Sim Kwang Yang
The burning question of the day in Malaysia is: When will the next general election be held?
This will be the first time our premier Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will have to seek a fresh mandate from Malaysians as the Prime Minister.
He has missed a few significant dates already, indicating perhaps some degree of uncertainty on his part.
Looking back over the past election results, the outcome of the next general election can only be described as new — uncertain and unpredictable.
Anything can happen, including a change of government at the federal level.
Since its formation as a nation, Malaysia has gone through fantastic transformation.
Although old racial issues still persist, our country is now much less stereotyped than ever before.
The outcome of this general election is anybody’s guess.
The country is still trying to recover from the impact of the political tsunami in 2008, as Barisan Nasional lost control of five state governments, apart from losing its traditional two-thirds majority in parliament.
It just goes to show that the country has evolved almost beyond recognition, as we work towards a two-party political governance system.
The emergence of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) opposition coalition, comprising PKR, PAS and DAP, has broken the BN’s iron grip on power.
After the last general election, we can conclude that the old political powerhouses of Gerakan, MCA and MIC no longer wield the power they once enjoyed.
Few people expect them to launch a political comeback after their disastrous defeats.
Many factors contributed to this drastic change of political fortunes within such a short period of time.
Essentially, the political equation of Malaysia has changed at a fundamental level.
Citizens of all races are much better informed and more demanding than before.
They still care about the bread-and-butter issues, but their expectations from their government are much higher now.
You can no longer satisfy them using empty promises and slogans.
For one thing, the Internet is now one of the most powerful tools of communication in the country.
People can communicate with one another freely on the Net at what seems to be the speed of light.
It can build a new social contract between the people and the government.
The day no longer exists when the government can happily influence the formation of opinions among all citizens.
But the basics of the general election still remain the same.
Any general election is still a golden opportunity for the people to exercise their self-determination, in realising the highest ideal of the democratic state.
Fortunately, except for the ugly incident of May 13, 1969, general elections have always been a tame affair.
Unlike newly emergent states that have witnessed the Arab Spring, Malaysia will not see a violent change of government because most people understand the peaceful rules of the game.
Therefore, we Malaysians should cherish the value of our democratic system by voting without fear or favour.
Vote for a good government who will truly serve the people’s will, without prejudice.
Our system of democracy may have many flaws, especially those practices that give extraordinary powers to the government.
But the democracy that we have also provides the course of redress for us to right the wrongs of the past.
We should treasure this legacy of democratic progress by working hard at its continuation and improvement.
Vote for a candidate of your choice, without hesitation, for the sake of the people and the country.
Sebanaku bersetuju dengan penulisan diatas oleh bekas ahli Parlimen DAP Sim Kwang Yang. Rakyat Malaysia amnya dan rakyat Sarawak khususnya tidak mahu lagi ditipu oleh ahli politik, civil servant dan tauke-tauke besar. Civil servant tidak boleh mengambil banyak rasuah dan 'berlindung' belakang pemimpin-pemimpin kerajaan yang kena tembak. Tauke-tauke besar pun tidak boleh gelojoh dan memerah rakyat dengan monopoli/naik harga kemudian 'mengasingkan diri' dan pemimpin-pemimpin kerajaan sahaja yang ditembak. Ahli-ahli politik dari BN dan DAP, PKR, PAS wajib untuk lebih ikhlas untuk rakyat.