My Vision for Malaysia

As a proud Malaysian citizen, I’d like to see corruption eradicated; a truly free-market economy; and protection for refugees and minorities.

malaysia-visionAs these words are written, Malaysia will be conducting her 13th General Elections this week. As a first time voter and an amateur political observer, I am naturally excited because I’ll be exercising my right as a citizen to cast my vote for the first time and to play a part in electing the next government and to hope for a better future for the next generation. What I would like to see after this general election is the following:

Press freedom

The mainstream media in Malaysia including television, radio and newspapers are almost all directly or indirectly owned by government-linked corporations. Access of these media for the opposing faction is almost none, prompting them to rely solely on social media and online newspapers to reach out to the electorate.

According to the Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984, newspaper companies are required to obtain a permit from the Home Ministry and it is renewed every year. Needless to say, as the Home Ministry falls under the purview of the government, there is a tendency to be biased for the government.

Balanced press media

My wish would be a new law prohibiting any government-linked corporations owning any media companies, thus providing press freedom. Ideally, media institutions should play its role as gatekeepers and scrutinize government policies without fear or favor in a liberal democratic nation.

Freedom of speech

One of the fundamental features of a liberal democratic nation is freedom of speech. Although a democratic nation-state, we have laws like the Sedition Act and the previously mentioned Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984, which prohibits an individual the freedom to express his opinions without the fear of persecution. For a more comprehensive understanding of the Sedition Act and its contents, refer to http://www.agc.gov.my/Akta/Vol.%201/Act%2015.pdf.

Freedom of assembly

Article 10 of our Federal Constitution stipulates that Malaysian citizens have “the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.” Unfortunately, there is a law called the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 which limits the freedom to assemble.

For example, under Section 10 of this Act, organizers of any protest are required to submit an advanced written notification to the police, with the names and details of the organizers, names of speakers, the purpose of the assembly, the date and duration of the protest and the location. It also empowers the police to impose their own conditions and restrictions on any organized protest event. For a more comprehensive understanding of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, refer to http://www.federalgazette.agc.gov.my/outputaktap/20120209_736_BI_JW001759%20Act%20736%20(BI).pdf

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Limited government

We do not have limited government here in Malaysia. First and foremost, the system of check and balance is a thing of the past here. For example, if one takes a look at the Prime Minister’s Department website, one cannot help but notice that the Attorney-General’s Chambers, Judicial Appointments Commission, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) and the Election Commission of Malaysia all falls under the Prime Minister’s Department. Without separation of powers, it is hard to keep the government accountable as the branches of the state are integrated and controlled by the executive body.

I’d like to see corruption eradicated in our society, because it is a disease that is blighting our morals and breeds an undesirable culture. I’d like to see free market implemented, with the current import duties for foreign products eliminated. Competition is good for business and for the sake of our local industry, in order for them to grow and develop; it is in my opinion that competition by foreign manufacturers will spur them to further improve.

I’d like to see refugees protected in Malaysia, without having their rights abused by the enforcement agencies. I can go on and on and list down many more of what I wish for Malaysia. And my hope is that whoever comes to power after this election will uphold our fundamental rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

Josiah Ching is a final year Communications student at Southern New Hampshire University. Prior to his degree, he worked as an IT technician for Computer Sciences Corporation. He has a passion for zoology, history, international relations, politics, literature, dinosaurs and 60s music. An admirer of the classical liberal tradition, he hopes to see Malaysia transformed into a truly liberal democracy.

  • Bravo, Josiah! Hopefully, your next political move will be to run as a candidate!

    • Josiah Ching

      Toda Chaiya! We’ll see how things goes first 🙂