Tuesday, January 20, 2009

KT by-election,a renewed call for change

The Kuala Terengganu (KT) by-election was a victory by itself regardless of who the winner was. The orderly and peaceful manner it was conducted was a victory for the democratic process that is unfolding in the country.

Despite some glitches, by enlarge the Elections Commission and the police conducted themselves in a professional manner to ensure that the by-election went on smoothly without any untoward incidents that used to mar most previous elections.

The political parties too were better behaved this time, avoiding personal attacks on the candidates. Although there were initial attempts to raise racial issues, like the issue of Islamic state and hudud laws, but they were aborted when the people showed their disapproval. It was particularly gracious of the BN to promptly concede defeat which helped to diffuse the tension that built up to the polling day.

The biggest winners were the people of Kuala Terengganu who kept their cool and gave their verdict that has a significant bearing on the direction the nation is heading. Despite the mounting pressure by the politicians during the campaign the voters were not easily influenced in making their decision. They did not succumb to racial and money politics like in the past. They demonstrated a high level of discern, wisdom and maturity in making their decision, which augurs well for the future of democracy in our country.

The people’s verdict is once again clear; they want change in the way the government is run. They want greater accountability and transparency. They want quick and drastic reforms to address the rampant corruption, abuse of power and the deteriorating race relations and economic crisis. They are disappointed that Umno and its partners in Barisan Nasional(BN),who have the means to bring about these changes do not have the political will to do so.

The loss of the KT parliamentary seat may not change the political equation in the country but it may well be an indication of the beginning of a shift of political paradigm and unless the BN acts to address the issues demanded by the people it may become irrelevant to the newer generation of Malaysians.

The BN government has done much to develop the nation but today’s global world poses challenges that need newer approaches to overcome.BN has no option but to heed the call of the people to reinvent itself to meet the demands of the new generation of Malaysians. Umno,MCA,MIC and the other partners must come together as equals at the highest level to re-chart their new course bearing in mind the new realities of a global world where myopic race based politics is not going to take them far.

What we need is not race and religious disputes and a debate on who is superior but to start working to create a superior Malaysian race which can compete effectively in a highly competitive global world. This can only be achieved with the contributions all races who must be made to feel proud of their citizenship.

On the other hand the Pakatan Rakyat(PR) must realize that it owes its very existence to the people who have put their faith in it to bring the changes which they badly need. The people were impressed with its promises to dismantle race politics and check corruption, power abuse and formulate more sound economic policies to take the nation through the current economic crisis. It must strive to make these impressions become realities.

The members of the opposition coalition may have vast ideological differences but they have managed to come together for the sake of the people and they must remain so for the same reason. They must get together in that spirit to iron out their differences by dialogue, debate and above all by compromise, which is a rare commodity in political negotiations.

The people have placed so much hope in PR and it must not let them down. Win or lose in the many other by-elections that may come by, the members must stick together in thick and thin for the sake of the people. It must not let petty squabbles among its members lead to its disintegration and premature demise but unite above racial, religious and ideological differences to bring about the changes that the BN could not.

Through the KT by-election, people have spoken again and the ball is now in the courts of the BN and PR to prove to the rakyat of their capabilities and political will to fulfill the aspirations of the people who thirst for change. The battle of wits has begun and in this duel the rakyat should never be made the loser.

Dr.Chris Anthony


Anonymous said...

The rakyat had always been losers under BN majority rule. After half a century when our neighbour Singapore become an internationally recognised DEVELOPED countries, we are still struggling to be a developing country. 2020, mooted then was certainly achievable but today under the more corrupt BN - it is just a dream.

BN had 50 years - let us be fair and give PR at least two terms to show us some tangible results and improvements. If they fail we boot them out - and then God save us.

By ngguanhuah, 21-Jan-2009

Dr.Chris Anthony said...

Agreed. Let us give PR two terms. They have done very well in the last 10 months. Land titles, water tariff cuts, transparency......scholarships for Malay and Indian students who are proficient in Mandarin to study in China, etc etc.....Let us be fair and give them time to prove themself...afterall it will some time to undo the nonsence that others have created and put in place for 52 long years....

By bcnair123, 22-Jan-2009

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