Side Views

Good thing we are a democracy — Natalie Shobana Ambrose

JUNE 29 — In some countries, people get put in jail for speaking up against injustices. They then get left there for years and are sometimes forgotten. Good thing this doesn’t happen in Malaysia, especially since we’re a democracy.

In some countries, the media constantly practises self-censorship to avoid being shut down. Still they are regularly cautioned to ‘behave appropriately’ in accordance to government propaganda when unbiased reporting is what the media is trying to provide. Good thing this doesn’t happen in Malaysia, especially since we’re a democracy.

In some countries, citizens are told what to believe. Their religion has to be the religion of the state, if not bad things happen to them. So they hide and practise their faith in secrecy. All they want is their basic human right to religious freedom. Good thing this doesn’t happen in Malaysia, especially since we’re a democracy.

In some countries, there is no such thing as equality. Some tribes are considered better than others and more deserving because of the race they were born in to. So the others get oppressed and are not given the same opportunities, education benefits, housing benefits, investment benefits, and the list goes on. Institutionalised racism is condoned and part of the government system. Good thing this doesn’t happen in Malaysia, especially since we’re a democracy.

In some countries, the judicial system is rigged. The blindfold of justice has been removed and there is little separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. Too much meddling and a lack of neutrality in the courts allow for the privileged, the influential and the titled to sway decisions on who sits on the bench and the outcome of cases. Good thing this doesn’t happen in Malaysia, especially since we’re a democracy.

In some countries, fear and intimidation are the modus operandi. People are not allowed to legitimately express their concerns. Water bombs and tear gas are used to stop rallies and protest marches even if they are peaceful. Good thing this doesn’t happen in Malaysia, especially since we’re a democracy.

In some countries, ballot boxes go missing, voter registration is inaccurate, phantom voters get a ballot paper and there is no such thing as a secret ballot. Good thing this doesn’t happen in Malaysia, especially since we’re a democracy.

In some countries, the leaders squander the wealth of the country and believe in a system of ‘one for you, five for me,’ making them instant multi-billionaires with property peppered all over the world and businesses ventures for each of their children. The immense wealth accumulated and squandered while in power could have benefited the country and made it more prosperous than it is. Good thing this doesn’t happen in Malaysia, especially since we’re a democracy.

In some countries, many promises are made before an election and forgotten once the seat is won. So during the few days of campaigning, the people living in that area without basic necessities for many years suddenly find themselves between a rock and a hard place – vote for the people who put you there and get all the basic benefits they should have given you years before or not vote for them and continue living the way they made you live all these years. Votes are exchanged for basic necessities like running water, roads and access to electricity. Good thing this doesn’t happen in Malaysia, especially since we’re a democracy.

In some countries the people in uniforms are thugs in masquerade. Their guns are not to pre-empt crime but to cause one. Once they don a uniform, they automatically get immunity from the crimes they commit all in the name of protecting the security of the country. So much so that the people know if uniformed personnel ask for something, it’s best to comply – even if it’s a naked squat. The power of the uniform outweighs any logical, legal reasoning. Good thing this doesn’t happen in Malaysia, especially since we’re a democracy.

In some countries, certain people can incite racial and religious hatred with little reprimand while those with legitimate concerns for the state of affairs get chastised. Good thing this doesn’t happen in Malaysia, especially since we’re a democracy.

In some countries the will of the people is not the basis of the authority of the elected government. The protection of human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all are just rhetoric and not a reality. Good thing this does not happen in Malaysia, especially since we are a democracy.  

* Natalie believes in the freedom of being a pedestrian, wearing yellow and writing poems.  

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

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