The run-up to the elections at Ijok last Saturday was very revealing and paints the actual state of this beloved nation's political maturity.
The 50 years of toil that sprang from the bed-rock of democracy fueled by nationalism is being desecrated by some present-day politicians and various authorities. That is a fact and we must have the moral courage to take inventory of what we witnessed at Ijok.
What we witnessed was not only shameful but also rocked the very foundation on which our former leaders and politicians together with the Malaysian rakyat built this nation. It is a disgrace to see politicians today throw accusations at each other and attempting to wash each others' dirty linen in public at the expense of the helpless rakyat.
The sudden flooding of cash and kind from the ruling party is another act that speaks volumes of our state of political maturity (or immaturity). While on the one hand we vouch to fight the plague of corruption, today we witness all kinds of comforts, conveniences and seeming support pour into a district in the wake of a by-election.
It does not need a Harvard professor to figure out the bankrupt state of our politics, really.
Leaders should have instead restricted themselves and explained and justified their role besides transparently accounting for their past performance to sway the perceptions of voters. Instead, we witness rowdy tactics, slandering, swearing, threats and police reports being the order of the day. How despicable we have become despite having 50 years of self-rule.
Leaders and party politicians should stop and reflect. Is this politics? Is this how we want to lead by example? Is this the kind of legacy we want to create for our children?
An election is not an opportunity to win at all cost. It is a platform to influence perceptions and to earn the opportunity to lead through exemplary service. While this may sound as idealistic, the fact remains that losing sight of idealism is like navigating without a compass. And politics is not power unless you have the people (electorate) convinced of your 'niat'.
In short, we must admit that our state of political will and practice is on the decline. How on earth are we going to stand proud before the world as a developed nation by 2020 when we see our politicians and leaders behaving in such despicable manners?