With thanks to Goh Chee Leong
Why I’m voting for Pakatan Rakyat in 2013
The author is an academic who has been lecturing at a private university in Kuala Lumpur for over 10 years, holds a PhD, works with various government agencies and NGOs to ensure the rights of all communities are protected.
5 Reasons why I’m Voting for Pakatan Rakyat in 2013.
1. Because it’s time that BN learns to FEAR the citizens
For 56 years BN has never once FEARED losing power.
This lack of fear has bred a culture of complacency within its ranks, an expectation that no matter what they do, no matter how many billions and trillions of ringgit they drain from the country through corruption, no matter how many human rights violations, no matter how many government projects failed because some VIP decided to use them as a way to make their relatives rich, no matter how much injustice has been heaped upon people of every race, gender and religion, no matter how much wastage of the people’s money…… they feel they can still get away with it because they will never be voted out.
People don’t change unless they have to.
For those of you who say that there are still some good leaders within BN, then listen to this: we’ll be doing BN a favor by voting them out in these elections. They will have no choice but to reform itself, and the reformist leaders will be become more influential within their parties.
2. Because 12 chances is more than enough
Some say that we should BN another chance. These people forget that for the past 56 years we have given BN a chance to lead this country.
In the past 12 elections BN has sung the same tune: “We’ll change. Be patient. This time will be different.” It reminds me of the wife-beating husband who after each episode of abuse, begs the wife to stay, because he promises that he will change this time, only for the same abuse to repeat itself again and again.
For those of you in the corporate sector: which company in the world would give the same leader 12 chances in a row when s/he repeatedly commits fraud, steals the company money and is incompetent at their work?
3. Because Malaysia can be far greater than it is today
For the past 25 years, starting with the Mahathir govt, BN’s election message has been very simple: “be grateful that Malaysia is not like Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, The Philippines. We are much richer than them so you should be grateful to BN”.
To me this is a nonsensical argument. It shows a lack of understanding of economics and history. We should not be comparing ourselves to Laos and Vietnam, we should be comparing ourselves to Singapore, Korea, Taiwan.
When we gained independence in the 1950’s we were a country blesses with advantages none of our neighbors were blessed with:
= we were rich in natural resources (tin, rubber) with an infrastructure already in place to export them
= we had a relatively small population
= a solid education system in place which included English
= relatively good infrastructure
= we were not exposed to large scale natural disasters like earthquakes or typhoons
= we were blessed with everything needed to be the top tourist destination in Asia with a multicultural population, beautiful town and villages with a rich history, beautiful beaches, forests and mountains
Yet all of these advantages have been squandered.
The success and progress that has been made these last 50 years were due more to the hard-work and enterprise of the Malaysian people rather than the wisdom of the government leadership.
We’ve done okay. But we can do so much better. We can be a truly great nation that all of us can be proud of.
4. Because BN’s culture of patronage is making this country mediocre
A culture of patronage means that to succeed, it’s not what you know, but WHO you know.
We see this culture of patronage in all spheres of Malaysian society. In public service, in awarding contracts, in business practice, in large and small organizations, in NGOs, in education, in sports……
They say that culture reflects leadership. I believe that this culture of patronage has been allowed to blossom, it has been allowed to become the norm because for 57 years under the BN leadership: they have led by example in this regard.
When young people read every day about how family members and friends of high placed government officials are awarded contracts, they learn that this is acceptable practice.
If we want to achieve excellence in any field; we need to put to death this culture of patronage and replace it with a culture of meritocracy and accountability. People need to earn their way in this world.
5. Because Pakatan Rakyat has shown it is serious about fighting corruption.
WE all know that corruption is widespread and systemic in this country. Like a cancer it is not easy to extract it from all levels of government.
I think many people had unrealistic expectations after the last elections: they were expecting that the day after Pakatan took over Selangor, Perak, Penang, that all corrupt practices would be eliminated instantly.
The reality is that corruption is carried out daily by thousands of officials and workers at all levels.
However, Pakatan has done many things in the last 4 years that BN have never seriously considered over the 50 years they were in power: for example, Pakatan started open tender processes, they had state reps declare their assets, they introduced more transparent decision making processes across the board.
Is their work complete? Of course not. But Pakatan has made more progress in 4 years than BN has made in 50 years.
Just compare the leaders of the two parties and ask yourself: who is less likely to be corrupted.
On one hand we have a Pakatan Chief Minister flying economy class, and on the other hand we have a BN chief minister being caught with a few million dollars while flying first class to Australia.
Honestly speaking: for all the noises BN politicians have made about reformation, do we really believe that BN leaders are clean?
In conclusion, it’s time for us to bring about CHANGE in Malaysia. A two party system can only be a reality when both parties have been given a chance to govern. BN has struck out 12 times. It’s time to give Pakatan Rakyat a chance.