Monday, March 19, 2018

Dilemma of the Malaysian Voter - Which Opposition Candidate shall I choose?

For many Malaysians, there seems to be an urgent belief that we now need to have a NEW government - no more the UMNO-led coalition government that has governed Malaysia since Independence - today the Barisan National. Unlike most democracies, Malaysians have never experienced the rule of another government...In power for so long is unhealthy - it could lead to greater corruption, abuses, kleptocracy too...

Remember that saying 'a new broom sweeps cleaner' - Well, that is true, is it not? Anyway, we elect people into government once every 5 years(usually lesser) - So, if the new government fails to do a better job - then we can always change come next elections.

In Malaysia, by allowing just the UMNO-led BN to continue on is very dangerous - it gives the message that we are 'HAPPY" with the manner in which the country is being governed...

Are we OK with a government that has caused our debt to be increased -  The debt increased significantly after the Mahathir era, especially during the Najib era - now about
RM883.4bil (US$215.5bil). Remember every Malaysian is liable for a government debt (or a government guarantee for the debt of some other company)

Malaysia's external debt rose to RM883.4bil (US$215.5bil) or 65.3% of GDP as at end-December 2017

In the past, the Malaysian government was more transparent - but today, even in the face of allegations, there is a 'lot of secrets' or simply no answers. When the issue about billions in the PMs personal account came up, it was most distressing that Najib did not quickly come out and personally explain to the people. In the 1MDB matter, where there are numerous legal action in US and other countries, which certainly severely impacted on  reputation of this wholly owned government company and the government who is responsible(on behalf of all Malaysians) - the government has yet to provide a clear explanation or a denial to the people. There is no action against foreign governments that has done this...? Why? 

1MDB paid billions wrongly to a company - and then later had to come out with the money to pay the correct recipient...This alone is a major issue, but to date we have not heard about legal actions being taken against those responsible - and also not much news about what action is being taken to recover the wrong paid billions. How does anyone make such a mistake - more so when it involves paying out Millions or Billions of ringgit?

Malaysians would generally not be too bothered - but when it started affecting the people directly - then, we are bothered. Removal of subsidies, increasing cost of living, reduction of personal savings and wages(when the ringgit becomes weaker - the real value of the money we have also shrinks). 

Malaysia seem to have lost assets and control even in what was previously companies owned(more than 50%) and controlled by government and government agencies. DRB Hicom (so even Pos Malaysia maybe), Proton, etc... Of course, the fact that Malaysia has not been very transparent as to shares/stock held, profits made annually(losses), etc...and the fact that law does not allow the Auditor General to also audit these companies(now as of right, only government(Ministries/Departments/Agencies) are being audited and reports made available to the public. So, the people are kept in the dark with regard to what is happening to our monies and business, etc..  [1MDB also was not subject to Auditor General's annual audit and report, and the audit was done on government specific request, and then it was kept secret using the OSA).


That was the concern of many Malaysians but it is no longer a concern ever since the Opposition have been winning States and forming State governments - and proof has been shown that the Opposition has the capacity to govern. [Either way, any party coming in as the winner at the next General Elections really has nothing to worry about because - the daily running of government is no problem as it will go on smoothly as the public servants always will do it. The politicians and the new Prime Minister that come into power generally are concerned with 'policy' even if a Minister, is not so educated in healthcare - he can still be Minister of Health, and all will go on as usual] 


It would have been most easy if we had to choose between ONE Opposition Coalition and the current UMNO-BN government - like what happened in past General Elections. In the past elections, generally we found a working relationship between the primary Opposition parties being PAS and DAP, or they were part of one pact - Now, they are in different Opposition pacts - and, if one looks at the media, way too much time is being spend attacking and discrediting amongst Opposition parties - so much so, that sometimes the focus on the incumbent UMNO-BN failures diminishes. The dilemma for many may be what will I do if I have to decide between UMNO-BN and 2 of the Opposition pacts(one led by PAS and another that includes DAP) - will the split of support favour the UMNO BN?

Many other Opposition political parties generally stayed out from the past few General Elections simply to allow for a success of the existing Opposition pacts(PR) - to enable a 1 to 1 contest. But, come this General Elections, many of these parties will no longer step aside, including parties like PRM and PSM...who have already announced intention to contest, some even have identified candidates.

The exclusion of other Opposition parties, by the then Pakatan Rakyat(PR) and now Pakatan Harapan(PH) was a mistake - they should have been working to get all(if not many more) Opposition parties not just in Semenanjung but also Sabah and Sarawak into one Opposition coalition. They should have spend time working out COMMON policies and positions...but alas they did not manage to do. YES - it is a difficult exercise, because different political parties come into being with different ideas, principles, values, ideologies or even for different purposes...(including to represent certain ethnic or religious groupings)...But, to finally help Malaysians get an alternative government - other than UMNO-BN, maybe more effort could have been undertaken.

SO, which Opposition party should I cast my vote for? That is the question - that is the dilemma of Malaysians today...

One solution is that these 2 Opposition coalition sit down and try to work it out to ensure that we will be faced with the simple choice of choosing between an UMNO-BN candidate and an Opposition alternative...

The other Opposition parties should also be part of this discussion...That will be best.

The choosing of the candidates will also be crucial - we prefer candidates who have an history of struggling for justice and human rights...Someone who has not been 'bothered' about this issue may not be the best choice for a people's representative - because after being elected, he/she may continue maybe just attending the Parliament/DUN - and not even speak up there...or worse still absent himself/herself during important votes...A MP/ADUN is best a full-time MP/ADUN - not someone who is still very involved in his/her personal business and/or profession. 

A person elected as an MP/ADUN has got so much work - he will be expected to study about a lot of new things so that he can be actively involved in the debates in Parliament/DUN - he will be able to explain to his/her constituents what is happening, and why is taking that position or taking an opposing view ...his/her answer should not be simply because the political leaders told him to take a particular position. We complained about UMNO-BN MPs not having regular consultations/discussions with their constituents - not making them available to answer questions...Not sharing the answers he/she received as a written response, etc ...but sadly even today many of our Opposition MP/ADUNs behave the same - not even a FB Page, Website or Blog to be able to continuously communicate with the people...Many are not even fighting for issues and causes - not even present at people's protest .. 

SO, maybe we need a new coalition or group that will help us evaluate and tell us who be the best candidate to support in particular constituencies as the best Opposition choice, from amongst all that are standing including independents...The political parties cannot resolve this, so maybe we need Independent persons/groups to help us in the choices we make...

WORRIES after the next GE - if BN fails to get majority at the Federal level or the State level?  

Biggest worry is the 'katak'(frog) - well money, promised rewards and/or threats could make an Opposition MP/ADUN change affliation..

A worry that even an Opposition party, in the Opposition coalition may suddenly return to UMNO (or maybe join BN as a new coalition partner). Semangat 46 did this before...and like Semangat, we have a few parties led by former UMNO(or BN) personalities - their desire may simply to get rid of Najib...and, if that happens, they may return...

What about agreements with all candidates to ensure that they will resign as MP/ADUN before they jump parties? {Our election laws is bad because it now does not allow a MP/ADUN to stand in the by-election that follows that resignation - this should be changed - the resigning MP/ADUN should be allowed to also stand for the said by-elections...then, the people will still have the choice to show that they still want the resigned MP/ADUN ...It is useful especially when false allegations arise for any MP/ADUN to go back to the people in another elections, to strengthen his claim that the people still choose him/her despite allegations of corruption or some crime...?



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