2013 in Malaysia – A rollercoaster year

Crime, Credibility, Cost – these three words pretty much sums up the year 2013 for me as a concerned citizen of Malaysia.

Crime had been a constant feature in the daily newspapers, which still depresses me every time I read these articles. The tragic discovery of the body of six-year-old William Yau Zhen Zhong from Putra Heights, who went missing, at the Klang River jetty, still haunts me till this day. Even teenagers were not exempted from the horror as in the case of Ng Yuk Tim who was brutally murdered for hanging out with the wrong guy. There was also the kidnapping of Freddie Joseph, who luckily ended with a happy note when the boy was reunited with his family. Now, each time I see children in public places, I worry for them.  I used to run free in the kampung as a child but sadly, our children will never get to experience the freedom in these dangerous times.

Nowadays, petty crimes such as snatch theft are considered child’s play with the increasing cases of robberies and murders, several of which involving security guards who were later discovered to have illegal status. Prominent figures such as the AmBank founder and JAIP enforcement head were shot in cold blood. Has the morality of the people been eroded by the harsh reality of progress to such a stage that killing in our neighbourhood would become a ‘norm’ like in America? I shudder at the mere thought of this notion.

March was marred by the Lahad Datu standoff where our national security was threatened by Sulu intruders. Many questioned the way this incident was handled, some saying that Malaysian military and police were too slow to take action. Whatever their opinions, the incident was resolved and my heart goes out to those who have lost their lives defending our country.

The month of April and May had the whole nation on the edge of their seats and divided in their stand in the most exciting election ever in the nation’s history. Watching and listening to the various political parties campaigning was a thrill in itself. I remembered the hope and pride I felt while standing in line to cast my vote – even wrote a poem about it, that was how inspired I was. But alas, half the nation did not get what they wanted when BN retained power by winning majority (in seats but not in popular votes). It was a real wake up call for the ruling party as their credibility was seriously challenged for the first time in years. I am still hopeful that something good will come from this, or perhaps I am just an optimist.

For the average Malaysian, many would agree with me that the rising cost of living is the main issue that has affected all of us in the most personal manner. With the increase in petrol prices, cut in sugar subsidies and rise in electricity charges, daily expenses are bound to go up exponentially as these increments will be reflected and compounded in various aspects essential for our survival – food, transportation and utilities. Many people opine that the rise in costs is inevitable as our country march towards modernisation and progress to be a developed country. It is ‘nature’s’ way of eliminating the weak and only the strong (financially) will survive. So, in essence, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This is especially true when wages stay the same while prices increase. Where is the justice in that?

Writing this blog on the last day of 2013 made me a little depressed. But, time waits for no man and life goes on. So, what can we expect in 2014? Here is my wish list:

–          Safer streets for us especially our children

–          Higher pay for employees

–          Less talk and more action from the government to benefit all strata of society and not just selected groups

A tall order? I believe that with a united front, Malaysia has great potential to be a wonderful country. I still love this country very much and only wish the best for all citizens including yours truly.

Here is to a better 2014 for everyone. Cheers!

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