The apathy that keeps Malaysia in a rut

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IT IS too easy and convenient to apportion the blame for the depressing mess that is Malaysia.

It is easy to shovel the blame at the prime minister, his Cabinet, Umno, Attorney-General, Perkasa and someone else for the abuse of laws against Malaysians and the sense of dread and foreboding in this country.

But let's be honest. The downward spiral started with us, with our apathy, with our decision to choose comfort over principle, to opt for the status quo even when it was obvious that the status quo stood for abuses, excesses, to ignore wrongdoing because our personal space was not violated.

Malaysians are champions of justification and today we are reaping the fruits of justification.

When we are told that something is amiss with the purchase of water assets in Selangor, the common response is "I don't care as long as there are no more water cuts".

When the media report on how billions of ringgit of taxpayers’ funds have been misused for cockamamie projects, the common refrain is "what to do, that is how things are done in Malaysia".

When a collection of politicians and social activists are charged with a raft of offences for speaking out in public interest, the best we can offer is this: "this is sad but I better keep my head down and not say anything".

When the Constitution is trampled upon and laws are ignored, the likely response is: "yes, this is so wrong but at least we have stability in Malaysia".

Just pause for a moment and think about the countless times over the years that Malaysians have been quite happy to abet the wrongdoers by our silence, apathy and self-preservation.

And yet today, we have the temerity to blame Datuk Seri Najib Razak and everyone else for everything from the dragnet use of the Sedition Act to the ceiling-busting expenditure of the government to the subsidy DNA in government-linked companies to racial polarisation that makes nonsense of the claim that Malaysia is united.

We allowed this blessed country to be disfigured and damaged – by our apathy, selfishness and stereotyping.