Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

The Death of Malaysia

Written by johnleemk on 10:21:01 am Jan 22, 2007.

Discuss the Death of Malaysia at the forums.

A message I have been continually attempting to communicate through this site, ever since its inception, is that it's time for a paradigm shift in Malaysian politics. I am not just talking about changing from a race-based view to a non-racial conception of leadership, nor am I spouting mere rhetoric about greater unity in the opposition. What I am talking about is simple: kicking Barisan Nasional out of power. Nothing less.

A few might find this statement strange, coming from me. After all, I have been vocally critical of the opposition and its politics, to say nothing of its often half-baked policies or proposals. Why should I support the opposition? I'll tell you why: it's because we, the Malaysians of this generation, the generation of all Malaysians currently living, are at a crucial crossroads in our country's history. The decisions we, and by extension our leadership, make today will either set our country on the path to permanent prosperity or infinite ignominy.

I believe that the present government, at the rate things are going, is dooming the country to failure. The "Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah" policies of our government have only seen us plumbing new depths of wastage and inefficiency. The blueprints and plans we have seen are only attaining ever-higher heights of total bullshit. You can pile shit on shit, but it's still a heap of shit. And as for the opposition? I believe that they are dooming this country to failure as well - because being unable to change government policy, they are completely worthless. It does not make an ounce of difference whether we vote BN or opposition, because the opposition can't do shit. They're just a bunch of whining castrati, much like the component parties of Barisan Nasional whose names don't begin with "United" and end with "Malays National Organization".

Still, I am not here today to criticise the government any further than I already have - no, sir. I believe any Malaysian with a functioning brain cell can see how utterly useless, corrupt and incompetent our present government is. What I am here to do today is to criticise the opposition yet again. Why would I criticise a body I support? It's simple: because I am completely and totally fed up with the opposition. I am entirely disgusted and repulsed by the political establishment of this country today, opposition or government. But even this criticism of the half-past six opposition is not my main, crucial point. If all you take away from this article is a sense that our entire political establishment is screwed, then I will have failed. What I want you to take away is this: a sense that if we, simple and ordinary Malaysians, don't stand up and change this country for the better, nobody will. A sense that if we, the Alis, Ah Chongs and Muthus of this country, don't effect this change, we will pass on a legacy to our children that consists of nothing more than a failed nation.

So, speaking of this legacy, what do I want? I know what I want. It's what every decent and right-thinking Malaysian wants. I want my children to grow up feeling what I've never felt. I want them to grow up in a prosperous and free nation, and feel able to hold their heads high instead of hanging them in shame. I want my children to have a place in Malaysia. I want it to be the country they call home - a country that's always there for them. I want my children to grow up in a country, feeling a sense of pride, achievement and accomplishment in being able to call themselves "Malaysian" - in being able to flash their red passport at any airport terminal around the world with a sense of honour. I want my children to grow up knowing that they have a real opportunity to make the most of themselves, to maximise the potential they have been blessed with by God, without any discrimination - be it from the political or business establishment. I want them to hold to the principles that can and will make this country great if only we truly apply them: the principles encapsulated in our Rukunegara. I want that oath of allegiance to be more than the dead words it was to me and my generation. I want them to live it, feel it, breathe it - that is what I want for my children. And I believe that that is what every Malaysian, Malay, Chinese, Indian or lain-lain, Muslim, Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or animist, man or woman, wants for their children.

Now, let me put to you a simple question: do you honestly believe, in the core of your heart, that the Barisan Nasional government can build a country, a nation, where your children will grow up like this? Okay, we know the answer to that. Now, do you even more honestly believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that the opposition can build a country like this? Do you even believe that the opposition would have the opportunity to try - that it could form a successful government?

I know, I haven't convinced the hardcore political partisans. I'm sure, somewhere out there in la-la land, there's a Barisan Nasional supporter who actually believes his party can truly build a sense of accomplishment and pride in being Malaysian. This fellow is a lost cause. And I'm even more sure that somewhere out there, there's some opposition supporter who thinks that if only Lim Kit Siang or Anwar Ibrahim were Prime Minister, our children would feel like they belong in Malaysia, in a land of prosperity and true achievement. Ask this guy if he actually thinks either chap has a shot at becoming PM, though, and he'd probably lament: "Aiyah, these useless Malaysians ah, always vote BN one! Why so stupid never vote opposition, I tak tau!"

You can probably see why I'm so upset and frustrated. After 50 years of independence, Malaysians remain enshackled by racial politics, and by the denial of political equality to almost half of the country. After 50 years of independence, we remain in the shadow of our southern neighbour, even though God has granted us every conceivable advantage over them. After 50 years of independence, a Malay graduate only has a chance of success if he either goes into the civil service or works for one of those government-linked companies - and that's if he is honest. A dishonest Malay graduate would probably form a contracting company, bid for government jobs (possibly in one of those Ali Baba arrangements), and then sit back and subcontract it to some other firm. As for Chinese or Indian graduates? Most of them either migrate, or take a job with a local firm while seething about the government's consistent discriminatory policies. And please, let's not even talk about those unfortunate people who can't even get a degree from one of those local degree mills - excuse me, "universities".

What's most disheartening about all this utter bullshit is that after 50 years, we are no closer to changing this situation than before. The status quois firmly enthroned, and does not appear to have any chance of being dislodged barring a completely realigning and defining event such as a second May 13. None of us wants things to come to that, I'm sure - but given the useless government and even more useless opposition, how else will we ever see a change that can alter our country's path from the road leading to infinite ignominy to the highway of permanent prosperity?

The answer for change always lies in the political system. It is the politics of our country that will determine what leadership we have. Frankly, the present leadership isn't worth two shits. How can we change it? Our political system offers us two choices. One is to get the internal political hierarchy of the Barisan Nasional to throw out the present leadership and elect a competent fellow - someone like Dr. Bakri Musa. A man who knows what has to be done, and how to do it. A man with guts and ideas. If you seriously believe this is a real possibility, I have a crooked bridge across the Tebrau Straits to sell you.

Okay, we've exhausted that option. What's the other one? We could vote in a new government - one with ideas to change the path of our country, one with the kind of leadership to offer groundbreaking and radical, if unpopular, policies that will shape our country's future for the better. If you really believe that any of the present opposition parties offers this kind of leadership, you might be interested in a new bridge to Penang that I could sell you as well.

Really, just look at the pathetic lot that's the opposition. They're so pathetic that they can't even be bothered to brand themselves as the future leaders of Malaysia. All they know how to do is talk about denying the government a two-thirds Parliamentary majority. All they're capable of doing is organising rallies and demonstrations and boycotts which have zero effect whatsoever on government policy. Their leadership is old - just as dinosaur-like as the present slate of Barisan Nasional leaders. Their image, even amongst opposition supporters, is that of a party aiming to become a stronger, more effective opposition - not a party aiming to become an effective government.

So, opposition leaders, I've got news for you. Do you want my vote? Earn it. You can't expect me to vote for you just because the government is a terrible piece of shit. Why the hell should I vote for an ineffective party that can only conceive of itself as being in the opposition forever? Why the hell should I vote for an opposition that talks the multiracial talk but walks the monoracial walk? Why the hell should I vote for an opposition that can't decide whether it's a social activist NGO or a mechanism for change in the country? Why the hell should I even bother with my country if I can't count on a real alternative to my horrid government? Answer these questions, good sirs (and madams), and you will have my vote.

Don't bother me with that crap about boycotts and demonstrations. Real, mature political parties leave those to social advocacy groups. In developed countries, do political parties lead protests? No. Political parties get down to business, organise themselves, and run a slate of leadership candidates who they believe can lead their country to a better future. It's only in basket cases like the Philippines or Venezuela that you find incompetent opposition parties running demonstrations on a regular basis - and even then, at least these parties have more balls than the opposition here, and believe they can topple the government. Do you know why demonstrations are ineffective, PKR? Because they only work when the government has no legitimacy and popular support. That's why demonstrations worked in Thailand and the Philippines. That's why demonstrations won't work here. Win our support first, and then if you lose the election, then we can start talking.

Please don't tell me that nonsense about multiracialism either - especially you, DAP. Look, I know you talk the multiracial talk. But do you walk the walk? No. And I know that silly excuse. Claims that "Malays don't want to join us" don't wash. There are more than enough liberal and open-minded Malays around. Don't tell me you can't even find a single one who won't run for public office on your ticket. If you can't find one, try harder. There is far more to be gained, in terms of opportunities for political success, by having one Malay DAP MP than ten Chinese DAP MPs. Once that ridiculous stereotype of the DAP as a monoracial party is dispelled with, it will be able to broaden its support considerably.

But in case you think that's all I'm interested in, let me repeat myself: I don't want an effective opposition. I want an effective government. I don't want to vote for a party that's only interested in being in the opposition. Being in the opposition forever is meaningless for any political party in any country on this planet. The purpose of a political party is to win power, and nothing less. Why should I support a political party that's not interested in the power it needs to make its goals for the country a reality?

For decades, all the opposition has been capable of is pandering to its hardcore base of supporters. While this is good for staying in the opposition, it will never be good enough for actual change. As long as the opposition remains powerless, the country remains set on the path to infinite ignominy thanks to our hopeless government. For the sake of our country, the opposition needs to get serious about becoming the government. Our only hope of joining the highway to permanent prosperity is a government that understands the need for change and the needs of the country.

Can the opposition pull through on this? Can it win the votes of the average voters, instead of only those of the hardcore opposition supporters? Can it develop a clear, insightful, innovative and sensible policy plan that will at least begin to undo the damage that has been done by the Barisan Nasional government's complacency? Can it build up a slate of candidates with clearheaded ideas and principles and the energy to carry through the plans that have been drawn up? Can it truly focus on what most of the people want, instead of what a few hardcore opposition partisans want?

That is very much an open question - but thus far, my verdict has to be a resounding NO. The opposition's history in Malaysian politics is one of infinite ignominy itself. Ever since the beginning, our opposition has been tarred by either its association with communism, its ostentatiously racist partisans (honestly, if you believe that the rallies the DAP and Gerakan held before the May 13 riots were peaceful and non-racial, you might want to buy both the Singapore and Penang bridges I have for sale), and from 1970 onwards, simple incompetency. The opposition seems wholly incapable of fielding more than a handful of competent and able candidates. The opposition is utterly unable to develop a coherent, clear and sensible idea of what its policies will be when it comes to power. And, most depressingly, the opposition isn't even able of conceiving itself in power. It can't even cast its campaigns in incremental terms - first we increase our share of seats, and in the next election, we go for the government. All it knows how to do is talk complete cock about that insane two-thirds majority of BN's, and make increasingly shrill and ineffectual noises about BN's incompetency and corruption.

I've got news for you, folks in the opposition: we know BN is incompetent and corrupt. The question now is, what are you going to do about it? We Malaysians know what we want. We know we want a country where our children can grow up in peace, prosperity and pride. What is the opposition going to do about this? All I can say is, looking at the opposition's inefficacy, I have this funny feeling that my children are probably not going to grow up being Malaysian at all. And that will be a loss, for both me and my country. Keranamu Malaysia, yes - but will there be a Malaysia to speak of in my children's time? Or will a Malaysian nation be a long-dead concept, having collapsed into a squabbling rabble of different races fighting for an ever-shrinking economic pie?

It is incumbent upon all Malaysians, especially those seeking to change our path from one of infinite ignominy to permanent prosperity, to push political change now - because, literally and in all seriousness, it's now or never. The window of opportunity is closing fast. If we wait, we will soon find ourselves a backwater in an up-and-coming region of economic superpowers. We must seek change now, and we must change this ineffective government. In our 50th year of independence, we must move to set our country on the path to permanent prosperity by setting the gears in motion for a new and effective government. It's our move. Can we save this country for our children?

Got an idea for change? Share it on the forums. For starters, we could...form a new party to topple UMNO/BN? Discuss the Death of Malaysia at the forums.

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