An election must be more than a search for honesty in a snake pit.
– Stewart Stafford, American author
Political maturity, voter sensitivity, citizens’ sensibilities, populist appeals, politicians, ploticians, concerned citizens and the dynamics of the Election Commission will take centre stage in a few days when prophetic pundits are agog with deep analyses and predictions. Lest we forget, “the ballot is stronger than the bullet,” as Abraham Lincoln wryly observed without indignation and agitation during the American Civil War. But the bullet got him too!
What’s at stake is certainly not the politicians’ will to hang on to and stay in power goaded by elitism as the guiding light. What will count is whether the man-in-the-street and his family are convinced the new system of governance will play a more important role than the practice of government with civil servants and politicians dictating policies.
Populism has its own advantages and benefits if the people are convinced that they will vote for and expect a government that will truly care for them as is to be rightly expected from the working class who should enjoy tax-free status.
Who is specifically counting and keeping tally of how much ringgit is being printed by Giesecke Devrient where the printing presses in Batu Tiga are operating with sufficient ink and paper with top-notch German machinery? The government certainly cannot be saying it’s losing money if it doesn’t tax the middle class!
No politician or political party has uttered the one and only election promise that will garner unprecedented votes: no taxes for the working class. Halving ministers’ salaries, or not taking salaries, doesn’t cut it. Promise and guarantee tax-free status for the needy, and the rest is done and dusted.
Another election promise that will work is free college education for the children of those parents who rarely make ends meet with meagre take-home wages. This, coupled with subsidised necessities will get the voters’ adrenalin flowing. After all, the power in people is unmatched as they decide and vote.
The rule of law and the adherence to constitutional supremacy was also unheard of from every candidate. “The passing of laws should not be like passing water as it ends down the drain,” said a brilliant Indian thinker. The laws to protect the innocent, and the courage of innocence, is also not touched upon.
GE-15 results must reflect a firm and permanent decision that the old ways are old, and thus they don’t apply; they don’t fit; they have to be avoided and discarded like a bad habit. This is the ultimate choice that rests with the voters. Imagine, if you will, almost five million new 18 year-olds voting with their souls and spirits instead of their hearts and heads with gratitude to social media vis-a-vis government-controlled media. Malaysians may very well witness a real experience of revelation, revolution and restoration.
Who will say no to the new, the fresh, the untested, the untried which has exhibited signs and signals of significant change and reform? I am not implying or advocating liberalism, libertarianism, or any shade of socialism, but I stand corrected if I am supportive of populism. What’s so wrong, so bad, and so unjust about caring for those who are seldom thought of in the major decisions any government makes to increase its political potency?
An American pastor remarked that democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people. It’s these people that I refer to as possessing people power that will trump the people in power who get to the halls of power and authority by the sheer will, or wanting, of the voters.
Associate Justice Louis Brandies of the US Supreme Court once declared in no uncertain terms that “the most important office, and the one which all of us can and should fill, is that of the private citizen.” This is chillingly true; subtly revolutionary; brilliantly restorative and certainly not reactionary. Malaysian voters have reached a consensus on this, according to political-pulse pundits.
Voting for political parties is a weak symbol and sign of affinity or allegiance because political manifestos assume chameleon characteristics. The strongest candidate is the one who has sacrificed time, space and dignity for what he has believed in driven by permanent and unchanging human values that has defined his upbringing. Only one contender qualifies as prime minister material post-GE15.
Now, it’s up to the voters to bring about the restoration of sacrosanct values through a revelation of choices and a revolution of practical ideas that will sink permanent roots into the soil and soul of every thinking Malayan, Sarawakian and Sabahan.
The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.