Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

You Have No Reason to Vote Barisan Nasional

Written by johnleemk on 6:42:39 am Feb 23, 2008.
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Why vote for Barisan Nasional? Seriously now, why vote for them? Is there any good reason to? I can't think of any, to be honest and fair. If you've followed this site with any sort of regularity you should know by now I'm not averse to criticising anyone, government or opposition. I've found plenty of faults with the opposition — faults that still plague them — but fundamentally, these defects are nothing compared to those of the government.

I think there is only one reason anyone at all votes for BN, assuming they are informed about the state of the nation. If you know what is wrong with this country, the only reason you would vote for BN is if you don't believe they are responsible for what is wrong. (Let's ignore the unsavoury truth that quite a few people benefiting from what is wrong support BN so they can keep their little corruption fiesta going, and instead let's assume most people sincerely mean well.)

Now, what's been going wrong with the country? The most obvious problem, continually conspicuous and freely acknowledged by the government, is corruption. It's been scandal after scandal after scandal with no sign of stopping. Is BN truly powerless to do anything about this?

Surely the answer is no. If you know local governments are mismanaging funds, why tell off the councillors if you know this won't change anything? Shouldn't concrete action be taken against these people? What about lower level corruption? Aren't low salaries and a poorly structured administrative system — two things BN can't escape being held responsible for — responsible for all the bribe-taking that goes on? What of the higher levels? In any other country, a minister who ignored reports from government bodies about unusual and obviously improper cost increases in a multibillion ringgit project under his ministry would be fired. Here, he does not even get a public reprimand! How can we not blame BN for this?

What about security? For years we have been giving up our basic freedoms so we can have security and peace. Not too long ago, lawyers in Kuala Lumpur were arrested for walking down the sidewalk just because it was human rights day and the government thought they might conceivably be holding a peaceful demonstration. As one joke has it, under our laws, a family of six going for a picnic constitutes an illegal gathering. What do we have to show for this? BN has demanded we give up our liberty for safety. What have we got?

We have people kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Practically everyone in the city has a story of theft to tell. While young children are kidnapped, and robbers run rampant, the police are busy breaking up peaceful demonstrations and kicking peaceful protesters in the face for passing out leaflets. What kind of security have we got? How is this not attributable to BN?

We could look at the economy. We have seen price increase after price increase. Some of this inflation is attributable to world economic trends — the price of oil keeps going up, and I've always thought it extremely irresponsible that we subsidise fuel when we know of the harm it causes to our health and the environment, and of the opportunity cost when we could be spending our money on better things. But even when you put aside the fuel price increases, which are arguably not really the fault of the government, look at how other things are going.

We see monopolies constantly squeezing us. Banks, telecommunication companies, media providers — all feel free to cheat us, treat us poorly, and charge us high prices for the privilege of it, simply because the government will not allow anyone to compete against them. These artificial monopolies are directly responsible for increased prices, and how can we not blame BN for creating these monopolies in the first place?

When the festive season comes around, we see families struggling to prepare festive meals because the government, in its infinite wisdom, declares a price ceiling and eradicates the incentive for firms to fill the shortage. When the shortage becomes apparent, the government announces a quota on how much you can buy at a time from the supermarket. What kind of economic management is this? Any old idiot can tell you that these are the nonsensical sort of things you would see under the Soviet Union or any other communist regime, rather than anything in the likes of a real, well-managed market economy. How can we not blame BN for this poor management, which has been going on for practically time immemorial?

And let's not ignore the elephant in the room — race! Who is the biggest exploiter of racial divisions in the country? Whose general assemblies feature people loudly denouncing those of other races, brandishing weapons, and threatening violence if things do not go their way? Who then accuses other parties, whose general assemblies feature people calling for race-blind policies and national unity, of playing the racial card? Who perpetuates racial quotas which benefit a small segment of one race, and claims to be working for all Malaysians? Who perpetually threatens a repeat of the May 13 violence if they do not get their way? BN, naturally.

In any other country, a government this irresponsible and this evil would have been thrown out of power a long time ago. It's a harsh word, but evil is the only word fitting for this regime at this point. We have witnessed over fifty years of people from this party telling citizens of our country to get the hell out if they don't like their policies — the complete antithesis of democracy and national sovereignty. We have witnessed fifty years of this party threatening to murder innocent Malaysian citizens if it cannot get its way.

Tell me, why would you vote for BN? Why would you not hold it responsible for the evil it has been doing? Even if you think the opposition cannot manage any better than BN, why would you assume the opposition is as evil as the government? Has anyone from the opposition ever said "Do not challenge the Malays — it will ignite our spirit to run amok"? Has anyone from the opposition ever said that we should not be afraid to use violence if we cannot get our way? Even if some opposition members are racist or racial in their thinking, at the very least they have never called for violent uprisings like the current government has!

The efficacy of the opposition is questionable (though in my view, far better than that of the present government). But why would you support this government that has no respect for the people it elected, that continues bad policies when their use-by date has long past, that when faced with an obvious problem with an obvious solution — whether that problem is corruption, racial polarisation, or the electoral process — decides the answer is to throw in jail anyone who doesn't like it? Don't vote for a government that throws shit in your face and asks you to eat it. You might disagree with the opposition, and maybe you won't even vote for them, but at the very least, don't reward the bigots and sadists who think they can continue to abuse the people who elected them without getting called on it.


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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

Infernal Ramblings is run by John Lee. For more, see the About section. If you have any questions or comments, do drop him a line.


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