MAY 17 — The majority of Malaysian professionals are unsympathetic to Barisan Nasional (BN), actually Umno (the other coalition partners are rather ineffectual or don’t set national policies).
They, our professionals, enjoy the usual comedy shows parodying present leaders. Though they keenly follow national politics, they are disinterested in participating in national politics.
To them, BN is out of touch with modern realities and their feudal-like thinking and pursuant action grossly neglects the will of the many and further unashamedly acquiesces to the desires of the few. However they’d say Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is disparate, filled with strange bedfellows squeezing around squeamishly trying to govern what they have and aspire to rule the country.
An unsatisfying stalemate, it seems on the surface.
The only consensus among them is that the present situation is not good enough. The country can be far better.
They believe that the competition of ideas championed by able and diligent Malaysians is the way forward. As is the case everywhere in the free world.
So this amazing puzzle manifests, perplexing these Malaysians. How to break free from the bitter present?
Emigration and overseas jobs are often seen as steps away from the idiosyncrasies of Malaysian life. They generally love home — but bloody hell — is there an end in sight? Those at home sigh, and buy tickets to comedy shows.
Why not you?
Democracy, in all its hues, relies on the principle of participation. If you want something done, you then show up. If you don’t, the world will not send a delegation to your doorstep, begging and pleading with you to give democracy and heavy metal a chance.
Why do you think most of the people who have the training to lead the country opt not to have anything to do with it? Why do they care so much, but at the same time fear leading that change?
Because it is difficult, it is nigh impossible at times.
It is time to make up your mind. Is there is one organisation, one institution that is constantly seeding the problem, rendering state-sponsored disunity programmes a priority?
Umno wants Malaysians to be at war with each other so that only they can rule.
It is so direct and basic that it beggars belief that so many fail to recognise the pink elephant in the room.
Here you are, capable, smart and sharp, and there they are, this group continuously shifting the goalposts so that you are removed from the political equation.
And you are asking if those seeking to replace Umno have everything figured out?
Why not focus on the people who don’t want anything to be figured out in a meaningful way so that all-inclusive civil discourse and progressive ideas can be heard?
They set fire all over Rome while their minions got away with the gold, and you query those fighting the raging flames with small pails if they should have brought in more volunteers, bought larger pails and treated the water better beforehand?
Mind you, those in power, they’ve gone a long way to make sure you don’t have the will or motivation to put out the fire in your own barn. They’ve emasculated you.
Selangor and Penang
Pakatan is far from having a perfect union. There are strong ideological differences. But the prevailing ethos of all three parties is for greater participation.
They have, and unfailingly, engaged your voice.
As much as the governments of Penang and Selangor are chastised by some quarters, never before have these governments been this open to the general public pressing their will on public policies.
And despite the disparate politics, the three Pakatan parties — PKR, the DAP and PAS — have managed the administration of the states far better than their predecessors despite being freshmen and facing an initially hostile civil service.
They’ve tried new ideas and brought in people who’ve been ignored before.
They’ve conceded mistakes, and they always have to explain their mistakes under the eyes of an unforgiving federal-controlled mainstream media.
They’ve started the process of bringing you back into your own country’s administration.
The only way to a competitive political landscape is for Pakatan to assume federal power. That would entrench not Pakatan’s MPs in Putrajaya, but rather entrench competitive politics finally in Malaysia.
A reality where both Pakatan and Umno can take turns being wrong, and on other occasions being alternately right.
It is the limited powers Pakatan won in 2008 that has forced an obdurate Umno to copy Pakatan’s moves. Pakatan’s initial moves were not revolutionary or genius, they were just something a coalition competing for support does. Umno did not before, because they’ve never needed to compete for support.
Remember sekolah menengah?
And it is true our democracy can only reflect our people.
Most of us came from the same public schools system and have the same reference points. Hudud, Chinese chauvinism, Umno supreme council, Court of Appeal, gerrymandering, human rights, police brutality and Bersih are just terms.
The absolute must of a democracy is to continuously engage its citizenry, including them.
It is the talking that gets the agreement.
The feudal lords launched the country in another way. They rule and talk, we watch and respect.
Are you not tired of being ordered by your government? Don’t you want to be served by your government instead? And when that government fails your test, should you not have easy, accessible and constant means to demand better?
The present guys in charge disagree with that aspiration.
That is why most of you are not comfortable with the present government, you exhibit your opposition all the time. Look at your Facebook wall.
There is only one way to vote if you want democracy to return to you. From then on, we empower ourselves and work the difficult problems. You are voting to regain your democracy.
The rest is white noise generated by scared-stiff feudal lords. If you only knew how worried they are.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.