By TK Chua
When I wrote a letter on vandalism in our new MRT stations recently, many readers told me that the problem was actually deeper than deviant behaviour. It was a manifestation of a dysfunctional society borne out of bad governance and poor leadership. Put simply, people are frustrated, so they just want to show their defiance to the “authorities”.
The idea of a society becoming dysfunctional and people becoming agitated did cross my mind when I wrote the earlier piece, but I thought it was best that I leave it out to simplify the issue.
Malaysia today is in limbo in many aspects. It is difficult for us to differentiate facts from fiction, lies from truth. Everything is grey and opaque, including question-and-answer sessions and debates in Parliament, the highest legislative body in the country.
Leaders may make haunting speeches, sign integrity pledges, dish out grand advice and wisdom and paint rosy pictures of the economy, but we know the credibility gap is too glaring to ignore. The dichotomy between what the people hear and what they see and feel on the ground is too wide.
We are told that the Malaysian economy is well managed with inflation kept under control, but have we gone to the market or grocery stores lately to experience first-hand the escalation in prices?
We are told the GST is to ensure sustainability in government finances, but haven’t we heard of massive cuts in allocations for universities, teacher training and healthcare despite the GST netting more than RM40 billion a year? So where did the extra revenue go? Which hole did it fill first?
We are told that GLCs are meant to create wealth and value for Malaysians, but have we not seen the endless problems in these GLCs both perpetrated and perpetuated? Before we create anything, have we not destroyed value and accumulated mountains of debts? How stupid and corrupt can we get?
Instead of indulging in baloney like the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) plan, I think we should have a survey on what we Malaysians in general think of our country, leaders, governance issues and economic management today. We can’t anticipate future challenges if we can’t solve the present ones.
It is good to think far ahead, but it is better to be reminded of John Maynard Keynes’ quote, “In the long run, we are all dead”.
I get the inkling that many Malaysians are disappointed, disillusioned, frustrated and agitated for various reasons. We long for enduring solutions now, but see none forthcoming anytime soon.
Hence, some become withdrawn and “non-cooperative” and so they migrate. Some become activists hoping to change the situation. Some become bullies and vandals. And finally, some very old politicians decide to recycle and extend their lifespans.
These are just my musings based not on any empirical study. However, I am aware of the saying “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant”.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
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