The west has a saying that ‘we reap what we sow’. Although I am not a Christian, I believe that this is mentioned in the Holy Book too ( Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap ).
In the East, the Chinese has a saying that ” if we plant melon, we get melons; if we plant bean, we get beans”. The Indians believe in karma which is basically a law of cause and effect; the same as we reap what we sow. Buddhists too believe in Karma; we are what we are today because of our past deeds.
The problems that we are facing in Malaysia can actually be attributed to our past deeds.
As the nation progresses, we have built more and more infrastructure. Some are even world class and very impressive. But as a former Prime Minister had once lamented: we have first class infrastructure but third class maintenance. We literally let things rot.
We have also formulated more and more rules and laws as the society becomes more sophisticated. Which is theoretically good if these law s are actively enforced.
The problem with us is that just like we do not maintain properly what we have built, we do not enforce laws and rules strictly and uniformly. We often see double standard in enforcement. Sometimes there are just no enforcement and you know why.
This was not so just after Independence.
When I was a young boy, my father had a Austin A40 car which was of course the pride of the house as at that time, few people owned cars. He was very careful at traffic junctions. I remember he telling me that in any junction with “stop-look-go” sign, the car had to come to a complete stop behind the white line drawn on the road. If the car has not stopped completely, even if there was no traffic, a person would be liable to be fined. If the car stopped but oer the white line, the driver would be fined too. He was once fined just for that when his car’s front wheels went over slightly the white line.
The law was so strictly enforced at that time that some of the weeping children would stop crying immediately when mothers telling them that police was coming if they didnt stop .
But things started to change and we became more and more lax in enforcement. I suspect this might even be correlated and proportional to the increasing trend of corrupt practices. Some probably have to do with our ‘tidak-apa’ attitude.
We have strict immigration checkpoints at all international airports. We have strict immigration check point at the causeway and second link with Singapore. Law abiding citizens or foreigners would have to wait patiently to cross these checkpoints. Contrast this to certain border areas like Sabah, or even Northern part of Peninsular, where the border is so porous that many illegals have taken advantage of these porous borders to come and go as they wish. What is the points of having strict checking at some points and no checking at others?
We have done nothing when someone clearly has violated the law when he threatened to burn the Bibles. We have been quick to pounce on those who have no connections when they uttered things which are much milder and less provoking and inflammatory. We have even arrested an innocent journalist under the previous ISA ‘ for her protection’.
We have seen people breaking traffic rules with no action taken. We have seen foreign workers setting up stores to do businesses when they have no right to do so. We have so many illegals in the country that we encounter them everywhere we go.
We have people who are not qualified for citizenship but were given citizenship freely for political reasons. On the other hand, we have genuine cases of those who are born here and stay here all their lives but still have their citizenship application rejected every time they apply.
Because of selective and lack of enforcement, corruption practices have become common and pervasive. We have lost excellence in every field.
The incident of Sabah would not have happened if we have strictly enforced immigration laws.
I hope the Sabah incident would serve as an eye opener and wakeup call for the power-that-be. Malaysia needs to have better enforcement of the hundreds of laws and rules that we have passed and implemented.
For Malaysia to achieve a First World Status, we need a complete overhaul of the system and the mindsets.
We need change, real change not cosmetic ones, to move forward!!
This article is also published in The Malaysian Insider here.