Editor : Nur Izzatul Sofika binti Mohd Yusof
In the late 50s, Malaysia has achieved independence alongside 194 other countries. Whichever strategy that was used to gain independence, they either cried out and struggled for it, or they already obtained the freedom since the day the nation was established. All in all, it is inspiring that almost all countries can live together peacefully and harmoniously while sustaining their own freedom and independence.
But are you aware that independence can be revoked and seized at any time, and some countries are yet to achieve their independence?
When Malaysia obtained independence in 1957, all Malaysians cheered as we were finally free from the British rule. However, have we ever considered how a democratic country could have homeless people, refugees, and so on?
In reality, only those in positions of authority changed. For others, the burden remained constant. Independence has developed into being self-sufficient in one’s personal interests.
According to the World Bank’s estimation, corruption costs Malaysia RM10 billion per year. Over the last 30 years, that sums up to RM300 billion, which is enough to build 4 Petronas Twin Towers in every state!
It can be seen by the increment in the number of homeless people over the years. Consequently, if this issue continues to worsen in the long run, we may be seized or forced to flee one day.
So, what are we truly independent of? Is being free from the British ruling enough? Is it simply the right to vote every five years that defines independence?
Non-independent country can be defined as a lack of freedom from other people, events, or things of a country. For example, there are some countries that are yet to achieve independence such as Taiwan, Somaliland, Palestine, and some others.
There are various factors contributing to the seizure of a country or for a country being far from its independence. The abuse of power, continuous corruption, and the collapse of unity were the major contributors to the seizure of the country’s independence.
This has had a massive impact on certain groups or ethnicities which led to a big number of refugees. As mentioned in the previous article, refugees escaped war, violence, conflict, or persecution in their origin country by seeking safety in another place.
Refugees can also be attributed to hijrah to gain independence for themselves and the country. So, it is unacceptable when they are treated like viruses in communities.
Even a long time ago, Malays faced the same issue when the Malay lands were colonized. However, the term used at that time was different. They used ‘retreat’, because the term ‘refugee’ was a bit foreign among the Malays at the time. As an example, Datuk Abdul Ghafur, who is known as one of Sarawak’s heroes and his followers became refugee in the reign of James Brooke, who then made a move to Malacca.
Acceptance of Refugees
Some countries assume that with the existence of refugees in their countries, they will be in a state of dilemma whether to provide assistance for the refugees, or to make sanctions on them, since the refugee problem can affect the financial, sovereignty, and security factors of the country.
However, why do Europe’s secular communities, including Italy and Greece, accept refugees fleeing Syria and Libya without prejudice? And the question is, why can’t others?
Thus, this refugee issue is a universal issue. It can be seen in the war in Syria, where millions of Syrians have become refugees. Turkey opened the door for them. So did the non-Muslim countries like Germany. So, it is not the issue of refugees themselves, it is the issue of countries not being able to provide good solution for them.
Education as One of The Solutions
We cannot ask them to stand by themselves without whole support and knowledge to fight back. To help effectively, it is necessary to provide them with educational opportunity so that their rights can be best fought in the restoration of their homeland.
So, GPM Malaysia has taken an initiative in providing better education, especially for the refugees’ children by establishing schools for them, such as Jasmine Ash-Sham school and Rohingya Education Centre (REC).
Thus, we need continuous support from each of you to ensure these schools can be managed properly and thus be able to open more schools for them in the future to spread as much knowledge and spirit for them to strive for their own independence.
Remember, the factor for gaining independence is unity. If we as a nation break up and point fingers at each other instead, not only we cannot help the refugees in Malaysia, we ourselves can also falter with the colonization of outside powers.
Dr Azlinariah Abdullah, “Tentang Pelarian Perihal Menulis untuk Memaknai Kehidupan”. Oct 16, 2021.
Muhaimin Sulam, “KOLUM | Pelarian”. Aug 01, 2020.
Pn. Rosmidzatul Azila, “Menghayati Kemerdekaan dalam Erti Kata Sebenar”. Aug 29, 2013.
Kompas Ana, “Apa Makna Merdeka”, March 15, 2018.
U.S. Department of State. “Independent States in The World”. Aug 5, 2022.
MT Webmaster. “What Good is Independence if We Misuse It?”. Dec 22, 2014.
Ika Lestari, “8 Neagra yang Belum Diiktiraf untuk Kemerdekaan Mereka”. July 4, 2020
Cambridge Dictionary. Cambridge University Press. 2022.