Friday, January 2, 2015

Legislate - First Things First

I consider it a high calling to be an elected representative. Our job scope can be vague, our schedule is demanding and our responsibilities are broad and weighty. There must be a genuine love for people or at least one must enjoy being around people. We do not have a perpetual contract as elected representatives. Time is of the essence. Reforms must be made. We are policymakers. We have not been elected to judge people. Our political offices should not take the place of religious institutions.

Recently, when a Member of Parliament claimed that the east coast floods were intended to remind the people about the necessity to impose hudud, my heart cannot be more stirred. No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no human mind has conceived the plans of God for Malaysia. How can anyone say with absolute certainty that disasters (whether man-made or otherwise) are God’s wrath to punish mankind? What if it is just a case of bad stewardship? As though it is not enough when leaders use racial politics to conceal corruption, it is more appalling when God is used as an excuse to justify leaders’ inability to govern.

God created man or woman with a free mind and most importantly a free will. God allows us to make decisions and face their consequences. And if this timeless God Almighty does not see it right to force His ways down our throats, who are we then (politicians with a mandate restricted by a political term) to shove holy laws down the throats of our electorates?

2014 has been a terrible year for the nation, marked with tragedies and regressive rule such as the continued use and misuse of the Sedition Act to silence dissenting voices.

Something’s got to give in 2015. Political leaders with executive powers must start appropriating the budget for the right projects. People must start seeing that BR1M just isn’t good enough. Such funds should be used instead for flood mitigation projects, feeding the poor and fighting crime.

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Unless we do things differently in 2015, history is bound to repeat. If we don’t see improvement in the Auditor-General’s Report, if extremists continue to be given unlimited media space to propagate hatred, if the government stops feeding the street kids hoping they will just disappear, if we treat our immigration rules negligently, if top political leaders do not lead by example in fighting corruption and if the people continue to vote such leaders back to power – we have no one else to blame (not even God!) but ourselves.

Lastly, for the self-righteous politicians, there really isn’t a need to second-guess God. He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbour, to love mercy and to walk humbly with God. Anything else is beside the point.

Hannah Yeoh

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