Does Malaysia value her independence enough?

By TK Chua

I am hearing increasing talk that our country is likely to come under the clutches of foreign powers again. Some have even postulated that the country is now like Iraq years ago, likely to be attacked by US invading forces.

Some claim the country is likely to be recolonised, this time through ideas, economic dominance, mind control, social media and even banking networks.

However, here’s a question – have we preserved our independence enough to begin with? Why are we fuming about all of this now?

You see, when a rogue foreign bank raises billions of ringgit for us at exorbitant rates without ascertaining the means in which we are to pay back the loan, does it sound like this country is independent? Does it sound like this country knows what it is doing?

When a shadowy financial “expert” influences us to part with billions of ringgit so he can indulge in an opulent lifestyle with celebrities and pay off his gambling debts, does it sound like this country is independently managed?

When we wire billions of ringgit into a “wrong” account as “directed” by the Arabs, does it sound like this country’s finances are in good hands?

We raised billions to buy energy assets, only to sell these at a loss later. We have valuable plots of government land injected into a GLC, only to have half of it now owned by foreign corporations. Does this sound like we are managing our resources prudently?

Independence is not what others bestow on us. It is how we preserve and protect it. The threat of foreign domination and interference will always be there, it is how we keep it at bay that counts.

How do we maintain our independence when we have worked ourselves into a tight corner, now increasingly depending on the goodwill of foreign governments not to be too “harsh” when it comes to our transgressions?

I wish to urge all our leaders (yes, both from Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan, including supporters of Muhyiddin Yassin, Hadi Awang and Dr Mahathir Mohamad) neither to be blind nor obstinate. Please look at the reality staring right back at us. We fouled-up big time, so do not blame others.

I watched a video of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as he was received by President Barack Obama at the White House lawn recently. Besides the Kebaya worn by Mrs Lee and her RM48 pouch and the Malay lyrics sung (Singapore’s national anthem ‘Majulah Singapura’), I could discern the tiny nation’s true independence and its ability to stand as equal to others.

Singapore does not rant about bigger neighbours likely to swallow her up. She just makes sure they do not.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

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