Saturday, May 2, 2015

Who is running Malaysia?

At first glance, it would appear that the Inspector General of Police (IGP) is running Malaysia. But surely he must be taking his instructions from somewhere given his slavish subservience to UMNO interests. In any case, the fig leave of moderation has dropped and the dust knuckles have come out. The beleaguered UMNO leadership is revealing its true colors and displaying fangs and claws to intimidate Malaysians into submission. Led by perhaps the most incompetent IGP in Malaysian history, the police force seems to have become a complete tool of UMNO interests with little regard for due process or professionalism. The roster of Malaysians arrested and charged for sedition or illegal assembly reads like a roll of honor of courageous Malaysians who are struggling to save the country from the tyranny of the UMNO/BN government.

The Prime Minister has gone back on his words to repeal the Sedition Act 1948. Instead the amended Act is a greater threat to fundamental Constitutional rights and is clearly being abused to silence any form of criticism or dissent. The Home Minister (whose incompetence rivals that of the IGP) justified the amendments as necessary to address social media threats and to prevent separation of states and handle offenses that could lead to property damage. Perhaps he should be urging the Government to address the root causes of dissatisfaction across the South China Sea (see earlier posts). There are already adequate laws to address property damage and why is the Government so fearful of social media if they have nothing to hide?
And then we have the Prevention of Terrorism Act or POTA which was sneaked through Parliament while Malaysians were literally asleep. The brilliance of the Home Minister was at full display when he said POTA, which allows detention without trial, was to detain Malaysians fighting for the Islamic State (IS) to be detained immediately upon their return to Malaysia. He was admitting that while he and the police were sleeping on their jobs, Malaysians were being actively recruited by IS. Here again, he should be urging the Government to understand the root causes of why some young Malaysian Muslims find the psychopathic IS attractive. Take the Malaysian fringe group calling themselves Hizbut Tahrir who want a Islamic caliphate in Malaysia because Parliamentarians recently gave themselves huge pay rises while ordinary Malaysians were being saddled with the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The UMNO/BN government may think that by increasing oppression and silencing dissent, they can avoid difficult reforms to tackle mismanagement, corruption and inequality in Malaysia. The folks like Hizbut Tahrir, no matter how misguided, are a reminder that unless these root causes of dissatisfaction are addressed and there is adequate democratic space for dissent, there are global actors who are ready to take Malaysia down the path of ruin.

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