Malaysiakini Letter

BN swallowed in the abyss of demagogy

Gerard Lourdesamy  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi must be confused when he dare says that the Anwar issue is no longer relevant. If that is the case he should have directed the court to release this prisoner from Sungai Buloh on bail to enable him to contest tomorrow's general election Chances are the prime minister and his BN candidates would lose their deposits!

I am appalled by the BN leadership and, in particular, Umno candidates who are more concerned about getting into power in order to further their own narrow interests than serving the rakyat selflessly for the next five years.

I concede that some BN candidates do a good job, in the sense of relegating their role as members of parliament or of the state assembly to maintaining and cleaning roads, keeping an eye on drains, attending weddings and funerals and keeping themselves relevant by doing the most inconsequential things in hope for recognition from the electorate.

It's about time that they are told that such a role is for the unelected local authorities appointed by the BN government who pride themselves in providing inefficient services at a very high price. These so-called people-oriented representatives should also be calling for local council elections in parliament and at the state assemblies rather than playing the role of some all-encompassing 'agony aunt.'

I am equally disgusted at the unmitigated propaganda against the opposition parties notably the DAP and Keadilan. A vote for either does not represent a vote for PAS. PAS is not in a position to form the government on its own and neither are the other opposition parties.

The Islamic state agenda is not in the manifesto of the BA at the federal level. PAS only envisages such a concept in the Malay/Muslim majority states. As long as DAP and Keadilan remain as a strong and viable opposition in terms of numbers, PAS is not in a position to implement its agenda.

At the same time we should also be wary of Umno that has already declared Malaysia to be an Islamic state with the tacit approval of the other BN component parties notably the MCA, MIC and Gerakan.

The electorate is naive to think that Umno is not advocating an Islamic agenda. This is obvious from the various Islamic laws enacted at the state level, its enforcement and the increasing difficulty that non-Muslims face in practicing their own religions in terms of the lack of approval for places of worship, the absence of non-Muslim religious instruction in schools, the prevention of the use of religious symbols in mission schools and the limited provision of burial grounds for non-Muslims.

Two other interesting facts have emerged so far from this election campaign. One is the BN's lack of confidence as evidenced by the under-handed manner they have employed in dealing with their opponents by roping the Election Commission and the police.

Secondly, the prime minister's defence of his son's business interests despite widespread allegations of corruption, nepotism and abuse of power in the awarding of the Petronas contract in question is also distressing.

It is unfortunate that the prime minister justified the awarding of the contract to his son on the basis of his credentials despite the fact that serious questions remain about the manner in which the contract was awarded, the background of the company concerned and the treatment of the competitors.

These allegations are further compounded by the fact that the person in question has emerged as one of the 10 most richest Malays in the country over a short period of time. I think its about time that parents in public office tell their children to refrain from getting involved in deals that can undermine their position, integrity, impartiality and objectivity especially when public corporations with close connections to the government are implicated, in order to avoid allegations of lack of transparency and accountability.

Children of persons in public office should also remain above suspicion like Caesar's wife, be more cautious and restrained in their dealings with public or government-owned corporations, be less ambitious in order to preserve their own integrity and those of persons close to them and avoid being accused of manipulation, greed and avarice.

The Malaysian electorate is wiser and after 22 years of power abuse, corruption, nepotism and cronyism by the previous administration, they have learned to call a spade a spade and not a fork despite justifications to the contrary by persons who advocate change, a war against corruption, accountability and transparency, but who are nevertheless blinded by parental love and affection.

After all of this, I am inclined to believe that nothing is ever going to change in Malaysia as long as the electorate fears change and is inclined to retain the status quo for want of a viable, trusted and workable alternative.

We should vote as our conscience dictates in order to give life and meaning to the stirring words used by our late Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman in the proclamation of independence in 1957, that envisaged a nation that practiced and defended the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law and the pursuit of happiness for all its people regardless of race, religion and creed.

It is about time that our politicians returned to these basics from the abyss of demagogy, self-preservation and personal enrichment.

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