Breeding a Culture of FEAR

LoyarBurok published an article by The Worried Student on 30 May 2010, soon after 4 UKM students were facing action for alleged breach of the UUCA/AUKU.

Now Another Worried Student is speaking out against the use of oppressive laws such as the UUCA/AUKU, ISA, and OSA that are used to subjugate Malaysians by breeding a culture of fear.

Another Worried Student:

FEAR: -noun

1. A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

2. A specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.

3. Concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.

4. Reverential awe, esp. toward god.

5. That which causes a feeling of being afraid; that of which a person is afraid: Cancer is a common fear.

Building a culture of fear is not just about instilling a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger or threat; but rather it is about the process of which such a fear is planted into the minds of the society, starting at a very young and pliable age.

For a small country, Malaysia sure has an impressive arsenal of draconian laws – AUKU, ISA, OSA, Printing Presses & Publications Act, Sedition Act, EO – each with specific functions that target different groups of people in her rakyat, to continuously breed an all-encompassing culture of fear.


Saturn Devouring His Son or Government devouring her rakyat?

It does not necessarily have to scream danger and threat in one’s face but it sends a chilly warning to subtly “remind” a person of what is at risk should one choose to speak up; and to merely contemplate such an action would mean putting oneself in danger of losing everything. But of course we have already lost our freedom at this point.

This was what my generation grew up with. This is what the young and pliable are growing up with right now.

We have the UUCA/AUKU to stifle the minds of university students by discouraging them from speaking up on issues of national interest, injustices in society, socio-political commentary, and etc. for fear of being found guilty of “showing support or sympathy or opposition to political parties within or outside of Malaysia.”

The AUKU can easily threaten the future and potential of a student. All it takes is to charge a student under the act, put her through a one-sided “the judge, jury, and executioner” style internal university disciplinary proceeding, expel her and refuse all forms of appeals based on technicalities.

With that sort of vindictive process being made possible under the AUKU – what student would be willing or daring enough to risk his entire future and put himself in a position of not graduating at all – to stand up and fight for what he believes is right or to merely exercise his basic rights to freedom of speech, thought, and movement?

Just when you think you’re safe to participate freely in politics after you graduate – you have the ISA, OSA, and Sedition Act to skirt around on your tippy toes – discouraging you from speaking out even against the gravest of injustices… say for example when a young man dies while under the custody of an enforcement agency and the investigation to his cause of death has been made theatrical.

All they need to do to arrest you and put you under indefinite detention is to suspect and “believe” that you are about to commit something (“something” because the police are not under obligation to inform you of your alleged offence, or soon to be offence) that is deemed to threaten national security and the peace and harmony of this country. With this piece of “peace loving” law hovering over a people’s heads, the Government has made what should be possible for the Everydayperson, into a path of martyrdom.

When it comes to elections, you cannot really make an informed choice because all the media licenses are controlled through the Printing Presses and Publications Act! Any publication that dare to incite the wrath of the Home Ministry will have its publication licenses withdrawn or not renewed for various reasons. So the bulk of the nation keeps reading what they want us to read. Hence, even our basic right to vote and to choose our own Government has been impinged.

So, there you have it, slowly but surely, various acts and laws are made to put a lid on society’s ability to think freely or to even have the mindset to want to think! This culture of fear that has been breeding at all levels of society will ultimately put a cap on the society’s ability to react and to respond effectively towards any issues concerning the society.

It has rendered our youth today ill-equipped to take on the future leadership of this country. Too many of us are no longer concerned about social issues but rather are more interested at making sure that our restaurant in Restaurant City is making enough gold coins and our farms are not robbed by friends in Farmville. Too many of us are only concerned with scoring A’s in our studies and ignoring the call the A’s we need to score as a civil society.

Welcome your next generation.


Rabindranath Tagore

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
But to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain,
But for the heart to conquer it.
Let me not look for allies in life’s battlefield,
But to my own strength.
Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved,
But hope for the patience to win my freedom.
Grant me that I may not be a coward,
feeling your mercy in my success alone,
But let me find the grasp of your hand in my failure.

LB: “Another Worried Student” is the pen name of a student in one of Malaysia’s universities, who fears facing disciplinary action under the oppressive Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 for writing this.

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