The fight for true freedom

In all honesty, how free are we, truly? We may have kicked our captors out, but our shackles will never be broken until we, the rakyat, stand united to break them.

Elza Irdalynna, FMT

There seems to be a recurring theme in my articles here on Free Malaysia Today. Whether they discuss art or socio-politics, inevitably I tend to argue how stifled we are as Malaysians, bound by censors and a biased, paranoid government.

Year after year, we cry out “Merdeka!” every Aug 31. We pride ourselves of the fact that we freed ourselves of our western colonisers without going to war to gain our independence.

But in all honesty, how free are we, truly?

The nationalists in the days of yore are probably the only ones who have claim for the pride of our independence, for they fought the brave fight for liberty. They wanted to reclaim our lands as our own, with our own people to govern it, and prosper from it; to instil our own ideologies and beliefs, our practices and traditions.

However, ever since then, freedom and independence had taken on a very different meaning. Although we are now self governing, we are far from independent.

With an economy that is often unstable, a rising cost of living and a government that wastes the country’s income on projects that do not favour the people, we are always living in fear of bankruptcy like the countries in the EU.

Most of our hard labourers are foreign workers. From an economical standpoint, we are in actual fact, dependent.

Furthermore, with every passing year, there has been a steady increase in numbers of Malaysians emigrating elsewhere.

As government scholarships are being slashed with each annual budget, the current trend of the brain drain will leave Malaysia no choice but to reach outside assistance, as we would be lacking in our supply of qualified graduates.

We are already seeing companies outsourcing their work to countries with cheaper labour. If nothing is done to remedy the economy, it will only be a matter of time before unemployment rates reach a record high.

We are not free in other aspects as well. As a Malaysian, one would be a fool to believe that we are governed by a democracy.

Even our freedom to vote had dirty hands messing with it. When the ballots were finally cast, so many of us were naïve to think it would be a transparent and clean poll. No matter the numbers, the results were already decided for us.