September 5, 2016
COMMENT: I agree with Zan Azlee. Change occurs when Malaysian youth decide that enough is enough. We have seen this happen, for example, in Indonesia in 1998 when university students inspired by TEMPO, the much respected mazagine, decided that Suharto should go. And the strongman did go. Democracy replaced dictatorship and the military returned to ( and have remained in) their barracks.
In serious conversation my colleague Dr. Y Ratana, Vice President (Academic Affairs), The University of Cambodia about university reform
The brilliant technocrat President Jusuf B. Habibie took over, followed by Gus Dur, Megawati Sukarnoputri, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and today Indonesia under the leadership of President Widodo Jokowi is a model of democratic governance in ASEAN. Who would have thought that the high and mighty Gen. Suharto would fall from grace? His regime did collapse. Indonesia did not, but instead prospered, thanks to the resolve of the Indonesian people.
Thailand, on the other hand, is a failed democracy while Malaysia is already a failed state led by the most corrupt Prime Minister in our nation’s history who is labeled Najib Al-Kebas by Dr M. Bakri Musa .
My generation, as typified by the G-25 Eminent Persons (and my respects to them for trying to promote peaceful change and failing), has not made any impact on the political scene. Some like former DAP Vice Chairman, Tunku Abdul Aziz, my golfing friend and fellow Kedahan Razali Ismail, and Raja Petra Kamaruddin have abandoned principle and sold out to this blatantly corrupt regime led by Al-Kebas.
There are, of course, exceptions in the likes of Haris Ibrahim, the late Bernard Zorro Khoo, Dato’ Ambiga and Maria Chin Abdullah. In general, men and women of my generation opted to be bystanders, cheerleaders, and free riders. They are too comfortable to risk it all. Yes, they are the selfish ones. And what a shame.
How and for how long can we keep Al-Kebas and his UMNO colleagues like Azalina Othman, Nazri Aziz, Hishamuddin Hussein and Nur Jazlan in power without causing irreparable harm to our national integrity and psyche? I congratulate the young men and women of the Tangkap MO1 movement for their initiative. Keep moving forward in just cause.- -Din Merican
Malaysia: There is hope when young Malaysians say enough is enough
by Zan Azlee
The drive for social and political change is always initiated by the youth.
I was very invigorated and excited when I saw the Tangkap MO1 demonstration happening with relative success last weekend. It was organised and attended by mostly the youth and students in the country.
Politics aside, this is exactly what’s needed to guarantee a good future for the country – young people who are intelligent, aware, passionate, concern and are active in playing a role in society.
They felt enough motivation to organise and mobilise themselves for a cause that they believe in. So if anyone were to say to me that Malaysian youth are apathetic, I will strongly disagree.
When Azalina Othman, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, gave her advice to students at Universiti Malaya, I felt a strong sense of responsibility and obligation to point out that she is wrong. Wrong as wrong can be.
She says that students need to be “selfish” and concentrate only on their studies instead of trying to express their views and change the country. They shouldn’t be involved in “illegal politics”, whatever that means, until after graduation.
First of all, what would be considered “illegal politics”? If the minister is referring to the Tangkap MO1 demonstration last Saturday, then she must be mistaken because it was plain politics, not illegal politics.
And if she is referring to students being involved in political party activities, then she must also be mistaken because her party, UMNO, sanctions and supports many UMNO student clubs and societies in many universities and colleges.
Now, she wouldn’t be referring to activities done by the opposition parties as illegal, would she? Because if she was, then that would be double standards and wouldn’t be very fair. And being a government official, that isn’t very diplomatic.
No! Students and the youth must be socially and politically active. In any society or nation, the drive for social and political change is always initiated by the youth. It is their future and they have a vested interest in regime change.
It is also part of their education to grow and develop into wholesome and rounded human beings with a sense of social duty and civic responsibility. Isn’t the kind of Malaysian society we would like to have?
These are the formative years and if, according to the Minister, they are taught to be selfish now, they will forever have that ingrained in the minds. When they grow older, they will be exactly like the “selfish” and corrupt minister.
In fact, to think about it, the youth are selfish by being involved and wanting to initiate change. They are selfish of their future and want it to be the best future that they can have. It just so happens that their selfishness benefits all and not just individuals.
Don’t ever fall into the trap of waiting to be leaders of tomorrow. That is an excuse for those in power to say that you don’t have any say in anything important now. They just want you to keep quiet and not challenge the status quo.
The minister and her cronies are doing the youth and the entire country a disservice when they give advice like this. What they are really scared of is that the youth actually does have the power to change things.
So to the youth, I want to say that you should remember instead the saying that youth is wasted on the young, and prove it wrong. Rise up now. It doesn’t matter which side of the divide you are on. If there is something you feel is good and you believe in it, then rise up.
ZAN AZLEE is a writer, documentary filmmaker, journalist and academic. He still thinks he is youthful. Visit FATBIDIN.COM to view his work.