs, technocrats and multimillion dollar ventures.

“Quality education costs money.”

“Quality homes cost money to build.”

“Quality healthcare is dependent on investments that must be recouped.”

But who will dare stand up and say that healthcare, housing and education are fundamental human rights that set us apart from the animal kingdom?

Who will dare stand up in defence of human civilisation – the journey of human life that could not have come this far if healthcare, shelter and knowledge could only be bought like how it is in a capitalist economy?

As we ponder over the ravages of a global health and economic disaster brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, will world leaders pause and reflect?

Will nations, thinkers and spiritual leaders around the globe come together and re-examine how human civilisation has become a slave to profits, investments and obscene wealth amassed by the elite – popularly seen as ‘success’, even though it comes at the expense of progressive human life?

READ MORE:  Period spot checks: Introduce whistleblower policy

It is time we ask: have we allowed capitalism to move far away from the original vision of Adam Smith – who felt an invisible hand would provide beneficial social and economic outcomes out of the accumulated self-interested actions of individuals?

For as long as governments allow healthcare, education and housing for humans to be in the hands of businesses, we will only speed up the annihilation of contemporary human civilisation. God forbid if another pandemic strikes the world.

When the fundamental rights of humans – healthcare at it best, decent housing for all, and education for everyone irrespective of affordability – are captive to sunrise business ventures, we would have buried civilisation.

Obesity concerns

Speaking of healthcare, we should be concerned about obesity ruining the wellbeing of society. The ranking of obesity in Southeast Asia should concern Malaysians.

We have lost out in the competitive stakes in the region. Apparently, we are so obese, our productivity is now seriously suspect.

Our healthcare resources are being stretched owing to a spike in obesity-related concerns among Malaysians.

Will our lawmakers and all those who rattle away that they “care for our people” respond to this revelation? Or will they dismiss it as unfair, fake or an exaggeration?

Where is our national will to realise Wawasan 2020? Four out of the nine challenges chiselled in the Vision 2020 aspirations centre on the creation of a caring society.

But with our national addiction to fast foods – which reaps huge profits for vested interests – it looks as if we will continue with our bad eating habits.

READ MORE:  Government duty-bound under UN convention to give stateless children access to education

Despite so much publicity and money spent on national campaigns to get civil servants to on their exercise gear at Putrajaya, World Health Organization (WHO) studies reveal the truth.

It is sad. The nation is plunging into all sorts of crises. With a population that is no longer fighting fit, healthy and vibrant, corruption will reign supreme for sure.

Sloth. Fraility in health. Increasing healthcare expenditure. Weakened national security. Plunging productivity.

But alas, we don’t seem too worried about a sick nation in the making.

Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.