You might be wondering why a German woman is interested in the political conditions in Malaysia. The answer is simple:
My dad is Chinese- Malaysian and my mum is German. I came to Malaysia to do my voluntary service in an orphonage and I got to know strangers who became family and friends and are still an important part of my life until today. They introduced me to their cultures and religions, gave home and shelter and showed me the infinite beauty of life. Malaysia became home to me and I feel blessed that I can call two countries my home. Malaysia with its wonderful landscape, awesome food, multicultural and religious diversity and with all it´s amazing people. Everytime I have returned to Malaysia I was treated so welcoming and warm-hearted that I am impressed all over again because this metality is hard to find.
Besides that, I regard Malaysia as a role model for other nations because people with different cultural backgrounds and religions co-exist peacefully. Many Malaysians are aware of the cultural differences, respect each other and have a wide knowledge about cultures which are not their own. I have larned a lot during my time in Malaysia and I am really grateful for that.
BUT Malaysia is also shadowed by its politics and its judicial system, which definitelty limit the freedom of Malaysians. In 2013 I visited Malaysia again. I witnessed the preparations for the election. The results of the election were ambigious and stirred controveries among the population which marked the beginning of several other smashing events. It does not matter if we are talking about the countless crucial laws which were passed throuhout the last years, about the detention of the former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim or the 1MDB scandal. How is it even possible that one single man has the power to reshuffle a whole cabinet, fires a deputy prime minister, declares a national state of emergency or that political dissents are getting arrested regularly? Many of those laws do not conform with the Malaysian constitution which guarantees freedom of speech. Laws are intereptretated completely arbitrary. The government claims that Malaysia is a democratic state but several laws, for instance the Sedition Act, indicate that this is an infringement against international standards. The situation under the government is alarming- I am sure everyone who knows Malaysia- is aware of this fact as well. From a Western point of view Human Rights in Malaysia have always been an issue and have limited Malaysia´s incredible potential to unfold. Freedom of expression, religion, the press should be granted to all individuals worldwide. This was my motivation for an intership at a Malaysian Human Rights Organization in 2014. My working field was broad, interesting and inspiring. I got to know awesome personalities who fight everyday for a liberal Malaysia. These people put themselves at risk to be arrested or convicted just for raising their voices, which was very hard for me to realize in the beginning.
Maybe its my belief in human rights which makes it so hard to accept the situation in Malaysia. I am the opinion that Human Rights are universal and have to be respected by every government which is obviously not the case when it comes to Barisan Nasional.
I also believe that a real democracy can only be created when politicians respect the people´s rights.
Politicians were elected by them and therefore have to prove that they´re worth the people´s trust, so they have to act in the people´s interest which has not happened yet.
Life is not easy, it has never been easy but I regard human rights and democracy as an achievement that is worth fighting for and which must be protected. Malaysia will always be home to me, I will always be connected to this country and I will never forget what this country gave to me but exactly this is the reason for me to hope for a more liberal Malaysia .
The next General Elections are coming up and I hope that Malaysians are using their given right to vote. It does not matter if you live in Malaysia or overseas. Voting does not take much time and it does not cost any money. Do not think that an individual is not able to change a system. Instead try to imagine what a huge group of Malaysians is capable to do.
Let us hope for a Malaysia in which human rights are valued. Let us hope for a Malaysia in which people have the right to state their opinions without the fear of being arrested. Let us hope for a Malaysia in which people can act freely to create a society according to their desires and values and let us hope for a Malaysia in which fair elections take place.
Be part of the change and don´t let Malaysia become a failed state!