Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Malaysia Boleh?

Written by johnleemk on 10:54:07 am Jun 2, 2005.
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Malaysia Boleh (literally, Malaysia Can) is the unofficial national motto of Malaysia. Ironically, it seems some people have taken this slogan a bit too seriously. I know of one lawyer who describes the situation in Malaysia as anarchy. Some would say that's too extreme, but is it?

While most of the opposition enjoys harping on issues like the laws BN pushed into existence to curtail royal privileges: oh no! See how UMNO and the Malays are destroying the existence of law and order by actually allowing the prosecution of royalty! Simply unacceptable!

Others point to the arrest and rough treatment Anwar endured, noting that this lack of due process and appropriate protection while being held in a lock-up indicate that even the police are now breaking the law. True, perhaps, but can the man on the street relate to Anwar? Anwar's just an ex-UMNOputra. No need to glorify him. If it were Mahathir in his place, most of these armchair politicians would be gloating, but as anyone knows, Anwar's the other side of the coin with Mahathir on the head.

Instead, let's look at a simple example of lawlessness: illegal parking. At the condominiums just outside my housing estate, people parking on both sides of the street reduce it to a one-lane road. This isn't just people furtively hiding from law enforcement either; they're doing it right in front of the guardhouse! Of course, the average Malaysian sees nothing wrong with this; people do the same thing at 1 Utama every weekend. But this can result in serious consequences. Resulting traffic jams and bottlenecks can lead to the loss of thousands of ringgit in terms of man-hours. In Singapore (or almost any other country claiming to be developed, for that matter), you'd be hit with summons like hell.

Naturally, anarchy also directly leads to vigilante justice. There have been many reported cases of people taking the law into their own hands; for example, in two separate incidents, thieves tried to rob two different cars. The frightened drivers beat the thieves to death with their steering wheel locks. And who can blame them? After reading about the man who had his thumb cut off (so it could activate the fingerprint-based ignition security system) or the thieves who knifed to death resisting victims, it's a surprise there are still a few people willing to let the police handle things.

Speaking of the police, remember that case recently? Yes, the one where police unwittingly freed 40+ criminals? In any other country, heads would have rolled within seconds of the escape's discovery. In Malaysia, the police officers apologise and are back on the job.

Perhaps the case of a particular Sultan's palace exemplifies all this: last year, the metal spikes on top of the palace's fencing were stolen. To date, the robbers have not been caught. Malaysia Boleh!


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