Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My views in The Edge Daily on Political Renewal

My comment on the renewal process in political parties to REJUVENATE their respective line-up:

Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng said the opposition has more new and young candidates in this election as both PKR’s adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP’s secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had gone around to strengthen the parties.

“The Opposition list in 2004 was not impressive in terms of qualification and political awareness but this time around they have put up better candidates,” he said.

According to Khoo, many opposition candidates such as DAP’s Lau Weng San and Liew Chin Tong had been recruited a few years earlier and had worked for the party which gave them the understanding of the political environment.

“Political parties know that to remain attractive, they need to attract voters with a fresh line-up.
“If the parties were not able to do that then it will be seen as using the old formula. That would not catch the imagination of voters,” said Khoo, adding that young candidates would attract voters.

“The nation needs more energy and dynamism to move forward. Fatigued faces will have to go and some are making way already,” he said.

Khoo, who is part of Gerakan’s think tank SEDAR, said politicians around the world are getting younger. The age of leadership in China is getting younger unlike in the past.

“The US presidential race is energetic and dynamic. Barack Obama has captured the imagination of Americans. They see him as a candidate who happens to be black and not a black candidate.

“They see him as representing the hope of America. This trend would catch on with Malaysian voters as well,” said Khoo.

He said change would not take effect immediately with these young MPs but there would be cultural shift.

“When a young politician who is well educated goes into Parliament, you will see a better Parliament.

“You would find them looking more towards issues concerning the country such as globalisation instead of focusing on trivial and insensitive issues.

“Many of them would have the qualification to debate on issues,” said Khoo. He added that these young turks would eventually take up leadership positions in their respective parties and then there would be change in political will.

He is also not too concerned about young politicians who play to the gallery. “It means they have no substance. Politicians who play to the gallery will not be able stand in urban mixed seats.
“They can only stand in seats with one clear major community. Malaysian voters are maturing and can see through that,” he added.

Both BN and the opposition have conceded that this election would be its toughest yet. It remains to be seen if these young turks would be able to capture the imagination of the people and bring about positive changes to the country.

Click here to read the full article.

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