Malaysians want Malaysia to do well. We often look elsewhere for aspiration and a benchmark of what we should be. Where we want to be is ascertainable but how we get there is not always the case.

Do we seek to achieve great things and then perhaps hope the international media picks it up to recognise and validate that achievement? I don’t think the latter is our objective but a nice present instead.

That said, lately we get upset about these recognitions as they seem to often highlight not so nice things in Malaysia, regardless of the fact that bad news have a tendency to make the news.

When this happens, a lot of people tend to lose sight of what needs to be worked on at hand. As a result of that, we need to focus on ourselves first and recognise the original matter. What are we doing wrong in order to get “there”?

There were three things that took place recently that can’t run away from my mind (thanks to my law studies background) – the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 (PA2011), the Computing Professionals Bill 2011 (CPB2011) and the University and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA).

A Bill is a draft of a law that goes through the process in Parliament before it becomes law. It might not become law at all, or it might get amended in between the debates and voting sessions by our representatives. It has no legal impact until it becomes law (or an ‘Act’ like UUCA), but when it enters the process, the objective is exactly that: To make it become law.

What are the issues with the PA2011? According to the legal experts and practitioners, it basically significantly curbs the ability of Malaysians, to voice our grouses together in a public space, something that is universally accepted as a human right.

No, it’s not a Western concept or culture. It stems from our innate need to express our feelings and concerns. Indeed there are channels like dialogue and complaint letters, but there are times when some people need to cause greater impact in order to be heard.

Then there’s the CPB2011, which got Twitterjaya going crazy as this is, in many ways, their playground.

What this Bill proposes to do is, to regulate the IT professionals and non-professionals of Malaysia.

In a nutshell, you’ll have to be registered and pass an exam in order to legally deal with computers. For an industry that innovates at a ridiculous pace and a technological tool that is so widely used by many at varying levels, this is not

Finally, there’s the UUCA. This is a law that involves students in tertiary education institution, which involves hundreds of thousands of young energetic Malaysians.

The biggest contention is about not allowing students to partake in politics.
You might be 21 years old and can legally vote, but you can’t be allowed to be part of party politics even as a member.

The reason why I’m allowed to vote at 21, is because I am entrusted with the capacity to decide as an adult. Therefore not allowing me to actively participate in something that is necessary to govern a country, something that affects my life, is quite contradictory.

In a developed progressive society, such laws like the three mentioned here do not exist. I’m not saying that no form of regulation is required for us to be number one, but to what end do we need to be handheld by law?

Law is only one aspect of influencing the direction of a country. But it does set clear perimeters within which we can and can not do, should and should not do.
Our elders raised us with a set of rules accompanied with punishments, rights and responsibilities. Much like how a country manages its people. At the same time, our elders also give us freedom to think, to decide and to grow.

There are times when we do need support of others to get something done but surely we don’t want a kind of thinking where many of what we want to achieve, requires approval from someone else. It is vibrant energy that moves people

Let Malaysians believe in ourselves. Let Malaysia start here.

* Zain runs Random Alphabets (, and tweets at @ZainHD.

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