By Enoch Ee
Who would you vote for today?
When I ask this question, most people would mention their favoured political parties and their preferred political candidates.
Their reasoning sounds reasonable: “The other side is more incompetent”, the party’s track record and achievements appear better, or its election manifesto is more appealing.
But behind all these things, I hold one important factor in my heart, and that is we must for vote candidates with sound, strong and unwavering principles. Sadly, principles are not the name of the game in modern politics today.
The lack of principles among many politicians not only contributed to the downward spiral of the nation since the Sheraton Move in matters related to public policies and finances. This is deeply disappointing.
Yet should we blame all politicians? The political culture in Malaysia, especially in political ethics, has been defiled, and corruption has become normalised, almost systemic.
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This should not be the case. When the future of the nation is bleak, how are we to account for this to the next generation? What values are we going to impart to them? Are we going to raise a generation devoid of noble values?
All of must thoroughly reflect on such questions.
It is not enough to just change politicians or to change governments. This election is also a wake-up call for ourselves, because we the people too must change.
More than ever, we have to be stronger in our principles, our conviction and our resolve. We must not waver in the face of dark and tempting opportunities. Such a strong moral culture stemming from the grassroots can influence the top echelons of government.
It is pleasing to see more young people within my generation criticising the rot in our system and within the structure of government, and vocalising it, despite our ideological and religious differences.
This is not the time to give up hope. Instead, we should do everything in our capacity to defend what we have.
I long for a time when Malaysians will finally vote based on principles instead of emotions, sentiments and temporal (often false) materialistic election promises that go largely unfilled in carrot-and-stick ‘developmentalism’ politics.
What really matters now is that we must impart a legacy that is worthy for all of us to be proud of – so that the people can be proud of Malaysia and hold our heads up high, so that we can stand stronger together despite our differences.
I pray and hope that Malaysians can rekindle their passion and love for this nation, for a revival of our sense of civic duties and responsibilities, and for a better future for future generations.
I am in no position to tell you who you should vote for. As a young man in his 20s about to vote, my message is simple: Please vote with a clear conscience, bearing hope and conviction in your hearts.
Let us vote in ways that allow for the transformation of our beloved nation.
Let us not despair but work to improve ourselves.
Let us dispel all forms of corruption, incompetency, hyper-tribalism of party politics, unethical practices of government, the degradation of our institutions, and the growing infestation of authoritarianism.
If we want to make change possible, then we too must ask the reluctant people around us to go out to vote on 19 November. We cannot afford to be ‘black pilled’, to believe that there is no way out of our predicament.
My words here may sound idealistic, but it does not remove the key substance of the message: be principled and bring change. Thus, come election day, we must be pragmatic about it.
Let me end by sharing two of my favourite quotes:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Ephesians 6:12, KJV
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” – US Declaration of Independence, 1776.
Happy voting and stay safe.
Enoch Ee, a graduate in politics and government studies from Unimas, believes in libertarian values