The week of outrage

By Charles Santiago, MP for Klang


Charles Santiago

Malaysians went to bed this week only to wake up the next day to a shrinking democratic space in the country.

They woke up to find themselves robbed off their civil liberties, and their freedom of speech stifled.

Bulldozing the various Bills in Parliament, POTA and amendments to the Sedition Act among many others, saw to it that Malaysians have lesser civil and political rights while the police emboldened their powers. Prime Minister NajibRazak pledged to repeal the Sedition Act three years ago but has gone back on his words.

I have to admit that I am equally worried about voicing out my opinions as anything and everything can be construed seditious.

The detailed provisions in these laws remain open to possible abuse by the government and police, while keeping a tighter lid on opposition politicians and the civil society.

This is a nightmare. We are now officially regressing. This trend is worrying. It does not take much for us to deduce the need for the government to sharpen its claws and restrict the inherent freedom and rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

UMNO is at its weakest now, with plunging support for Najib from even within his own party.

The very public show of support for Najib only demonstrates his shaky position and the deep cracks within UMNO.

And then we have the ongoing spat between Najib and former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Mahathir is showing no signs of relenting and is in fact going after Najib with a vengeance.

Malaysians are angry with the government for the ill-thought out GST, which will burden the already poor and a slew of financial mismanagement that is bleeding the country’s coffers dry.

Given this situation, what does Najib’s government do? It went to war with its own people. The slew of Bills and amendments to existing laws are to demand obedience from the rakyat.

The government has given itself and the police more powers. It has made the role of the judiciary almost redundant. It has further strapped workers to a corner, spelling out that opposition to the management can be deemed seditious.

A few indicators could be used to measure a vibrant democratic society. In Malaysia, dissidents can now be nabbed and jailed at the drop of a hat, media is shackled even further, the judiciary’s role has been clipped, civil society and NGOs cannot voice their opinions anymore without fear of arrest or harassment.

All these point to a government that is desperate to stay in power.  

Where does this leave us as a nation? Not at crossroads for sure. We have long surpassed that to a slippery slope down to the Stone Age.

– The Rocket

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