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Malaysia is supposed to be a nation that practises parliamentary

democracy and indeed holds general elections roughly every four years.

But examine closer, and you will find it is actually similar to one
merely paying lip service to a good cause.

The same party with the same group of politicians, including father-
son dynasties has ruled the country since independence 51 years ago.

The country has been fortunate, with a minority group having proved
to be a valuable presence in the land despite constant resentment
and discrimination by the majority. They haved greatly helped to
build the nation to what it is today.

The abundance of natural resources such as tin, petroleum and rubber


has been a great blessing too. The land is generally very fertile
and Malaysia has been quite successful in growing oil palm, pineapple
and exotic tropical fruits, to name a few.

Yet, the ruling class cannot be said to have succeeded in making the
country a model democracy. Elections are permitted, but a level
playing ground has never been guaranteed. The media is controlled
by the ruling elite and opposition candidates are routinely labelled
by those in power as chauvinists, while not being able to see their
own true reflections as the real chauvinists.

Powerful and emotional words are employed at every opportunity, words


such as bangsa (race), agama (religion) and ketuanan (supremacy).

Such imperfections as well as others not mentioned here have not


caused the country to become a second Rwanda or Timor Leste thanks
to the natural blessings of the land and a minority that has proved to
be a people who preferred progress and prosperity over the temptation
to cultivate mutual animosity or the right to demand democratic justice.

However, lately, the continued imperfections of the ruling class have


caused big ripples in the most recent elections and there has been a
glimpse that the governing elite might be toppled. In the end those
in power have derailed that hope by arresting or slapping criminal
charges on the opposition.

More serious than that episode is the reality that the ruling elite have
been unable to tackle mounting problems such as rising violent crime,drug
smuggling, corruption, a lopsided civil service, high unemployment among
the unskilled young and the frighteningly huge presence of legal and
illegal foreign workers in the country.

These problems will in time become a ticking time-bomb that some time
in the future will cause the ruling elite to be thrown out in a blinding
cataclysmic flash but sadly a lot of the innocent will suffer too.