By Liew Chin Tong
There is a sense of hopelessness enveloping Malaysians in the wake of the twin by-elections last Saturday. Suddenly, to defeat the Umno/Barisan Nasional juggernaut seems a distant dream for many. The idea of “New Politics” replacing the “Old Order” seems impossible too.
Some opine that the Opposition should just make up and form a single bloc again to contest in the next general election on a one-to-one basis against Barisan Nasional.
However, is this what the voters want to see? Will the next general election be decided only on the basis of a one-to-one contest against Barisan Nasional?
Albert Einstein once said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
We must ask ourselves what the voters really want and not what politicians and pundits want.
Surely, to defeat Umno/Barisan Nasional is a Herculean task, it was so even with a single Opposition entity like Pakatan Rakyat.
Institutional bias was set against the Opposition from the onset. The rules of the game are set by Umno/BN, and they are the referees, and the goalposts are always changed to suit its interests. We have known that from day one.
Hence, is it time to look for shortcuts just to be played into the old game? Or is it time to ask the hard questions, create a reinvigorated Opposition with policy clarity and to generate a new wave of political uprising among Malaysians?
I hope that the reinvigorated Opposition would have far better and more inspiring answers than Umno/Barisan Nasional on education, the economy, jobs, income, banking, housing, transport, healthcare, ICT, semi-urban development, rural infrastructure, local governance etc.
To beat Umno/BN – masters of the politics of race and religion – is not just to compete to play the same game. Pakatan Harapan has to reassure voters that a new government would be one that unites and not divides, that brings everyone together and not tears the nation apart.
Beyond that, we must articulate the wishes and aspirations of ordinary Malaysians.
Ordinary Malaysians want better education for their children; better jobs; food on the table; better cities, towns and villages, better lives not burdened by too much debt etc.
These areas of concern are often ignored by the media because they are less sensational than race and religious issues. Often, the Opposition also has not developed clear positions on such issues.
Here is where Umno/BN plays race and religion politics to stay in power in order to deny ordinary Malaysians a better life by robbing their future through corruption, cronyism and nepotism.
For the Opposition to move ahead, we should not look for shortcuts as the voters will see through us. We shall take on the Herculean task to build a better Malaysia for ordinary Malaysians through which we inspire ourselves, the voters and a new generation of people taking part in Opposition politics to shape a better future for everyone.
Liew Chin Tong is MP for Kluang and DAP National Political Education Director.
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