The gaping hole in our nation

Opinion  |  Dennis Ignatius
Published:  |  Modified:

The first law of holes: if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

COMMENT | Videos of enforcement officers going around cutting out photos of Dr Mahathir Mohamad from campaign billboards leaving a gaping hole in its place have gone viral.

If they think they can remove Mahathir from our hearts and minds by literally cutting him out of campaign posters, they are wrong. All it will do is remind us that there’s a hole in our nation that only Mahathir can fill.

Mahathir is now more than just a former prime minister trying to make a comeback; he is an idea whose time has come.

Like it or not, he now embodies the change we want and gives expression to the future we long for. He may have been part of the problem before but now, by his actions, he has chosen to be part of the solution and millions of Malaysians love him for it.

Promises, promises, promises

BN, of course, talks a lot about its manifesto with the caretaker deputy prime minister even boasting about a surge in support due to the manifesto’s “wow” factor.

The BN manifesto runs some 220 pages and contains 14 “thrusts” and 364 initiatives. It promises everything under the sun. Those who can, do; those who can’t, make promises, I suppose.

The MCA, in a bid to distance itself somewhat from Umno came up with its own 10 promises and 10 initiatives while the MIC, teetering on the edge of extinction, had a more modest four “components.”

Reading through the various BN manifestos, one is left with the inescapable conclusion that they are out of touch with public sentiment, bereft of imagination, low on ideas and high on desperation. They offer to do what any self-respecting government, particularly one that has been in office for so long, ought to have done a long time ago, and try to make a virtue of it. Promises sound like excuses when one has been in office for a very long time.

Instead of, for example, announcing official recognition for the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) which Chinese educationists have long campaigned for, they merely promise to recognise it if BN is returned to power. Why hold the Chinese community to ransom this way? If it’s a good thing, recognise it right away.

The MCA also promised to safeguard moderation, uphold the Federal Constitution and represent the constitutional rights of Malaysians. How can Malaysians take such a promise seriously coming from a party that supported, promoted and voted for every single piece of repressive legislation in Parliament?

In the meantime, the MCA chief, perhaps not wanting to be too closely associated with his boss in Umno, promotes himself as a close friend of President Xi Jinping of China. If he is hoping that an endorsement from President Xi might improve his dismal ratings among Chinese Malaysians, he is going to be disappointed.

Most pathetic of all was the MIC’s manifesto which highlighted fulfilling “the basic needs of the Indian community.” While others are focusing on the digital economy and global connectivity, the MIC is still talking about meeting “basic needs.” If after 60 years of power-sharing with Umno, the basic needs of the Indian community have still not been met, the MIC should simply accept that it has failed and failed miserably, and just go quietly into...

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