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COMMENT | What do we do when elected officials do not listen to the people?
For some, it is disparaging them on social media, hammering down these figures relentlessly. Others have taken to the streets as seen last Saturday during the #Lawan protests in a clear display of frustration and helplessness.
More recently, I read with dismay a well-known Malaysian columnist’s Facebook post on his decision to begin a hunger strike.
The recent tone delivered by those in power, especially by the caretaker prime minister has been disheartening. The white flag campaign where needy Malaysians pleaded for aid was casually dismissed while touting in Parliament that the administration is “not letting people suffer”.
One is also left wondering after the events last Wednesday whether the representatives are truly of the people or themselves, having chosen to announce that the caretaker prime minister (then) still holds a majority in the face of the withdrawal of 11 MPs from the ruling coalition.
Was it disappointing to hear? Definitely. Surprising? Not really.
After gaining independence from the British in 1957, we set the tone for where Malaysia wanted to be and how we should get there, namely to be modern, progressive and democratic. Each of us has a responsibility to play in that. However, we have a civil service that has turned its back on the principle of good governance of competence and capability.
In a democratic country, it is important that every citizen’s voice is heard and wishes are acted upon. Yet, the cost of voicing out is now being witnessed. Since the #Lawan protest, 11 activists have been called for questioning, while 10 saw their houses being raided.
Under normal circumstances, I do not think that anyone would have wanted to risk their lives by taking to the streets and protesting amidst a raging pandemic. Yet when all things are taken into consideration, the soaring Covid-19 cases amidst a lockdown with the endless politicking - I felt as if I was watching the country crumble before my eyes.
Online campaigns were dismissed by politicians in the past. When the youths took the streets, intimidation soon followed. We merely wanted to express our opinion about what is happening in Malaysia through a peaceful gathering. SOPs were followed, there was no violence nor any insult to any race or religion. What was the problem?The #Lawan protest which took place in the capital
Transparency and dignity in leadership form ed the crux of our requests. We were merely beseeching for the government to spare a thought for children who are orphaned, families who are financially affected, healthcare workers who are overworked and those who took their lives due to the pandemic. Lest we forget, bad policies led us to where we are now.
Failed governance is an epidemic in itself. In order to curb the raging Covid-19 pandemic, we first need to first ensure we have capable leaders and individuals directing our policies. We also need to ensure policies are well analysed and debated, hence our call for a proper Parliament sitting immediately.