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Is Malaysia’s image repairable?

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No matter how bad things may seem, never forget that Malaysia can be saved and our reputation salvaged;  the meantime, the rakyat will have to persevere, says Syerleena Abdul Rashid.

Somewhere along the road, our nation’s democratic principles have lost its meaning – its values slowly eroding in time – blurred, muddled and corrupted by the powers that be.

Our system now favours the rich, bloated and well-connected elite who can literally buy and sell life choices like commodity.

With the scandals and the never-nding let downs, Malaysians can’t help but feel politically fatigued or worse yet, becoming more receptive to the deceptions of apathy.

For most of us, it is simply too easy to walk away from pain and easier still to live a life filled with ignorant bliss. Some of us have become so unhappy with the present system that it prompted them to simply relinquish their citizenship altogether.

In a recent report, CIMB Group chairman Nazir Razak stated that “promoting Malaysia on the world stage has never been tougher”, mainly due to the various scandals that have engulfed this federation.

The controversies involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), including the state-owned investment firm raking up a RM42bn debt in just six years and the RM2.6bn “political donation”, as well as the missing Malaysia Airlines airplane, have put Malaysia on the map for all the wrong reasons.

The political turmoil has also caused foreign investors to pull out and seek opportunities in neighbouring countries within the South East Asia region; Nazir was quoted as saying that the political uncertainty facing the government led by embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak is “the biggest concern for foreign investors looking at the once-stable South East Asian country”.

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In other words, the main focus right now shouldn’t be about hauling activists to jail but to make it our country’s utmost priority to restore our floundering reputation in order to achieve stability.

Now would be the time to find a solution to our nation’s economic woes and education despair (to name a few), especially for those living on the fringes of society – the people who have been neglected by those in the corridors of power.

What we have on our hands right now is a national crisis made worse by a dysfunctional system that makes social and political reforms a monumental feat. Our once great democracy has been hijacked by the powerful elites whose notion of governance is simply waving a few hundred ringgit to keep people wanting more and, more – so as to keep people in line.

When the elites feel threatened and unsure about their standing in society, they will exploit the democratic process by any means necessary. They will seek methods that can influence certain political outcomes, and when that is allowed to continue to happen, it is when the system no longer listens to us – the people.

As a result, this will lead to democracy’s loss of legitimacy, and this will affix a rather negative image to our country.

Our system now serves the interests of a select few, and not those of the people as it should – but there is always a way to get our message across. We must take back our democracy – for ourselves, for our children and for the future of this federation.

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Never forget that Malaysia can be saved and our reputation can be salvaged.

It is inescapable that Malaysia will sooner, rather than later, align itself to political reforms dedicated to fairness and justice. Sooner rather than later, perhaps even by the next general election, there will be a paradigm shift in power and a change in how our country understands politics.

However, until then, the struggle continues and the rakyat will have to persevere until the road towards change becomes less bumpy and closer within our reach.

Source: The Malaysian Insider

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