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Small fry SW1Mming in big murky lake

 | January 17, 2013

Sharifah Zohra is only a small fry in this problem that has plagued Malaysia.

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With Suara Wanita 1Malaysia (SW1M) president Sharifah Zohra Jabeen’s cavalier approach towards a querying student, KS Bawani, we can see the never-ending attitude problem of the ruling coalition and its supporters.

Yet, Sharifah Zohra, now sinking and drowning in her own murky lake, is only a small fry in this problem that has plagued Malaysia. This country has a serious problem indeed, and it is the taming of our youths and turning them into a lot incapable of thinking on their own.

It is true that under Barisan Nasional, only some chosen ones among the elite can become leaders while the others are to remain as followers with their tails (no pun intended with reference to Sharifah Zohra’s animal farm) between their legs.

This will have to change as well as the “begging” culture that has been in place under BN. And the current state of affairs in Malaysia indicates that the people want change. They do not want confetti changes, with the re-branding of old folk songs into modern disco beats, but they want complete change in attitude, approach and in the way things are done.

For decades, the mainstream press and television networks have treated the people of this wonderful country as mere followers. who should be “told” and to whom no one should “listen”. But nowadays, with the BN’s back against the wall and the “transformasi” stripping it of its bullying power, more people are voicing their discontent. The youths are braving the bully lecturers, professors with BN leanings and they are openly challenging mini-Napoleonic figures like Sharifah.

Since independence, the people of Malaysia have been made to bow to the powers-that-be while the communist insurgency was hitting hard. This culminated in the rise of the Malay extreme right that has since captured the seat of power with no intention of relinquishing it even in the face of massive public discontent.

A bunch of nationalists have instituted a culture of servitude and during the time of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, it was a culture of fear that gripped the nation at the height of the “reformasi” movement. In a few paragraphs, we have already seen the level of rot that has been instituted in Malaysia with the type of “leading” figures who dictate to the students, who can point fingers at people and even tighten the noose around the opposition.

BN has for too long been in the seat of power, and that has given its leaders the belief that they own every single individual. Not only that, in the long run, they managed to impose their power to the extent that they could snatch a deputy prime minister from his post and throw him in jail with a black eye.

‘They are always right’

The absurdity of the SW1M leader’s reaction to the student’s comments is exactly what BN represents and, that is, no one else has the right to speak.

They also believe they cannot be wrong and they are always right, so why speak out and demonstrate or campaign for the end of the PTPTN (National Higher Education Fund Corporation)? The fact that Sharifah Zohra rejected Bawani’s portrayal of Malaysia’s failure to provide free education in comparison to other nations, is again part of the attitude problem being discussed here.

This problem is very real among the elite, who will take the freedom to compare Malaysia to other countries where they feel Malaysia is better but will reject all comparison when Malaysia is clearly in the wrong. This “mangkok” attitude, or in English the loser attitude, is born with BN but the people have started a long time ago to dare question the management of the nation’s affairs.

For example, no one can compare Malaysia to Singapore – certainly where Singapore is doing a lot better than Malaysia – because Singapore is said to be “smaller” thus easy to manage while Malaysia is bigger, thus difficult to steer towards greater progress. However, Singapore ensured that all its citizens have a house which they own whereas in Malaysia that’s not the case.

This issue has to be addressed but in order to push it under the carpet, the elite will insist that Malaysia cannot be compared to Singapore while Sharifah Zohra will add, without clearly thinking, that the students should be compared to animals.

And what was that about? Asking Bawani to leave the country and stay elsewhere rather than be in Malaysia? This statement by the drowning leader is as offensive as telling someone you are not supportive of BN’s policies, thus you should shut up!

The SW1M leader is definitely living in another age and time, one that is crumbling under the weight of a lame and outdated BN. The support the SW1M leader apparently received, when attacking the student, is also of great concern to the civil society and should be addressed by the political parties in the opposition.

It shows that a lot of work is still left to be done, in order to engage the students of various ethnicity, on the rights of others to express themselves and on the need to end this servitude.

With the general election seemingly at our doorstep, a win for BN will surely encourage more such “Napoleonic” attitudes, and the “begging” culture will go on for another five years and even more.

No clear thinking person in a democracy should support the animal farm leadership of a group that has associated itself with the 1Malaysia symbol. Nevertheless, the most important aspect in this altercation between the brave student and the bully leader, is that freedom of information is working on the Internet in Malaysia.

That alone will help make the difference when the voters are called upon to decide on the future of the country, whereas Bawani’s brave statements give us an indication that not all the students are sheep and that the country still has a bright fugure.

Ali Cordoba writes extensively on local politics.


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