By Ron CK Sim
“Guys, I shall return very soon to join the struggle for change. Being away does not mean one is not patriotic while living in Malaysia does not mean one is. While one is away, it is imperative that one does what he can to contribute to the struggle for change back home, and that is what I’m doing. Hope other overseas-based Malaysians will do their part to complement what our awakened brothers and sisters back home are doing. The Malaysian dream lives on …”
Those were my response to a number of comments I received after my first posting, “A Nation Dreams On” was published in The Malaysian Insider website on 31.8.2009. Back then I was living in London, the imperial capital of our former colonial masters. Looking from the outside thousands of miles away, I was indeed hopeful that the beloved nation of mine would one day achieve her dream of being a respected nation, one that stands tall amongst the nations of the world.
Here I am, back in Malaysia since January 2010, witnessing from within all the on-goings and shenanigans that have taken place in the past three years. I am glad to say I have done my part together with other right-thinking Malaysians in this noble struggle for change.
Whether we succeed or fail depends entirely on who we vote for in this coming GE13. Do you want to continue to live with the politics of fear, with the massive corruption and cronyism, with the racial/religious rhetoric of UMNO/BN (and their cahoots in Perkasa), with the continuous decay and bias of our state institutions such as the Judiciary, the AGC, the Police, the MACC, the EC, you name it?! The UMNO/BN government has time and again failed us and with that, lost all its moral legitimacy to govern us. It has failed, or more correctly, refused to accept the true meaning of democracy and of the concept of “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. What they have been doing is (ab)using the democratic mandate given to them to enrich themselves and their families and cronies, and to suppress the rights and freedoms of the very people who have put them on the seats of power. The democracy they are practising is what I would call a “tyrannical democracy”! See what they have been exposed to have done in the past week alone – conspicuously chartering a huge number of flights to transport dubious foreigners from Sabah and Sarawak to vote in Selangor??? If this is proven true, it would amount to a desperate and despicable act of treason by the tyrannical yet crumbling regime in trying to hang on to their power at all costs.
It is estimated that more than a million Malaysians have left our shore since our Independence in search of greener pastures and better lives. Out of this sheer number, only 6,298 of them (according to the Election Commission) have registered as postal voters to vote in this GE13. Whilst this may to a certain degree point to a lack of confidence in the EC’s integrity in preserving their votes without any tampering, it may also suggest that a majority of Malaysians living abroad have no interest towards their motherland – simply because they had long lost hope on her. When the people of a nation give up their dreams, the nation loses its soul. This must not be allowed to happen. For those our overseas brethren who have voted all around the world on 28th April 2013, we should salute them for exercising their basic democratic rights, so unjustly denied to them in the past by the UMNO/BN regime, and for the inconvenience and difficulties they have had to put up with in order to participate in the democratic process to decide the destiny of our nation for the next five years and beyond.
Lim Kit Siang recently spoke of ‘the great Malaysian dream’. He urged Malaysians at large to stand up in this election and “dare to dream the great dream of a Malaysia of justice, good governance, freedom and in which all are regarded as Malaysians first and last.” That pretty much sums up the dream of ordinary Malaysians like you and me.
Personally, I dream that Malaysians of all races and religions can live happily in peace and harmony without being ultra-sensitive and looking at each issue from the angle of race and religion. I dream that all Malaysians can be treated with fairness and equality under the law in accordance with the letter and spirit of our sacred Constitution. I dream that corruption of any kind and amount and at every level of society will be viewed by society at large with utter disgrace and contempt, and not generally viewed as a norm as it is today. I dream that our mainstream media can be free, fair, independent and professional in performing their roles as the ‘fourth pillar of democracy’ and as an effective ‘check-and-balance’ apparatus on our Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. I dream that the Doctrine of Separation of Powers can be upheld and that our Judiciary and all other institutions of the state can function according to their constitutional and statutory roles without fear or favour, and not according to the order, whim and fancy of the government of the day. I dream that a two-party system can fully flourish so that the government of the day, be it BN or PR, will always be humble and people-centric knowing that Malaysians will have the alternative and the ultimate power to renew or to withdraw their mandate once every five years.
And last but not least, more specifically, I dream that Pakatan Rakyat will be given a clear mandate to ‘renew’ our nation’s independence come tomorrow, 5th of May 2013 and thereon embarking on the arduous journey of realising our Great Malaysian Dream. I call on all Malaysians who have their own dreams for the nation to hang on there and don’t ever give up. Take this golden opportunity for righting everything that is wrong with our country today, by voting wisely and voting in a People’s government.
I remember a quote from the movie “Letters from Iwo Jima”. An American mother wrote to her young soldier son fighting in Iwo Jima during WWII, urging him to “do what is right, because it is right“. I hope my fellow Malaysians will do what is right for this country and for the generations to come and with that, daring to live our dream.