Side Views

Let’s just get back to basics — May Chee Chook Ying

APRIL 23 — Let’s forget about trying to break into the Guinness Book of World Records and stuff. Let’s just get back to basics. Let’s just go back to square one; what it means to be a democracy, what it means to uphold the constitution. Let’s remember the pledge of the Rukunegara, first mooted in 1970. For those who have forgotten about it and for those who do not know anything about it, it goes like this:

“Our Nation, Malaysia, is dedicated to: Achieving a greater unity for all her people; maintaining a democratic way of life; creating a just society in which the wealth of the nation shall be equitably distributed; ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural tradition, and building a progressive society which shall be oriented to modern science and technology.

We, the people of Malaysia, pledge our united efforts to attain these ends, guided by these principles:

Belief in God

Loyalty to King and Country

Upholding the Constitution

Sovereignty of the Law and

Good Behaviour and Morality”

Seen or felt any of the above lately? Am I the only one sorely missing the spirit of the Rukunegara? Can we drown out the din, please, and get back to living with dignity, the way decent human beings deserve to?

Eight bills passed through in one day. Time stood still, so someone said. I wished. I wished we could go back to the time when I was only in Standard 4, when the Rukunegara was first mooted for our well-being and that of the nation, at large. I remember that fateful day when some of us were chosen to recite the Rukunegara during our school assembly. I was afraid I couldn’t pronounce the word “technology”, though during my school days, my memory was eidetic. Now, you can tell me any secret; I’ll forget it the moment you finish speaking! So, I digress, like RPK would say.

Anyway, I would think that living in the “best democracy” in the world, when those eight bills were passed in such haste, it was for our own good, as if tomorrow might never come! Or is it a case of “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” — William Pitt

We live under a tyranny and we are slaves? How come? You could have fooled me!

I thought we were living in a Parliamentary Democracy where we, who are qualified to vote, take part in elections and choose politicians to represent us in a Legislative Assembly. We choose these politicians. We, and they, these politicians, see to it that our best interests are taken care of. They, these politicians are supposed to be elected by us, us, so that they can redress our grievances. How is it that those amendments bulldozed through when time stood still were not done in our best interests? How come there’s more room for cheating now? For slandering? No way to check the identity of voters or that they voted only once? And who’s that dope who pronounced that we have the cleanest electoral register in the world?

Please-lah, we are already the greatest laughing stock in the world for tagging ourselves the best democracy in the world, now you want the international community to die laughing, calling our electoral register the cleanest in the world?

Don’t just say anything to get into the Guinness Book of World Records-lah! These Guinness people will have to come and verify, no? Can they come and verify for sure we are the best democracy in the world and that we have the cleanest electoral register in the world? Can? Maybe, that will be good!

Can they come and verify that we have the freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, so that we, Malaysians, are adequately informed and able to vote according to our best interests as we see them? Or will they come and see that some people are voting from beyond the grave, voting more than once, or those unqualified get paid to vote for some unscrupulous people? Or Malaysia is so “free” a country that some of the posters or banners strewn all over are not a sight for sore eyes, instead, they are an eye-sore? Malaysia Boleh, huh, now?

Let’s not try to get in the news for all the wrong reasons. Let’s just get back to basics. Let’s just go back to square one. We are supposed to have voted in an egalitarian form of government. One in which all the citizens (as in live ones, ok?) of our nation together determine policies, laws and actions of the state that will preserve peace, harmony and unity of our beloved nation. One that will preserve the spirit of the Rukunegara. One that will preserve equality and freedom where all citizens are equal before the law and have equal access to legislative process. One where the freedom of its citizens is secured by legitimised rights and liberties that are protected by our constitution. (For that matter, let’s claim back our constitution, which has been hijacked lately!) One that will preserve the sanctity of our vote.

Till then, I’m appealing to all right-minded Malaysians, let’s “Jom, Duduk Bantah”. Make your vote count. See you guys there. I’ll be at the Malacca version. Come and say “hi”.

* May Chee Chook Ying reads The Malaysian Insider.

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

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