10 days have passed since the 12th General Election. The initial shock should be over by now.
What is the aftermath? the emergence of a 2 party system and a possible defeat at Federal level if BN does not mend its way in the 13th General election.
Many BN leaders have spoken and all agreed on one point. They should be serious soul searching and find out why the coalition has lost touch with the people.
I have put forward my ten cents worth of opinion in what causes this political tsunami in 2 articles, titled ” The beginning of a new dawn” and its part 2. It was carried in Malaysiakini as a letter to the editor. Even though my voice is small since I am such an insignificant person, I really hope the ruling coalition can hear what I have said and buck up.
In this article, I will attempt to advise them what to do in the next 4 years. Actually all these suggestions are nothing new, since I have been harping like a long winded old man in my past articles in this blog. I have written, during the 17 months since this blog was started, a total of 514 articles majority of which are harping on these.
What are my suggestions to BN in the aftermath of this big shock? I will list them below:
A. Be humble and listen to the people.
A1. To do so, we need press freedom. The leaders need feedback and what is better than feedback from newspapers?Review the Printing Press and Publications Act. Press media is the 4th pillar of democracy, and we must have a freer press for people to voice out.
A2. Allow public expression through peaceful gatherings. read my article : Reflections in a mirror
A3.Allow internet freedom. Blog have proven to be the effective voice of the people. Do not use threat against bloggers like what they did to Nat Tan last year.
A4.Go to the ground once a while and listen to the ordinary people. Do not trust everything your advisers tell you. Especially many of these so-called advisors practice “Eunuch politics”.
B. Good governance
B1. Be transparent in all government undertakings. This includes government expenses, tendering process, decision making process, promotion of government servants and police and army officers.
B2.Be accountable. Those who have done a mistake must take responsibility and cannot pass the blame on scapegoat. Take a pay cut. Take a demotion. That would form a good culture of accountability and would spur people to be careful when dealing with public funds and formulating public policies.
B3. Tackle corruption. I have mentioned so many times that the only way is to set up an ICAC in the style of the Hong Kong ICAC. An independent agency with the power to investigate, arrest and prosecute and answering only to Parliament. Read my past article: https://hsudarren.wordpress.com/2007/03/06/set-up-an-independent-commission-against-corruption/
B4. Practice meritocracy. Promote people on their merits and merits solely. This will increase efficiency and productivity.
B5. Create a culture of excellence. Read this
C. Tackle racial tension
C1. The best way to do so would be to do away race based politics. Dissolve all race based party and form a non race based one.
C2. Affirmative action should be practised but only to help the poor segment of the population, regardless of ethnic origin. Only through this can true unity be achieved.
C3. Practice open tender. The best value for money should get it irrespective of ethnic origin.
c4. Provide special training and special scholarship for socially backward people.
I will paraphrase from my earlier article on this topic:
In order to expand the economy again, we need to improve on the ease of doing business. We need to attract more FDI again. We need to improve our ranking on the ease of doing business , currently we are ranked No. 28. We also need to improve our ranking on the economic freedom, currently at 48.
To do so we need to review the NEP to make our economy more competitive. NEP has served its purpose. During the 70’s, when NEP was first implemented, the cake was not too large, but then, the effort then was mainly to take from the shares owned by foreigners in our plantations and listed companies. So the different ethnic groups didn’y really feel deprived. Later on, in the late 80’s extending to mid 90’s, using the policy of privatisation , the economy was in good shape and the cake was expanding at a rate fast enough to satisfy the different groups.
However, with the advent of the digital revolution, globalisation is real and that without productivity, efficiency, innovativeness and creativity, countries will not be able to compete and will be left behind. We need to be competitive to move forward in this increasingly competitive world. A change is needed to give the economy a fresh direction to go. Otherwise, our economy will only slide backward and be overtaken by countries such as Thailand and Vietnam.
We need to open our economic door wider as competition against foreign businesses will help to spur our business efficiency, raise our productivity, increase our creativity and bring in new ideas and technological innovations. This will help us to keep up with the rest of the world.
Even though mother tongue education (vernacular) is now guaranteed at the primary level, in reality, the urban communities find it tough to set up new vernacular schools. New schools are in fact urgently needed as the population has increased out of proportion to the number of existing schools, taxing these schools to a maximum. Funds are not easy to come by and most of these schools depend on the community for funds for expansion. If only funds are as readily available as in a by election, then sourcing funds will cease to be a headache for the community.
Many Chinese and Indian parents have to work very hard to save up their money to send their children overseas, since admission to certain choice faculties are very difficult for their children. Once educated overseas, many of these do not come back resulting in a real loss of “brains” to overseas countries. These brains could have been put to better use and could have contributed much in nation-building. While the Indians and the Chinese accept that certain quota should be set aside for the rural poor especially the rural Malays, , they cannot understand why some of the very rich urban Malays are given scholarship for their children when these people can easily afford to pay for their children’s education.
Another point of discontent is the double standard in pre-university education. While matriculation system takes only a year and the curriculum is much easier, STPM students need to study a much harder curriculum for 2 years . When it comes to university entrance, both are considered to be equal , when in reality, STPM is considered to be one of the toughest, if not the toughest, pre university entrance examination in the Commonwealth. These 2 tier system should be abolished and only one stream of pre-university course be adopted for all students.
F. Inculcate compassion and a civil society
Give aids to the handicapped. Give aids to single mother. Give aids to old folks who have no one to look after. Give discounts for senior citizens no loner working.
Encourage Arts, Theatre, Music, Opera. Practice and reward courtesy. Inculcate a civil society where people are tolerant, forgiving and understanding and practice good behaviour.
G. Religious Freedom
G1. Set up an interfaith council to discuss religious issues frankly and sincerely.
G2. Faith is something between God and the individuals. SO individual right in pursuing religion of his or her choice must be respected.
H. Restore Judicial Independence
Judiciary is the most important pillar in a democracy because it is the ultimate safeguard for the little man like you and me against big brothers like government agencies and big corporations.
Without an independent judiciary, it would be difficult to attract foreign investments. Likewise, domestic investors would also think twice to invest if there is no fair arbitration should there be a legal problem later on.
In a nutshell, if the BN government can improve the economy and business environment, reduce inflation, reduce corruption and misconducts of political leaders as well as police and civil service, be open and fair, be accountable, allow more dissenting views, a freer press, a better education system, then I am sure it can win back the majority of the urban Chinese votes come general election time.