Three slaves and the rakyat

Mariam Mokhtar
Nov 25, 2013

The three women in London who were imprisoned as slaves have much in common with the Malaysian rakyat. Their escape plan was hatched in secrecy but their story, which is slowly unfolding, has shocked the world. It is doubtful if many Malaysians realise the similarities between themselves and these three women.

For the past 30 years, the women were forced to serve a married couple from India and Tanzania. The oldest woman was a 69-year-old Malaysian who was denied medical treatment when she suffered a stroke, another was a 59-year-old Irish woman, and the youngest was a 30-year-old, who grew up in this family.

The women cleaned, cooked, shopped, ran errands and cared for their masters. As punishment, they would be beaten but despite their treatment, were too terrified to escape when an opportunity to flee presented itself.

The women were imprisoned for three decades, but the Malaysian rakyat have been metaphorically imprisoned for the most part of 56 years. The women were described as having been shackled by “invisible handcuffs”, just like the Malaysians.

Despite being aware of the injustices and abuse of power, older Malaysians are reluctant to embrace change. The married couple are just like the leaders of Malaysia. The tools of control for both the London slaves and Malaysian rakyat, are a combination of threats and emotional blackmail. Police said that the mental hold on the women was strong and “cult-like”.

Umno Baru leaders know how to pitch their stories. For instance, older and more conservative Malays are told that a vote for the opposition would mean that the Chinese and Christians would overrun Malaysia.

It is ironic that younger Malaysians, despite knowing only one system of governance, can lead the charge for change. Their easy access to alternative information sites means that the world is literally their oyster.

When Umno Baru splurges on defence contracts, weaponry or new gadgets like the automated speed traps (AES), they convince ignorant people, that the party is doing it in the name of national security or progress. Incredibly, the government makes the rakyat hand over their money as if it is doing the people a favour.

The BR1M payment of RM500 does not last long, especially as the government plays on the greed of the rakyat into parting with their money. For example, discounts on smartphones induce people to buy one. Despite the discount, the BR1M recipient has to pay out more of his own money, either from his savings or by going into debt.

The company which sold the smartphones is probably a crony company and the smartphones are probably sold at an inflated price, regardless of the discount. The government’s investment of RM500 brings in a good return.

In addition, the BR1M payment divides communities, because the middle-classes do not qualify but find that they are subsidising the life-styles of the poor and government cronies.

Najib Abdul Razak justified the increase in sugar prices by saying it was necessary to prevent diabetes. Why stop at sugar, if he is sincere about the nation’s health? Why not increase the cost of cigarettes and stop the sale of unhealthy, fatty and non-nutritious foods in school canteens?

He could ban mamak shops. Some are filthy and many sell greasy, unhealthy food. The ones which open 24-hours-a-day encourage unhealthy sleeping habits, especially among schoolchildren.

He should promote cycling and outdoor activities and build cycle lanes in towns, and more sports facilities in housing estates. He could increase the amount of time devoted to sports in the school curriculum.

Extremism rampant, abuses common

The neighbours of the three women in London, saw them and their masters as a “normal family”. This is the same scenario which Najib presents to the international community. Malaysia is packaged as a moderate Muslim nation which cares for its women, children and indigenous communities.

The events which occurred behind the closed doors of the London house can only be described as modern-day slavery. Similarly, within Malaysian borders, extremism and nationalist policies are rampant and human rights abuses are common.

The three women waited on the couple, like slaves. Anyone who has been to a function hosted by an Umno Baru or BN politician will have observed members of the rakyat treating politicians like demi-gods, bowing and scraping and giving them deferential treatment.

The enslaved women are highly dependent on their masters. Their level of brainwashing was so strong, that they refused to flee when they had the chance. Similarly, Malaysians have been given the opportunity to reject Umno Baru at election, but many continue to vote for Umno Baru and BN.

The women were permitted to watch certain television channels. Likewise, Malaysians are only allowed to see pro-Umno Baru media news. The indoctrination of the rakyat restricts their activities.

Attending opposition ceramahs is discouraged and those who persist, face problems at work. Malaysians studying overseas are warned that their scholarships may be terminated, if they attend opposition talks. People who attend marches, face violence from Umno Baru thugs and the police. With these tactics, many people fear voting for the opposition.

Despite the hardships suffered, many Malaysians are afraid of change. The constant emotional blackmail over the past five decades has convinced them that they could not cope without Umno Baru.

People who have worked with former prisoners, know that ex-convicts have become institutionalised and cannot adjust to normal life, when they are released. Having been used to following orders, doing things at set times of the day, eating what is given them and sleeping when the lights are turned off, means that they are dependent on their wardens’ instructions.

That is what Umno Baru has done to many of us – reduced our ability to cope and to think independently.

The three women who planned their escape wanted to be free and punish the people who imprisoned them. The same rebuilding of our lives is possible. We just need the courage to take the first step towards freedom. This first step is to reject Umno Baru. You are not alone. Many Malaysians, especially Malays, think as you do.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).

  1. #1 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 28 November 2013 - 1:20 am

    ‘ … the mental hold …. was strong and “cult-like …’.

    BN has got same idea for 56 years.

  2. #3 by boh-liao on Thursday, 28 November 2013 - 3:38 am

    Ha, ha – dis is Stockholm syndrome mah, or more aptly Umno/BN syndrome lor
    Yes, masters, i luv U, Lu kasih gua, Gua kasih U, Lu tolong gua, Gua tolong lu, want my vote, no problemo, give lah

  3. #5 by Noble House on Thursday, 28 November 2013 - 4:39 am

    Racial and socioeconomic differentiation and lack of understanding in society are symptoms and causes of “modern-day slavery.” The lack in emphasis of quality education are leaving the rural and urban poor “educationally impoverished” – a widely used method of enslaving people around the world.

    While the quality of democracy is often compromised by social inequality and inadequate political participation, democratic practice itself is an important tool for eliminating these obstacles.

    Those who fall victim to such evil deceit remain forever the bonded slave of their Overseer.

  4. #6 by undertaker888 on Thursday, 28 November 2013 - 7:46 am

    There’s one analogy as well. The 69 year old represents Malays. The 59-year old represents the Chinese. The 30-year old represents the Indians.

    The 59-year old Irish finally make a phone call and the rest is history. In May this year, 90% Chinese rejected the regime and soon the shackle will be broken as well.

    Does the Tanzanian woman has the lust like our FLOM? Birkins, diamonds, shoes.

    • #7 by cemerlang on Thursday, 28 November 2013 - 8:01 am

      Quote:The women cleaned, cooked, shopped, ran errands and cared for their masters Unquote

  5. #8 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 28 November 2013 - 8:26 am

    The truth is for most Malaysian, administratively, ANY PR parties can rule this country better than UMNO/BN..The ugly truth is the present ENTIRE leadership of UMNO/BN are made up of pretty much poor stuff that years of Mahathirism has entrenched for decades to come.

    The only reason to support UMNO/BN is racist and religo-zealotry. Not substance.

    • #9 by cemerlang on Thursday, 28 November 2013 - 4:36 pm

      Anyone can do it. But power is POWER

  6. #10 by Winston on Thursday, 28 November 2013 - 1:10 pm

    The unholy hold the ruling party has on Malaysians for so many decades can be broken.
    One of the best ways to go about this is to recruit those presently living in the cities but have kin in the outback.
    Those who have a sense of mission to change the status quo can then be trained to channel the right information to their kin in the hinterland.
    The main thrust would be to let them know how the ruling party is destroying the country while handing out chicken feed to them.
    I know for a fact that there are those who think that the federal government is really benevolent to them because of BR1M, BR2M etc.
    Let them know that the money comes from the tax-payers and not the grandfathers of those in power.
    That it comes from the sweat and toil of Malaysians!
    Show them how the PR will be able to change the situation to bring about a just and equitable government.
    For example, the handing out of BR1M, BR2M and such has brought about the bankruptcy of the country.
    That now they have squandered the money, they have to raise all sorts of taxes and cut down on subsidies to the detriment of all Malaysians.
    That the ruling party cannot account for the fact that, in a very resource rich country, we have a huge National Debt of hundreds of billions of Ringgit!
    The same argument can be applied to the civil servants and armed forces.
    Because once the government is bankrupt, they will be first to feel the heat because they will be sacked!!

    • #11 by cemerlang on Thursday, 28 November 2013 - 4:35 pm

      Agenda to save people like her. Cause her own ideology does not fit the ideology of her kind. The more people, the more power.

  7. #12 by SNIPER1810 on Thursday, 28 November 2013 - 7:10 pm

    Allah help us all!

  8. #13 by good coolie on Thursday, 28 November 2013 - 11:30 pm

    If you cannot depose your masters you deserve to be enslaved. I tell that to you three slaves; and to MCA. MIC, Gerakan, PAS, DAP and the rest.

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