For those of us who talk a lot, how about a walk …?
So what should Malaysians do? Firstly, in a country where voting is not compulsory, they should vote. There’s no point complaining on internet blogs but not bothering to vote.
Given the Opposition’s unpreparedness to govern, the Malaysian Government is best returned. But it does deserve a good, hard kick. Even more, it needs a significant and strong Opposition to help it govern better. It needs greater accountability and scrutiny, which a strong Opposition in Parliament will help provide. That is what good governments everywhere have and need.
Of course, tiny Singapore is an exception but Singapore is a country in name only. The reality is that the Singapore Government is a glorified city council.
Malaysia, on the other hand, is a diverse and complex country that wants to be modern. It needs to be governed
More longer term thinking …
It’s a lecture, but then more than a lecture …
Will your lecture take to task Umno politicians, namely Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein Onn who has, over the past two party general assemblies, publicly brandished the keris despite the disquiet from other ethnic communities and even other Barisan Nasional component parties?
I am not going to use the lecture to admonish particular individuals, but I also think that we need to remind our politicians – all politicians, and from all parties – that if they really want to become politicians, then one of the first things they lose is the right to a private life. Politicians are public figures, and they will be judged by their Malaysian electorate as well as by history.
So, if and when they behave badly and do irresponsible things, then we and the historians among us will be there to remind them of their mistakes. Remember, Hishammuddin was not the only Umno politician who brandished the keris in public. In fact, since the early 1970s, Umno has been engaged in this task of re-defining the keris as a weapon and a symbol of the Malays on an exclusive basis. The keris has lost its cultural and historical roots since then, and has been manipulated and instrumentalised ever since.
Let us not forget that other Umno politicians like the current (caretaker) Deputy Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak also took part in the Kampung Baru demonstration in 1987 when slogans like “This keris will drink blood” were shouted about by their supporters. Should they be allowed to forget these incidents? Do we let them get away with it?
Reminding politicians of their irresponsible behaviour is in fact the duty of citizens, especially academics like me who are political-historians. It is by constantly keeping the politicians in check that we make sure they remain accountable to us, and behave properly
another kick to walk …
It is meaningless for us to complain about our Parliamentarians and the Government, if we do not first discharge a simple but sacrosanct duty of choice.
Let us all take the time to look into the beautiful but expectant eyes of our children, and of the children of many others for whom we care. The future of our nation is meant for them. But millions of them cannot vote. They put their fate in our hands. They rely on us not just for their present living and support. They rely on us, too, to vote for a better future for them.
And after discharging our duty to vote, we must continue to be vigilant, and ensure that our elected representatives account for their actions, and make good their promises.