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MP SPEAKS | Doing the right thing is never in vain

MP SPEAKS | Two days before the Malacca state election, I was asked in a virtual forum with Malaccans to predict the outcome of the poll.

My response was this: instead of guessing who will win, all of us should simply focus on doing the right thing, go to vote for hope.

Voting is not for the candidates nor political parties, but it is really for the voters to register our stance and aspirations.

We may feel disappointed if our candidates do not win, but at the end of the day, know that when we have done the right thing, the results, even though no less important, will be secondary.

No vote will go to waste

The struggle for change and reform is a colossal endeavour. This is unmistakable in the history of humanity.

But as I have written before the Malacca election, the story of humanity is not one of despair, it is a story of triumph over despondency.

Half a century ago, Lim Kit Siang stood up as a lone voice in Parliament on Dec 10, 1971 urging for the enfranchisement of 18-year-olds in Malaysia.

It would take 48 years before #Undi18 was eventually passed, unanimously, in Parliament on July 16, 2019.

The road to reform is long and lonely, but the journey never ends in despondency.

Immediately after BN's victory in Malacca, its chairperson Ahmad Zahid Hamidi made a statement committing to several reforms advocated by Pakatan Harapan, namely, to enact anti-hopping legislation and to allow a constructive vote of confidence.

These may not be the total reform package we aspire to - but they prevent a winner-take-all situation where those who win power will have everything to gain and those who fail will lose everything.

Such a winner-take-all scenario not only induces "political frogs" to jump ship but also invalidates the democratic decisions of the electorate who voted for the opposition. We should welcome such commitment whether from Harapan, BN, or Perikatan Nasional.

And oh, Lim Kit Siang moved a private member's bill in Parliament to enact an anti-hopping law on March 21, 1978. The road to reform is long and lonely, but the journey never ends in despondency.

Pakatan Harapan stood for reform, and our voters voted for reform. While we did not win power, reform won.

Good politics must press on

Post-Malacca state election, many will be analysing the results, coming out with opinions and views, and perhaps even new formulas, for both the winners and the losers. I will be introspecting too.

But before we are drowned in the barrage of blames and claims, I want to reiterate that doing the right thing is non-negotiable. As politicians, we are familiar with talks of strategies and tactics to win. But the foundation of it all must be our principles.

Don't get me wrong, we must work hard to win - I want to win and form the next government. And for that, we must strategise and plan.

We cannot take for granted that a good message will always have a willing listener - hence we must work on our messaging, our publicity, our media. We must continue to reach out of our comfort zone, no matter how challenging it is.

We must continue to feel the pulse of the people, and that means going down to the ground, including to unfamiliar grounds. However, in doing all these, we must never compromise on doing what is right.

The answer to 'bad politics' is not 'no politics', and we definitely cannot fight bad politics with bad politics. We must continue to press on with good politics, even if it means no immediate victory in sight for now.

Because guarding the nation's conscience is more important than being in power. But also because, if everyone goes out "to do good politics" despite the circumstances, change and reform will come sooner than we imagine.

STEVEN SIM CHEE KEONG is the MP for Bukit Mertajam.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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