COMMENT As we enter into 2017, I am hopeful that the new year will finally bring positive change to Malaysia. But this positive change must begin with voting out the BN government and the installation of a new government.
For now, we see the BN big guns using the media to criticise the opposition for being divided and lacking cohesion. They also allege that there is no agreement on who is to be prime minister if the opposition wins. Or which opposition party will take over which portfolio.
Frankly, I do not see these as being big issues or problems. In fact by raising them, it shows how frightened BN is over the prospect of losing power so that they will use all kinds of scare tactics.
Don’t forget that in the last general election (GE) the opposition won more than 51 percent of total votes. BN ended up with more state and parliament seats because most of the Malay rural areas voted for Umno. But in the next GE, we have Bersatu, headed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, PKR headed by Anwar Ibrahim and Amanah headed by Mohamad Sabu and the former PAS moderates.
I believe PAS will eventually work with the opposition when they realise Umno is making use of them to win. In any case we will definitely have more Malay parties competing for the rural seats.
The game changers
For me, all that matters is what position the BN and opposition have on three key issues which have screwed up Malaysia and Malaysians.
The first relates to providing clean and less corrupt government. As a former businessman I know the importance of money. I also think that money should be earned and not stolen or obtained through fraud or cheating. This is particularly the case for politicians or civil servants.
Unlike Malaysians from the private sector who use their own money and who understandably are trying to make profits from every deal, politicians and civil servants do not use their own savings or pockets. Instead they draw on our national Treasury whose funds come from taxpayers and consumers.
Today we see that BN politicians and their appointed civil servant cronies do not care how money is obtained, with the result that corruption has reached an absurdly abnormal level, with the worst cases among the highest ranking politicians and civil servants.
Will the opposition if it comes to power be as corrupt as the BN government today? Possibly. But after so many years of having the devil we know play Malaysians out again and again and destroy our financial future, I am ready for the deep blue sea of the opposition taking over power.
We all know that it takes a thief to catch a thief. With our experts and champions in corruption, BN in the opposition, this will definitely act as a check against any Pakatan corruption.
The two other key issues are race and religion. Everyone knows how BN has brought our nation to its current crisis in which racial and/or religious clashes are now predicted as likely to take place in the future. Again here, the culprit in instigating racial and religious intolerance and hatred is BN, or more accurately Big Brother with the big stick, Umno.
Will the opposition make the racial or religious division in the country worse? The answer is no. In fact the position of the opposition parties and leaders (except for some PAS leaders ) on racial and religious issues has been consistently moderate, fair and rational. Compare this with the hard line, kamikaze record of Umno leaders such as Jamal ‘Ikan Bakar’ Md Yunos who want to barbecue Malaysians who oppose the red-shirts and Umno.
There is one danger from an opposition election victory. This is the possibility that some Umno leaders will use the election loss to stir up trouble. This happened during May 1969 when Umno’s then-Selangor menteri besar Harun Idris allegedly rallied extremists. However, I think our situation today is so bad that many Malaysians are willing to take this risk of another May 69 by voting for the opposition.
Common sense will tell you that there will not be any riot simply because the new prime minister will be Dr Mahathir or Anwar if the opposition controls Putrajaya. This time though, if there is an opposition victory the whole world will be watching and celebrating.