What change do we seek?

Posted on February 18, 2008

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SV Singam’s sequel to ’50 years of 2/3 majority’

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We live in a country that has not seen any real change of government since its inception 50 years ago. For 39 of those 50 years, we have been fed fear scenarios. The vast majority of the people do not understand change of government. Their fear of change is real and should not be trivialised. Proposals of too much change too soon may well trigger a panic reaction and undo all the good we are striving to accomplish. 

So what change do we seek? Kick out the BN government and replace it with a group of unproven politicians? Why, We expect that their promises will be better kept? Or is it revenge we seek for all these years of exploitation and marginalisation? Should we not seek to change the baseline of our political system from a race-based one to one that builds a common future for all of Bangsa Malaysia? 

Now how does one go about doing that? I haven’t the foggiest. I’m neither politician nor political scientist. But one statement made by Raja Petra Kamaruddin sticks in my mind – UMNO cannot be defeated from without. 

Despite all of the party’s excesses, we cannot deny that there are many capable leaders within UMNO. They joined because they were seeking to change from within. Of course, some of them are being dropped because of their valiant efforts. But they are likely to remain party loyalists. Why? Because they probably do not see any of the other parties as having any realistic chance to achieve anything meaningful. We can expect the same of the other BN components. 

Most of the damage done by the BN has been a consequence of the 2/3 majority. This damning 2/3 majority control has to wiped out of our political system. We should strive to have a parliament that eventually comprises two equally strong parties or coalitions that face off during each election to win the confidence and mandate of the rakyat. 

To me, it seems that the first step should be to demolish the 2/3 stranglehold the BN has had for all these years. Even that step is fraught with danger. We all know why. We’ve been there before. Assuming that we survive that stage, the next stage should be for the now sizeable opposition to prove themselves to the rakyat. If they can demonstrate their calibre, they can begin to attract those capable leaders now sidelined or struggling within BN halls. The primary goal at this stage would be to prove to the rakyat that a functional alternate government is plausible and not a threat. 

It is paramount that this Barisan Alternatif shed all race/religion based baggage. Otherwise, we will still be furiously running nowhere. It will be ideal if the party leaders can set aside personal ambitions, dissolve their separate parties and merge into a single entity with a single agenda and manifesto. I can then see capable leaders flocking to them in droves. 

If we can get that far, people, we have hope for a splendid future. 

We need a dream. Then we can make it come true. 

Let us make that our dream.

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