People, please guide your Barisan Rakyat

Posted on November 12, 2010

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“It is evident that politics will not save Sarawak. Politicians will not save Sarawak. It is the people who will save Sarawak.

We need Spartacus, Mahatma Gandhi and the spirit of the Tiananmen students to lead the charge for change.

Yes, it is a long-withdrawn battle and losing is assured, yet history will record that the lay people put up a stand against an establishment bent on manipulating them for personal gains.

With or without Pakatan, the people of Sarawak will mount an ongoing assault for change. This is the legacy we want to leave our children.

This is something Pakatan needs to understand. It is not that Sarawak needs Pakatan to fight its battle. Pakatan needs Sarawakians. And all we ask is that Pakatan put its act together and come along side us…

…In Sarawak, change will happen because the people desire it. And neither the BN nor Pakatan can deny them that” – Maclean Patrick’s “Shape up or ship out, Pakatan Rakyat”.

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“If there is one thing all Malaysian democrats have in common, it is that we have a common aim of ridding the country of 53 years of Barisan Nasional’s misrule and oppression. But let us first examine the so-called ‘politicians of integrity’…

…how is this Third Force going to ensure that their leaders are not going to jump ship? If the answer is that the Third Force politicians have ‘higher’ political principles than those of Pakatan, how do you measure the level of ‘principled-ness’? What guarantees can they give the rakyat?

Let’s face it, if the Third Force is the same as, or on the political right of Pakatan, then forget it – we’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Spare us.

The Third Force has to go beyond the populism and neo-liberalism of Pakatan and provide the substance of reform. At the last panel discussion on ‘neo-liberalism’ that I shared with Zaid, he said that he was not clear about what exactly ‘neo-liberalism’ is but that he was a liberal and a democrat!

….it is clear that there is no place in the Third Force for careerists no matter how ‘principled’ they claim they are.

A Third Force of substance has to be the political left of Pakatan, and it is meant to take our country beyond the neo-liberalism of BN and Pakatan toward a ‘Peoples’ Federation of Malaysia” – Dr Kua Kia Soong’s “What it takes to be the Third Force”.

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Since the first week of the last fasting month, a small group of citizens have met and had discussions about the possibility of civil society initiative to offer candidates for the 13th GE to political parties seen to be committed to the cause of addressing the plight of ALL marginalised Malaysians, reforming and restoring our institutions of state, and returning the nation back to her people.

This Sunday, we are hosting a closed-door meeting involving a wider spectrum of civil society interests whereat we hope, after serious deliberation and discussion, a consensus might be arrived at to carry this initiative forward, and perhaps, establishing an interrim committee to do all that is necessary to get this initiative off the ground

Dr. Kua advocates that such an initiative should not have amongst its candidates career politicians.

I agree.

Dr Kua also appears to suggest that any past politicians looking to resurrect their political fortunes in the fertile grounds of this civil society initiative be politely but firmly shown the door.

I am of like mind.

Dr Kua asks what guarantee could this initiative offer the rakyat that such of their candidates, if elected, will not jump ship?

This is an important question, and one that I shall endeavour to answer.

Before I answer, though, I ask that each of you address this question : what guarantee did DAP, PAS and PKR give to the rakyat in respect of the candidates that they offered at the last election?

What guarantee did they give that Wee Choo Keong would not jump ship?

That Zahrain would not betray the rakyat?

That Zul Noordin would not cross over to the enemy?

We took no guarantees from the parties.

Well, we voters, too, were not thinking then, so perhaps we too are at fault in the matter of electing these most dishonest of characters to high political office.

I ask that we not make the same mistake again.

I ask that this time round, when Pakatan or any of the other non-BN parties come asking for your vote, you ask the same question that is now put to those who propose this civil society initiative.

My answer to Dr. Kua’s query is that we cannot guarantee that none of the civil society candidates will jump ship.

In fact, no one can ever give such a guarantee.

What we can do is to minimise the risk of such betrayals by putting in place a stringent candidate selection criteria that weeds out the ‘risky’ candidates, leaving only the ‘as risk-free as possible’ candidates for selection.

I am going to propose to the meeting this weekend that prospective candidates be required to do as follows.

First, to submit a comprehensive biodata / profile and to authorise a verification exercise by a risk management agency of all the details stated therein, and to carry out any further investigation deemed necessary following upon this verification exercise.

Second, to follow the lead set by Parti Sosialis Malaysia and require each prospective candidate to give a statutory declaration as to the assets in their names and that of their spouses, to undertake to make a similar statutory declaration within 6 months of being duly elected and every twelve months thereafter. They are to give their written authorisation to allow for the matters detailed in their declarations to be verified by a risk management agency.

By this exercise, we hope to be able to also weed out those whose lifestyles expose them either to the risk of blackmail or being seduced to crossover.

I do not need to list those concerns here. We all know what they are.

For candidates not prepared to go through with this rigorous screening, it ends there.

For those who clear this screening and are shortlisted, their names will be published in one issue of a Malay, English, Tamil and Mandarin newspaper as well as a website set up for this initiaitve to announce them as civil society prospective candidates, inviting the general public to write to the committee if they know of any reasons why any one or more of these shortlisted should not be offered as candidates.

Allegations without details and hence do not allow for a verification by the risk management agency will not be entertained.

Two weeks will be allowed for the public to revert with any such information.

Candidates who survive these two stages will now be required to enter into an agreement to pay back in full all monies expanded on their candidacy, both before and after nomination day until polling day should they get elected and, before dissolution of the new Parliament, as assessed by a court of law, if they should join any political party without having first obtained the sanction of a majority of voters in their constituency in attendance at a meeting notice of which shall have been published in one issue of a  Malay, English, Tamil and Mandarin newspaper, convened in the constituency for the purpose of obtaining such sanction.

It is hoped that this might give the initiative the best chance to identify the ‘as risk-free as possible’ candidates for selection.

What of the criteria to use to identify, from these shortlisted, the candidates with the best MP-aptitude?

In an earlier post, this is what I had suggested.

“My2cen suggested that an MP should be highly intelligent, have a good grasp of our Malaysian history & lots of respect for it’s multiculturalism, know enough of the law to be able to understand the proposed bills/laws to be implemented, or propose new bills/laws that are more current and benefit the people as a whole, can articulate well and highlight to us any adverse laws and policies that are being contemplated, or already implemented by the govt that should be scrapped, and have a good sense of humour”.

I would like to hear from you on that which I have written here and, if possible before this Sunday, so that I may  be guided by you in taking these proposals to the meeting.

I have one thing to ask of you.

Please subject Pakatan Rakyat to the same expectations that you will now demand of your Barisan Rakyat.

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