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Friday, March 7, 2008

Of Elections, Exercising Our Rights & Voting Wisely

The time has come again for us to exercise our right to vote in Malaysia. The past few weeks have been hectic cos I was co-opted to focus a bit on the elections via my job. Somehow, I have come to believe that politics in my country, and especially the state where I live, brings out the worst in people. Maybe it's the same everywhere, maybe it's just here. Still, politics puts so much power in the hands of a few, and everywhere which way you turn, you see the greed, the abuse, the corruption, the money-salivating politicians at their worst.

I often wonder why politics have to be so dirty, so negative, so evil. Am I just being a simpleton for wanting politics to be good for people? Let me rephrase, politics per se should be good because politics is the art or science of government and works for the people. Hence, it should be good because anything that serves the people has to be good. Then how come politics in this modern day and age reeks of everything negative and stinky under the sun? Answer, politics is a good art/science, only the politicians, the humans, make it bad. Through politics, we put power in the hands of a few, and humans are the only creatures on the face of the earth capable of abusing power in every single way.

But lucky for us, i.e., those of us living in democracies, we are given the right to choose the government, and to exercise that right every 5 years or so in the election process. However, even that simple right doesn't amount to much when ingenious politicians cheat and tamper with justice within a democratic system of government. Where I live, the word 'Election' only conjures money politics, political frogs that can be bought, and ghost voters (mostly from neighbouring countries and given citizenship so that they can tilt the elections results whichever way according the the whims and fancies of the powers that be).

Still, elections work most of the time. We have been able to brings down dictatorial Goliaths in the past. The feeling is great when simple village folks are able to overthrow the government once in the while. But then again, this democratic process can't run away from, again, the human factors in terms of emotions, emotional, racial and religious affinities. These human factors are what can ruin justice. So, there are many, many cases here where the simple folks keep on voting the same politicians and keeping them in power for decades when as their so-called representatives, these politicians had not done much to bring progress and development back to the people. The voters keep forgiving them over and over again because they share the same race or the same religion. I hope this country will change the law to allow the head of the government, both state and national, to serve ONLY TWO (2) terms. This has worked well for the USA. It should be used by countries like Malaysia and Indonesia where apparently it is most need. Allowing the head of government to serve only 2 terms will surely do away with a great deal of political evils such as nepotism and cronyism, and make politics become the good art/science of government that truly serve the people.

Polling day in Malaysia will be on 08th March 2008. I have not voted in the last two elections because the results are predictable, the same government will remain in power. But like I said, if you let the same government have staying power far too long, so much negativity will ensue. Abuses such as nepotism and cronyism will allow people in the corridors of power, the Executive, to even influence, impact and control the Judiciary. The country's Executives can easily pick and choose their own to control the judicial system. It goes without saying that a government having power for too long will monopolize and mismanage the country's finances and economics, keeping the money for themselves and their own.

Malaysians have lived though a number of these abuses for a while now. It would be interesting to see how fed-up we, Malaysians, are of the such political abuses and stupidities. I wonder whether Malaysians are desperate for a change? Come tomorrow, let's exercise our right to vote and vote wisely.