As we enter into 2017, I am hopeful that the new year will finally bring positive change to Malaysia. But this positive change must begin with voting out the BN government and the installation of a new government.
For now, we see the BN big guns using the media to criticise the opposition for being divided and lacking cohesion. They also allege that there is no agreement on who is to be Prime Minister if the opposition wins. Or which opposition party will take over which portfolio.
Frankly, I do not see these as being big issues or problems. In fact by raising them, it shows how frightened the BN is over the prospect of losing power so that they will use all kinds of scare tactics.
Don’t forget that in the last GE the opposition won more than 51% of total votes. BN ended up with more state and parliament seats because most of the Malay rural areas voted for UMNO. But in the next GE, we have Pribumi, headed by Dr. M, Keadilan headed by Anwar and Amanah headed by Mat Sabu and the PAS moderates.
I believe PAS will eventually work with the opposition when they realise UMNO is making use of them to win. In any case we will definitely have more Malay parties competing for the rural seats.
The Game Changers
For me, all that matters is what position the BN and opposition has on three key issues which have screwed up Malaysia and Malaysians.
The first relates to providing clean and less corrupt government. As a former businessman I know the importance of money. I also think that money should be earned and not stolen or obtained through fraud or cheating. This is particularly the case for politicians or civil servants.
Unlike Malaysians from the private sector who use their own money and who understandably are trying to make profits from every deal, politicians and civil servants do not use their own savings or pockets. Instead they draw on our national Treasury whose funds come from taxpayers and consumers. Today we see that BN politicians and their appointed civil servant cronies do not care how money is obtained with the result that corruption has reached an absurdly abnormal level with the worst cases among the highest ranking politicians and civil servants.
Will the opposition if it comes to power be as corrupt as the BN government today? Possibly. But after so many years of having the devil we know play Malaysians out again and again and destroy our financial future, I am ready for the deep blue sea of the opposition taking over power.
We all know that it takes a thief to catch a thief. With our experts and champions in corruption, BN in the opposition, this will definitely act as a check against any Pakatan corruption.
The two other key issues are race and religion. Everyone knows how the BN has brought our nation to its current crisis in which racial and/or religious clashes are now predicted as likely to take place in the future. Again here, the culprit in instigating racial and religious intolerance and hatred is BN, or more accurately Big Brother with the big stick, UMNO.
Will the opposition make the racial or religious division in the country worse? The answer is no. In fact the position of the opposition parties and leaders (except for some PAS leaders ) on racial and religious issues has been consistently moderate, fair and rational. Compare this with the hard line, kamikazi record of UMNO leaders such as Jamal “Ikan Bakar” who wants to barbecue Malaysians who oppose the Red Shirts and UMNO.
There is one danger from an opposition election victory. This is the possibility that some UMNO leaders will use the election loss to stir up trouble. This happened during May 69 when UMNO’s Selangor Mentri Besar Dato Harun Idris rallied extremists to engage in mob violence. However, I think our situation today is so bad that many Malaysians are willing to take this risk of another May 69 by voting for the opposition.
Common sense will tell you that there will not be any riot simply because the new Prime Minister will be Dr Mahathir or Anwar if the opposition controls Putrajaya. This time though if there is an opposition victory the whole world will be watching and celebrating.
The BN’s black record on corruption, race and religion should be sufficient game changers for most ordinary Malaysians. At the same time, I expect opposition to UMNO to come from three key constituencies. They have been the main supporters of UMNO in the past but they have also have turned out to be the biggest losers.
The three biggest losers of UMNO’s power monopoly are:
- Felda settlers and their families.
- The younger generation of Malay Malaysians below 25-30 years
- The native voters in Sabah and Sarawak
Felda settlers and their families have suffered enormous financial losses as a result of the UMNO-engineered listing of Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGV). UMNO’s representatives and proxies managing the company have been involved in one bad decision after another with the latest scandal resulting in payment of RM2.27 billion for a minority share of an Indonesian plantation company when the share pricing should have been considerably less than half.
At the same time, the company’s share price has dropped from an initial IPO price of RM4.55 per share to its present RM1.55. Congratulations to PKR member of Parliament, Rafizi Ramli, for taking this matter into the Malay heartland. We must all support him.
As for the younger generation of Malay Malaysians, UMNO’s ketuanan policies have mainly benefited UMNO’s elite and cronies. Malay graduates now find that many tens of thousands are unemployable because of the bad policies and low standards set by an UMNO-dominated educational system. They will be aware that the future for them is bleak if the BN continues in power.
The third group of now disillusioned UMNO supporters are the natives of Sarawak, that is, Dayaks, Iban, Bidayuh, and Orang Ulu; and Sabah, that is, Kadazan-Dusun, Bajau, and Murut. Each of these groups has been played out by their leaders working together with UMNO so that the two states – potentially the richest states – are now among the poorest.