Thursday, February 14, 2013

Take the 13th GE Seriously

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This will be my 7th or 8th election I cannot remember and each of them had been a done deal as the Americans would say. There was hardly anything to consider. The Alliance, and later the Barisan Nasional, would always win. In fact there was never any real threat to their position. Reminds me of challengers into the ring when Mohamed Ali was floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. But ultimately even he loses. No one stays winner for life, eventually someone will beat him and take away his title. Just like Nicol David, the all-time squash queen, who recently lost her title at the Cleveland Classic to challenger Raneem El Weleily of Egypt. Only time will tell when she will surrender her throne to another champion. Will it be before 2020 or after? Challengers will vie to capture the covet trophy. So is Malaysian politics.

After March 2008 Najib Razak succeeded Ahmad Badawi as the 6th prime minister and immediately trumpeted his 1Malaysia dream to the nation. It actually became a mockery because the past 5 years failed to see the idea caught on. People actually saw a more fragmented nation and today Najib is leading a fractured Barisan Nasional into battle against the much stronger Pakatan Rakyat for the right to govern Malaysia for the next 5 years tenure. What are the stakes and the risks?

On the surface the government is boasting economic growth that continue to defy regional and international recessionary trends. But the people hardly felt the euphoria. In fact rising cost and fear of insecurity rank highly in their minds that things weren't right. The government and the police should have capped the problem much earlier. Together with other crucial issues like declining standard of education, rising corruption, wastage of public funds, perception of religious intolerance never before felt, made Malaysians wonder if Najib Razak really know how to run the country. Some even rank him rather unkindly as the worst PM.

On the other hand, while many people applauded the strengthening of a strong opposition to Barisan Nasional, the concern that one of its coalition partner, the Islamic party PAS, is harping on islamizing the nation should it come into power at state and national level made even the modern Malays nervous. Why are they trying to take Malaysia, a nation born out of secular constitution, backward? Knowing well that no nations under religious rule ever prosper or gain favor with other nations? PR is also fracturing but assured the electorates it can handle differences better than the BN can wherein it is really UMNO, the dominant Malay party that call the shots and every other coalition partners are subservient and impotent.

Neither are perfect but we cannot look at a perfect party to lead the nation. This is an illusion. What Malaysians ought to consider is who has a manifesto that address current issues of race, religion and economy as well as tackle corruption better than the other coalition. Some voters are doubtful over Anwar Ibrahim's leadership, believing he has a tainted record, that he has extremist views but camouflage his stand to gain support from the non-Malays. Anwar fortunately or unfortunately is the only iconic Malay who can undo UMNO and BN. Take him away PR will fall. Therefore to give PR a chance to win and run the next government is to overlook Anwar for now but hold the entire PR government to its promises over the next 5 years. This is a better course than to doubt Anwar or PR's readiness. At the rate we incur huge debts we cannot afford to have a government that spend recklessly. Malaysia is rich but is poor because unscrupulous politicians have raided her wealth.

So when the parliament is dissolved Malaysians who are eligible to vote MUST take the effort to vote. Any excuse not to vote may cost the loss of important constituencies which may determine whether BN or PR wins at the state and national level. For those who can but did not bother to register, I say this to them. Shame on you for leaving the future of your children into the hands of others to decide. By giving away your right to vote this time you may help swing the outcome of the constituency you live in.

For me I'm clear of where this country must go. I may have another 1 or 2 elections left to exercise my right but my children and grandchildren must be more politically keen and interested. Never assume the person you vote tomorrow will be good also to be voted in the next round.

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