Monday, 15 September 2014

Have we wasted 51 years in nation-building?

For five decades, Sabahans and Sarawakians have been taken for granted and their development forgotten.

By Zainnal Ajamain

In theory democracy is an appealing idea. In practice it is far from perfect.

There are people who take the cynical stand that democracy is the tyranny of the majority. In fact, that is what the people in Sabah and Sarawak have suffered in our quest to build a nation for 51 years.

The Malaysia project was never a merger of states into a complete country but a work in progress towards the building of a federation called Malaysia. This was what our founding fathers believed in and what we have been made to believe for 51 years.

The unfortunate thing is that the Malaysia project is looked upon by many as a way to sustain and maintain an elite class made up of people who are not democratically elected to be in office.

It was not the people of Malaysia that elected the Prime Minister, but a small group of people in a political party that did. As such, the Prime Minister needs only to satisfy the demands of this small group at the expense of others.

Therefore forget about seducing the people with promises that once in Putrajaya, all our problems can be resolved. Thinking this way is delusional; societies cannot simply be engineered or manufactured to suit a particular circumstance. Societies must be given a chance to evolve organically and find its own equilibrium.

It looks like we have wasted 51 years trying to build a nation.

Instead of a multicultural nation, we have ended up with loony supremacists and religious bigots who can only show their mob strength domestically but are out-performed and outclassed internationally.

Is this not the result of the untiring work of a benevolent despot whose objective was to establish the perception of racial supremacy based on religious beliefs rather than on the intrinsic strength of its own cognitive faculties?

These people are useful only as long as their minds are wrapped in ignorance and their lives are manipulated to serve the elite’s craving for more power. They can never understand that Malaysia is dependent on other countries.

The only strength a country has in facing global challenges is its people and the value of their intelligence. For Malaysia, this can happen only when all Malaysians stand as one, not as a slogan but as a country. Failure to understand this means the country can be easily threatened and manipulated by others for their own purposes.

Certainly Sabah’s and Sarawak’s founding fathers did not bargain to build a nation of religious zealots and bigots. They did not bargain to be manipulated and taken advantage of, and certainly they did not bargain for their wealth to be pillaged and plundered as an excuse to build this nation.

They agreed to Lord Cobbold’s definition of Malaysia: “Malaysia should be regarded by all concerned as an association of partners, combining in the common interest to create a new nation, but retaining their own individualities.”

Is Malaysia today an association of partners? Do we have a common interest to build a nation? Do Sabah and Sarawak, as partners, still retain their individualities?

We in Sabah and Sarawak have been denied many things these past 51 years, but manipulating our societies and, specifically, the minds of our youth, is unforgivable.

We have been unconscionably taken for granted and our development forgotten. West Malaysia is prospering at our expense.

It cannot be denied that it is our wealth that has caused all these ills and stunted Malaysia’s growth as a nation. It is our intrinsic right to take it away legally.

We have allowed West Malaysia and its elites to determine the pace and direction of nation-building. 

However the present corps of intellectuals in Sabah and Sarawak are not interested in compromise any longer. If ever we consider rebuilding Malaysia, it should be from our perspective and by our standards, not the vision and standards set by West Malaysia and its elites.

There is obviously no beauty in division and there is no strength in unity as well. Democracy for all intents and purposes has proven to be the tyranny of the majority.

A nation is built through hard work and perseverance, not by protecting and pampering the majority at the expense of others.

Japan did it, Korea did it and Singapore did it. Why should Malaysia be an exception to this rule?

Happy Malaysia Day.

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