Ahead of GE15 - It is time to deliver on promises

Ili Liyana Mokhtar
18 Nov 2022 10:03pm
A motorcyclist passes a row of flags from various political coalitions installed in Kampung Penor Kuantan.

Tomorrow, Malaysians will fulfill their voting responsibilities to elect a new government.

A motorcyclist passes a row of flags from various political coalitions installed in Kampung Penor Kuantan. Tomorrow, Malaysians will fulfill their voting responsibilities to elect a new government. -- fotoBERNAMA (2022) COPYRIGHT RESERVED
As Malaysia heads to the polls this weekend and anticipation builds on who will be chosen to helm the nation’s next government - what will happen after the dust has settled?

No doubt the outcome will be “ interesting” to say the least. The battlefield is not as clear cut as it was in the previous election with three major coalitions contesting instead of just two, making the results quite difficult to forecast.

Voters will be expected to choose between three major coalitions this time around namely Barisan Nasional (BN), Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN). All three coalitions are headed by well-known faces that do not offer much in the way of innovation or reform.

The eldest coalition among the three has their work cut out for them as their image has suffered a blow in recent years with corrupted practices and leaders brought out into the open.

Its chairman Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi had promised a return to stability after a tumultuous few years of the party trying to claw its way back into the hearts and minds of the people, particularly urban Malay voters. Zahid himself is riddled with court cases for corruption, money laundering and criminal breach of trust, although he claims to be innocent of the charges.

The rogue middle son Pakatan Harapan headed by its charismatic chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim seems to be the popular choice among the urban set of voters, However PH's campaign promises at this point seems too good to be true. Sure they have a few good minds in the fray but will the promises made be carried out - or will internal bickering and politicking ruin a coalition with lofty Utopia ambitions. The coalition’s leaders are no longer fresh and voters have memories of unrealised campaign pledges.

The youngest of the lot - Parti Perikatan Nasional headed by former Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is still struggling to find its footing in an already saturated political arena. However it seems to be growing and gaining ground albeit slowly, however because it shares a similar political ideology to BN - both seemingly championing the interests of Malays and Islam it has a long way to go in separating itself to stand wholly on its own, instead of in BN's shadows. Its already been said that PN is a coalition for those that are ‘ sulking’ from BN and Umno - as old Umno warlords who were overlooked to contest their stronghold seats during GE15, contest under PN's ticket.

There have been some shiny manifestos thrown about by all three coalitions - promises that seem at the very best to this disillusioned writer, a little far fetched.More often than not, once power is obtained promises are no longer kept and after a while thick paged manifestos are left to rot in the corner of broken promises.

I am hoping that this won’t be the case as some ideas presented in some of the manifestos seem appealing enough. Proposals to tackle the escalating cost of living and food security, as well as a plans to deal with climate change and forest and marine conservation all sound great, but what about the execution?
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Overall, all three coalitions have highlighted several important issues, notably the high cost of living, food security and unemployment. making these issues the core of their manifestos. It is also worth noting that none of the manifestos talked about how the many promises will be funded.

At least there is more of variety to vote for in this upcoming elections, although faces at the leadership of these coalitions stay the same.Some even for decades - with a sprinkling of new faces here and there when they feel the need for a refresh.

The need for fresh young leaders with fresh ideas has never been more acute than now especially moving forward. Issues such as growing wealth disparity, poor economic management and a weakening education need to be desperately addressed. Perhaps the reins can be passed down to their younger counterparts in the next elections. Power when held on to too strongly can be a dangerous thing.

Will we the people be tricked again into choosing a government that will be toppled from a coup 22 months into its new administration? I hope not. That certainly was not a fun development to watch as a voter.

I feel I am not alone in this - many voters are tired of the constant immature politicking and remain bitter over the Sheraton move which saw a bunch of politicians undoing the results of the 2018 election.

A bitterness that could potentially affect voter turnout at the polls, not to mention the election being called at a time when Malaysia is knee deep into the monsoon season and dealing with floods in some of its major areas.

When the parliament was dissolved to make way for the 15 th General Election, I was one of those people who felt mostly disillusioned with the state of the political scene - and watching the same people claw and fight their way for power.

I always wonder will we the people always be at the losing end? Where are the leaders who genuinely have the nation’s interest at heart? Why are we constantly watching and reading about politicians bickering for the top posts? Who should be the Prime Minister or who should be the Deputy Prime Minister?

Its time leaders in this country bicker about what are the best ways to tackle economic issues plaguing the country, education access for all, better public transportation systems, ( we can’t have the LRT breakdown for months on end and not have the expertise to deal with it!) and most importantly transparency in handling public funds.

Mostly at the core of it, Malaysians generally want one thing, leaders who are willing to put national interest before self interest. A clean government, good governance, and stability. They love their country and want to it to develop into a fine nation that is at par with most developed nations in the world.

At least for this writer, that is my wish. To have a progressive, fair, and democratic Malaysia. A Malaysia that everyone can be proud of. So again, I will exercise my rights as a Malaysian and cast my ballot tomorrow as I have did in previous elections - with big hopes that our wishes for our beloved country comes true. That it will be governed by those who genuinely want what’s best for the country and her people. And that it will flourish and prosper under the right leadership.

To my young friends voting for the first time, congratulations. We are proud of you. Thank you for exercising your right to choose. Thank you for loving your country enough to have a say in who governs it. To all happy voting, I hope you make good and informed choices.
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