Published in The Sun 17 April 2013

MALAYSIA is astir with election frenzy. Everywhere the talk is about the who’s who and the what’s what in the general election. The mood is upbeat verging on frenetic as Malaysians indulge in their favourite pastime of party and people bashing.

The tit-for-tat mentality of the electorate will reach a crescendo in the next couple of weeks of official campaigning as party members, candidates and their civil society supporters become uncivil and tear one another to shreds in trying to ensure their own victory. It will climax in the emergence of the party which wins a clear majority to form the new government. On the downside, there is the possibility of a hung parliament and a coalition government in its wake.

Not wanting to add to the unsavoury political foray that is fast building up, I have declared on Facebook that I will reserve my comments on the issues that are being dissected on my friends’ posts, the most frequently discussed being corruption, mismanagement and abuse of power. It is hard to resist correcting some of the misinterpretations and misreadings.

On the email circuit, I am resisting the temptation to reply the forwards of hard-hitting pieces written by people we know as well as the imposters, the latest being the alleged nepotism of a chief minister. More disturbing is the purported investigation by the US Congress into the alleged racist and apartheid-like characteristics of the nation’s affirmative action policies. All are potent fodder for the opposition in their bid to wrest Putrajaya.

And then there are the tapes and videos on the sexual exploits and inclinations of politicians which, surprisingly, are not hot issues for the 13th general election among those who brandish freedom and the individual’s right to privacy. To some it is nobody’s business what politicians do in their bedrooms or the underwear they prefer.

The cry for change has never been louder – among those disillusioned with the policies that are perceived to be unfair and discriminatory. More disconcerting to the converted are the alleged corruption, abuse of power and mismanagement of funds by those entrusted with public duty. To them the nation is in a state of disrepair. Except for the most gullible, the majority have decided where their present political support, if not loyalty, lies. Their reasoning is “we’ll vote them in this time and if they don’t deliver, we’ll vote them out next time”. Gone are the days when people were less pragmatic and opportunistic and had unshaken loyalties.

I belong to the latter, being very clear about my political affiliations. Quite unashamedly, I admit to being a BN supporter. I will continue to express my loyalty to and support for the successive governments that have done so much to build the nation into what it is today. I am proud to say I have never wavered like the proverbial lalang or fence sitters who wait to see which side they will sway towards. I have been spared the agony of being indecisive and of being involved in political bashing each time an issue surfaces.

To me it is clear that if there have been corruption and mismanagement those responsible have to take the rap. If they have to be replaced they should be, by uncorrupted and more competent people. Coming from the generation that has seen the country grow from strength to strength over the last 50 years, I have faith that its development will continue unabated if we have strong, incorruptible leaders.

No individual person is infallible or indispensable but each individual is accountable to the nation and its people. To be credible this must be the stand of the party that forms the government. They must rid themselves of the rot in the party, its leadership and members. They must be seen and heard to be doing so.

Sadly, I won’t be voting on May 5 as I’ll be out of the country and qualify neither for early nor postal voting. What a pity, as I was all set to exercise my right as a citizen and cast my vote for the candidate and party that I’m convinced will best serve the interests of my beloved country. As I follow the unfolding of the election results from London my thoughts will echo Wordsworth’s melancholic ode:

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be …

May I remind the feuding parties that the best is yet to come if they remain true to their manifestos, their pledges and their promises to build a better Malaysia. My fervent hope is that the electorate will exercise maturity and discernment in voting not only for the candidates and their abilities but more importantly, for the moral principles and values they uphold.


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April 2013
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