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A guide to being a selfless politician

Unfortunately, attaining material comforts becomes the ultimate ambition of some individuals taking the plunge into politics

WONG SOAK KOON/ALIRAN

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Aspiring politicians could take some career pointers from their seasoned counterparts. 


Two-time prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned recently that Malaysians are fed up with politicians who are self-centred and think only about self-preservation.

He is spot on about people being turned off by self-centred politicians, including those who walk the corridors of power, for whom serving the nation appears to be a distant goal. 

Worse, these politicians would spend so much time looking over their shoulders that they don’t have time to look out for the progress and wellbeing of the nation. Some of these politicians live in their own comfortable bubbles, invariably becoming disconnected from the ordinary people they profess to represent.

But then, this is not a new phenomenon because positions of power generally open doors to many possibilities and benefits. Such self-centred politicians have been around for decades. Money politics aka corruption has taken root and has become almost the vogue. 

The ugly outcome of this malpractice is presumably what has made Mahathir adamant about fighting corruption through his recently registered Pejuang party.

Attaining material comforts becomes the ultimate ambition of some individuals taking the plunge into politics, fully aware the field offers opportunities to put their hands into the cookie jar.

That is why certain politicians, particularly in the government, jealously – and in some cases, creatively – guard their positions. This also partly explains why certain politicians tinker with the electoral system, such as by gerrymandering and malapportionment.

In some cases, political leaders practise cronyism to bolster their positions. That is how friends of certain politicians amass wealth within a relatively short span of time. You could say that this is their inverted version of #KitaJagaKita.

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Or certain shrewd political leaders would send their political foes to the slammer on trumped-up charges through the use of laws that take away their democratic right to defend themselves in a court of law. The insecure politicians would also be inclined to muzzle their critics by resorting to a slew of anti-democratic laws that curb freedom of expression as well as the press. The nonagenarian Mahathir, who was a prime minister for over 20 years, also took issue with politicians who aspired to his former office.

His concern is well taken – for Malaysians are aware that an unscrupulous prime minister could do some if not all of the things mentioned above. – The Malaysian Insight

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