Letter to Editor
THE media coverage of the elections in six states this Saturday (Aug 12) has revolved around the battle between Pakatan Harapan (PH)-Barisan Nasional (BN) and Perikatan Nasional (PN). These are the two giant blocs seeking to win the six state governments.
I think such a narrative does not do justice to voters. Yes, it’s true that these two alliances are much more formidable than others taking part in this election. They have big names like Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Deputy PM Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, former premier Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and PAS leader Tan Sri Hadi Awang.
Nonetheless, it’s important to note that the media portrayal shouldn’t be limited to depicting a direct clash between these two factions.
Let’s be honest, these two political alliances have contributed to much of the political fatigue we see today. Their top leaders have been around for 30–40 years and still show no signs of retiring. Worse still, their track record has left much to be desired.
Take PH for example. Before last November’s general election, their leaders were the paragons of virtue and had pledged to speak up for ordinary voters. I was one of those caught up in the electoral fervour and was overwhelmed when Anwar was sworn in as the country’s 10th PM.
However, after a span of nine months since assuming power, we find ourselves with a Deputy PM facing 47 corruption charges and numerous practices reminiscent of past administrations, like suppressing the media, misusing governmental resources and even instances of corruption, persist.
It feels like nothing has changed.
To make things worse, the rakyat (people) is finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet, with the costs of essentials rising by the day. And what of the reforms that PH had promised? Little has been done on this end.
As for PN, there’s little to be said about why many find the grouping undesirable. One can’t help but wonder if some of the leaders still live in caves, given their extremist streaks, especially those from PAS. Just look at Kelantan. After over 30 years under PAS rule, the state still struggles with water supply problems.
But the thing is, this election is bigger than PH-BN and PN. It need not be only about choosing between these two alliances. Lest one forget, MUDA and Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) have entered into an alliance as a “Third Force”.
They may be small relative to the two major blocs. But voters are in the business of choosing quality over quantity.
Regardless of opinions, it’s evident that MUDA president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, despite (or perhaps due to) his youth, showcases stronger principles than the opportunists entrenched in positions of authority.
For example, in the littoral combat ship (LCS) issue, he condemned the unity government’s decision to proceed with the controversial project at a higher budget, when people like Anwar had called for it to be scrapped when the latter was in the Opposition.
Before the 15th General Election, it was PH leaders who demanded accountability from Zahid, linking him to the scandal due to his past role as defence minister. However, PH leaders have turned a blind eye to their DPM.
Clearly, parties like MUDA and PSM are more principled than those in Putrajaya, who are easily swayed by expediency, not the welfare of the people. At the end of the day, isn’t running for public office about standing up for the people?
I call on voters in the six states to look beyond the two major blocs. They have had their time and, by all accounts, squandered the trust placed in them by the people.
It is time to lend our support to MUDA and PSM and give them a chance. – Aug 10, 2023
Zulkifli Abdul Majid
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Main photo credit: Malaysiakini