The only way for Malaysia’s future to be assured is for all parties to play by the rules of the game.
The best possible way to assess the future of a country is to look into certain basic fundamentals. These fundamentals, if accurately gauged and analysed, will give a clear indication of what is in store for a nation despite global uncertainties.
In Malaysia, the fundamentals that are often looked into by economists, politicians and others in assessing the economic and political and social climate of the country are considered “narrow” and perhaps even limited.
Nevertheless, the Barisan Nasional government which has governed Malaysia exclusively since the inception of Merdeka, has given Malaysians many assurances that the future of the country is bright as the fundamentals are all strong and well.
Despite dispensing these assurances, and even providing “formidable evidence” that Malaysia is a safe bet to hedge your future, the belief and trust by many Malaysians in the leadership of the country is to be found wanting.
Why is this so? A stream of propaganda is being churned out of the huge successes achieved by the BN government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and yet in spite of providing so many facts and figures, more Malaysians are worried of their future than having their minds put at ease.
Perhaps it was the late John F Kennedy, a former US president, who best echoes the lurking realities in the minds of most Malaysians. Kennedy once stated openly to the US Congress that “there are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics”.
Perhaps now the troubled mindsets of a growing number of Malaysians are understandable. Most Malaysians who reflect and ponder on the spewing of the glowing statistics and achievements of the BN government generally stomach the whole exercise with a pinch of salt.
It is glaringly evident to Malaysians that these remarkable facts and figures emerging close to the 13th general election are not in tandem with what they witness in the real, harsh, hard realities of life in the country.
Quite obviously, the rosier the picture of the future is painted by the government, the more disbelief it evokes from Malaysians. Between what is witnessed as the proof provided by the government and what Malaysians are witness to in everyday life, there is a wide schism and disparity.
It is for precisely this reason that Malaysians are not buying the bull. Based on what they witness in their daily lives and surroundings, Malaysians, who now command better education and are better informed, are able to read between the lines of government propaganda churning out scenarios of grandeur and the future of the nation in reality.
The painful reality for Malaysians in the know is that their country faces a hard struggle. And this struggle is set to become a protracted crisis given that the quest for power and the right to rule by both sides of the political divide has become not only acrimonious but also hostile.
In view of this, the Malay proverb rings true: “Gajah sama gajah berjuang, pelanduk mati ditengah-tengah.” (The elephant fights with the elephant but it is the deer in the midst of them which dies.)
Are Malaysians being merely used as pawns in the struggle for power? One side of the divide is struggling to gain power, while the other side is struggling not to relinquish power.
There is seemingly this ferocious pull and push and in the process, since the last general election to be exact, Malaysia has stagnated into a state of a muddled mess.
Put the blame entirely on the politicians. Their lack of leadership ability, true wisdom, knowledge and understanding of what it entails to rule and govern a nation has led to the stage being set for Malaysia to see their clock of whatever progress they have achieved over the years being pushed back.
This is what would happen in the future of the nation if Malaysians are not careful. What is set to take place by the indicators given, and if these indicators are assessed accurately, Malaysia faces the dire prospects of a bleak future with the possibility of descending into a rogue nation or failed state.
There is ample evidence now that the rot has begun to set in, and these factors were long festering in this nation but only came to the surface in the last general election and this 13th national polls is expected to become a nerve-wrecking experience for Malaysians if all parties are not willing to co-operate and play by the rules of the game.
If leaders across the political divide are unable to stand together and agree that they will come clean in their bid to be the chosen victors – unless they are willing to play fair and square – it will be merely wishful thinking for Malaysians to hope for a brighter, better future, whoever gains the right to govern.
This is where the proverbial deer gets crushed to death and where Malaysians should be prepared to face an uncertain and a difficult future whereby corruption and injustice would then become a way of life in this country.
Descending into chaos
The only way to safeguard and guarantee a better future for the nation is for Malaysians of all walks of life to carefully and thoughtfully cast their votes and for political parties to present credible and capable candidates to champion the wishes of the people.
It is imperative that Malaysians choose wisely and weigh carefully their choices and for political parties to make a serious bid to secure and win votes by offering the best possible candidates up for election.
A 13th general election that is free and fair can only do a lot of good for the country.
Sticking to democratic principles and abiding by the rules of fair play and justice by political parties, their candidates and voters will reflect well on the maturity of Malaysians.
If Malaysians gamble on their future by subscribing to anything other than playing this 13th general election by the rules of the game, they are set to witness the country descending into chaos.
The onus of responsibility to ensure the well-being and to safeguard the future of Malaysia is with the voters, election candidates and political parties. In the spirit of a true and united Satu Malaysia, may the best candidates win and the best political party rule to the satisfaction of all Malaysians.
Christopher Fernandez has been teaching and writing throughout Asia since 1984.