I’ve been thinking a lot about my home country, Malaysia, lately – are things going to change, are we ready for change and are we actually going to embrace change?
For many countries, democracy is often overlooked as if a hassle but for many, it comes at a price.
In recent years, we’ve seen many countries go through transformation. Lives are sacrificed for freedom, for democracy and for change – see the Arab Spring as an example. It is both very saddening, and also incredibly inspiring the human spirit behind the fight for freedom.
In the last almost 60 years since Malaysia gained Independence, we’ve been under the same ruling party. Although economically speaking, Malaysia has been doing relatively well in comparison to other developing countries – a relatively high GDP per capita, low unemployment and investment, we’ve also seen an increase in the disparity between the rich and the poor, racially discriminatory systems especially in higher education and public sector employment, and higher cost of living as well.For a party to be in power since Independence means that they are either extremely good at driving the nation forward, or they’ve been in power for so long that the system is broken, unfair and/or not transparent hence the party always win. Personally, I dare say it’s the latter.
Power, although useful in some circumstances, is also very dangerous. It can easily be abused, create monopolies and political havoc. For me, the health of a country lies in the people – when the people are in power to drive and create change, we see a healthy democracy, leading to transparent, healthy governance and nation.
So this coming election, if anything, for me, it comes down to showing who is boss. The current Government has had a horrible record at human rights and supporting the social sector. I almost dare say that without the generosity and altruism of the Malaysian culture and people, we’ll be experiencing more social problems than we are now. We also know that the current Government has abused its power and created monopolies, which means that we’re seeing pockets of power – the rich people – amongst the sea of poor people.
So my fellow Malaysians, I wish I could be there on the 5th of May to exercise my right as a Malaysian, but sadly, I won’t be able to. However, this is my heartfelt plea for you to exercise your right, and your power as a citizen. Regardless of your choice of vote this election, let it be one about the future that you want to see. Your vote and your voice isn’t just noise, but it is your stance, that you matter and you hold the power to want the government and country that you want.
Personally, this General Election is more than the policies and priorities the parties stand for, but an opportunity to take the power back and demonstrate our independence and freedom. When our people took to the streets demanding for a more transparent, free and fair election, they did not do it for personal gains (see BERSIH) but for the future of our people. When our forefather made the migration to Malaysia, they did it for better opportunities and freedom. So let’s fight for that for the poor, those with different abilities and those who don’t have a voice (e.g. the refugees and asylum seekers, the animals and rainforests).
I’ve read both parties’ manifesto and here, I’ve outlined the summary of what I’ve read to help you with your decision. Please let me know if I’ve made any mistakes, and remember this is by far just a very brief summary.