NOVEMBER 11 — If the US elections have taught us one thing, it’s that voters prefer honest politicians even if they say racist and sexist things, or even if they lack experience and concrete policies.
Even though the media has highlighted Donald Trump’s many lies, it seems that the American voters who elected him as president perceived him (rightly or wrongly) to be more trustworthy than Hillary Clinton. The American people wanted radical change and saw it in Trump.
Malaysians, too, seem tired of the current system in our country. The cost of living is rising, we can’t afford to buy homes and our education policies are a mess.
The once buoyant hope of Malaysians who turned up at the polls in record numbers at the 13th general election seems to have fizzled out. There is no excitement despite speculation of early polls, only malaise and disenchantment.
And just like the Americans who dislike both Trump and Clinton, we Malaysians are stuck between unpalatable choices. Malaysian politicians across the divide have failed to inspire us and don’t seem interested in reform, much less change. Hardly any of them seem honest.
The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) seems to be willing to do anything in their quest to remain in government.
They give pro-government gangsters and thugs free rein to physically assault their opponents and to threaten the media. Instead of protecting citizens’ right to peaceful protests, BN tells them to quit it if they don’t want to be in danger of violent individuals.
The BN government has torn up the country with its conservative, almost-fascist policies, dividing us across race and religion while telling us that their priority is “national unity and harmony.”
Yet, across the divide, the picture is not much brighter as the Opposition doesn’t seem to embody the spirit of change that they claim to champion.
Instead of dismantling the race-based system that has been the foundation of Malaysia’s government for over half a century, Pakatan accepts an Umno copycat, a party that explicitly champions the cause of a particular ethnicity.
What happened to their promises of progress and their vision of a race-blind country, where Malaysians are judged not by the colour of their skin but by their skill and personality?
In Penang, the DAP looks to its state chairman Chow Kon Yeow to take over as chief minister instead of the deputy chief minister, Professor P. Ramasamy, reinforcing perceptions that it’s just another Chinese party despite their purported attempts to be more multiracial.
PKR is riven by in-fighting and their most specific objective is to free their leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Despite their professed openness and moderation, they remain silent on the hudud issue and Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Bill to amend Act 355.
Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah), the supposedly more moderate version of PAS, also refuses to state their stand on hudud and comes up instead with some “alternative” Shariah Bill.
One of the few parties that has been really honest is PAS, but — like Trump — they too have scary ideas and plans that would be disastrous for the country and harm minority groups. But even PAS has become dishonest about Hadi’s Bill by pretending that it’s not about hudud.
Where have our leaders gone?
Across the board, our politicians are vague, conniving and dishonest.
We had put our hope in some of them to bring change and to lift Malaysia up from the doldrums. Someone told me that what matters is simply a change of government, never mind what form it takes, because true competition will force all political parties to be better and to be less corrupt.
I used to believe that, but not anymore. I don’t believe that Malaysia must be stuck necessarily with dishonest politicians.
It’s our job as ordinary citizens to force our leaders to be more honest with us. We can’t be content with just voting for a particular party or candidate, without demanding to know their position on various issues so that we can hold them accountable when they’re elected into office.
We can’t be lazy and just complain on Facebook about deceptive politicians. We need to call them out when they lie to us.
And if they remain deceitful, then we need to show them that we will not tolerate them anymore. Malaysia must stop putting up with dishonest politicians. Boo Su-Lyn Malay Mail Online Opinion Friday November 11, 2016 7:50 AM GMT+8