I just read the news article where our Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai says the shooting down of the MAS airplane MH17 over Ukraine was a violation of human rights. Of course he is correct.
However it was odd hearing this from a minister representing a government that has hardly bothered to uphold human rights in their own country. In fact, this government violates human rights by law and action.
For starters, Malaysia observes the death penalty and caning. We are guilty of freedom of speech violations – Kassim Ahmad is a case in point. We censor news articles.
We do not practice freedom of religion – Muslims are prohibited from converting to another religion but those of other religions may convert to Islam.
Women are not treated equally as men according to Syariah law. Christians are prohibited from using terms like Allah and many more in their printed word.
There is no freedom to demonstrate as one faces a tough time obtaining a permit to do so. The police force uses torture tactics in their interrogations.
Foreign workers in labour-intensive jobs are not paid the same minimum wages extended to Malaysians doing the same work.
There are so many more instances…
- Foreign tourists pay higher entrance fees to amusement parks.
- Bumiputras pay less when purchasing a house.
- The law allows detention without trial.
- A kid of Malaysian-Philippine descent has no nationality.
- Kids without birth certificates are denied the right to an education.
These are all violations of human rights.
If the government actually attempted to rectify these flaws, half the laws and regulations currently practised in the country would suddenly be obsolete.
In a good democracy, you have a clear separation of state and religion – not a ceremonial head of state, like a Sultan who appoints and controls religious bodies like MAIS and JAIS.
Hereby the trias politica is at stake.
The law is used to silence the opposition. Government cronies are handed mega government projects while import licenses and the prices of imported goods soars sky high due to monopolies that exist.
No country in the world is perfect, but if you strive to become a second or first world country, these basic issues must be tackled first.