As the politicians are into that season of party defections, it sounds as if a general election is looming, and it could be sooner than we think.
Certain political parties seem to be devising all kinds of cunning means (“strategies” is the term they use) to increase their number of MPs through crossovers to their side.
But it remains to be seen to what extent carrots and candies will be dished out to voters when election fever arrives.
Many people have not greeted the political defections with jubilation. Instead, netizens are crying foul over such betrayals. After all, many people, it would appear, voted for a political party and the leadership strength of that party rather than individual candidates.
Will voters head to the ballot box with happiness and hope that as long as their bread-and-butter needs are taken care of, they don’t mind all these political defections?
Or will voters put principles and values ahead of rewards, promises and instant handouts? If they vote based on personal rewards and gratification – even if it is just the usual bag of rice and groceries – despite having seen their elected MPs switch camps like chameleons, then these voters have abandoned their values and principles.
A nation that is governed after successfully having enticed votes with handout rewards, is a rogue nation.
People who vote not on the basis of principles and values would have betrayed the nation and set the clock ticking for more corruption to seep in.
Will Malaysians rise above the mess and make a mark in the region and the world as people who adhere to the teachings of their respective religions, especially as we seem to be politically and socially far too preoccupied with religion?
Or will we again endorse the past practice of “what’s in it for me?” and so betray the nation’s future?
Defections – democratic right or thievery?
Look at the pictures of the prime minister proudly posing with two MPs who recently dumped their party to support the PM’s coalition as independents.
You cannot blame netizens for crying foul.
A prime minister is the leader of the government. He or she is the fulcrum of stability in a democratic country. At least that is what we have learned.
But ‘cyber troopers’ may say that Muhyiddin Yassin was not a democratically elected leader, so we cannot use the same measuring tape to judge his actions. He parachuted in to save the nation, his supporters might argue.
When Muhyiddin himself embraces and welcomes defectors, the trust deficit widens, and questions of morality arise. We are hitting rock bottom as the ‘backdoor’ government continues with its agenda of ‘saving’ the nation. We are in a situation compounded by a lack of political ethics. Something is seriously wrong and none of us seems able to stop the erosion in moral, ethical and principle-centered benchmarks in our society.
Who will we ultimately blame when all hope is crushed on the rocks of brazen compromises?
Politicians with dual citizenship or PR status?
We have also seen an MP on leave at a foreign destination, apparently to attend to family needs. This has unearthed a fundamental issue that is blazing on social media platforms – an issue that the people have a right to discuss and resolve.
How can one take an oath of office to serve the nation and its people if he or she has dual citizenship or enjoys permanent resident status in another country or even has uprooted his or her family to live in a foreign land for the family’s own welfare and wellbeing? What happened to patriotism?
Even those politicians who quietly send their children to foreign boarding schools early in their school life have not been spared by those who have raised legitimate arguments.
What more MPs who swear they are committed to political party agendas and are championing the nation’s needs when they have actually planted one leg in a foreign land to enjoy life there.
When the ruling government even quietly approves such leave, is this not telling?
It all boils down to the meaning of real patriotism. It is about values and principles. When these are exchanged for money, comfort and an escape route, all of us suffer.
Must we pay such a price to keep politicians in positions of power in our country when they cannot show proof that Malaysia is their only home?
All the president’s men can meet – but not Parliament
And then, we had the prime minister holding a critical meeting with his party’s supreme council members in a Putrajaya hotel.
How is it safe for the Bersatu supreme council members and a horde of accompanying people to meet in a hotel, but members of Parliament cannot converge within Parliament, which is well segregated with Covid-19 preventive measures?
Is Parliament more dangerous a risk than a meeting room in a hotel? Is stabilising a political party or coalition more important than governing a nation? This meeting was apparently called in the wake of Umno, a strategic bedfellow of PN, saying it would pull out from PN ahead of the coming general election.
In contrast, Parliament is not called to sit because of Covid-19.
Strange times – and very telling indeed.
Demands for the next government
Yes, Malaysia may soon see another general election. The ongoing state of emergency provides only temporary sanctuary for failing leaders and corrupt politicians.
Malaysians should demand the following when the election campaign kicks off.
Introduce transparent and accountable measures to purge out the alarmingly toxic levels of politically laced corruption – Those with pending criminal charges in court ought to be disqualified from standing for election and barred from making their presence felt at the ceramah of political parties.
Revamp the rotten education system in the country – Political party champions must spell concretely the immediate and specific policy corrections they will undertake to rescue the failed education system and bring it on par with progressive nations.
Rescue the healthcare system – What are the policy changes that will be implemented to improve the quality of service? Candidates should commit to ensuring easy accessibility to affordable healthcare and medical wellbeing.
Prioritise the social wellbeing of the people with clear-cut policies that are free from racism and religious bigotry – Democratic freedom must be restored to the people as their sacred heritage. The government has a duty to uphold the right to healthy living for all the people.
Stop politicians from being involved in business, whether directly or through cunning proxies.
Don’t create billionaires and millionaires at the expense of the common people and their right to have a share in the nation’s wealth.
Transform public housing – Don’t allow families to be at the mercy of profiteering private builders who drive market forces. Providing decent affordable housing should be the fundamental duty of an incoming government.
Shun politicians or parties who canvass for votes using the race-and-religion mantras, and wipe them out at the ballot box.
Politicians who have failed to deliver on past campaign promises should be punished at the ballot box – Every incumbent candidate must present his or her report card. Their achievements and failures must be announced, visibly and audibly.
Is this too much to ask?