With the 13th General Election getting nearer and the salvos being fired from both sides, we the ordinary voters are hard-pressed to decide which party we want to govern us in the next five years. The fact that BN (National Front), the present government is “intelligently” corrupt is undeniable.
I describe the coalition as practising” intelligent corruption” because unlike some other oil-rich countries like Nigeria, the leaders don’t pocket all the money, instead a lot of fund is also allocated for development in our country and corruption in the civil service and private sector appears to be somewhat controlled. Wealth seems to be equitably distributed, social mobility is prevalent and the middle-class is increasing. All these are due to our rich natural resources and systematically structured public administration.
Yes, many politicians in power are exceedingly wealthy and living beyond their means but the other citizens are not living in abject poverty. The income gap between the poor and the wealthy is large but not that disturbing. The latter drive Mercedes and the former Perodua Kancil. Astro TV satellite dishes are ubiquitous even in poor squatter areas. Access to education and health care is good. Jobs aplenty and business opportunities abundant.
So the choice now really is between the devil you know and the angel that you don’t as opined by our ex-long serving PM Mahathir.
Without a doubt, for many voters, we are looking at the characters of the respective party leaders competing for the hearts and minds of the people. PM Najib has been unashamedly giving goodies for the last two years, cleverly delaying the date of the general election; whilst Anwar has been going around telling his sob-sob stories of being wrongly accused and imprisoned and of course harping on the Altantuya’s gruesome death and linking it to Najib.
So you have this posting here about Anwar’s surreptitious backers and hints of his dark character and then you have another article here on Najib’s purported audacity relating to the the second SD of the late PI Bala on Altantuya’s death. This aspect of Najib’s character, if true, is rather disconcerting.
I hope Najib is taking note on what the new president of China, Xi Jinping is doing to stay relevant. The followings are some of the issues of concern that have been ascribed to the powerful Communist Party leader:
- call for reforms to the way the Communist Party promotes officials
- consult the public on policies.
- man of the people who shuns the usual trappings of his position.
- spearhead austerity drive for officialdom
- to address rising public anger over luxurious lifestyles of leaders.
- quoted on the need to stamp out corruption at all levels
- warning of civil unrest if party privilege is not tackled.
- corruption by some party members
- being out of touch with the people,
- placing undue emphasis on formality and bureaucracy
- nation that is growing wealthier but more vocal on issues such as rising inequality, environmental degradation and food safety.
The issues are familiar to us in Malaysia particularly those on corruption and political bribery. I would add political cronyism and nepotism as well.
The similarity between BN and the Communist Party of China is that both have been in power without a break for over 50 years whilst operating within different political systems. The internal party culture is not much different except the Chinese leader appears awesomely powerful. The glaring difference is the Communist Party leader is chosen by delegates but in BN the leader of the coalition is always from UMNO. And UMNO has the bad habit of having the predecessor choosing the successor. The choice of Abdullah Badawi as Party leader and Prime Minister by the then retiring PM Mahathir was a disastrous example. Notably, however, it is far easier to change and replace the people who are governing in our system of Western Democracy.
It is interesting to observe that both our neighbours, Thailand and the Philippines have changed their respective governments several times over the last 50 years and have not ended up chaotic as predicted by some political pundits. They even voted in women as President (Corazon Aquino and Gloria Arroyo in the Philippines) and Prime Minister (Yingluck in Thailand). In Malaysia today, the only people who fear change are those who benefit and profit financially and socially from the current government.
In general, I would prefer the devil that I know. Notwithstanding, I hope the opposition coalition would get a sizable number of parliamentary seats so that it can keep BN in check, should the latter win . The opposition needs to learn the ropes and become a mature political force in 14GE for it to be elected.
I believe in changing government to promote greater transparency. The two-party system is doing well in the US, UK, Australia and other countries.
Having said that, I feel 13GE is not the time to change the government yet as we need to give time for PM Najib to reform UMNO, the dominant coalition partner from within. The other component parties namely MCA, Gerakan and MIC seem lacking in spirits and glaringly dependent on UMNO’s goodwill. If my reading of the community mood is correct, MCA might well be close to being decimated in the coming election.
I for one, will not vote for the BN candidate in my constituency if he is the same MCA guy who won in the last general election by a narrow margin because personally I know that he is both corrupt and intent on interfering with public servants’ business such as staff transfers and promotions.
I will certainly not vote along party lines despite my preference for BN to be re-elected unless the candidate is clean. Neither will I vote for religion-based party’s candidate should they contest.