Side Views

Talking to the Malays — Zaid Ibrahim

APRIL 6 — So at last we are going to have a general election after all. The months of waiting have taken its toll on most people, but it’s important that they continue to have energy and spirit and to work hard to make this GE a meaningful one.

This week I want to talk to the Malays. They form the biggest block of voters and to them I say, this is your chance to have a new government. A new government will enable you to make a comparison with the one we have now. You have been told time and again that no one besides Umno/BN can govern and protect you, but wouldn’t it be better for you to try to find out for yourself? How can we know if Pakatan would be worse than Umno if we do not give them a chance?

You have to be brave and not let others bully you with fear and intimidation. The opposition parties have more Malays than BN so they will not harm you. They have worked hard and deserve a chance. For all you know, you may get better schools, better teachers for your children (as they may devote more time to teaching than politicking) and better security from the police and the army. Even your household income may improve as there will be more for the government to share with less corrupt leaders at the helm.

You will not lose if you vote for the opposition. If the opposition gets stronger because of your support but BN still wins, then you will get more cash handouts than they had promised. Money and projects have only been given to you because the opposition was strong — if the opposition had been weak, you wouldn’t have gotten the BR1M 1.0 and BR1M 2.0. It makes sense to vote for the opposition if you want more from the BN. Learn to value your votes to improve your livelihood.

Umno will use all the scare tactics in its arsenal, like telling you that Islam will no longer become the official religion and that the Malay Rulers will disappear if the opposition wins. You should ask your children and grandchildren if any of these can come true. Even they will tell you that this is all nonsense, just fear mongering by those desperate to cling to power when everything else has failed.

The Malays need to change their loyalty and support PAS as their protector. PAS is a Malay party just like Umno. The difference is that PAS has never been entrusted to rule the country. If the Malays can give Umno 50 years to govern, surely it’s not too much to give PAS at least five years. The opportunity for PAS to rule (in coalition, of course, with PKR and the DAP) is an historic moment for the Malays to seize. If PAS is not able to govern well then the people can always go back to Umno. Choice is what the Malays need for their own wellbeing — they have not had it in the last 50 years.

I know it’s easy to persuade the Malays to support their leaders and not go against them. They will be reminded of the cash and all the help that’s been given to them. They will be told to be grateful. They will be told that BN and the government are one and the same so if you want more from the government, then only BN leaders can help you.

Again, I urge you to talk to your children and grandchildren. The monies/salaries that BN leaders give in exchange for votes do not belong to them, but to the people of this country. It’s wrong for leaders to bribe you for votes. They have not been sincere to you. It’s not wrong for you to vote for the leader/party of your choice and still keep the money. In fact, if you vote for the opposition then BN will have to give you more next year. Either way, you win by supporting the opposition. —

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.



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