Thursday, 14 February 2008

Justice and Fairness are Universal Values

Brave New World (The Star)
4 October 2007

"Life is not all black and white. It’s much more complex, and in between elections issues will arise which need not be motivated by partisan politics."


In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a trend among some politicians. When faced with any sort of difference of opinion by civil society, they blame the opposition parties.

It would appear that the opposition parties are the masterminds behind disagreements with the powers that be. And all groups that disagree with the government are tools of the opposition.

The Trade Unions: tools. University students not of the Aspirasi group: tools. The Bar Council: tools.

Wow! I did not realise that the opposition were such a powerful lot.

They have done so much to disguise their power. Really, they are like the ninjas of the political world. You think they are not there, but they are.

And they have all these amazing magical skills to make intelligent men and women pawns – or, to use the right terminology: tools.

Who would have thought that possible? After all, the opposition have a total of only 20 seats in Parliament, out of 219. Not only that, but considering how powerful and influential they are, they have had to sweat to get those measly 20 seats.

Taking the total number of votes cast and the total number of seats available, on average, the BN needed 16,000 votes to win a seat. The DAP needed 50,000; PAS had to get 150,000 and Keadilan needed a whopping 500,000 for their solitary seat.

This allegation that the opposition are behind everything not only gives too much credit to them, but is also an insult to the people of Malaysia. Do politicians actually believe that Malaysians can’t think for themselves?

Furthermore, this attitude doesn't reflect a mature view of politics. “If you are not with us, you must be in the enemy’s camp. I don’t like you. I won’t friend you”. It’s all terribly primary school.

When will politicians grow up and realise that life is not as simple as being pro-BN or pro-opposition? Politics is more complex than that and, in between elections, issues will arise which need not be motivated by partisan politics.

The minimum wage is not about partisan politics. Neither is the demand for free and fair elections on campus or the calls for a clean judiciary. I'm sure even the BN and their supporters believe in these values of fair treatment and justice.

Sure, the opposition will take any sort of disagreement with the Government as a good thing and they will milk it for what it’s worth.

But they are politicians and all politicians do this. To condemn the opposition for a trait which is the life-blood of all politicians is a serious case of pots calling kettles black.

At the end of the day, what concerns me is the level of public debate in this country. We always moan and groan that the people of Malaysia are politically immature. There is more than a kernel of truth in that.

However, if politicians are unable to debate issues and instead choose to go for the cheap shot of using the opposition as if they were the source of all problems, that is disingenuous.

How on earth are we going to develop a thinking Malaysian society when some politicians in the country can’t seem to be able to do just that?

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