Some say ignorance is bliss. But that is not true. Ignorance makes us stupid, and stupid people make wrong decisions. But in the coming General Election 2013, I am afraid we Malaysians are voting out of ignorance.
Those voting for the opposition vote more out of blind optimism, based on a dangerous assumption that that things would get better with change—any change—instead of voting out of real hope based on clear and achievable proposals. Issues like Hudud law, encroachment of Islamic regulations into non-Muslims’ way of life and rights, unstable alliance between opposition parties, unachievable populist promises, and dubious moral standards of their de facto leader appear curiously understated by the opposition supporters.
No toll? No AES? Free water? Free internet? Free education? Cheaper cars? Lower fuel prices? Lower electricity rates? Higher salaries? Yes, please, yes. But take a step back. Look at the larger picture. Consider what are the consequences of such populist demands? Have we become so self-absorbed, shortsighted, and simple-minded that our selfish pleasures must be served first and placed above all?
Malaysians have become selfish. Instead of asking “what we can do for our country”, we have become “what the country can do for us”.
A good government is an establishment that does not only manages well a country, but much more importantly, it is one that steers the country into a path of sustainable development in terms of education, economy, culture, and collective responsibility. Without a clear sense of direction or purpose, people work, contribute, toil, love, live, and fight with little sense of connection and meaning to their country.
A government, as I see it, acts in some ways like a parent who listens patiently and with empathy to the citizens, but, in wisdom and courage, acts for the greater and ultimate good of the people even if these acts are unpopular among some people. A government is weak if it bows only to populist demands without considering the repercussions.
Unfortunately, those voting for the present government are also voting out of ignorance. Unresolved questions over rising crime rates (even if statistics oddly point to the other direction) and corruption are the black eye of this current government. Lack of avenue for public debates and lack of information have deprived us of invaluable data with which we can form our decisions.
This election has become an exercise of who can shout the loudest on issues of corruption and blame. Lots of mud-slinging and sex videos, but almost no important issues discussed by any political side.
So May 5, 2013 has become an important day for all Malaysians. I have already decided whom I am going to vote, but my decision, as do most Malaysians, I suspect, is based heavily on corrupted and missing data. God help us …