In the wake of the Sam Ke Ting case, MPs and the relevant authorities must urgently address the basikal lajak (illegally modified bicycles) tragedy in an informed, open and resolute manner.
Let’s own up to the fact that this incident – which painfully took away the precious lives of eight boys – manifests more serious and long-ignored social and psychological problems in Malaysia.
The government must take ownership of the state of our youths.
The drug menace, the number of babies born out of wedlock and often dumped, school dropouts, gangsterism among teenagers, Mat Rempit and now this phenomenon of basikal lajak – all these and many more are manifestations of failed social engineering and political leadership.
That we have failed miserably after six decades of self-governance to curb these social problems – including this basikal lajak trend among the youth – is a clear sign our compass for nationhood is flawed.
The leaders’ preoccupation to ensure political party supremacy, and society’s misplaced values in a political landscape where religion and race have been weaponised, have contributed to this social rot.
We have been poisoned with the mantra of making money at all costs. The popular mantra of “cash is king” is an example of the convoluted thinking in some quarters.
Making much more money quickly and easily has become the measure of success in government and among political parties and their leaders, elected representatives, business people and professionals.
Corruption and the insatiable hunger to achieve certain ends by any means has eroded societal values to dangerous levels. And now we witness how eight lives were lost while one young woman pays a heavy price.
There will be many more tragic incidents coming our way if we think the rot in our midst is not serious.
A nation cannot claim it is progressing and developing fast if such progress is only measured in monetary terms and the amount of built-up land used.
Race-based political agendas and a rise in over-religiosity, together with corrupt mindsets and the blunting of consciousness, have pushed our society to the edge of an impending national crisis.
Unless we make social values and psychological wellbeing integral components of nation-building, we will be doomed with unimaginable corruption, social rot and civil strife.
The government, political leaders and elected representatives have to bear the blame. The people and caring civil society groups have long voiced their concerns over our failing and weakening social framework.
The basikal lajak tragedy warns us that the call for a national ‘reset’ is long overdue. Will we do anything about it?