Malaysia, on the road to ruin?

Malaysia is currently facing a potentially catastrophic crisis that would inevitably lead the country to ruin.

It is not so much the Covid-19 pandemic, food shortages, and climate change, as inept leadership and the apathy of the rakyat in allowing such people to lead them.

Both of these elements – leadership and the people – are inextricably linked, based on the concept of democracy of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Realising such a system of governance that is true to these democratic tenets would require an informed electorate that elected politicians with ethical and moral integrity, who are true to the calling of serving the people and the nation.

This is, of course, a Utopian construct that has never been achieved in totality in any country.

Some developed countries may have achieved some measure of this ideal, but the developing countries, and even some developed ones, are nothing but a farce that camouflages dictatorships and feudalism, with some bordering on fascism and communism.

These situations persist because the electorate are usually illiterate, misinformed, and ignorant of their responsibilities as voters, and thus, easily duped by unscrupulous politicians.

These politicians prefer an economically poor, passive, or ill-informed electorate that can be easily manipulated through monetary gratification or by coercion that appeals to racial, religious, or provincial sentiments.

Such an electorate abounds in rural Peninsula Malaysia, and in Sabah and Sarawak.

In Peninsula Malaysia, Malay politicians employ the ‘3Rs’ – race, religion, and royalty – to ‘coerce’ Malay voters to submit to their agenda of holding on to power in perpetuity, not to help the electorate, but to enrich themselves.

Their strategy is to create fear among the people and win their trust by falsely promising to alleviate them of such apprehensions.

There are also political parties that use religion to suppress rational thinking and misinform its members into subservience, and to accept their poverty as a test from God, rather than as evidence of the administration’s incompetence and the uncaring attitude of their leaders who are only concerned with enriching themselves at the expense of the poor people.

In Sabah and Sarawak, politicians use similar tactics in duping the people, with the added emphasis of provincialism and the creation of a cult of leaders who promote an insular and introverted mindset, depriving them of knowledge that could be used to challenge the leaders and make them accountable. This has resulted in a huge gap in wealth creation and distribution between the minority elites and the majority of the common people.

Depriving the people of access to knowledge and information is another tactic adopted by political leaders who misuse nationalistic markers, such as language, to serve their political agenda.

The directive to use the Malay language in all spheres of governance, commerce, diplomacy, and education, is a setback to the development of an informed electorate that could access the vistas of knowledge available in the English language.

What is worse is that this policy is a smokescreen to cover the leadership’s language deficiencies, which could harm the country’s socio-economic and intellectual matrix.

It is clear that the electorate is at the mercy of the politicians. They dictate all aspects of governance, wealth creation and distribution to among themselves without much regard for the common people.

While the rakyat are reeling from the spiralling cost of living, the declining value of our currency, environmental disasters contributed by indiscriminate logging, mining, and river pollution, the current leadership is engaged in a never-ending power struggle, and deliberations of trivial matters, such as the inappropriateness of Muslims to be involved in the Japanese cultural celebration of Bon Odori.

What is odd is that the government has maintained that the economy is recovering, that our GDP is improving, that inflation is within accepted parameters, and that things would get better in the future.

This is wishful thinking. We the people must bear some of the blame in allowing these inept and incompetent politicians to manage our lives.

Unless there is a dramatic change in the people’s awareness of electoral responsibility in electing the right people to affect a dramatic overhaul of our socio-economic structure, we are heading down the road to ruin.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.