The results are out, BN won the polls. The world did not end, of course. Life will continue as we know it. Maybe not much will change also. So why am I so concerned as a Singaporean about the Malaysian election? Like me, many Singaporeans also have spouses, family and relatives who are Malaysians; my sister and mom are. Like me, many Singaporeans have Malaysian friends and even partners. And like me, many Singaporeans travel regularly or occasionally to Malaysian for holidays or work.
The truth is I don’t know if much will change even if BN has lost. I don’t know how much change the PR can bring to Malaysian if they won, but at least we know some change can come. Then again, it may even be slower had BN won, simply because BN has such hold of power over so many apparatus in the society that they could easily sabotage any change effort by the opposition, even if they lost. On the other hand, because of such a deep hold to power, it may be easier for BN to make changes if they wanted to. Just like how PAP puts up obstacles to make WP or SDP look bad.
Change is one thing, but fundamentals is another and its the fundamentals that I guess that me and many others hope will bring to Malaysians by beating BN at the polls.
Corruption is alive in Malaysia. Not just high up, but all the way down. Anyone who ever drove into Malaysia would have encounter the police at the road blocks asking for bribes. Its so normal that I have seen a Malaysian car just whisk out some Malaysian notes to the policeman at the road block and continued speeding off. Even worst once, a friend had her passport denied entry because it had less than 6 months expiry and the officer actually asked for a bribe so that we can go through! Any Malaysian will tell you that a police road block is really to collect coffee money. This is just corruption at the bottom, anytime we see policemen collect bribes so ready, it means corruption goes all the way to the top. Could PR eliminate corruption? I doubt so, as we don’t even know how much they themselves are involved. But this is a change I am wishful for.
Ask any of your Malaysian friends and each will have a tale to tell of how their car was stolen or broken into, how their house that was broken into or the wallet or handbag that was robbed and its not just once but two, three or more times. My mom had encountered robbers trying to snatch her handbag no less than 4 times, some with sustained injuries. Even Singaporeans who drove or went over to Malaysia had their tales to share about their cars being broken into or being robbed. Crime rates is a measure of inequality in the society, but also wider social issues and, of course, ineffective police force. Duh! The Malaysian police are so busy working for BN and collecting money, you think they cared about crime prevention?
Any Chinese or non-Malay Malaysian will recount the amount of inequality they have seen with the bhumi putera policies benefiting only the Malay Muslim folks in Malaysian; note that some original natives (but not Malay nor Muslim) never got this benefit even though its meant for the people of the land. This policy is like asking the Malaysian Malays to break one of their own legs and walk around using a crutch, even though they are capable of walking on both in the first place. Unfortunately for some of them, this “welfare” system is so comfortable (where university exam papers are even given out to Malays before an exams to help them pass) that they rather walk with one broken leg. The 30% bhimu putera equities have benefitted only the rich Malays; note that its 30% to bhumi putera, not just any Malaysian, Chinese, Indian or otherwise. This policy only benefitted the Malays and worst still only the rich ones, although the bhumi putera policy was meant to help the disadvantaged, but frankly speaking who would ever ask a nobody in some kampong with no network connections to become a director with 30% equity in a company? So the rich and well-connected has become richer. Talk about legalized corruption. My hope was that had the majority voted out BN, it will tell me that the Malays have matured and realised that they are supporting a discriminatory policy and prefers to stand on their own merits. This is truly when great changes to Malaysia will happen. Just today, someone sent a link for the message below, these are the Malaysian Malays I admire the most, those who are privileged and advantaged but refused to be in the same cohort as the corrupted and discriminatory system:
For SPM, I only scored 2As while a non-Malay classmate of mine got 10As. I got offered two universities, she got none.I kept silent because I feel ashamed that I have always got it easy. I knew that I can give half the effort my entire life and still be able to feed myself. And what have I done to deserve this special treatment? Absolutely nothing. My ancestors just happened to step into this land a few generations earlier.But my friend, her father, and her father’s father have been here as long as I do. They work hard, they take care of their families, they pray to God. They are no different than me. They are us.To have a law that treats a person based solely on the color of their skin, goes against everything that I have been taught, that I have believe in.And I believe in justice.