The ballot is stronger than the bullet.– ABRAHAM LINCOLN, 16TH US PRESIDENT
As politics reared its ugly head in the past few years, leading to the collapse of governments, it is only natural that some would be sickened by it.
I know for a fact that people my age are disgusted by the politicking by those in power and in the opposition.
But at this very moment, it is important to remember that democracy, the strength of the nation and state is only as strong as its people.
In recent weeks, certain quarters, knowing that the state election is around the corner, tried to propagate a narrative that the Sarawak government was rushing the election, purportedly in a bid to avoid Undi18.
While it never caught on, this has not deterred the group as they and their supporters believed in the principle of propaganda which was “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes accepted as truth.”
This was how the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government was dethroned with numerous unsubstantiated allegations being levelled against the government leaders.
To date, we know for a fact that these accusations are falling apart with each passing day as truth prevailed.
Against this background, it is crucial the young voters and supporters of political parties understand what is offered to them by parties vying to be state government during the polls.
They must know what the parties have in store for them if they were to be in power — be it in terms of youth empowerment, development of economy as well as their wellbeing.
As far as we know now, the opposition has not set out any grand vision for Sarawak or any solid plan for that matter on developing the state.
This fact was echoed by Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) senior lecturer Dr Suffian Mansor.
He believed that most voters would vote for Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) as the ruling coalition had a clear vision on the state’s development and also the future of Sarawak.
“I think that is the main reason why people will support GPS. The opposition parties do not seem to be really clear about their objectives or direction.”
The youth need to be farsighted and look past issues that are petty in nature. Democracy is not about who shouts the loudest or causes the most upset.
It is bringing the people together, playing their parts to develop a nation state.
Undi18 will come sooner or later — the processes have begun and is taking place. We can be sure of that. If it is not ready for this state election, then it will be ready for the next general election.
An election during a pandemic is never ideal, but then again, as leaders, they have to decide on how best they can strike a balance between protecting the lives of the people and uphold the State Constitution.
It is their duty to do so and the constitution, is one that they took the oath to preserve, protect and defend, at all times.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on Thursday, gave a salient reminder to the youth.
During the launch of eBazzar, a locally developed e-commerce platform, he drove home a point that Sarawak, compared to other states, had not done too badly in terms of its digital economic development, with one eye on the future.
“I hope the young (realises this), this (digital era) is a new era for them, they must see what the state government is doing.
“I must tell you that we are not that bad, we are slightly better than the rest of Malaysia in terms of digital economy.
“This is what we are doing, don’t gamble (away our future), we must have a visionary government.”
And it’s true — if anyone wonders what the state government has in store for the youth, it is this. As someone who is from the age group, I think it matters more.
Ensuring the future is important — unity, prosperity and being able to live in harmony is important, let’s not lose sight of that.
The current government is a far-sighted government; it may not satisfy the cravings of some for blockbuster-style politics given the no-nonsense approach of the current leaders, but it was this that brought political stability to the masses.
After a long few years that sanity in politics was being chipped away at the federal level due to division, if anything, this is a breath of fresh air.