*The author doesn’t believe that one can be politically neutral. A concerned citizen cannot be idle on his constitutionally-guaranteed right while complaining that the nation is politically sick. While abstaining by itself is a choice, an active choice is a small yet significant process to be participative in the nation-building. However, as a fervent believer of the nation’s Federal Constitution, the author is also open to criticisms from those who agree to disagree.
I was blessed to have grown up in a multiracial, pluralistic society. My circle of friends is probably best suited to represent the face of Malaysia–Malay, Chinese, Indian, Orang Asli, Eurasian, other Bumiputeras, first generation immigrants–we all shared the same roof and interchangeably spoke English and Malay to each other. We lived harmoniously, there were no murmurs of racial and religious intolerance, and we saw no differences between ourselves.
That was how innocent our childhood was like until our broken education system divided almost all of my closest Malay/Bumiputera friends to multiple, homogenous boarding schools from our multi-racial composition.
My first 9 years of education had taught me one valuable lesson which has shaped the way I am today; the only way for a tolerant & harmonious Malaysia is to embrace and integrate the diversity in our community to the very essence of our day-to-day life. Sadly, instead of riding on the pluralistic advantage that we have, this concept is beginning to be more distant. As I grow older, there are more religious and racial frictions, mainly because there is a growing number of Malaysians whom have missed out on the privilege of this beauty of integration from a personal experience. Couple the broken situation with skewed bombardments of racially-inclined political statements, the same community I live in today is more suspicious of each other’s presence than a decade ago.
Consecutive stellar performances of the Opposition Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat) post-2008 had given me hopes that the fight for equality based on social justice is far from over. My personal experiences of having my non-Malay friends losing trust in the nation over the discrimination in something so close to our being as students–education, had impacted me greatly in my contentment of the power-sharing concept by Barisan Nasional. Many of my friends had to take hefty loans for a chance to tertiary education that they deserve by merit while I heave a heavy sigh over the lackadaisical attitude of the undeserving lots in my university whom admission was by mercy of policy.
I came into a realisation that the nation’s sickness is deep-rooted and can only be remedied by changing the medication altogether. On personal basis, I am studying to be a lawyer to uphold the essence of rule of law, and to do my part in doing away with the bad apples in our legal system (in which many are discriminatory & unconstitutional).
As much as I want to hinder myself from the dirty politicking of both ends, the closest option to my aspiration of a better Malaysia–one that is only a reminisce of the past– was to be political in my sacrifices.
I had chosen Pakatan Rakyat not because of PKR, DAP, nor was it for PAS. Many of the politicians in the alliance are as hypocritical for their own political survival, and yes this includes the likes of Islamist PAS, equal-for-all PKR, and a Malaysian Malaysia DAP.
I embraced this option for they had given me hope that it is possible for policies for social justice to go ahead; and for a start, by focusing on areas of urgent attention rather than tinkering with how our GDP target can be met by 2020. Never mind the rocky and unheralded political marriage, the end focus had convinced many Malaysians that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
A better Malaysia was envisioned for years to come for our future kids to embrace the essence of nationhood as embedded by the Founding Father, the late Tunku when he said:
“We must each always think first of Malaysia, of the national need and least of ourselves …Everyone must try to help and see that the people are one-minded, with loyalty and one aim, to make Malaysia – the land we love – a happy abode for all of us. If we all do this then we can guarantee liberty, security, prosperity and happiness for the future.”
Unfortunately, the recent turns of political events in Pakatan Rakyat had let down the optimism in us.
Can’t the politicians start thinking of the bigger picture for the best benefit of the nation?
Is it so hard to come into a consensus for a better outlook of the younger generation?
Why waste time over divisive politics when there are more urgent needs to be taken care of?
It was akin to having my hopes dashed and robbed away by these mud-slingers when the very people I have entrusted my faith for a better Malaysia are slowly pulling the pieces apart.
In the coming months to come, I can only hope that the coalition can re-align themselves with actions that resonate with the rakyat’s shared ideals as a better alternative to the status quo. The future generation is dependent on today’s leaders’ wiser, immaculate yet imminent actions to salvage any hopes for a more tolerant and harmonious Malaysia when the next window of opportunity arises.