Do Malaysians fear the government or does the government fear us? The answer to this will uncover where exactly we are as a democratic nation, says Syerleena Abdul Rashid.
Sometimes we tend to forget that there are still Malaysians who still believe in the fabled broadcasts that dominate mainstream media.
As some of us search through the annals of alternative media via the internet for more inclusive news; we are more inclined to feel more informed and politically well-versed, compared with those who we feel are somewhat hopelessly beyond reach.
These are the people who think that the implementation of the newly minted Goods and Services Tax is a good thing for this country. Maybe it could have been something positive if the fine details were straightened out thoroughly before its haphazard execution, who knows?
They also feel that our national debt is insignificant and are blinded by the material goodies our nation’s shopping malls present to the average short-sighted consumer.
Malaysians will be caught unprepared if the ringgit along with the existing structure eventually collapses. Of course, no one can predict the future and we have to deal with the cards at hand but this much we do know – the wobbly economy and the popularity of ultra-conservative ideas are sure signs that something is amiss.
Slander and fabricated sex scandals are now the norm and have replaced insightful debates needed to educate would be voters. Such scandals (especially ones with supporting videos) are seen as an easy method of discrediting political foes, although, at this stage it is getting incredibly stale. It does not help that those in power have also begun to vehemently use religion as the ultimate weapon of choice.
Religion and other godly matters are now used to silent dissent and instil a sense of fear in critics who dare question certain matters that go against the universal values that are highly encouraged in religion.
True democracy thrives on well informed societies and citizens as it encourages discourse, debates and discussions (the 3Ds needed to counter the oversimplification of the 3Rs – race, religion and royalty) and frankly, Malaysians are no longer sure if our system recognises the democracy it preaches.
Some argue that our country is regressing at a faster rate than predicted and of course, the anxiety felt by most of us is real. The recent re-introduction of the Sedition Act, the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the blatant display of repressive measures are disturbing; even international communities are equally worried for us. We wonder if our country will still be intact at least until the next elections and hope that change will happen then.
But what if it does not happen; what if we are stuck in this man-made socio-political purgatory – what then? We lament and agonise at the notion of a once-promising country that is now throttling head first into the realms of a failed state. We know that they know, but wonder if they know just how bad it can get?
The quagmire we now find ourselves in did not happen overnight. It is part of an evolutionary process created over and carefully planned out over the decades. The dumbing down of individuals by taking absolute ownership of the school system, media and policies breeds dependence and only makes it easier for them to manipulate individuals by moulding their thoughts and stripping away sound judgement and critical thoughts. Those who do not comply and choose to remain independent critical self-thinkers are marked for questioning.
There is a list created for people like us and this is when a police state emerges; the use of forceful action, prosecution and incarceration against those who resist become standard operational procedures. The whole purpose is to publically shame, demonise and humiliate those who threaten the status quo by reminding other Malaysians why our country must change.
It is clear that Malaysians have devolved into living under a corrupt system that only benefits the elite. Let’s face it: corruption has saturated into all levels and branches of our socio-political structure. There is a saying that goes when the government fears the people, there is liberty and when the people fear the government, there is tyranny.
Government tyranny simply means a regime that oppresses, represses and promotes despotic abuse of authority. Its unjust use of uninhibited power aims to demoralise the spirit of every man, woman and child – but have they gone too far?
The question we need to ask ourselves is simply this: do Malaysians fear the government or does the government fear us? The answer to this will uncover where exactly we are as a democratic nation – and the road to reforms will become attainable once we understand what we need to do to get there.