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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Politics destroyed our beliefs, liberty

Sulaiman Kamal | 12:32 AM | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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KUALA LUMPUR: Liberty is the cornerstone of democracy, at least that’s the feeling that’s permeating the grassroots Malaysians these days.
Much has changed in this country even as we, Malaysians, journeyed through cornerstones in 1957, 1969, 1999 and 2008.
Each of these milestones – 1957′s Merdeka, 1969′s May 13, 1999′s Reformasi and 2008′s political tsunami – has left us with new knowledge, realisation and wants.
Each of these milestones has spawned new thinking which invariably has both inspired leaders and stirred insecurities within the political fraternity.

The offside of the journey to political maturity has been the manipulation of minds and believes which in the process has stained our social fabric and crippled our once unconditional acceptance and appreciation of each other.
Liberty, as one 79-year retired civil servant who’s ‘seen it all’ – from the Japanese occupation to the swanky iphone 4 -,  said: “has nothing to do with politics”.
“Liberty is about us..who we are. It is a right, our inherent right to be…
“We’ve allowed politics to manipulate our thought, poison our soul…we’ve allowed politics to impair our thoughts and question our believes.
“Our politics today has taken away liberty.”
Unalienable right
Never before has the phrase ‘”Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”  been more real to Malaysians than post 2008.
We are a nation standing on a threshold of awareness of self and purpose.
We have seen, heard and read the raging debates about religion, politics, civil and socio-economic rights.
These are fascinating times as we all collectively journey to re-discover “Liberty” and what it means to us.
The American constitution describes ‘Liberty’ as among the ‘unalienable rights’ of a person.
‘Liberty’, as spoken of by Malaysians goes beyond political governance, social dictums, religious sanctions and material pursuits.
Liberty we discovered over the past months is simply freedom and “the right to…”

‘Right’ to choice
And in many instances this ‘right’ involved the most fundamental of needs – the right to pray without being hassled, the right to eat without worrying if the restaurant is Halal or not, the right to love without having to content with prescribed social, cultural and religious dictums and perhaps most significant is the right  to ‘choice’.
Whilst the more savvy Malaysians are demanding their constitutional rights as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the right to good governance, across the South China Sea in Sabah and Sarawak, ‘liberty’ is simply about the right to basic human needs.
In majority of oil rich Sabah and Sarawak, it is the right to savour clean drinking water and electricity, the right to roads and  to ancestral lands.
Here they seek the inherent right to be treated with dignity and respect.
Whilst in Sabah and Sarawak, there is the additional call for the right to autonomy, bigger oil royalties and the terms enshrined in the 18 and 20 point Agreements which was agreed in 1963 when both states joined the Federation of Malaya, the federal capital has seen passionate calls for judicial freedom and electoral reforms.
Over the next few weeks FMT will bring to readers, a variety of views about ‘liberty’ and what it means to Malaysians.

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