Politics and the common man

Why all this talk about Malay unity and the sexual escapades of our politicians? Of what interest are these to the man on the street whose only concern is survival at the moment?

Will Malay unity improve the economy in leaps and bounds? Will it solve bread and butter issues? Maybe. But truth be told, it appears to be all about power play. But who are the beneficiaries and who really are the victims of this power play? If you haven’t got a clue, you are obviously living on a different planet and in a different zone. I call this the twilight zone.

Non-Malays watching from the sidelines are caught in the crossfire and have nowhere to go. Move to the left, and it could be the wrong step. Move to the right and you could also be taking the wrong step. So you play safe and conclude that this isn’t your fight. Safest thing to do.

Believe you me it is a fight for everybody. For as long as the focus stays on the power game, all other matters are put on hold. Not on the back burner, but on hold until the picture of who emerges victorious becomes less hazy and a bit clearer. The common man on the street is expected to live with the fact that times are indeed difficult and be resilient. I should know. I am that man.

But hope springs eternal. Perhaps once the power play is over, other more pressing issues will be attended to, and there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, mythical or otherwise.

For now, perhaps Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his government can only do as much as they can. There are rearguard actions to be put in place and there is no one more adept than Mahathir.

However, for those clamouring for Anwar Ibrahim, the prime minister-in-waiting, to take hold of the reins, their outbursts for Mahathir to step aside as promised is growing louder by the day.

Yet none of these exuberant supporters of Anwar has offered a single game plan of how the prime minister in waiting will raise the quality of life of the man on the street. Perhaps they will say it’s their trade secret. Perhaps they’ll say wait till we take over.

But what if that day never comes? Does the country see the end of these trade secrets and solutions for a better Malaysia? What then happens to the concept of a new Malaysia and a better one at that?

We will just have to wait and see. In the meantime, the common man on the street has to plod on under the weight of rising cost and mounting debts.

Mahathir, for his part, will continue to do what he has to do. Come hell or high water.

Clement Stanley is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.