MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Wednesday, April 29, 2015


And that, and not Dr Mahathir, will be what will determine the fate of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. And make sure I do not have to write yet another ‘I told you so’ article a year or so down the road.
Raja Petra Kamarudin
The Paris-based International Transport Forum (ITF) has ranked Malaysia among 33 countries that have the highest number of road deaths. Malaysia records 23.8 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants as opposed to the UK that records only 3.8 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
Malaysia, in fact, is ranked third in terms of road fatalities per billion kilometres driven, with the risk of dying in a road accident being 17.7. South Korea is the highest with 20.1 deaths followed by the Czech Republic with 19.4.
Over the last ten years there were 300,000 casualties on Malaysian roads resulting in 65,000 deaths. Almost 40,000 of those deaths were motorcyclists and pillion riders, or about 60% of the total number of deaths.
Okay, now compare that to the number of Malaysians who died in plane crashes. Yet people are more afraid of plane crashes than they are of getting into a car or on the back of a motorcycle of an idiot who clearly cannot drive or ride properly.
And the examples of bad and dangerous road habits can be seen clearly once you hit the road. Malaysians are just one bunch of kurang ajar people once they get behind the wheel of a car or onto a motorcycle.
Let me tell you a story about the mother of my neighbour. She went to a driving school and managed to get a driving licence (you are guaranteed a driving licence if you get it through a driving school, for obvious reasons). But she could not even reverse the car out of her driveway. She had to summon my wife for help who backed out the car for her. How in heaven’s name did she get her driving licence?
Do you know why one can get a driving licence in Malaysia even if one cannot drive? Do you know why one will be guaranteed a driving licence if one gets it through a driving school?
Simple! That is because of corruption. All it needs is under-the-table money to get a driving licence in Malaysia. And because of that hundreds of thousands crash their car or bike and tens of thousands die, sometimes innocent people who become victims of bad drivers or riders.
But this is not news in spite of the very serious problem and in spite of the extremely high death toll. A plane crash, however, is news, even if just one Malaysian dies in that crash. And people become very scared of flying whereas you are more likely to die on the way to the airport than in a plane crash.
Politicians scream about corruption. Voters scream about corruption. But we focus on the corruption that can hurt your political opponent. We talk about the corruption that can bring down certain politicians we do not like.
We are not really concerned about corruption. (In fact, you reading this have probably bribed a policeman or obtained your driving licence through a driving school). The people we want as the replacement to those we consider corrupt are just as corrupt. It is the same shit but slightly different smell. It is not shit-free people that we want as our new leaders to replace those old leaders we want ousted.
Why are 40 deaths in a plane crash more important than 40,000 deaths on Malaysian roads? The 40 plane crash deaths are not due to corruption. The 40,000 road deaths are. So would not the 40,000 deaths due to corruption be more of an issue than the 40 deaths that are not?
Well, that is because the media decides what is important.
Back in November 2007, Malaysia’s Information Minister, Zainuddin Maideen a.k.a. Zam, said that the alternative, independent or social media is not important. People use the social media just to play games or to look for cheap air tickets, said Zam.
Less than four months later in March 2008 Umno and Barisan Nasional got whacked in the general election and the post mortem they did revealed that they did badly because they lost the social media war. So Zam was proven the idiot that he is.
In fact, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad used the social media and the bloggers to oust Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. This was because, according to Dr Mahathir, the mainstream media is blacking out all news about him.
This is a police state, lamented Dr Mahathir. There is no freedom of speech in Malaysia, Dr Mahathir screamed. So, to be heard, Dr Mahathir had to turn to the social media. And at that time, 2006-2007, the pro-government and pro-opposition bloggers united and together whacked Pak Lah until he was eventually forced to step down, but not before the ruling party got whacked good and proper in the 2008 general election.
Then the government realised how powerful The Fifth Estate can be — what the alternative, independent or social media is now called. It can be even more powerful than the mainstream media, especially when the mainstream media has lost its credibility and no one believes or follows it any longer.
But it took a long time for Umno and Barisan Nasional to wake up to this reality. By then, however, the damage had been done. The result of Umno’s and Barisan Nasional’s complacency was felt in the 2008 general election and then again in 2009 when the Prime Minister was forced to step down.
The media decides what is important. And the media will play up these issues to the hilt. And if the mainstream media does not play ball then the alternative, independent or social media will take over to play that role.
The people surrounding Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak do not seem to realise this, just like those surrounding the previous Prime Minister did not realise it as well. The media sets the pace and agenda and you need to dance to this tune and tempo. You have absolutely no control over what is and is not an issue.
Today, 1MDB is the issue. Today, the move by Dr Mahathir to oust the Prime Minister is the issue. The Altantuya murder, GST, BR1M, the private jet, Jho Low, etc., are issues. The 40,000 Malaysians who died on the roads over the last ten years due to corruption is not an issue because the media says it is not an issue.
It is does not matter what is true and what is false any more. What matters is the perception that the media manages to create. So you can scream that that is false and this is true. No one will listen. The perception is what matters.
Tun Dr Mahathir lost the internet war and he was forced to step down three years later. Pak Lah lost the internet war and he, too, was forced to step down three years later. Is Najib going to also lose the internet war?
Well, that depends on whether he has surrounded himself with a bunch of idiots or whether those people around him know what they are doing. Thus far it appears like they are stumbling in the dark like a bunch of Keystone Cops.
And that, and not Dr Mahathir, will be what will determine the fate of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. And make sure I do not have to write yet another ‘I told you so’ article a year or so down the road.

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