Leaping to nowhere

By Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia is a small country with big plans – NEM, GTP, ETP. Lump them all together and we get a fantastic result: a developed nation. It is nothing less than a “quantum leap into the future”. These goals can be attained. Just focus on them. It is a journey that all – “the government, the private sector and the people” – must undertake together.

This is a terrific script – riddled with holes. The government is standing on shaky ground, the private sector is parking its money elsewhere and the people have grown so wearied of all the lies, injustices and greed that they would rather go their own way than jump on the rickety bandwagon. It is only the emperor and all his court jesters who believe in their own tall tales.

While all the talk is about a better future, it is clear to all that the carrots thrown at the people are mere baits to entice them to vote the same old puffy party into power yet again. The boastful presentations and declarations are a camouflage to distract public attention from the harsh realities of the Malaysian political and social environment. Behind the facade is a grim picture of a society divided into hostile enclaves and ready to take the country down the road to the abyss. Generating wealth and staying united are furthest from their fevered minds. The ideal conditions to turn Malaysia into a flourishing land are simply not there.

Uppermost in the minds of the dominant race is supremacy and not economic prosperity. The doctrine of supremacy is more important than the blueprint of development. Staying at the top of the social ladder is more crucial than seeing the economic pie being shared equally. Hurling threats against others whose forefathers have enriched the soil with their toil and sweat is a more cherished pursuit than carving out the perfect map for growth. At every turn, the cry that filled the land carries with it strong hints of violence. It is as if the battle lines are drawn and all it needs is a spark to set off an inferno.

Politics, and not economics, permeates the life of the people. Worse still, politics, race and religion have become the major theme and a stumblingblock to real progress. Umno plays all three cards with relish and gusto to advance its own agenda and at the same time to browbeat those of other races and faiths. It pays lip service to the gospel of peace and harmony. Its elite leaders will not soil their hands to make a point on race or religion. They leave it to the hot-tempered, emotionally charged supporters to do the dirty job while they stand afar and watch the spectacle with delight and satisfaction.

Tempers are running high. Tension is escalating given that both sides are sharpening their electoral weapons for the battle ahead. Umno (forget the other lifeless partners) will turn up the heat with its dangerous political gameship and may even throw caution to the wind in its lust for power. The country is feeling the jitters knowing that a party desperate to hold on to its seat may whip up an all-consuming storm that will destroy everything in its path. In this state of chaos, not even the opposition can hope to stay alive. It too will be reduced to ashes. These are scary prospects and not even the opium of development can do much to soothe frightened minds.