One response to “Malaysia’s Bloodless Repression against Activists and Critics”

  1. Misha Sibirsk

    Malaysia I think has its own historical dynamics, through which its institutional problems linger on. There would be few countries, though, that are immune to world trends. Some of these are favourable. The idea that there could be war between almost any of the OECD countries is now absurd, which is a tremendous development of the last few decades. War, even civil war, has now become much less prevalent also in most developing regions. There has also been significant – but no, not enough – progress on some environmental matters. New renewables have gone from nothing to, well, something, and a subsantial something in some regions.

    Human rights have experienced a more mixed fate. There has been some progress for indigenous peoples, the disabled, women and other than heterosexual people. But there have been some setbacks, both instigated and inspired by two sources. One, a breakout from certain dissatisfied rulers nostatlgic for absolute power. The figure-head for these is obviously VVP. Some of those inspired to follow his path are the late Hugo Chavez, the current Lord High Butcher of Manilla and even the current Chinese leadership. Strange to say, that last, because China has long had an overtly fascist regime, far worse than anything dreamed up even by Putin. However, it’s a matter of political relativity and a question of direction.

    The other source is, broadly, the developed world, in particular the USA; countries that mostly like to claim some credit for socio-political sophistication and humaneness. These have of late too often been more openly ready to cash in their credibility for perceived short-term gain. In the case of the US, there has been the frank adoption of torture in interrogation, the entanglement of allied nations in degrading violations of human rights, such as with rendition, and the refusal to prosecute their own military personnel in cases of blatant war crimes.

    Another major and accelerating human rights setback over the last two or three decades has been the gradual repudiation of established international law on the rights of refugees. Australia has shamefully been perhaps the number one perpetrator and example here, with its construction of refugee concentration camps, first in the desert, then on its own remote islands and finally on foreign islands – Nauru and Manus Island (PNG), being content in the process to corrupt the institutions of those impoverished countries and disembowel their social harmony. Australia has also pioneered an array of barbarities with its “on water” practices and its mainstream public discourse, demonising refugees. Many of these practices and epithets have been adopted in Europe.

    Countries like Malaysia have to sort out their own problems, but a poisonous international milieu doesn’t help. There was a time when a French/German government, experiencing some difficulties, might say, “hey, let’s go to war with Germany/France. Now , that is seen to be ridiculous. Perhaps some of us will live to see the day when it will also become ridiculous in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Venezuela, Singapore, Zimbabwe or Belarus for a government in difficulty to say, “hey, let’s arrest some of the opposition and harass some student activists.”

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