Posted: 22 Aug 2013 01:10 PM PDT
We view people based on their color, social status, wealth, power, influence, etc. We are forgetting that once we were looked down by the British during the colonial era. All of us were treated as third class citizens. But now, we are doing what the British did to our fellow Malaysian.
31st August 1957 is a day we all fondly remember. We remember the image and voice of Tuanku Abdul Rahman chanting the word "Merdeka!Merdeka!Merdeka!Merdeka!Merdeka!Merdeka!Merdeka!" with the crowd joining in. The word 'Merdeka' remains meaningless after 56 years and average Malaysians are still in dilemma with the meaning of 'merdeka' or independence. We live in a society where the identity of an individual is based on race and status. We are very fond of introducing ourselves as Malaysian Malay, Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Indian, etc. In our daily conversation, we are very fond of using 'The Chinese boy said....', 'India itu cakap....', 'That Malay makcik said...', 'Sabah and Sarawak people always like that....', 'Yang tu orang Kelantan' etc. We still live in a society where our identity is always based on race, status, state, dialect, etc.
In true essence, we have not achieved independent 'state of mind' and we are still at where we have begun. We are not Malaysian, we are still a nation with multi-identities and multi-ideologies. The word 'Malaysian' is an ideology or extension of political will to create a pseudo-identity of a nation build based on multi-races and multi-cultural. The word 'Malaysian' remains as an ideology and the true definition of the word remain undefined. Malaysian means nothing much to any of us unless when we are supporting our football team, Lee Chong Wei or Nicol David. Our unity only happens during sporting events. After that we are back being what we are. Malaysian with multiple identities and ideologies. The identity ideology remains an integral part of our daily affairs.
To take it futher, we are even divided in our food. Malaysian Malay cuisine, Malaysian Indian cuisine, Malaysian Chinese cuisine. In reality, our cooking style is truly unique because of the combination of all spices, herbs, etc. The term Malaysian food is yet to be an identity of our own. We are not even united in our food identity. That leads to more doubts on what is being a 'Malaysian'.
This year's theme for 'Merdeka' is Malaysiaku Berdaulat, Tanah Tumpahnya Darahku (My Sovereignty Malaysia, My Native Land). If we were to ask the average Malaysian, what does that mean to you? The answers will remain vague and idealistic in nature. We have lost our sense of being Malaysian a long time ago. The only true Malaysian I can recollect from history is Dato' Onn Jaafar. He was the first Malaysian to express his desire to formulate a single party that unites everyone under one roof. The only politician who engineered his own 'political suicide' for forming the concept of Malaysian. If his vision and dream was realised back in the days, we would have been very different. Maybe we will only remember the word 'Malaysian'. The race ideology would have been erased from our mind and we would been really 'Merdeka' in spirit. Maybe today, we will be known as 'Malaysian' without any extension of identity.
The word Malaysian remains idealistic not pragmatic. The modern society armed with technology, knowledge and wisdom have moved backwards. In the 60s, you could watch a P.Ramlee movie with a scene like 'gin tonic and iblis tonic'. The simplistic humor has demonstrated the Malaysian identity. Our culture was evolving towards being Malaysian until our progress declined with the political nature of the country where we remain divided. Movie makers with new ideas has attempted to liberate the society from the racial clutch. Yasmin Ahmad would be the pioneer for Malaysian ideology through her works. The Malaysian art scene has remained dull over the years after P.Ramlee and Yasmin Ahmad. Arts and literature shapes the thinking of a society. Our art and literature scene has not shown any significant growth or maturity and we are still looking back at our glorified past with works of P. Ramlee and Yasmin Ahmad.
The barbaric thinking plaguing our society is becoming rampant. Instead of progressing and maturing as one, we are becoming more divided. We have lost our sense and judgement as humans and we are developing our opinion based on race and status. We no longer look at other races as our brothers and sisters. We view people based on their color, social status, wealth, power, influence, etc. We are forgetting that once we were looked down by the British during the colonial era. All of us were treated as third class citizens. But now, we are doing what the British did to our fellow Malaysian. The new age Malaysian are divided into the rich and poor, the powerful and powerless,etc. We have failed to look at human as human for their kindness, compassion, ethics and human values. We are no longer Malaysian, we just exist with whatever ideology that suits us as required.
The true meaning of Malaysian is still imaginary. A friend of mine said, 'the people who consume alcohol are the thinkers and the people who consume coffee are doers. What our society lacks is a combination of both.' Echoing that analogy, we need the combination of alcohol and coffee drinkers for Malaysia.
This Merdeka should reflect the progress that we have made in years. The ups and downs as a nation and society. We are still an optimistic society and we have the potential to become a great nation. A nation that prospers with economic growth, political maturity, avant-garde education, intelligent citizens, technology advanced nation and sporting nation We have all the qualities but we lack progressive thinking. If we start looking from the Malaysian lens, we might start thinking and act differently. Steve Jobs said 'think different'.
My Merdeka wish is for us to progress being Malaysian first. Let's drop the identity of Malaysian Chinese or Indian. Let's move forward being Malaysian. Maybe the next time you talk to someone, you just refer to others as plain Malaysian. Stop describing people as Indian, Chinese, Iban or Kadazan. Just refer to them as plain Malaysian. Dr. Mahathir, Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Nicole David and Lee Chong Wei are Malaysian. No need for further descriptions.
Selamat Menyambut Hari Merdeka!
Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:52 PM PDT
The manner these youths were killed has brought many to suspect that the police had summarily executed them.
The recent killings of 5 Indian youths at 4:30 am on August 19 in Sungai Nibong by the police has brought a split in public opinion. At one end of the scale, due to the recent alarming rise in crime as well as murders particularly using firearms in Malaysia, has brought a sigh of relief that the police appear to be finally doing their job.
On the other hand, the manner these youths were killed has brought many to suspect that the police had summarily executed them.
There are a few issues that has raised this suspicion that the police have not been able to give a proper explanation.
1) If these 5 Indian youths were already in a condo unit, they were already trapped and could not have escaped hence there was no reason for them to be killed.
2) None of these suspects were on the Emergency Ordinance list. Some family members even claim that 2 of those who were killed had no criminal record. Moreover only 3 firearms were retrieved meaning 2 of them were unarmed when the police had gunned them down.
3) Why were the CCTV recordings of the condo unit demanded by the police to be shut down prior to the shootings? Why did not the police record the incident as it was a covert operation that was planned in advance?
4) How was it possible that the police were able to trace the ballistic records of the retrieved firearms and point it to 10 previous murders and 2 attempted murder cases within less than 12 hours? Could the police educate the public on this 'advanced' forensic studies that could put Interpol and CSI to shame? If it indeed is true then well and good, but if it isn't then the murderers of those crimes will continue to remain at large much to the anguish of the general public.
5) Were the suspects, who had an average age of 25, the real masterminds behind the spate of murders taking place throughout Malaysia? If not what good is it to the police for having them killed and be unable to retrieve any information from them at all? Did they have links to bigger gang triads and were they just mere fall guys of the real masterminds behind these crimes? Did they have any unholy Anastasia links with any police chiefs or dirty politicians and as such killing them off will remove all evidences of these murders that could trace it back to them?
6) One that was murdered was a mistaken identity as well.
The criminal justice system should be based on the principle that one is innocent until proven guilty. This system has a paramount duty to act fairly for all. Not only must justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.
It was therefore very refreshing to see that at least one member of the cabinet of the ruling BN government Mr Waytha Moorthy, had come out openly and requested that the Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail conduct an inquest into this shooting incident to dispel the mistrust the Indian community has on the police investigating their own alleged misconduct.
This act of goodwill was instantly drowned into oblivion by the Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who requested Waytha to toe the government line and not issue statements that contradicted government policy.
He went on to add that Waytha should not continue to regard himself as an NGO and should not interfere in police work.
Perhaps the Home Minister has misunderstood Waytha's call for an inquest. It does not 'interfere' with police work but only enhances the image of the police to project transparency in its duties.
The police are supposed to be independent of the government of the day and as such Zahid's call for 'toeing the government line' would give room for suspicion that he is 'hand in glove' with the police, which by right he should not be as the police are supposed to be conducting their duties independently of the government.
In the Home Ministry's official portal, it clearly states the thrusts of his ministry is based on integrity, quality, innovation and professionalism and as such conducting an inquest into the recent shootings goes in line with these values. One of the stated objectives of the Home Ministry is to establish strategic co-operation and smart partnerships with other government agencies and 'NGOs' as well as international bodies to ensure peace and public order.
As such Zahid's call to distance himself from an NGO is indeed quite baffling particularly as HINDRAF has requested for integrity and professionalism be conducted and displayed in the form of an inquest.
The Home Minister should allay suspicions of his critics that he has one eye focused on the coming UMNO elections and as such going on a 'HINDRAF' bashing mode will earn him some popular sentiments among the UMNO ultras.
If at all Zahid's word is as good as what his Ministry's official portal describes then he should welcome Waytha's call for an inquest into the recent shootings in Sungai Nibong and bring about the very much needed transparency and accountability to the police force in Malaysia. If this isn't 'government policy' then God have mercy on all Malaysians.
Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:50 PM PDT
It is now 111 days since the new BN government came to power on the back of a transformation and "promises made will be fulfilled" platform. 111 days is time enough to get some foretaste of what is to come and to make some preliminary comments.
N. Ganesan, Hindraf National Adviser
The MOU/Agreement signed between Hindraf and BN prior to the GE lays out a clear and detailed plan towards the socio-economic advancement of the Indian community. The plan has as its basis a clear transformation agenda. It is also a signed promise on the part of BN to Hindraf and to the Indian community at large that BN will carry out such a plan if it comes back into power in the 13th GE.
Hindraf, decided to back the BN coalition only because of this binding promise in spite of the severe criticism it came in for at the time of the elections. Hindraf chose this path because of the significant opportunity that the plan embodied to change the destiny of the Indian poor and marginalized.
The appointment of Waytha Moorthy into the BN government with the charter of implementing the BN Hindraf Agreement was and is an experiment at how grafting an entity that has a very different world view and which been extremely critical and vocal to say the least, of the government may work to address the grievances at the base. We call it an experiment because nothing of the sort has ever been tried before – involving a radical NGO in government in a ministerial role without going through the processes of election, a dedicated and empowered government unit to address the socio-economic woes in a focussed and targeted manner of one segment of Malaysian society.
In any agreement time is of the essence. In any implementation plan resources are primary. In socio-economic development plans the development concepts and methods are critical. Recognition of these factors demonstrate the commitment to the spirit of the plan.
The Agreement is fairly explicit. Yet, to materialize the Agreement there are specifics to be considered and negotiated. The specifics are about the development approach, about the infrastructure needed and about the budgets needed. There are many items within each of these and time is running. What we are however experiencing is unseemly delays in deciding on even the most basic specifics of the Agreement. Maybe these delays are unavoidable or maybe these delays are a cover for a loss of political will, post elections, we do not yet clearly know – it is still early days but the fact of these delays is noteworthy, in spite of various and several attempts by us to move matters forward.
If it is not intended delay, but it is just the way that the wheels of the government grind, it is time for the BN government to anyway know that the entire Indian community is waiting with abated breaths on the outcomes of this Agreement. The more time that passes without any tangible movement on the Agreement, the more the naysayers of the Agreement will take over the narrative. Delayed action will not be able to recoup a position too far gone. The expectation of the Indian community is very high after the high pitched election campaign to the Indian electorate based on the promises in the Agreement.
If however, there is a scheme to subtly delay and to eventually frustrate the attempt at realising the objectives of the Agreement the backlash from the Indian community will be so complete that the Indian vote will be entirely lost to BN in not just in the next elections but I think for many many more elections to come and Hindraf will not be just a bystander in this scenario. The awareness and sensitivity of the community has been raised since the Hindraf rally of 2007. Just talk to any Indian man or woman in the street.
One of the clear factors that quelled a complete loss of the Indian vote in the last GE was the hopes raised by this Agreement. Any failure to realize this Agreement now, will be the last straw that will break the camel's back. The Indian votes will permanently and completely swing away from BN and nothing will be able to stop it. The opposition will have a field day with such an outcome.
However here right in front of BN's nose is a significant opportunity for transformation in one of its key and problematic segments while also working to serve their future electoral interests. What Najib has to do now is to get on with giving what Waytha Moorthy needs so he can get cracking. Any uncertainty about grafting Hindraf into government and about integrating the Agreement into the workings of the government have to be resolved with no more delays and Waytha Moorthy should be allowed to proceed with full executive authority, infrastructure and resources to carry out the his tasks without any further delays.
Depending on old ways of bribing the people at election time or depending on dead horses like the MIC for the Indian vote is no answer anymore. The political awareness of the people and the contours of the political landscape are far more advanced. BN has to recognize this truth and appropriately adjust its mind-set now, if it really wants to continue in power at the next GE and beyond.
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