Politicians manipulate democracy — Lim Sue Goan
MAY 10 — Democracy is good, but it has always been manipulated by politicians as a tool to climb up the ladder of their careers. As a result, the governments have to bear heavy debts and eventually face a debt crisis. Under the leadership of Germany, the European Union's 25 member states signed an intergovernmental treaty to strengthen fiscal discipline and the crisis has been temporarily subsided.
The recent elections, however, showed a trend of anti-austerity. Centre-right incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy is now the first French president since 1981 not to win a second term, Greece's two governing pro-austerity parties lost their majority in the recent legislative election, while the German and British ruling parties also suffered a heavy defeat in local elections. There are weaknesses in human nature. No one would ever wish for a tough time. However, continue borrowing money without cutting the deficit is just a temporary solution.
Cutting public expenses will worsen the EU economy. Then how should they promote economic growth while implementing fiscal austerity? It is a question for economists. For politicians, it is an opportunity to seize power. Therefore, they use anti-austerity strategy and financial contracts to encourage the people with an intention to gain more votes.
Don't those anti-austerity politicians know what is best for the country? They certainly know the importance of fiscal discipline and the disaster it will bring when the Euro zone collapses. However, all they care about is to win the election.
The recent elections in European countries have also allowed the rise of extreme left-wings and extreme right-wings. Conservative thinking is not conducive to the development of democracy.
However, it is the choice of most Europeans. They expressed their opposition to spending cuts through democratic votes. Politicians get an opportunity to fish in trouble waters when the people are confused.
As for Malaysian politics, the confrontation between the BN and the Pakatan Rakyat has stimulated populism. They fight in distributing money. You give RM100 and I give RM500. The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) charges only 1 per cent of administrative fee, but the PKR still ask for a free tertiary education.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that the Federal Land Development Authority will distribute RM1.69 billion to more than 112,000 members of its planters’ cooperative, as well as their wives and children. They will receive RM15,000 per family, to be paid out in three instalments. However, the PKR pointed out that FELDA Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) is looking to raise RM5.6 billion when it lists on the Malaysian stock exchange next month and Najib's promised “windfall” of RM1.69 billion to FELDA settlers is merely 30 per cent of the actual RM5.6 billion the group is entitled to.
Prior to this, an opposition party also proposed to make the RM500 aid a perennial plan.
Amidst the rising national debt, the alternative coalition has also from time to time criticised that the country might one day declare bankruptcy like Greece. Then why is it still encouraging the government to distribute more money? The reason is, to please voters.
On the other hand, to keep their basic supporters, political parties also leave extreme right-wings room for expansion, such as Malay rights group Perkasa and non-governmental organisation Jati headed by former Selangor PAS commissioner Datuk Dr Hasan Ali.
You might have found that Chinese-based political parties no longer criticise much the Utusan Malaysia nowadays.
The political manipulation tactics used by Malaysian politicians are comparable with those of European politicians. The daily war of words is just a show. They talk about democracy but in fact, have completely forgotten the principles.
The country has been filled with storms since the 2008 general election. My personal view is, politicians are no longer trustworthy. You have to follow your own beliefs to determine what is right and what is wrong. — Mysinchew.com
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.