By S. Saravana
I often hear from my friends that raising a child is a challenging task. Almost a year back, I started reading books on parenting, browsing through many informative websites, and even attended an ante-natal course. I have learned a lot which made me feel good in sharing information with other new parents.
In November 2009, my lovely wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Words just can’t express well enough the joy that we had holding our baby in our arms for the first time. From that point onwards, I have experienced the fun and the hard work of being a new parent. The journey has just started and I am looking forward to enjoying every moment with my family.
How would Malaysia be in the next 30 years to come? Will our children get to live in a good living environment? For all parents out there, do you have similar questions running through your mind? Who are responsible to create a good living environment? Major roles in our nation’s development are in the hands of our political leaders. What is being done currently is what would shape our nation’s future. Let’s have a look at our nation’s current political development.
After losing the state administration in Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Kelantan and Perak (now back under BN’s administration), BN is facing an uphill challenge. We now have BN on the one hand doing everything possible to regain the people’s support and PR on the other hand doing its best to grow its supporters. There are good and bad about this situation.
Firstly, I view this as a needed competition between ruling party and opposition party. If opposition’s voice is too small to be heard, BN would then be too relaxed being in its comfort zone. Since now BN has lost its 2/3 majority in Parliament, it is not in a position to sit back and relax. BN is now doing its best to gain back its supporters. Being in this situation, people would enjoy the best from both the parties.
In Parliament, a 2/3 majority is required to make amendment to the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the land. In the current situation, BN does not have the privilege to approve new amendment to the Constitution without first getting support from at least some of the Members of Parliament from the opposition party. I bet BN would be more alert and careful with what they plan to implement since they need support from the opposition in order to sanction the desired amendments. I am sure that the opposition party will not make life easy for BN when it comes to supporting new amendments to the Constitution which do not benefit the people nor enhance the democratic system in this country. The opposition party will scrutinize every proposal by BN. I view this as an advantage to the people. People can be confident that any changes to the Constitution will be thoroughly debated and reviewed for the benefits of the people. Nevertheless, with their simple majority in Parliament, BN would still be able to amend any existing law or push through any new law commonly viewed as favourable to its political survival – with the DNA Identification Act 2009 and the MACC Act 2009 being two obvious recent examples.
Many of us love reading newspaper. I do spend some time reading e-newspaper. I notice when it comes to politics, both the ruling and opposition parties take very prompt actions in exposing the weaknesses of each other. Of course the pro-government newspapers tend to release more pro-government news and I believe that majority of Malaysians are still getting their news from these pro-government newspapers. We also have pro-opposition party sources that often release news with different views than what we read in the pro-government newspapers. In this situation, people are still in gain. Every wrong move by political parties is exposed big time. People would get information on the good and bad things done by these political parties. If opposition’s voice is too small to be heard, we would probably hear very little complaints on the BN’s maladministration. In my point of view, it is advantageous to have a greater opposition presence in Parliament so that any wrong doings by the ruling party will be brought to public attention and this will also force the ruling party to clean up its administration.
When PR took over the Selangor’s administration, there was a big havoc at the SUK Building. I remember many sensitive documents went missing. The impression I got was that someone from the previous administration was scared that his wrong doings would be exposed, and promptly ordered the removal of these crucial pieces of evidence before the new PR government moved in.
I think, when one party is chosen to rule a country repeatedly for many decades, chances are greater for that administration to be affected by bribery and cronyism. When that administration is taken over by the opposition party, it will be a fresh start. Chances for bribery and cronyism will be very much less. This is an advantage to the people. The people will have a fairer opportunity to get Government tenders.
In a multi-racial country, it is very important to take care of the well-being of all races. It is vital for the survival of political parties to gain support from all races. It is obvious that a single-raced political party alone would not be able to gain enough support to take over the country’s administration. By knowing this fact, both BN and PR are campaigning on bringing unity among all races. BN is promoting unity via the “1Malaysia” campaign while PR has incorporated unity among the races in its “Dasar Pakatan Rakyat”. Moves from political parties to support unity among all races are advantageous to all Malaysians.
Now that we have seen some of the positive impacts of our current political development, let’s have a look at the negative impacts. When both BN and PR are striving to gain the people’s support, there are currently moves for these political parties to try to bring down the image of each other in any way possible. Let’s pick an example. A man who was once a Deputy Prime Minister is now being charged in a sodomy case??? To me, this is just a nonsense drama. There must be a very strong force that has made this drama a reality. In many countries, the ruling party always has a stronger ground compared to opposition party simply because the former has control over the country’s administration. This includes finance, police force, judges, media, anti-corruption agency, ISA, Election Commission, etc. These resources and agencies are monopolized and used (read “abused”) by the ruling party to bring down voices of the opposition. Current issues are manipulated and presented in such a way that the ruling party looks good and the opposition looks ugly. This is obviously an abuse of power. People do not want an abusing government.
In the current political situation, survival of the ruling party is so crucial that it can even opt to create a drama and point it at the opposition party. As an example, the ruling party may engage a group of people to protest using a severed cow’s head! At the same time, the ruling party expresses via its pro-ruling party’s media on the supposed weaknesses of the opposition party to handle its administration issues. Well said “Orang yang tidur senang dibangunkan tetapi orang yang berlakon seumpama orang yang tidur sukar dibangunkan”. If the case was real, the opposition party could have easily addressed the issue but in reality, it was not. When a public meeting was called, some acted like barbarians. That was a drama planned to stir the opposition’s administration. People do not want “drama directors” in Government.
Is our Government affected by bribery? The answer is simply YES. Probably I should rephrase the question – Is our Government badly affected by bribery? I leave it for you to answer. In a situation where bribery becomes common, people are affected. Government tenders may end up in the hands of a few selected people and his cronies. Bribery comes in many forms – cold, hard cash, fully-sponsored vacations (e.g. to Disneyland!), women, properties, etc. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. People do not want a bribed Government. People want fair distribution of wealth.
The greatest fear that I have over the current political situation is racial discomfort. I have grown up well among my multi-racial Malaysian friends. We treat each other as friends and there has never been any racial discomfort between us. Move by certain ruling political party in using race as their political weapon to kill the opposition worries me the most. There is a saying, “Cubitkan bayi dan kemudian dodoikan dia”. Cow’s head protest is a good example. People who used to live in a harmonious environment are now no longer smiling at people of different races. A little more fuel added on to this spark would easily cause racial clashes. People are clearly on the losing side while political parties enjoy the outcome. People do not want a racist Government. People want a harmonious living environment.
Current political development will shape the future of our children. Looking at the current political development, what can we expect in the next 10 to 50 years to come? I can’t predict the future but I can surely list out the possible political changes that may take place in the coming years and rank the possibilities based on my knowledge on our past and my evaluation of the present situation. You can find it in my next article. I end this article with my favorite quote – “Know your past, evaluate your present, look into your future and that formulates your action for today – Anonymous”.