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Sunday, 15 July 2007

The Power of Freedom – Understanding Freedom

I’m very much interested in emphasizing about the power of Individuals courage, chivalry and wills in determining people’s future come what may either it be economic or political freedom. But my writing this time around will cover mostly on kinds of profiles and acts that will determine many multitudes of mankind’s freedoms especially in this nation.

According to one of the distinguished 20th Century’s economist, Milton Friedman, there are three (3) types of freedom that mankind should have which are; (1) Economic Freedom; (2) Political Freedom (what most people usually aware off), and; (3) Civil Freedom (what Mr. Friedman suggested). There is a very thin line of differences between Political Freedom and Civil Freedom that we had to discern off, but when the points of reference towards the two main principles is determined, then what Friedman had told us is very much true that Civil Freedom is the last achievable principles in feasible system.

I don’t want to delve much onto the two main freedom principles (Political and Civil), but there can be no escape that in achieving the political and civil freedom, ones must first obtained the basic Economic Freedom. The question arise that which one should come first, either it be political or economic freedom is still can be debated in length. But in a country such as ours where we build this nation on tolerance and compromises, then what Mr. Friedman suggested is not accurate. We had to gain Political Freedom first before the next two main freedom principles can be achieved.

Based on our nation’s history, we cannot tolerate in making the British as our masters in this land and that is the reason why Malaysia is not a colony such as Australia or British Hong Kong before 1997. What was proposed by the Malayan Union plan is very much the same with current constitution except for certain Malay’s special rights. We had to gained Political Freedom through declarations of Independence signed by Tunku Abdul Rahman for the sake of being politically free in determining our own future which in the future to come will be economic and civil freedom.

Based on our experience we decided in moving along with the nation development and fulfilling the promise that we had made after much lengthy talk of compromising ones civil rights (i.e. that man should be made equal and not subjected towards their beliefs and skin color). Why am I saying such a blunt statement is that, the Declaration of Independence signed by Tunku Abdul Rahman 50 years ago is not the same of our past policies after 31st August 1957. The Declarations of Independence signed 50 years ago emphasized on the importance of mankind’s freedom and rights and not certain people’s special rights. And I urged my readers to check it (The Declarations of Independence) so that I can be corrected if I’m wrong.

But Tunku Abdul Rahman was very witty and clever after seeing the current situation in Malaya (1957) that the Malays still regards their Indian and Chinese friends as foreigners and only wants to works in Malaya and want to be back in their respective lands after retirement or eventually. Malaya was never their own, and this is because Chinese can easily be accepted in China and Indians will not have problems in entering India back based on their skin color or beliefs. But to the Malays, whatever happened in Malaya, they cannot migrate away from it except stays and be where they were. And that is not freedom coveted by mankind, but by particular groups which will and eventually infringe upon minority groups. I’m not saying that a minority group does not have rights, but based on mankind experienced, a minority groups usually changed the events of mankind’s freedom (Palestine, Nazi’s, Cuba, Lenin revolution’s just to name a few). Thus minority rights shouldn’t be neglected and freedom’s should be based on mankind and not certain particular group interest).

Back in our nation’s experienced, the social contracts is concurred whereas the Malays agrees in accepting Chinese and Indians as one of their brothers in this Land. But after twelve years of experimenting political freedom, the Malays realized that they cannot compete with the Chinese and Indians race if the playing field of economic freedoms stays just like what was put in the Declarations of Independence signed 12 years ago. Plus with the puzzlement of which kind of economic theory that should the young nations such as ours follow (either it be Capitalism or Communism). Still there is no sign of economic freedom achieved even though the age of the nations is getting to 12 years.

Then our people had to learn it the hard way through the 13th May 1969 incidents. By that tragedy then we realized that political freedom is useless without economic freedom. The sorting back of the race and their economic well being is crucial so that they will come one day when people’s in Malaysia will eventually achieve civil freedom. But in doing so, we cannot follow the Capitalist theory in a bulk, not because the theory is defects but because we are not ready yet to embrace Capitalism and full fledged democracy. There should be limits towards achieving freedom. Within the time frame so that our own people will understand freedom and not be in a situations where a particular group wants them to understand freedom according to a particular group beliefs. And in achieving that, the roles of the government should come into play.

In my own opinion and personal views, I don’t think any other economic theory is much better and practical except Capitalism. Capitalism provides people with civil liberties and rights to be free either it are economic or civil freedom. Plus only with Capitalism life can be preserved in this small world. No doubt one day, this economic theory will bring the demise of the mankind itself, but I concurred with what Joseph Schumpeter’s saying that one day the greatness of mankind intellectualism will bring to the destruction of the world itself. What I do understand is that it will default the system when the system reach the limits. But it still is a long way to go and no other way of going except moving towards it.

But Capitalism will only prevail if the system works. Because only with the workable system that people will get what they want, instead of a particular group thinks they ought to want. And in getting there, the only way is to provide freedom for people in choosing what they think is rights by them.

Ensuring the prevailing economic freedom for the young nations such as ours, the government at that time (1969) had to be firm and stringent. We realized that this nation is not ready yet to achieve full free-market and so we had to create a situation where the system works. We adopted a socialism concept plus free market. But that doesn’t mean it should stay forever. The flagship during that time (1969) were sorting back the races through economic freedom, public housing, and forming policies (invisible hands) which will provide and ensure the same level of playing field among the players. Plus instilling a doctrine within the three main races of Malaysia where sole allegiance was to the belief that whatever comes, Malaysia is the only place to call home.

The implementations of the above systems was not perfect, but we had no other choice or else anarchy will take over the system just like what happened to the African states where they are not ready yet to be free but freedom had given by the Colonialist (Britain, France and Belgium).

After twenty (20) years of implementing the NEP, we had achieve only 18.1% (figures are not correct, please feel free to correct me) even the targeted figures is 30% of economic cake among the Malays and the Indigenous people. No doubt that NEP had failed in achieving the coveted figures. And no doubt that the implementation of NEP is to rash and only concentrated among selected few of the particular parties. This is not the way that economic freedom should be achieved. Thus the words freedom itself is not tally with the NEP policy.

After 1989, in seeing the NEP hadn’t reached the target, but had increased the Malay’s economic cake from 4.1% to 18.1%, thus the main objective of the plan is remained whereas the concentrated effort is stressed on the quality rather than quantity. But in understanding the flow of human richness and opulence, then we had to understand that the economic freedom cannot be reached via laws, government interventions and government protections, but by individual strengths, courage and chivalry. If we continue to be like prior of 1989, I personally believe that only selected few will be rich and remains okay. Rather than a much better pool of human ingenuity within the four walls of our nations that still remains unexplored.

Let me emphasis my point up there. Let’s take a look at the caste system in India. In Caste system, only certain level of caste should reached the opportunity of being a high officers or high echelon peoples who will determined the drive of a nations objectives rather than their huge and vast pool of human ingenuity. Humans are created equal. Such a fascist theory that there is a sub-human or inferior race doesn’t exist. History had taught us in sports, war or economic race. What if certain caste one day is low of human power and do not propagated such as needed? What will happen to the much needed human hands that will be responsible in fulfilling the jobs in driving the richness of nation’s sources for the masses? Will they stay on being separated or segregated within their own caste or will they let human ingenuity prevail? And that’s what I feel on the issues of understanding of our political freedom in achieving the economic freedom.

I didn’t say that the American system is the best in this world or practical in Malaysia. But we cannot run away from the facts that the system works in that nations and mostly in developed nations. Somebody which was once come from a poor family and not only once illiterate is being given an opportunity of being a President (Abraham Lincoln) due to his own hard works. Or perhaps somebody which came from not only an Irish family (that was once hated in New York), but also from a Catholic family was also proved can be a very good Presidents (JFK).

What I’m trying to explain here had already happened in America and still happening in a working systems where human merits is cherished and not bloodline. Let’s try to ponder on our situations here in Malaysia. Is it possible for somebody who was nobody thinking about getting the post of Prime Minister for the sake of the people itself? I would bet my life none will have the opportunity unless we changed our understanding on the true meaning of the words freedom. But I can find quite a number of irresponsible, irrelevant or mindless persona in this nations that had a wide opportunity of being a Prime Minister for the sake of guarding the selected few special interest and not for the sake of improving the masses.

To be continue…

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