We need comprehensive political, economic and social reforms in Malaysia. Sadly, we are not going to get any at all. We are not going to see any reforms because we are too dependent on politicians to deliver them. No reform will take place if we do not push the politicians to focus on good governance.
After victories in Galas and Batu Sapi by-elections, Barisan is already talking about their political resurgence WITHOUT having to deliver any reforms we expected. This brings us to the question if Malaysians are serious about the reforms they demanded?
Are Malaysians happy to be given some development promises, grants and monetary goodies? Do Malaysians understand the role of government and the responsibility of a credible democratically elected government to its people?
Can both Barisan and Pakatan deliver these reforms?
1) Political reform. Instead of harping on an outdated social contract, the ruling regime and the voters are bind together by a political contract which has to be renewed every five years through the electoral process. The political contract supersedes the social contract. It is more important than any social contract. Barisan has to deliver good governance, financial accountability and transparency, policy inclusiveness and respect for the rule of law in the political contract. This contract can be retracted when the ruling regime is booted out from office for failing to meet the expectations or terms of the contract.
I would like to see elected representatives being paid better salary so that better people would consider to join public offices. At the moment, the political parties are attracting the wrong people or those with the wrong intention.
Political parties should suggest clear policy measures which they will implement if they come to power in the next GE. Permanent measures should be implemented to ensure there is a check-and-balance mechanism in the system to deter abuse of power, cronyism, corruption and poor governance.
2) Respect for the equal rights of all Malaysians regardless of race or religion. Help and assistance should be given to needy ones without identifying the affirmative policy with race. Any political of the day must abandon a race centric policy because such policy will deliver a sense of justice, fairness and inclusivity in any multiracial society. In short, Malaysia must end race-based politics. It is unfathomable for anyone to vote for a race based party in the 21st century. Race based political system in Malaysia is a colonial system created by the colonial power. Malaysia should not allow its vast human potentials to be tied down by such a political system.
3) Malaysia needs an economic reform. A lot of observers are asking what is next after the 100 storey tower or the RM43 billion LRT system? Malaysia does not have a clear economic direction. Stimulus plan disguised as a new economic transformation plan is not going to bring this country a level higher. If building an attractive and competitive economy is as easy as constructing a 100 storey building, the world is already full of developed economies. What is Malaysia's next economic model which could put it side by side with new emerging economies such as Vietnam, China, India and Indonesia? How can Malaysia attract talents if the environment is not right? It is possible that we cannot even retain existing talents from leaving. There is a lack of HOPE and CONFIDENCE in the local economy. Malaysia is NO longer a land of opportunity. Many youths do not believe that they can become successful in the country. This is a serious perception deficit the government must look into.
4) There is no indication that the education system will be reformed to ensure that it can produce quality skilled workers for the local economy. What can 370 native English speakers can help to alleviate the standards of English proficiency in the country if the government is flip-flopping on the language policy? By 2014, the teaching of science and maths will be reverted back to mother tongue again. Shouldn't the government conduct a serious study to find out what is lacking in the education system?
5) The government should seriously address several acute social issues in the country. Malaise or 'tidak apa' attitude ranks at the top. Our society has a disease of not being able to implement any plan or project successfully. White elephant projects are all over and the government continue to waste a lot of resources annually on procurement and operational expenses. Where are the KPIs? Where is the report? Why do we need two KPI Ministers when there is zero improvement? Do we even have a maintenance culture apart from the PM's official home? Why are crime rates soaring high in such a small society?
Both political parties cannot continue to treat Malaysians as fools. We do not have to choose between Pakatan and Barisan. Voters should insist on giving their votes only to political parties which can meet all their terms and requirements.
It is ridiculous for Barisan to claim that it has reclaimed back support without making an effort to implement any significant reform.
It is equally ridiculous for Pakatan to aspire power if the newly minted coalition is only capable of criticizing Barisan policies or weaknesses. It has to offer voters a real deal as a viable opposition. Personally, I am not interested in the internal struggle of PKR or any opposition parties. As a voter, I am only keen to know if a political party is able to commit to long term reforms which can make Malaysia a better place to live in.
Malaysians must avoid from being overly superficial when casting their votes. We should start to understand our intertwined fate as passengers of the same boat. If this country fails because of its politics, none of us is going to get any special privilege or right to escape the wrath.