Politicians should present their public policies for the people and party members to decide what is best for them and the party instead of resorting to smear tactics, says WH Cheng.
Factional politics within political parties is common. From the strongest political parties to the weakest or smallest political parties, factions are deemed to exist in each of these political organisations.
From Umno, MCA, MIC, PBB, SUPP, SPDP, PRS, PBS to PKR, DAP, Pas, Amanah, Bersatu and PSM, PRM, PCM, Berjasa, Ikatan, IPF, Kimma, MCC and many more – factions do exist in all these political parties.
This cannot be denied. Any party leader who denies the existence of factions is merely denying the fact that in politics one needs to achieve competitiveness to gain power.
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In a recent incident, one allegation after another surfaced with sex videos, followed by a (doctored?) confession of an alleged homosexual relationship aimed at discrediting the leader of one faction within a political party.
Yes, in the beginning, when the news appeared, it hit the headlines nationwide. Everyone started to enjoy talking and discussing it, after reading up in detail and listening to all the gossip and speculation.
But soon after all these stories floated in our minds, we might have started to think it all over again: was it worth listening to or discussing all these? There is a new government out there trying its best to outdo the previous government, which lost the general election last year.
When the new coalition of political parties came to power, many rushed to fill up vacancies in government. Political parties new to power and governance wasted no time in consolidating themselves in their respective positions, portfolios and other power bases.
Political leaders, having gained power, began to build their power base with an influx of new members into the political parties in power. Thus factions within these political parties began to swell in numbers, each wanting to become the most powerful lobbying group in order to be nearest to their “Dear Leaders”.
In doing such, many resorted to competition, with many leading to factional disputes, infighting, and contests for party positions. In normal times, these factions would do their best to position themselves at the highest competitive advantage over others.
To project themselves to the forefront, many of them resorted to personal attacks, moral policing, a racial and religious focus and smear allegations against one another.
Why do members of the same political party resort to something that will tarnish the image of their party? Why can’t factions come up with decent public policies to compete with one another decently instead of indulging in dirty and unhealthy politics within their political party? Why can’t they just compete decently and hold debates to justify leadership policies and show how they intend to contribute to the party and to the nation?
We could see that even in the UK, the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties have many kinds of faction within their ranks. Some are big factions, while many form registered groupings to obtain funding and public support. Each of these factions also issues their public policies over social media, blogs and websites of their own.
Even in Australia, the Labor Party and its rival, the Liberal-Nationals, also have factions within their ranks. But they compete professionally by justifying their leadership and positions through public policies of their own. On many occasions, these factions do agree with each other – that it is crucial to maintain voters’ confidence in their party.
In this case, there is decent competition among these factions within political parties. Any unhealthy way of politics is rightly discouraged to ensure that the good name of their parties is not tarnished.
The crucial part here is, what kind of politics we are participating in in. Party-to-party competition in general elections and factional competitions within one’s political party is the same. Present your public policies for the people and party members to decide what is best for them and the party.
This is how politicians should compete. Build up your competitive advantage by re-inventing, introducing new policies, coming up with better visions, and showing how you can contribute.
By going after a rival’s sexual orientation or attacking someone’s personal affairs, would it give a good advantage to those making such accusations? Yes, it might but will that advantage be gained in a respected way?
It is all about what you can contribute to the people, party and the nation. It is not about what someone’s sexual orientations or sexist acts can do for you, your party, the people and the nation. If one wins in such way, would such a victory be ethical?