It is time for Malaysians to stop the rot and usher in a new era for the sake of future generations, asserts Gopalan Nair.
We are now on the verge of polling day of the 13th General Election.
Malaysians have had a continuous 56-year rule under, first, the coalition of the Alliance and then, its successor the Barisan National (BN). Malaysians in their fifties know of no other coalition rule. It is time for a change.
We now have a very credible alternative in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), which has ruled successfully and progressively in four states. The mandate given to the the PR to rule Perak was snatched after only 11 months due to manipulation by the BN with the then deputy prime minister, Najib, who played a key role. The leader of the PR is a capable former deputy prime minister and within its ranks are highly capable professionals and technocrats from various professions who are of the right calibre to be appointed ministers.
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In view of the rampant corruption (this was admitted by an MCA Minister in a nationally televised debate), cronyism, money politics and executive dominance of various supposedly independent public institutions like the judiciary, the police, the MACC, the Elections Commission and others, it is time for a national change in the form of the alternative coalition, the Pakatan Rakyat, ruling from Putrajaya.
A clear example of high level corruption where action has deliberately not been taken is the case of the 77-year-old chief minister of Sarawak, Abdul Taib Mahmud, who has ruled the state for 32 years, overseeing the depletion of forests and sale of native customary land to businessmen. The natives who have been there for several generations were described by Taib’s cousins in a recently released video by Global Witness as squatters. Taib’s closest family members reportedly have links to over 400 companies in 25 countries and offshore financial centres. His family’s net worth is estimated to run into billions of ringgit.
It will be an uphill task for PR to take over Putrajaya in view of the 3Ms of the BN – Money, Machinery and Monopoly. BN is allowed unlimited coverage of the mainstream media especially TV. The Communications Minister has the impudence to offer the Opposition 10 minutes of airtime to present their manifestos. This offer was rightly rejected.
The BN has been able to win handsomely in past elections due to, among others, outright cheating by giving citizenship to foreigners in exchange for their support, especially in Sabah, and unfair electoral boundaries.
We also have former premier Mahathir Mohammad, who after more than nine years of retirement, is having nightmares of a new government in Putrajaya with Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister. He is ever so fearful of the outcome of the 13th General Election. I fully agree with Karpal Singh’s description of Mahathir as a “gutter politician”. Instead of behaving like an elder statesman, Mahathir continues to spew venom to incite racial hatred among the various ethnic groups.
I call on all Malaysians to have the courage to vote for Pakatan Rakyat candidates on polling day. Give Pakatan Rakyat five years to face the challenges of governing a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, show Malaysians the way forward to racial harmony and progress towards the promise of a great Malaysian nation for our children and future generations. Let us not fail them.
A Gopalan Nair is an Aliran member based in Ipoh.