I read with glee the change of government in Japan following their recent election in August 2009 . The electorates have at last woken up from a long slumber. For the last 60 years, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has been governing and as the nature of things, the members have become complacent and less creative and they change their leader and, by default, the Prime Minister so frequent that it is just like changing their shirts. That was how they solved their internal crisis.
When you are in power all that long, you are bound to stick to your ways of doing things. You are going to ensure your members are taken care of, in this instance, in segments that are related to the engine of growth like the manufacturing or agricultural industries. You look after the interest of your members, give them business perks, contracts and government shares. No wonder Japan has the longest low growth economy lasting more than a decade. The change of guard may give the people something new to look forward to. Give a different group a chance to rule and if they falter, vote them out!
In Malaysia, we see a similar situation. The current government is made up of a coalition of parties and they have governed for more than 50 years and the sort of things that they do has made some people unhappy and if more people are unhappy, I foresee the BN coalition, led by the dominant UMNO will suffer the same fate as the LDP of Japan. It may not be in 2012-2013, but it will come.
They have to reform and yet I feel they need to be outside the government to do that. It is far too dicey to anger members who have been so used to business perks in the past. The current BN leadership is also seen as reactive rather than proactive. They are playing by the ear most of the time and while this may be good in some instances, they have to be more assertive in critical matters like national unity, economy and fighting against corruption.
The current leadership problems in MCA does not help and MIC seems stuck with an ageing leader who refuses to call it a day despite being soundly defeated at the last GE 3/08. Gerakan is as good as dead, not a single seat won except the one in Sabah being handed over to them on the platter by a renegade someone from SAPP, a component party which decided to leave BN in 2008. Yet another party PPP is also having a leadership tussle. Things certainly do not look good for BN. It started off with them losing their two-third majority in parliament following the general election in 2008. They are already deformed by the look of it!
On reflection, I am not comfortable with parties, like PAS, which employ religion as a basis of their struggle. As verses from the holy book are interpreted to justify certain action or inaction, our voices may end up being gagged lest we are seen as going against God. We have to be careful. I believe secularism protects the interest of minority religions, that is the interest of everybody.
So BN you need to revolutionise your effort at reform as you appear to walk the preferable middle road even though you also struggle to appear more religious than PAS to get political support from unquestioning populace.