Saturday, 12 May 2012

Is Malaysia a Normal Country?

Time to start blogging again I think. The level of discourse doesn't seem to have risen. While other countries are moving ahead and having a far more sophisticated discourse about their future, Malaysia is still stuck in the same polemics and there is a lot to write about.

I think I have to start simply by listing a series of questions and asking whether they are the indications of a normal and confident country?

Ask yourself these questions on whether the below are normal of any country?

1. Is it normal for the special branch of the police to monitor opposition rallies? And for politicians to be frightened enough to believe their phones are tapped?

2. Is it normal for newspaper to need to renew their publishing permit every year?

3. Is it normal for political parties to own newspapers and companies?

4. Is it normal for companies to be described as UMNO linked/owned yet no one knows how exactly? It is normal for political parties to own companies/influence them? Doesn't this bring about the fact that the political party can set out policy for its own companies economic interest?

5. It is normal that everytime there is a change of PM the media company somehow owned by this political party also changes editors to those aligned with the new PM?

6. Is it normal for someone to be shot in the head and blown up by C4, their immigration records suddenly go missing and the ones sentenced are those without a motive?

7. Is it normal for there to be so many sex scandals of politicians where the more interesting question is how did and who did plant all those cameras all over the place? Are political parties using the state security services for this?

8. Is it normal for political parties to whip up fear of their citizens?

9. Is it normal to have race based parties?

10. Is it normal to have race based schools and universities?

11. Is it normal to have the history that is taught in schools to be so distorted and twisted and to just celebrate one party above a factual recounting of history?

12. is it normal for people to believe rumour over facts because of the widespread believe that the media is curtailed from reporting and is controlled?

13. is it normal for any country for people believe that citizenship is routinely given out to buttress the ruling parties position?

14. Is it normal for people to believe that the Electoral Commission is so compromised that it doctors the electoral roll? (my own experience :- between 2004 and 2008, where my parent voted and for which parliamentary constituency was changed without their knowledge. They have been living in the same place for 25 years.)

15. Is it normal for people to believe that the judiciary and police are compromised and do not act independently and investigate independently?

16. Is it normal to have so many rich politicians yet no one knows how they got rich?

17. Is it normal for political parties (Ketua Bahagian) to be able dispense state money?

18. Is it normal for some MP's to receive allocations from the government but not others?

19. Is it normal that no one really knows what the Senator in Dewan Negara do?

Malaysia is not a normal country and therefore the politics are far from normal. They are the worse kind. Down to attacks on people because each party really has never articulated a very clear ideology that encompasses the whole nation but instead focused on individual ethnicity. Though some are trying now, especially DAP and PKR.

If we were a normal country we would be able to make decisions based on our own self-interest.

A simple example. It is actually in Malaysia's interest to have close ties to the US and even forge close military links (perhaps even allow a naval base here) because of China's belligerence over the Spratly's islands. But can you imagine any PM doing that?

So while Singapore, Phillippines and even Vietnam forge close ties to the US in order to protect their national interest, in Malaysia, because of the poisonous local political discourse about the US, local politicians have their hands tied and can't act in the national interest.

Look at Turkey (I visited Istanbul recently and was amazed, such a vibrant, confident liberal dynamic country, all the while I was there I was thinking that this was what Malaysia could have been if its leaders had lead rather than pandering to the lowest common denominator and being reactive, they even advertise holidays for those of the Jewish faith to show them significant Jewish sites in Turkey. Imagine that in Malaysia?!.) Friendly with the US yet independent and able to articulate its differences.

Where too Malaysia? Where too?

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