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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A new dawn in Malaysia, hopefully

Malaysia First

The next general election when called is going to be a watershed election and may turn a new page in Malaysia’s history. It is now or never and the people have to decide whether they want to maintain the status quo or as cautioned by the Prime Minister, take a gamble with our vote and hand the head of government to an alternative coalition that do not have any experience governing at the federal level.

Already we have seen the bickering among the so-called coalition-of-willing. Do we trust they will govern to our expectation. That is the sixty-four thousand dollar question.

Changing of guard naturally comes with high expectations, but at the same time, the new guards too marvel at the sudden power that is bestowed on them. What guarantee do we have that our new guardians will not be entrapped in the same failings as the administration they seek to replace?

Considering that we already have 53 years of the same recipes, from the same kitchen, it might not be a bad idea after all to see a change of chefs. Yes there are risks but heck, if there are no changes, will there ever be any changes at all.

Many a times our leaders have forewarned us not to gamble away our future. The irony is, will the future be better if we continue to stick with the current leaders who have failed us or throw our weight behind new leaders who claimed to be more capable and ready to lead. In Malaysia, I do not believe only the current government has capable politicians.

Winning an election is one thing but governing is a totally different ball game altogether. We may want to take a leaf from Taiwan. After governing Taiwan since 1949, the Nationalist Party or Kuomintang (KMT) ceded power to the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the 2000 Presidential Election.

The DPP swept into sudden power, no thanks to the split among the rank-and-file in the KMT but at the same time the Taiwanese were also fed up with their current government which had grown too arrogant, corrupt and out-of-touch with the common people.

So the time was right to have a change of guard after 51 years which saw the deterioration of governance towards the tail-end of KMT rule.

As I mentioned, with change, comes high expectations. The DPP came into power campaigning on one key platform, to rid KMT of corrupt rule. We now know the rest of the story; the new power became even more corrupt than the old.

So, after being in the wilderness for so long, when one comes to power, one could not simply resist the taste, not to mention the temptation of power. The Taiwanese people learned their lesson and elected the KMT back to power in 2008 with a landslide victory.

And if you think this is unique to Taiwan when there is a change of government, similarly in Japan it was no better when the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) fell to the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

Not only that, in just five short years, between the LDP and DPJ, Japan already had a change of six prime ministers and what followed is their roving door policies as termed by the media.

Till today, Japan is still stuck in their economic doldrums. And our nearest neighbour Indonesia had high expectations too when president Yudhoyono took over from Golkar but his new administration was also beset with corruption and he was personally implicated but no charges could be proven.

Still, I take my hat off to these countries whose citizens have the guts to make the change. Do you think Malaysian voters have what it takes to make the change? Yes and no. Yes for the educated and global-minded urbanites and no for the forever-comfort-zone rural population.

The kampung people live and swear by the good patronage of the current government. The kampung folk are not interested in the big picture. Globalisation maybe a buzz word for the young and mobile but is alien to the rural folks. The young generation may not live without internet access but the kampung folk get by with real-time gossip among themselves.

The current government is too entrenched at the grassroots level of every kampung. So what if the urban elites are internet-savvy and are exposing the current governments’ wrong-doings in cyberspace, what counts is the number of kampung folk who are continuously latched and ‘trained’ to vote the current administration. Needless to say, our pakciks, makciks, apeks, ah-sohs, uncles and aunties outnumbered the ultra-modern and cyber-surfing young Turks.

Come GE13, will Malaysia wake up to a new dawn? Yes, momentum maybe building in the opposition camps. And by the way, momentum is mass multiply by velocity. I think we have the velocity with exposes after exposes daily in the cyber-space on the current administrations’ excesses.

Unfortunately there is no mass because the audiences, that is, potential voters, are confined to a small part of the society and not far-reaching enough that would turn the tide to the opposition camps. The battle ground is not in the cities but in kampungs and villages.

Having said that, I’m 100% for a change in government. I’m willing to take the risk and gamble my future for the sake of my future generations. As in the case of Taiwan, Japan and Indonesia, it serves as a wake-up call to the current government not to take the people for granted (or should I say for a ride).

I also believe there is no such thing as a perfect government. Whichever political parties that comes into power, we will eventually see abuses of power and corruption and all the ills of a governing party. The option before us given the current scenario is to simply choose the best among the worse.

If the alternative coalition professes that they could govern better than the current slate of leaders, I’m willing take a ride with them. If they think there are cleaner than the current politicians, I stand to be proven wrong. If they think they can make Malaysia a more just society, I stand to be convinced.

And if the alternative coalition is not worth their salt, I’m willing to bring back the previous administration. That is what happened to Taiwan. After kicking out the KMT and realising that the DPP is even worse that the one they replaced, the Taiwanese people decided to give the KMT another chance. True enough after eight years in political wilderness, the KMT re-invented themselves where they are brought back down to earth and engage the population with their more people-friendly policies.

I wish our time will come too where we send the current government into reflection mode with the hope they too will re-invent themselves and serve the common rakyat, not to line their pockets with immoral wealth.

I believe we can write a new chapter in Malaysian history when the next general election is called.

It is not called a watershed election for nothing. This is the best opportunity that we have. The dawn of a new era is before us and we must convert this opportunity into a reality.

With you and the rest of you who are reading and sharing this, together we can make history. Do it now ! Are you with me?

courtesy of Hornbill Unleashed

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