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Johor election: Old vs younger politicians

Ultimately, the result of the Johor election will, more or less, determine who will win the coming general election

Young people marched against corruption in Kuala Lumpur - FILE PHOTO: BENEDICT LOPEZ

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by Jem

The Johor state election may well determine whether Umno-Barisan Nasional will be able to stand on its own, especially with all the other political parties in disarray. 

It will not be a surprise if BN wins, despite the ongoing trials of former Prime Minister Najib Razak and former Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi.

Najib seems to have a huge following and people no longer seem bothered about his court battles, so this may not be a deterrent to the electorate.

Umno-BN won in the Malacca state election, and a big win again in Johor will only be a bigger incentive for the same old faces to stand in the coming general election.  

Sometimes we need to look at – and I mean really look at – the kind of politicians we have running the country. Aliran’s Henry Loh, in an interesting piece, believes our political culture could change if only we could get away from the ethno-religious rhetoric that is often blown up at election rallies. He also listed seven criteria on how to choose the right candidate.

Sorry, Henry, there are no politicians in Malaysia who fit those criteria! People have short memories, and they will choose the same politicians whose only aim is to stay in power, keep their positions and win the next election.

We need to open our minds to new possibilities, and Henry is correct in that we must figure out the kind of ‘leaders’ – not politicians – we want to vote into office.

But who, among all these same people, will listen and hear how we, the people, would like our country to be? There isn’t anyone. By ‘leaders’, I mean those who have a focus or a vision of the future of what Malaysia can be.

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Surely that is what all of us want: a Malaysia that is all-inclusive where everybody is treated the same way, irrespective of our backgrounds. After all, we are a country blessed with diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, which we all enjoy and celebrate. Isn’t that the kind of Malaysia we want for ourselves and for our children’s children?

Yes, the Sheraton Move broke the hearts of many of those who voted for Pakatan Harapan in 2018. There was a glimpse of a change that gave the people hope – but what an inglorious ending PH had.

We can go on and on with the blame game, but it will be to nobody’s advantage. The country seems to be stuck in mud that we cannot climb out of.

For how much longer do we, the people, have to put up with this? The ongoing pandemic and the floods last year have shown us repeatedly how inept those in government are. We are so bereft of politicians who have leadership qualities.

We are stuck, aren’t we? We have politicians who are only concerned for themselves, in the here and now. In Johor, between nomination day and polling day, politicians will make grandiose promises, never doubt that, of new roads and 5G networks (to enable everyone to get internet services even in the most rural areas), new schools….

We need to be honest and ask ourselves whether we really want these same people to run the country again. Come on, surely we can do better than this. We deserve better than this.

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There are signs of new blood with Muda and Warisan, which might just be what the country needs right now! Yes, these parties are young, and the older generation will think they are in over their heads, but we need to give them a chance. If we do not, when will the younger generation of leaders have the opportunity to test their mettle against the older politicians?

These new parties will appeal to Generation Z, who know exactly what they want. They are smarter, brighter and tech savvy – without the baggage of their parents and grandparents. We have to give them a chance and listen to what they have to say. Who knows, they might just surprise all of us. 

We know their chances of winning are not great, but they might win some seats and that will give them and us room to breathe, and possibly another glimpse of a brighter, better and freer Malaysia.

Ultimately, the result of the Johor election will, more or less, determine who will win the coming general election. Who will walk away with the coveted prize of prime minister? If what the majority of people think and do remains unchanged, it will be another dismal five years. Is this the future of Malaysia we want?

Jem, an Aliran reader, still cares deeply about Sabah, despite having lived in the peninsula for some time

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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