In the wake of the global pandemic, political and economic instability, the crucial GE15 can be referred to as The Stepmother of All Malaysian Elections due to the number of breakaway parties
It has been more than four years of turmoil since the last General Election in 2018. After a miserable outing, in one week, the results from GE15 will indicate whether we will continue to suffer due to making the wrong choice as in GE14, or look forward to a dynamic new government.
Many have been affected in one way or another by COVID-19, but not as severely as by the adverse effects of political instability.
In 2018 after 60 years, the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government finally fell. Many were overjoyed as they always claimed that they wanted to try a new government which they hoped would be a perfect one then, but their joy was short-lived. As a result, many are now discouraged to even go out and vote in the coming General Election, a far cry from the anger which compelled them to vote against the BN coalition. It was said that even if you put an actual flower pot to stand against a BN candidate then, the latter might even have lost.
But the government of their dreams turned out to be a nightmare which, after four years, we are still reeling from the adverse effects. We witnessed an unprecedented three prime ministers within that short term.
Thanks to infighting and power struggles, as well as incapability to manage a government, the said government finally collapsed on itself in February 2020 and though the many involved in the “Sheraton move” were dubbed as traitors, they failed to remember (or rather conveniently chose not to) that it was ultimately Anwar Ibrahim’s pressure on then PM Mahathir Mohamad (who did not keep his promises to surrender the Premiership) to surrender the premiership which led to the latter resigning, causing the government to implode.
Then COVID-19 hit us hard which could have been softened, if the then previous Pakatan-Harapan Government did not refuse to lockdown or stop high-risk tourists from entering. Muhyiddin Yassin did well in imposing the first lockdown as Prime Minister, the first time around, but then faltered with prolonged, half-baked lockdowns which cost the country dearly. Many struggled and were at their wits’ end, raising white flags, while the number of suicides escalated. Malaysians did well then, helping each other, friends and neighbours alike. Thank you for that.
But the resulting government with a slim majority, a marriage of convenience if you like, resulted in almost as many hiccups. This is why, my fellow Malaysians, our dream of moving Malaysia forward towards a developed nation for all to enjoy can only be accomplished with a strong and stable Government in place.
We must first get there – to a Developed nation status, before we can live out our Utopian dream of a two-party system where we can have proper check and balance.
We have complained about the parliament, some even going as far as calling it a circus and our politicians as clowns, but lest we forget, that the politicians we have today, both good and bad, are a result of us putting them there and the bad ones are there more often than not because of the double standards we practise. We have only ourselves to blame. If a person from our own preferred political party is accused, charged or found guilty, we will only claim political prosecution, while a politician from an opposing party has already been convicted in our own minds (or perhaps from our own party leaders) even before any trial is given.
We must learn to read both sides of the story before we can judge.
We must not practise double standards in order to be able to have the right leaders from both sides of the divide.
GE15 – Beyond Party Lines
Learn to look beyond party lines and colours.
Do not be fooled by sweet and empty promises if you do not want to be taken for a roller coaster ride of the last four years again.
We need a stable government with a strong majority to lead the country again.
We have turned the clock backwards in terms of progress just because of our inability to judge wisely.
This time around, if the various political surveys are worth their salt, many seats in Semenanjung would be very hotly contested with votes split amongst three main coalitions mainly Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional.
With that, it is a known fact that any coalition harbouring hopes to form the next government need to form them with the winning coalitions from BOTH Sabah and Sarawak, widely expected to be Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) in Sabah and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in Sarawak which both won formidably in the recently held two State Elections.
But the writing is on the wall, as Perikatan Nasional has just recently shot themselves in the foot by angering GPS of Sarawak when they broke their promise of not contesting in the state. Pakatan Harapan on the other hand had earlier on crushed their own chances of working with GPS when they bullied the Sarawak government when they were in control of the Federal Government. One of their most silly moves was to force Sarawak to repay RM1 billion ahead of schedule to the then Pakatan Harapan-led Federal government before they would disburse funds allocated to repair schools in the 2019 budget.
Over in Sabah, the opposition of the GRS imploded with many fighting and contesting against themselves. Even though the current Sabah government worked with Perikatan Nasional in the last State By-Election, the GRS has decided not to work with Perikatan Nasional this time around in GE15.
This time around, do not waste our votes on wishful thinking. Rather be practical and realistic as we cannot afford a repeat of instability of the last four to five years, not when the world economy is expected to go into a recession as early as next year, in fact some predicting before the end of the year.
This is why this General Election is even more crucial than the one in 2018.
It is imperative that we go out and vote. But this time around, please put on our thinking caps and not our emotions. Vote for stability and henceforth, prosperity will follow.
Remember, we are all in the same boat and that boat is called Malaysia. – NMH
About the writer: Joshua Phua is a keen political observer and strategic communications consultant who believes that Malaysia will only move forward if we learn to stop practising double standards.
The points expressed in this article are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the stand of the New Malaysia Herald.