2012-09-06: Prime Minister Najib feels that the happiness index of Malaysians is just as important as per capita income under the country's development model.
It is hard for Malaysians to be happy if their hearts are filled with anger and frustration.
From what happened on the eve of Merdeka when people were seen trampling the PM's picture, showing their butts at it or raising the new "national flag," it was an apparent manifestation of the "hate politics" BN has branded the commotion created by the opposition pact.
But there is more of the "hate politics" than just this. Prior to that, the violent disruptions at Pakatan's ceramahs, the brutal treatment accorded to participants of a peaceful rally, Anwar's tour bus being assaulted and sprayed with red paint, attempts to physically attack Anwar and many other bouts of violence, all require both the ruling and opposition camps to take responsibility for the mess.
Hatred is a product of displeasure, which is derived from the inciting acts and remarks of politicians, the narrow mindedness of a handful of individuals, the disgruntlement towards government policies over the past half a century, appeals that have fallen into deaf ears, inequitable treatment perceived by some, and the double standards practised by the government, among others.
Most of those acting aggressively are young people or students from colleges and universities. For instance, students of UPSI in Tanjung Malim took down the picture of Najib and the national flag when they submitted a memorandum of understanding on academic freedom to deputy higher education minister Saifuddin Abdullah last December.
Tertiary students are not barbarians nor the irrational lot. They protest because their voices have not been heard, and they resist because they are subjected to the unbearable weight of oppressive regime.
Take for example, the university authorities have set the laws and regulations to control campus elections in a way that is deemed unjust and not transparent. In the face of such autocracy, students who protest are penalised unfairly, their attempts to rectify the unhealthy system thwarted repeatedly, and hence the accumulated displeasure turning eruptive rage. Anger occasionally blacks out the slightest rational thinking still lurking in our heads, culminating in the eventual termination of implicated students and indictment in the court which further entrenches the conflict.
The prime minister recently highlighted the importance of innovation to the country's development, and as such the authorities should be more creative, all-rounded and human when dealing with the appeals from various organisations in order to better connect with the people.
When fury chokes the society, it is imperative that we instantly disperse and alleviate the fury. If improperly handled, or worse if reciprocated with further suppression, the emotions could boil to dangerous levels in no time.
On managing the issue of the students' pursuit of democracy and decision-making power, the authorities should exercise certain degree of flexibility in a bid to mitigate the tension building up between the school authorities and the students.
The current state of affairs in this country has allowed those with ill intentions to take advantage to advance their ulterior political motives without taking into consideration a probable split within our society.
People with resentment planted deep inside them will never feel happy. These people will see things in a biased manner and are far less tolerant. A society devoid of tolerance makes a perfect hotbed of violence.
It takes the effort from the government and the leaders to dissipate the resentment. Stop political assaults, cut down political rallies, intensify mutual interactions and do something to close the gap and melt the apathy with a little of kind gesture.
If you are not happy with any political party, convince them with sound reasoning, or say it with the ballot in your hand instead of allowing the hatred to brew inside your heart and rob you of your calmness and sensibility.
By LIM SUE GOAN