Despite being the most influential political ideology in the world, democracy is not perfect. Hence, it is subjected to exploitation by ‘political worms’. Once its shield of integrity is broken, democracy would start to rot aided by those ‘worms’.
This unwanted scenario could be what has been happening in Perak. Not even a year ago on March 8, 2008, voters chose their representatives to parliament and the state assembly.
Unknown to them, they were not fulfilling their role to uphold democracy but were merely ‘officiating’ a political game between two camps of ‘political worms’.
After the ‘official opening ceremony’ ended, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) camp was awarded a total of 31 ‘chess pieces’ while Barisan Nasional (BN) camp was surprisingly awarded three pieces less on the ‘Perak chessboard’.
Then, the game begin with both chess masters (‘worm-masters’?) playing mind games to win over chess pieces from the other camp. The voters were merely spectators!
So is democracy still alive in this country? Could be, but it is fast rotting to death. In the process, we witness all sort of lame reasons given to justify a switching (and rejoining) of camps.
The Bota ‘chess piece’s’ ‘long and serious’ consideration to hop over to the PR camp seems less serious considering his reverse process to rejoin BN. The issue of money politics was brought up.
Threats and treats were rumored. Resignation letters were countered with denial letters. The Election Commission’s decision was disputed and the matter could even end up in court.
Thus, is democracy still alive? Perhaps, but that depends on what ‘medicine’ is given to detoxify those ‘political worms’. It is certainly not an easy task and thus a truly qualified doctor (more precisely, a ‘savior’) is needed, of which the Sultan of Perak is one.
Yet, before official ‘medicine’ is prescribed, three major opinions have been voiced out. Some believe that having by-elections in both Behrang and Changkat Jering is the best medicine but some claim a smooth transition to BN rule is better.
Meanwhile, others (including me as a voter in a Perak constituency) prefer snap state elections as the medicine.
Only then can the power of voters be restored from being merely ‘spectators’ of a chess game to being the deciders of our own state assembly representatives.
Democracy should empower the people through the electoral process - not empower the ‘political worms’ through a chess game. Let’s hope democracy has not rotted to death in the country yet.