Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Malaysia

I hadn’t intended to post on anything today (too busy), but the PM’s Malaysia day announcement quite overturned that intention. I’ll be the first to admit my innocence with respect to political and social matters, but even to these tyro’s eyes, the promised repeal of the ISA and emergency ordinances, and the abolishment of annual reviews of media licenses, is a pretty significant step:

PM announces repeal of ISA, three Emergency proclamations

KUALA LUMPUR: Several draconian laws including the ISA and the three Emergency proclamations are to be repealed under major civil liberty reforms announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Thursday.

The historic changes, he stressed, were to accommodate and realise a mature, modern and functioning democracy; to preserve public order; enhance civil liberty and maintain racial harmony.

The changes, which represent the biggest shake-up of the Malaysian system since independence from Britain in 1957, were announced by the Prime Minister in a prime-time television address on the eve of celebrations marking the anniversary of the foundation of modern Malaysia.

If Tunku was the father of the nation, and Tun Mahathir oversaw its economic maturation, would Najib be acknowledged as beginning our political maturation? Only the passage of time will answer that – and to be fair, none of these changes will significantly impact the day-to-day lives of ordinary Malaysians. But the change in the atmosphere, of the constant self-censorship, of affirming the right of freedom of expression and assembly; these things matter.

So happy birthday Malaysia, we’ve just gotten one hell of a birthday present.

P.S. Is it too much now to ask for local government elections?


  1. Everything from now onwards is predicated on the general elections whose procedural integrity has been called into question and remains unaddressed; hardly the beginning of political maturation.

    Even a simple thing like the electoral roll is full of improper entries. If it is made of one database, how can the one made public be having glitches and there be another not made public?

    No doubt it will be hard to give and then to retract later. But five years of carte blanche rule is still five years of double-standardizing.

    Another question is why only now? It is easy to just receive without question. Given what has been happening and what remains to be explained including the size of the quarters of the chieftains, it is unfortunately easier to question before receiving.

    Everything dovetails to the general elections.

  2. Its adhocracy and showboating.Its bad government to announce such major issues on national TV prior to going through the Parliamentary Process.Governance is not a one man show.Governance is process based.
    The "liberty speech"as his PR machine will now advertise daily. . .is real reflection of how badly run our country is.

    A RM 55 bil project announced as a private sector investment in last year's budget is currently in progress but as a 100% public investment.Where is the Parliamentary process?Who approved the budget?Its not chicken feed. .its billions.

  3. i'll believe it after i've read the fine print