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High vision, low values

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With debt levels so high, corruption on a rampage, and illicit outflows of money, we have little option but to reverse the tide. We need leaders with high vision and high values, says K Haridas.

Photo credit: wazari via flickr.com
Photo credit: wazari via flickr.com

What do you say about a leader who seeks your trust? Give me “Nambikei”, he tells the Malaysian Indians. How do we respond when he says,” if you love me then vote for me”? What does this say for his leadership when money is so liberally given out and it continues even though elections have been called. What do you say about a man who signs the “integrity pact” with Transparency Malaysia and then flouts the same. Only one whose convictions are questionable will flounder so badly.

The perception is that money will buy votes and it is done so blatantly. Meanwhile, only fools will believe the good intentions behind such acts. The sad fact is that the poor will accept anything considering their economic situation, but to exploit them for political gain is to view such people as things that can be bought. This is an insult and reflects a mindset that is exploitative in nature.

This describes a leader who has high vision but low values. He can talk about 1Malaysia and his transformation agenda but such leaders are suspect because for them the ends will always justify the means. They are self-centered game players with winning as their sole ultimate objective. Survival is their end game. Compromise all you can but secure the votes and if this needs to be bought than buy it despite integrity pacts and the like. Hindraf thus is a good bet to take in this context as the Indian Malaysians will always remain pawns in the hands of such unscrupulous leaders.

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Where are the leadership voices of substance from within the Barisan Nasional? The MIC chief’s leadership signature seems to rest on silence. Offend no one and stand for nothing and you will get far with Umno. MCA’s Chua has decided not to stand for elections and is afraid that his past would torment him. At least he has read this correctly. PPP and Gerakan make no difference.

Comparatively the Opposition despite weaknesses has a good number of credible experienced and respectful leaders within its coalition. Both seasoned and young leaders light up the spectrum. Who are those from within the present government who earn the respect of the public at large? We can all answer this ourselves. This is what happens when parties within a coalition continue to postpone their AGM’s thus perpetuating cronyism and autocratic power centres.

What does all this highlight? A ruling coalition that has no focused common direction. It has relied heavily on Umno for leadership. After forty years in power there is no systemic basis for consensus seeking within the BN. The non-Umno members of the coalition meanwhile seem to focus on their own self interest.

I suppose BN expected to win several seats unopposed when they tried to corner DAP and its problems with the Registrar of Societies. Strategic timing but the fact that the DAP was ready to stand under the Pas emblem caught BN flat-footed. This would have caused a mind shift amongst the Chinese Malaysians and it was too much of a risk to take. At the same time, this shows the leap and level of co-operation and consensus within Pakatan Rakyat – which must be admired.

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With debt levels so high, corruption on a rampage, and illicit outflows of money, we have little option but to reverse the tide. We need leaders with high vision and high values. To vote for change is to take the first step in hoping for a new future. At best, this could be a forerunner of a new dawn and, at worst, the continued presence of a strong opposition. One prays for the former.

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