Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Malaysia, Dying at the Hands of Barisan Nasional

Written by johnleemk on 2:11:04 pm Jul 16, 2007.
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The same commentor who argues that fighting for freedom means you are taking freedom for granted has a new trick up his sleeve. He says:

BN has been ruling dulu, kini and will selamanya....the country is here now, and it would remain here. Ain't that spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt), by telling me that if I don't oppose the government, there would be no country around? It's like telling a small kid that there is a monster in the closet that would eat him if he doesn't sleep.
There is some merit in the argument. Not a lot, but still, a non-negligible amount. There is a lot of unwarranted criticism of the ruling regime out there, and a lot of overemotional hyperbole.

That doesn't mean, though, that the ruling regime is clean, or that it can manage and administer the country well for the future. As one person I know complained not too long ago, the establishment intentionally hypes up unsubstantiated claims just to obscure the real ones with a basis — the government allows a shoddy but sensational book on the May 13 incident to circulate because this draws attention away from the real evidence of wrongdoing.

Likewise, there is a lot of sensational anti-Barisan Nasional material out there. Much of it is not true. But a lot of it unfortunately is.

The logical fallacy of thinking that because BN governed well in the past, it will govern well in the future, should be obvious to most. Are countries like Malaysia and Singapore unique in that we can be governed well by the same people and organisations dulu, kini dan selamanya (then, now and forever)? What makes us think we are so special when so many other countries — many of them successful — have had to change the party in power?

And in the first place, there is not much evidence that the ruling regime has been a good one. They gave us a sham of a "social contract" that has degenerated to apartheid. They stuck to paradigms insisting on identification of race with socioeconomic function. They built a government-centred economy that is killing off entrepreneurship, especially among the Malays. They ostensibly gave us stability, but at what cost? Do we really need the power to lock someone up without charging them for any crime, just to keep us safe?

A good government alters its policies from time to time to reflect the changing realities of the world, and to incorporate new solutions to old problems. But remarkably, a book published 30 or 40 years ago on Malaysian government and politics remains just as relevant today because our government has refused to change and has refused to address longstanding issues.

I am not going to say that there aren't good people in the ruling regime. There are. But they are stymied by the stifling power of those higher in the hierarchy — and the more you think about it, the more you think that this is a malicious regime, not just an incompetent one.

This is of course the same regime that kept us from the scourge of communism, and keeps us from the scourge of radical Islamism. But what good is it if we end up being that village in the Vietnam War, which famously had to be destroyed by the American army so it could be saved? What good is it if our country becomes little better than a communist regime, or little better than an Islamist regime, as it slowly seems to be becoming?

Why should we vote for the Barisan Nasional regime? What reason is there? Why shouldn't we stay home, or better yet, vote for something new? Why not vote for change? Do we even have ten reasons to stick to the present state of things?


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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

Infernal Ramblings is run by John Lee. For more, see the About section. If you have any questions or comments, do drop him a line.


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