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I think all voters must read this and clear their doubts as to which candidate to vote. It is very painful when you are suppressed for 26 years – 22 under Mahathir and 4 under Badawi. Must we suffer for eternity and wait for change when it will not come, except to vote wisely. Please read and vote intelligently.

Voting for the opposition: Just do it – Link:

Voting for the opposition: Just do it

Madhatter | Feb 6, 08 3:15pm

The government brags about getting its mandate from the people at the ballot box. And every five years, it seems that the people give it to them. In 2004, the people gave the incumbent government a whopping 91 percent of the parliamentary seats, though it only garnered 60 percent of the popular vote.

When you consider the gerrymandering and possible inclusion of ‘phantom’ voters, the truth may be stranger than fiction.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi made one promise after another which he must have known he would not able to keep. The media were fed spin by his spin-meisters and he told us things that we needed badly to hear. Twenty two years of iron rule by his predecessor had prepared the people – who were desperate – for a more moderate hand in governance. The incumbent filled the shoes.

But time, being the best test of a person’s ability and sincerity, has borne out the fears of the discerning: It was all another charade. The incumbent never intended to change anything for the better and we have seen intolerance of dissent and the shocking use of the police on democratic activities, often with brutal and excessive force.

Soon, general elections will be upon us and the government will once more resort to the same old tricks (perhaps with new twists) to try to hoodwink the public.

It will also try to cause consternation and indignation by doing certain selective things to unite the Malay and Muslim voters around them by creating controversies. Without Malay support the corrupt politicians are sunk. So they use the system of patronage and trickle the rewards down the food chain.

But Malaysians have to ask: Is this morally right? Is this in the long- term interest of the country?

With its iron grip on the media, the ruling party has endless means of getting its propaganda across to the segments of the population that are gullible or greedy. The government knows how to soothe the public’s nerves and win over their hearts to win their votes. But are Malaysians such fools and easily bought?

More and more are not because they know that, in the end, all the pork-barreling and economic handouts and mega projects will be paid by the taxpayers and all Malaysians for many generations to come.

It costs to protest but it costs more not to. There comes a time when the people must say enough is enough. They must send a clear and strong message to the government that they want change. The people must use their power at the ballot box and vote the government into the wilderness so that it can learn a big lesson.

The fear that the country will not be properly governed is unfounded. Systems already in place simply cannot crumble overnight. The private sector can survive without the government’s interference. Life can go on and there is the hope of better governance and an honest attempt to stop corruption.

Even former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohammed has finally come to his senses and thinks like a concerned citizen. But there is a question mark over his sincerity. Leopards don’t change their spots and there is nothing to show he has changed his despite his changed tune. He is still taking care of a numero uno – himself.

But, nevertheless, it does not invalidate the people’s genuine and consistent cry for transparency and accountability. The question is: will it be a hard search using Dr M’s criteria? In a system of political patronage and collective responsibility, we are not voting just for individuals. We are voting for parties.

The truth is ‘clean, honest and straight’ politicians are as rare as a hen’s teeth. And they don’t survive in the system. Dr M himself has said that ‘cleansing’ cannot come from within the party, as ‘everything now is being controlled and any contrary views will not be heard.’ So the right thing to do is to cleanse out the corrupt parties and their corrupting influence.

With successive governments, and as more and more Malaysians (especially better educated Malays) see through the duplicity of those who control the government in their name, they will stand alongside other non-Malays, as Anwar Ibrahim and PAS have done.

There is one way forward and it can’t be with a government controlled entirely by the BN, which has failed to deliver the things that matter to the people. It is only through the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the people themselves – especially those who don’t get any help from the government (ie, the Chinese, Indians, non-Umno Malays, etc.) – that the country will progress.

The people only need the courage to vote out the government and then they will see some major changes. We saw the Hindraf rally, and now the government is forming various committees to appease the Indians. Imagine what will be done when the silent disgruntled majority shows its same displeasure at the ballot box. You’ll never know if you don’t do it.

Here are seven tips to vote in a good government:

  • Vote for opposition candidates, but not those who advocate extreme ideologies. We need to change the government at some stage and if more opposition politicians are elected they will get more experience.
  • Don’t be sucked in by the promises. They will be broken.
  • Don’t get sucked in by the politicians who suddenly turn around and give in to your requests. This is their way of doing things – by bribery. But once they are in power, you will have to pay.
  • Vote on principles for the benefit of the nation and your children’s future. You may be young, you may be old, but you can’t support politicians who have proven they are not working for anyone but themselves.
  • Ask your friends and others to vote for the politicians who have not been given the chance to see what they can do for you. We have seen what those politicians who had the chance can’t do for the nation. It is time to give others a go. Kick out those who have become arrogant.
  • If you will only vote for the opposition once in your life, do it now.
  • And, yes, don’t forget the usual tricks. They will do things they should not, ie, arresting people and charging them, and then people will protest. Then, they will try to get the credit by being the good guy and helping the aggrieved by releasing them.

I belong to no political party and believe all politicians have the ability to be deceitful and self- serving, whether in government or the opposition. But, as the saying goes, ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’. It is in the public interest to not let anyone become absolutely powerful for so long and the best safeguard for the nation is a change of government from time to time.

We see our King changed every five years with no problems. Why can’t we do the same with our government? If we did, we might have more politicians who are able to do the job and not just the same old people who cling to power and give us corruption and higher food prices.

As the Nike ad says: Just do it. Vote out the rotten government. You can’t do worse.

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