Saturday, May 04, 2013

Ubah: The Change We Need

I once asked DS Rafidah Aziz during a meet up with student leaders in Sydney about 6-7 years ago, it went something like: what do you think of today's opposition & do you wish we had a more credible & stronger opposition?

Tha answer that I got was a typical politician's answer which was not really an answer but my question reflected what I thought, at that time, Malaysian needed: a more credible & stronger opposition.

It might be a stupid question for me to ask a politician but I expected an answer of the stateswoman within the Iron Lady, if there was one. One strong enough to say a credible & strong opposition is important in a democracy system so no one party have the right to be too comfortable with the title 'government', so there is a functioning check & balance system in the country.

As I recalled, this was pre-2008 & there were little opposition representation in the Dewan Rakyat as Pak Lah had won a landslide during his 1st GE as PM. I thought the opposition was a joke as they were not focused & it was more like a few small opposing party vs the giant that is BN vs themselves.

Fast forward to 2 sleeps before arguably the most important day in Malaysia's history: GE13. How times have changed & we now have a strong & functioning opposition within our system.

One that can mobilise the rakyat significantly enough to tell the govt "look, we gave you your power, we can take it back". A united opposition, despite unification under the term 'Pakatan Rakyat' imho merely due to the common need to remain competitive & to have the adequate numbers to mount any sort of challenge against BN. But hey, as they say, politics is 'a game of numbers'.

I think, this is the real 'ubah' or 'change' that we need.

However, as any clever opposition would do, PR had adopted 'Ubah' as their slogan. The theme of change rarely suits governments anyway. And today we see 'Ubah' everywhere. Through every means possible, PR had adopted a campaign method that targets the people's emotions so that people become angry, fed up, dissapointed, etc, at the current government.

Emotional people are less rational people & it is like a lighted charcoal where you simply pour petrol to make it burn brighter. Stories that are so far fetched, so remotely possible, can be easily believed as truth without much questioning, granted the story is about how bad the government is.

'Ubah' now simply means 'change the bloody government'. And I now ask, is that the change we need?

In my humble opinion, as said earlier, we already have the real change that we need within our political system. We have, give & take, a strong 2 party system where via either PR or BN as opposition, the rakyat knows they both can be strong enough opposition to any govt that does not honour the people's mandate.

And I apologize for dissapointing some of you, but I don't think a change of government is the change we need now.

I don't think PR has proven enough that it is ready to be government. While BN has stuck to its philosophy & ideology of power sharing between races, one that to me suits a majority racist (not in a bad way) society; PR is too young a coalition for me to trust to run the country well. It is like comparing a group of friends who grew up together & a working group formed at work.

And I want PR to prove that it is a sincere coalition for the people by serving another term as the strong opposition that we need, but not yet the government that we can afford. If they can't last another term as a coalition in the opposition, they probably were never good enough to be government.

I do not want to be hasty in bringing in a change in govt as that would be an important milestone for our country, much like deciding to get married & enter a new phase of life. You've got to trust that you've found the right person before you say 'I do'.

In the same tone that people tell me to not be afraid of having PR in charge, I believe we can survive another 5 years of BN. We'ved survived 55, why be afraid? I also believe Najib's long term transformation plans (that are only 4 yrs old) deserves momentum as they are, objectively, not that bad really.

Besides, I believe in the change that we really need, change we already have, ie, a strong opposition. If PR is sincere as a coalition for the rakyat, with the power it has, even as an opposition, BN will be kept in check.

Having said all that, the above are opinions of only one man. I'm happy I've got the change that I want via PR as a strong opposition. Whatever the outcome of the election, to me, is a result of this change & I shall embrace it, as you should too, no matter what the outcome.