Are We Really Independent?

It’s been 64 years since Malaysia achieved independence and we have come a long way. We Malaysians have achieved great things that have brought a lot of glories. We have also achieved many firsts in the world that made many nations envy us. Unfortunately of late, we seem to face many problems. We have a guy who sends his helicopter from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh just to pick up some 36 packets of Nasi Kandar. On the other hand, we have people who still scavenge for food to eat. Many too are dependent on free food. Without help, they will go hungry. If incidents like people going hungry happen in a third world country, it is normal but not in a country like Malaysia, rich with natural resources and petroleum. We once had the tallest building in the world; and an international Formula 1 track as well as a state-of-the-art airport among others. But, at the same time disparity between the rich and the poor is something we cannot erase. This disparity between the rich and the poor is becoming more serious. While we have genuinely achieved independence and sovereignty from the British, are we living in a dignified manner? As we are going to celebrate National Day at the end of the month, this scenario in Malaysia I am sure is still troubling many Malaysians.

Photo by mkjr_ from Unsplash

Every day, we experience this disparity between the haves and have-nots, but we have seen it happen too many times that we have gotten used to it and we decide to turn a blind eye. The government is to be partially blamed for the disparity. The government’s main responsibility is to eliminate poverty among the people but this agenda has not been managed well. Funds allocated for the poor sadly do not reach the poor. Leaders and officials in power hijack most of the money instead of channeling it to the needy. Records of helping the poor speak well on paper but in actual fact, it’s all a cheat game. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Even the international authorities have taken note of the corruption in Malaysia. Transparency International in January 2021 has ranked Malaysia 57 out of 180 countries in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2020, dropping from 51 last year. Corruption is like cancer in a person, it will spread silently and destroy the person but if it is serious in a country, the country will crumble. According to a World Bank report, countries, where corruption is rampant, have one-third of the average income, three times the infant mortality rate, and 25% literacy rates as compared to countries with low levels of corruption. In fact, right now the country is involved in a different fight.

Even at this present time where the Covid-19 pandemic is ravaging the country, the government does not have the trust of the people. Thus the new hashtag “Rakyat Jaga Rakyat” has become popular. The number of infections daily is hovering at the twenty thousand mark for the last four days. More than a million people have been infected and about 11,900 Malaysians have succumbed. Some have died miserably. With hospitals full to the maximum, some have been refused admission and died at home without medical help and treatment. They are then brought in dead. Ambulances are too not available as they cannot cope with the number of cases. Even grave digger Roslee Ali, who received an award in conjunction with Federal Territory’s Maal Hijrah celebration stated that he did not manage to get a day off to relish his excitement of receiving such an honour. There were too many Covid-19 deaths and he had to work additional hours to ensure the burial ceremony could be done immediately. All this I believe is indirectly brought about by a corrupted government.

In recent years we have seen politicking overriding the interest of the rakyat and corruption rearing its ugly head. Politics and corruption are sadly going hand in hand. Political problems are getting from bad to worse due to self-interest and power-crazy politicians. Many parties are trying to take advantage because of the instability of the ruling government. Even at this point in time, the leaders are fighting to stay alive and this effort is through corruption, I believe. The present government is hanging on a thin thread and on the verge of collapse. It has been reported that the ruling government is buying house representatives from other parties to get their majority to hold power. Warlords facing court prosecutions for corruption, mismanagement of funds as well as power abuse are also in the running in the bargaining game for power. But, it is sad that there are still many Malaysians supporting leaders who have been found guilty of corruption by the court. Since the sentences are upheld due to their appeal in court, a few of them are running wild. In fact, they even have ambitions of becoming the Prime Minister again. Can you imagine such things happening in a country that gained independence 64 years ago? Many other countries that gained independence around this time have reached the stars. Political stability is the driving force for their success and corruption has been wiped out. In some countries, corrupted leaders are tried in court and hanged to death. But here, we have corrupted leaders released but the person who gives the bribe is sentenced and jailed. I don’t think such an incident has happened in any other country. A country that is guided by the Rukun Negara is in shambles. I don’t know what has happened to “KEPERCAYAAN KEPADA TUHAN”. We have a house of worship in every corner. Judging by the number of mosques, churches, temples, and other houses of worship, Malaysians must be god-fearing people who practice the teaching of their religions but judging by their actions many don’t give a damn when it comes to money and power.

man in black suit jacket wearing black and white mask
Photo by Michal Matlon from Unsplash

This has never happened in the history of Malaysia. The rakyat is held at ransom. Covid-19 is enjoying its toll. People are dying for nothing. Many are going hungry. Suicides cases are increasing but the Leaders and the government care two hoots. What a Merdeka Day is going to be.

Palaniappan Karuppan is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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Palaniappan Karuppan
Author: Palaniappan Karuppan

Retired teacher with a passion for critical writing.