At one time the Malays were criticized for their 'tidak apa' attitude or 'tidapathy'. Whenever an issue was raised to them or a complaint was made to someone, the most probable answer one would get could be: "Tak apalah, nanti kita tengok dulu. (Never mind. We'll look at it first)." The 'tidapathy' attitude was stipulated to be the cause of the Malays being left behind in the race for economic wellbeing and progress.
That attitude does not seem to be prevalent now although once in a while, you can still hear its echo. What I most often here nowadays is: "Oklah tu!" It means everything is quite all right and you don't have to worry. On the one hand this could be a sign of being a good Muslim who accepts everything that Allah ordains or bequeaths unto him. with a sense of gratefulness and reverence (redha). On the other hand it could be an attitude of dismissing a problem or an issue without bothering to understand it in more details or an indisposition to do anything more about it. If a set goal of achieving 30% equity participation could not be attained and only some 19% was achieved, "Oklah tu!". If Barisan Nasional could not get an 80% majority in Parliament and lost five States, "Oklah tu, It's still the party that forms the government." If Bahasa Malaysia is still not as widely used at the official level as English, "Oklah tu, English is an international language." If illegal logging and dredging sand from the river still continue despite public knowledge of the matter, "Oklah tu, we still have a lot of forest land and a lot of sand in the river." If corruption still goes on in spite of the declared all-out- war against it by government, "Oklah tu, many have already been booked."
Dismissing something as not important or serious when a matter is brought to one's attention can be a very frustrating experience for the person who brought up the issue. It either means that the person who is supposed to examine the matter does not see its significance or he is unwilling to recognize its importance and act on it immediately. Or he's negating its significance for some other unknown reasons. Such act of negation when it happens at a personal level is quite okay. But when it happens at a national level, when very important and pressing national issues are just waived aside or put in the cold storage or swept under the carpet, it can cause one to panic.
Taking stock of the issues that Malaysia faces today, the "Oklah tu." attitude can be most exasperating. We see Karam Singh Walia on TV saying: " Sudah sepuluh tahun isu curi pasir ini saya timbulkan tapi ia masih berleluasa." The problem of discarding new-born babies seems to be increasing in seriousness without any in-depth study being done to find its root cause, in favour of throwing general allegations that the youths of today are not well-grounded in the teachings of their religion, especially Islam. What about the difficulties caused by the religious department for young people to get married, the rising costs in holding a marriage ceremony, and the stringent actions taken on couples showing their affection in the public thus causing them to choose the darker corners of the streets, gardens or bushes. On the issue of GLS loosing billions of ringgit due to poor management of subtle pilferage, why aren't those responsible being immediately taken to task? We're happy with just: 'Oklah, we'll investigate." On the huge debt (RM362 B) and financial deficit problem (RM47 B) facing the country, the simple solution proposed is: "Oklah, we cut the subsidy which amounts to RM74B) a year." Won't that cause the price of consumer goods to spiral up? "Nolah. If it does it won't be by so much. By 10, 20 sen Oklah tu." What does Bank Negara say about this? " ,,any rise in consumer prices will be modest and therefore not a major factor for the country's interest rate policy," Will it not cause an inflation? "The Malaysian central bank is not an inflation-targeting central bank, and therefore. we will look at what are the other risks to inflation and growth,"
This is more like saying" Oklah. We'll look at it if it comes up and affects the economic growth of the country."
A recent occurrence that is most shocking is the death of a PTD trainee as a result of the very intensive commando style part of the compulsory training program. One can say: "Oklah tu, only one casualty out of so many trainees involved." That has been said in the many cases of casualties involving the National Service trainees.The question is: must the training be so tough as if the trainees are to become as tough as the regular soldiers or, worse still, the commandoes? The regulars are conditioned over a period of time while the PTD and National Service trainees will only be trained for a couple of months. The obvious response we will get to these questions will be: "Oklah, we'll investigate and revenue the training courses." And the public will say: "Oklah tu."
I think the time has come when we have to say there's no more "Oklah tu!" Each issue will have to be immediately investigated and the remedy found. If nothing happens to show that the remedy is taking effect or the result is only minimal, there's no "Oklah tu." A new remedy must be found by a new set of people. The "Oklah tu" of old must go. Otherwise we'll be forever saying "Oklah tu" to excuse ourselves for not being real gung ho about getting things done.