Learning from Malaysia

The citizens of Malaysia are showing the world what true democracy means. They have peacefully in their weekend, demonstrated in mass against the Prime Minister Najib Razakis who is plagued by corruption scandals. Why are we not doing it!

Peaceful protest against corruption

Malaysians from all walks of life have marched into the streets of their cities and many other world capitals in what is known as Bersih 4.0. This has been done in peace, without any fighting, looting or problems. This is quite a feat as Malaysia is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural.  The State religion is Islam and there is freedom of religion for anyone else. Malaysia has one of the most competitive economies in Asia.

The interesting part is that they have chosen to demonstrate massively against corruption in the government. In Europe we have corruption scandals pretty much on a monthly basis and no one even budges. Our banks have brought us financial ruin, major corporations have relocated and retrenched en mass whilst still making profit, the rich are getting richer, and to top it all off the ECB is printing 1,0 trillion euro’s to help the banks get even richer. The governments are raising taxes on the citizens and reducing them for profit making corporations. Nothing is being done to curb CO2 emissions, endangering our future. We are cutting costs in our school and education system. We allow savings to be made on the sick whilst the health insurance companies make exorbitant profits on the back of these same people. We are reducing the pensions of our elderly people and extending the pension age knowing there are no jobs for people above 55.

Protest is the cornerstone of democracy

The freedom of assembly and freedom of association is probably one of the corner stones of our democracies. It is debatable whether peaceful protest work, but it is our right. We have examples such as Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and the carnation revolution in Portugal that laid the grounds for change.

 So why are we no longer going into the streets and voicing our opinion, just like in Malaysia? One major part is the negative reputation protests have received. All to often they are associated with violence, looting, fighting and other petty crimes. Even Occupy Wall Street, which really stood for something and had quite some traction, had problems. The unruly few have made a dent into our constitutional rights.

There is also a general lethargy and lack of interest in the future of our society. Our confidence in politicians is at an all time low, about half the eligible people use our voting booths, and we have become quite individualistic. Our ruling elite must be rubbing their hands at these developments. We have accepted our lot to such an extent that we have become more interested in the petty scandals of our celebrities and politicians then in their actual deeds.

Protest, and do it in peace

Bersih 4.0 really means something as people from different backgrounds and walks of life adhere it to. From young to old, rich and poor, Muslim, Buddhist, Catholics, they all got together and marched peacefully in the streets. It really is an example for us all.

Now to make this personal; I complimented one of my school friends for taking part in this event. His reply was a further lesson: “Thank you….. just doing my part as a Malaysian” . This really sums it all up.

Date created: 30/08/2015       Date modified: 02/09/2021
Author: debate-it.com
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