Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sarawak: Overcoming personal fear and making BN fearful for the betterment of Malaysia

One of the problems with the Malaysian voter has always been fear...when it comes to voting in the Opposition, and this fear have been propagated by the ruling coalition, and the time has come that people overcome this fear and vote for the best interest of Malaysia and the peoples of Malaysia.

FEAR 1 - fear that the Opposition do not have the capacity to rule effectively - and all that they can do is to highlight the wrongs, injustices and rights violations that happen. This fear, however, may no longer be justified following the victory of the Opposition in the States of Penang, Selangor and Kedah which they have shown they could effectively govern. Let's not forget that it has been the Opposition that have been effectively governing the state of Kelantan for many many years. They have also effectively governed states of Trengganu and even Sabah(at one time)

FEAR 2 - the fear that there will be repercussions and 'problems' , even violence, if the BN loses, and the racial riots of May 13 is brought up. Malaysians, generally are a peace loving people happy to live (or rather survive) 'peacefully' even in a situation where there is injustice and discrimination.

There is also the threat that 'development' and the flow of funds will be reduced and/or 'stopped' if the constituency votes for the opposition. In the people's memory, they have seen this happen before. For example, development in Seremban seemed to be stagnated until the BN won this constituency back. We remember also how the Opposition State government had difficulty getting the oil royalties. We see also today, how Federal funds for State development seems to slow down when Opposition wins States. Pakatan also indirectly justifies this by saying that they have to win at the Federal government if there is going to be real 'reformasi'. The problem, I believe is in the State-Federal relationships, where the Federal government still do retain too much power preventing State's more autonomous rule and governance. States just have too little power and say - especially when it comes to the States of the Peninsular of Malaysia.

Then, there is the fear that people will be discriminated with regards to scholarships for students, other benefits, the fear of civil servants getting transferred to some 'rural' area or being 'overlooked' when it comes to promotions, etc,...There is a belief that those who vote against the BN will suffer such discrimination at all levels...

No Equitable distribution of wealth - but sufficient to pacify the disatisfaction of most people
Malaysia is a rich country, blessed with many natural resources - but unfortunately, the BN government failed in ensuring that there be an equitable distribution of wealth not just amongst its people, but also with regard to geographical areas. Some areas have received so much of the benefits of  the countries wealth, compared to other areas. The people, who generally did not get their just share - but did get sufficient little to be able to live and survive comfortably, and this has calmed them down a bit. Poverty and abject poverty is low in the country.

Democracy - but a dictatorial/feudal style of governance
Malaysians generally do not feel that they are the 'bosses' with the power, but generally believe that they cannot get anything without the support of politicians and political parties of the rural coalition. 'People's Representatives' become 'bosses' not 'servants' of the people and promote dependency and patronage rather than empowerment - sadly, this kind of behavior has also been adopted by many a opposition politicians. 

Even when it comes to claiming justice and compensations for an industrial accident, people are encouraged to go get a letter of support from the politicians and political party to get their claim processed. This really is not at all necessary - but this 'belief' has been cemented into the minds of people, and they believe that if they do not this support, their claims will not succeed.

Even when it comes to allocations to assist the poor and elderly provided by Federal Government, State or local government, what happens is that even the letters are sent not by post to the recipients but through members of political parties, and these monies are given at a function officiated by the politician, which people are forced to attend personally to get their allocations. There really is no need for this as letters could be send, with the enclosed monies directly to the people concerned or with instructions that they could present at the relevant offices of the said departments to get their allocations. We also see that not all in the category that is entitled gets the said letter and/or the allocations propagating the myth of the necessity of having political patronage or the need to be a supporter of the ruling political parties.

If there was only a public notification vide banners, etc that there is such allocation identifying the class of beneficiaries, at least all those who did not get the letters who are entitled can also go receive their benefits from the relevant offices of the relevant departments/ministries. But alas, all is done in a 'secretive' manner, that communicates a very wrong message, i.e. only those supporters will get it and it is the political parties that decide who gets and who does not.

The power and the ability to reward (or promise to reward) those loyal to the ruling political parties have also been seen during by-elections and elections, when suddenly so much are given to the people to get their support for the ruling parties.
For the poor, the promise of a low-cost house in the future, or the continued presence in a low-rent premises, has always ensured great support for ruling parties. For the small business person, the possibility of getting a small shop premise, or a spot in the market/night markets, etc.,...

It is this dependency culture, not a culture of rights and justice, that have kept the BN in power for many many years...but again sadly, many people believe that a similar culture seems to be practiced by the Pakatan Rakyat especially in the states they now govern.

Many say that in Selangor today, what has changed is only the political parties in power, and now it is their cronies that reap the benefits no more the BN cronies - and guess what, many have become 'lallangs' shifting alliances depending on who wins and who does not - a practical option for survival. For them, there is really no loyalty to the party or its ideologies, their support is very much based on practical solutions for the sake of personal/business survival and profits. Most affected of the Pakatan Rakyat parties, have been the new PKR party and that is why we have seen so many of their 'elected reps' and even party 'strongs' so easily jumping ship to other political parties. DAP and PAS do not seem to have much of this problem.
These 'party hoppers' betrays the people, who did 'sacrifice' a lot overcoming their fears to vote for the Opposition, and will have an impact on whether they will again vote for the Opposition the next time around.

Overcoming personal fear and transfering that fear to BN and politicians
But, the people are smart, and they know it is better to keep the 'political coalitions' who want to rule and govern insecure and uncertain of the people's support, and this will ensure that the people get more benefits and rights either way. BN, who have been totally confident of winning everytime in the past 50 over years, is now worried and is 'dishing' out more benefits and wealth to the people compared to past years, and thus for the better good of the people of Malaysia, it is good that the BN (or the Opposition Coalition) be always  'kept on their toes' with the realization that if they do not behave justly .e. be more just and equitable to the people, the people will reject them and choose another.

To maintain this, it is time that the BN loses more (even maybe States and the Federal governments they currently control) this coming elections.
The outcome of the Sarawak State elections is thus very important - and if BN continues to lose more and more seats, maybe even the right to rule, it will not only benefit the people of Sarawak but all Malaysians. 

'They have no experience and have no capacity to rule' - is no more an argument that the BN can use anymore, as we have seen that the Opposition have managed to quite effectively and efficiently rule in Penang and Selangor ...with not too much problems or 'scandals'

So, we now have a choice - BN or Pakatan Rakyat (Opposition)

No comments: