What we see more clearly today is a reflection of the rot that has set in over time – highlighting a coalition that does not work, writes K Haridas.
Sixty years is just far too long. What we see more clearly today is a reflection of the rot that has set in over time – highlighting a coalition that does not work.
If you can have Umno apparently influencing who should be the party leader of a component party and seemingly manoeuvring his dismissal, then this says a lot about BN. Not all are equal members within the coalition. Some are more equal than others.
MyPPP president M Kaveas spent nearly four years working on the ground in Cameron Highlands after the MIC winning candidate became an independent. There must be a basis for awarding the seat, and MIC probably does not qualify if the criteria is what they have done there over the last five years. Yet all that matters seems to be what Umno wants and decides.
A precedent has been set, and so we can come to a conclusion regarding the strengths of all the component parties within BN. In fact, if you vote BN, you are, in effect, voting Umno. The other component parties are there for mere decoration. That is why all the promises that Umno makes to the non-Malays are merely on canvas to attract votes.
In many ways, MyPPP also had it coming. They should have read the writing on the wall. Either you be subservient to Umno or be ready to face the consequences. How can you trust a leadership that does not even hold party elections? They do not respect the spirit of democracy. If in your own party, you do not uphold democratic values, what more at the national level.
A vote for BN thus will be a vote for Umno autocracy with all the attendant issues like cronyism, nepotism and corruption. If you can have a barricaded wall in Kuantan that is nearly 7km long and call it an industrial zone where no Malaysian can go, then in the eyes of many, you have sold out.
We have had so many glaring issues revealing a serious lack of transparency and accountability, which has placed our national sovereignty under a microscope. We have people in power with all their resplendent titles and honorifics who know what is happening but choose to remain silent. As Oscar Wilde says, “I can resist everything except temptation.” Those of us who have seen through their greed are hoping that our votes will make a difference.
This remains a hope because of the amazing gap between what is said and what is done. Yes, there is a differential in the weighting between rural seats and urban seats. But there must be a balance; otherwise, my vote is devalued. Such a system can be manipulated, and this has been done.
It is a tragedy when the popular vote is lost yet the party is able to hold on to power. Such is the abuse undertaken by leaders who make a show of being champions of religious observances. As the French political philosopher Montesquieu so rightly said, “Without virtue the Republic is an empty shell and its strength becomes merely the power of a few citizens and the licence of all.”
Religion without values is a shell with no substance. It is values and moral standards that keep us within the bounds of equity and fairness. Otherwise, religion is all show with pilgrimages, rituals and dress codes – all external for show with no substance within.
The Opposition should likewise be fair to Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, the incumbent Sungai Siput MP. Here is a man of character and conviction. You may have your reservations about socialism – but meet the man and the work and service that he does, and you can only have admiration for him.
Likewise, you can hold reservations about Hinduism, Christianity or Islam but if you interact with a good man, you have to support him for, through his actions and deeds, he does so much for people despite any reservations you may have about the label attached to him. He will be an asset in Parliament. Parties within Pakatan Harapan must put character and values above ideology.
That so many people have kept quiet over Najib’s indiscretions is an indication of what many of them stand to lose. They do not love him in private, but they need what he gives them in terms of money, positions, titles and other benefits. This is the quid pro quo for their silence and obedience.
Speak out and you become a Kaveas, knocked out of the party pedestal by others who will now get the sugar, money and all else. Such is the default culture within Umno and BN. They do not need party elections, and hence there is no new blood that comes into leadership. It is the same old party bigwigs who scratch one another’s backs.
A default culture exists within BN – one devoid of values and nurtured by all the coalition members. They have had 60 years and several manifestos. One would have expected them to have delivered and secured the two-thirds majority and the popular vote. Having lost both, they have not engaged in enough introspection to understand the reasons why many voters rejected them.
Anyone who votes BN does not realise the serious state of affairs facing the nation. To say that if the opposition comes to power, we could be heading for a debt of RM1 trillion is perhaps an indication of where we are presently. With a serious trust deficit, how are we to know the nation’s real trajectory?
BN is in this state because of a pliant media, which merely echoes what they say – for if the media do otherwise, they risk losing their licences. The New Straits Times, which at one time commanded a readership of nearly 250,000, has now plummeted to around 50,000, many of whom are government subscribers. We have no source of independent news or statistics except for the online media and social media.
There is so much disgust and dislike for BN. Yet, with gerrymandering and malapprortionment, they still hope to hang on to power. And so, the lack of transparency over postal votes and the perceived move to make it more difficult for people to vote (eg a mid-week polling day), thus making a reduced vote turnout more likely, would be helpful for their cause.
Those of us who live in hope will strive on because we are fed up with the corrupt BN leadership and the numerous scandals (1MDB, Felda, Cowgate, etc) that have affected civil servants and the entire system. Even the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is under a cloud.
A 17th Century rhyme aptly describes BN’s focus:
The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from off the goose.
Don’t let them also steal our vote.