Friday, September 25

Let’s have better governance and lesser politicking please!


AS a longtime journalist, as well as part-time social and political activist, I feel that it’s time to say something about our present state of affairs in Malaysia and Sarawak.

Recent events in the political arena have deteriorated to such an utterly abhorrent and intolerable level that any observer looking in would opine that he’s looking at a country which appears to have almost first world infrastructure and living standards but is still practising third world manners, mentality, and attitude towards politics, ethics, morals, and social behaviour.

We say we are a modern democracy, based on a constitutional monarchy, and that we have general elections every five years and our laws and regulations are determined and passed by a parliamentary system of a simple majority for most laws and a two thirds majority for others.

We are supposedly served by a Parliament of 222 members, all of whom are duly elected and are supposed to be the crème de la crème of hand-picked leaders selected through an arduous process via the various political parties; and the highest law making body in the land is formed by representatives from all the different races – Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Kadazan, Bidayuh, Kelabit, and so many others. They are supposed to be popularly elected, well-liked, extremely literate, well-educated, and of good standing and are respectable leaders of their various communities. They wield both power and influence.

Yet in recent months and weeks, we have been exposed to an unending deluge of politicking which would shame any decent person who believes in what I’ve just mentioned as to the expectations of any normal person of their duly elected representative to the highest governing body in the land.

Despite what’s been historically recorded and politically analysed, the 22 years between July 1981 and October 2003, which had seen Tun Dr Mahathir reigning supreme over the entire country with an iron fist; I remember those years were actually rather tame and quiet, except for the numerous scandals and infrequent political upheavals.

But because we had a masterful and disciplinarian of a prime minister in Tun Dr M, the politicking during this period had taken a backseat and were mostly behind the scenes; only spoken about in whispers and along the hallowed halls and corridors of power.

Tun M was one to quickly nip any potential troublemaker or mini-scandal in the bud. He hadn’t tolerated any nonsense from either his fellow Umno members nor his other affiliated party leaders at all! No one could escape his wrath.

I am sure many of us miss those days – even though at the time we were highly critical of him and most of the time in disagreement with many of his policies and numerous hard-line actions and attacks on our democratic way of life and his many schemes to alter the balance of racial, religious, educational, and social equality.

But say what you will, he did manage to keep the idiots and morons (of which there were quite a few) within and without Umno in tight rein and had ensured that petty politicking of the nature and imbecilic level that we are now seeing today were swiftly dealt with. He didn’t stand for any fools or self-glorifying and self-publicity seeking little Napoleons.

Today, from within our current members of parliament, and mainly from the ‘backdoor’ PN government fold, we have already seen outbursts and accusations that are blatantly racial, religious, sexist, and lately even to the point of deputy ministers attacking ordinary citizens (and a minor to boot!) accusing them of misleading the public – all this done either without evidence, or with fake news and hearsay – and to add insult to injury then after being found out refusing to either withdraw the statement, apologise, or have any remorse at all!

These were utterances deputy ministers, of which at least one (there are definitely more!) had been caught faking his own university degree/diploma certification from an institution of higher learning, which is totally at odds with his own declared religion.

Then there is the slur on a holy book, the Christian Bible, by a non-Christian which had created an uproar in the country: instead of swiftly apologising and withdrawing his wrong statement, this recalcitrant MP had the cheek to loudly declare that he would not apologise.

These are just some recent examples that have proven that the head of government, the present prime minister, is either totally turning a blind eye or he simply cannot afford to reprimand, what to say, fire them from his wafer-thin majority government of two or three MPs!

If he did that it would mean committing seppuku – the Japanese way of suicide – knowing that any two or three defecting MPs from his side would quickly dismantle his fragile majority.

That is the way it is right now. Walking on thin political ice.

If all, or indeed most, MPs are of a certain calibre and are highly qualified and respectable as they should be – no such nonsense would or could have happened. Then again, we have ourselves, the voters to blame for having voted them into their current positions; but we can blame the prime minister for selecting those really unfit and unsuitable ones for their respective offices and by their actions they have already shown a total disregard for their positions, for the voters who had put them there and eventually for the country they had sworn to serve.

The MP and two deputy ministers, as far as I am concerned, have no sense of dignity, were probably ill-educated and came from a challenged upbringing and certainly are showing they are egotistical and pompous and indeed fit only to be remembered as little Napoleons.

It is one’s hope that they are not representative of the other MPs who have been chosen to be ministers and deputy ministers in the PN government. I do know for a fact that there are many who are extremely well educated, highly respected, and are fully cognisant of their functions and their duties as minister or deputy minister; these are the ones who go about working hard at their jobs, steering clear of controversy and are not out to make a name for themselves.

They keep the country going.

We must demand that whatever government befall upon us, even the current backdoor one, we as citizens, taxpayers, and voters must be treated with the utmost respect, attention and be given the rights and benefits as enshrined within our constitution and human rights to expect from our duly elected member of parliament to do his utmost best to serve us and render unto us what is fully our due. Nothing more and nothing less is expected.

We do not want to see all this despicable, blatant, and unceasing politicking day in and day out, but to see them all earning their keep – they are being very well paid to do their job – which is to run the country and ensure that we have a decent livelihood, a safe environment, and a peaceful, harmonious country free of racial, religious, and political strife.

Is that too much to ask?


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