Aizat Mokhtar pens an open letter to the Malaysian government of 6th May.
I wish for a better nation – nation that is united against prejudice, sentiment and corruption. United for justice, freedom and equality. I wish that the new government, whichever coalition it’s from, stands for the people of Malaysia, not for personal gain, but because you represent the people of Malaysia.
I want you to have policies that will empower the people, instead of stifling and suppressing the people. Please note that saying “government knows best” isn’t applicable anymore. The rakyat is working very hard each and every day, trying to help pick up the pieces that you, as policy makers couldn’t manage. There might be some loopholes allowing for corrupt practices n the system. Please, don’t be hypocritical about this. So let the society be the judge, and be the check and balance. The constitution laid by our founding fathers has safeguarded the rights of the people and each individual. Therefore punish the wrongdoers, not the rakyat at large. I believe the rakyat is maturing, so before you lay down your policies let the people decide and participate in the process. Democracy is not about voting once every five years. It’s a continuous and tiring process, yes, but that is how a nation progressively matures.
I wish that the role of the Executive, Judiciary and Legislative is totally transparent,, autonomous and separate from each other. Please find a way so that the system works to clearly define each of its roles, differentiate between government and political parties, federal government and local government, local government and local council. The reason why corruption is widespread is because of these intertwining, inter-related roles that we don’t define, and the lack of transparency on how each body deals with certain issues such as appointing its own head, etc. We also have too many ministries for such a small nation. Why don’t we strike off some of the ministries, and let some of the portfolios be given to each state? For instance, I don’t know what the Minister of Information, Communications and Culture actually does and why there are the Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry and Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities. It’s just doesn’t seem right and feels redundant to me.
I wish that the academic world will be free and autonomous. Let the academicians and students do what they’re supposed to do, which is to be the critics and researchers of their own fields of expertise. Let them run the university with their own accord. Academicians and students should act freely without influence from outside parties. Universities should be institutions where everything is read, researched, discussed, debated and critiqued. That is how society will then be shaped from generation to generation –from its honest academic discourse. Therefore, please stop banning books, stop banning lectures and forums, stop prosecuting lecturers and students when they have differing views and thoughts. Stop prosecuting the civil society when they have dissent. When you prosecute these people, you will not have a mature and empowered society but a society that obeys and is weak. That is why the likes of Jomo Kwame Sundram (economist), Dr Farish Noor (historian), and Tan Sri Hassan Merican (ex-Petronas CEO), etc. are now serving outside the country, because they “speak out”. You talk about brain drain and yet you don’t allow smart people to use their full potential.
Please uphold the law and constitution. You talk about being “law abiding citizens” but then when the upper-class and the elites do wrong, it is said to be a “necessary evil”. There are biased prosecution for the elites and people with your favor. The law should be above everybody and everybody should be prosecuted the same. And please strike off all the laws that contradict the constitution. We have laws that seriously undermine our rights as citizens to freedom of speech and freedom of expression such as the SOSMA. We have laws that allow the government or government link bodies to do things without being audited like the OSA. We have laws that undermine students again from freedom of speech, expression and association with the UUCA. I don’t want to be a traitor to the nation just because I just have differing views from others. And please take care of the nation from racial sentiments. Please safeguard this nation from parochial-minded individuals and politicians. These individuals do nothing but divide us.
I believe that the rakyat have the rights to the access of education, healthcare, public necessities (road, transportation, water, electricity) and affordable housing. There are still some parts in our country that are still lacking accessible basic necessities. And while I don’t believe everything should be free, they would have to come with a price, I don’t believe in paying my money for these necessities to private corporations. These necessities should be nationalised because we use them every day for our basic needs. This will ensure that they are not run for profit.
I believe that education and healthcare are the key factors for a prosperous and developed nation. Education and healthcare are universal rights and should be accessible to all. How can you run these institutions for profit? In terms of education, I have read that in one of your PEMANDU policies, Malaysia will be the hub for private higher learning education, which means more privatised universities. It’s just doesn’t seem right to me. What about this: to fund all the necessities, I am ready to be taxed 5% of my income, which is five times more than what I am paying right now, provided that my taxable income is used solely for that purpose and that the higher income bracket is also taxed more, and that all those private companies, GLCs and cronies who enjoy considerable amounts of tax breaks also be taxed. It’s not fair that we middle-income folk are impacted the most when it comes to rising prices of commodities but these elites are not paying what they should. As a semi-socialist, I believe that wealth should be distributed. Rather than charity, I believe in solidarity for the betterment of the whole society.
There’s a lot more that I want to say, but I’m afraid that I lack the knowledge in terms of running a government. I am just a fresh graduate, just middle-income labour, still trying to understand the meaning of life. But whatever I say here is an honest layman’s views on each issue. The government can do so little, but we as a society can do so much more in progressing as a nation. We as a society will face a lot of challenges and hardships to be united.
I wish that on the 6th May 2013, whatever the outcome may be, we will still be truly united as a nation, void of any racial and bigoted sentiments. We will learn about our differences from each other. We will learn to live with each other despite our at times strongly differing views. Because we know, deep down inside, we want the best for ourselves, our family, and our nation. We all want the same. We want freedom, justice and equality. We want everyone to enjoy the fruitful and abundant sustenance our nation has, and not just allow them to be exploited by some elite individuals or powerful figures. We want to have a safe and harmonious place for us to live in.
In conclusion, I bid good luck to all, and whatever choice one makes, voting is just part of the democratic process. The hard work comes after voting. That is what democracy is all about.